Nationwide Insurance and the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum celebrate Women’s Motorcycle Month
Columbus, Ohio – July is Women’s Motorcycle Month, and Nationwide Insurance has teamed with the AMA’s Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum to salute female riders and support all women who enjoy the open road on two wheels.
“There are more than 4.3 million women motorcyclists on the road today, and more are joining our ranks every day,” said Beth Hazen, a motorcyclist and Nationwide Insurance agent. “Women’s Motorcycle Month celebrates the pioneers who broke down gender and racial barriers in the early days of motorcycling, and we hope their stories inspire even more women to consider getting out on bikes or scooters this summer.”
According to the Motorcycle Industry Council’s most recent research, the number of women motorcycle riders increased 34 percent between 1998 and 2003. Today, major manufacturers report annual increases in sales to women and actively court female riders. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation says women make up nearly 30% of students in its learn-to-ride Basic RiderCoursesSM across the United States.
Many remarkable women have blazed a path on two wheels. Here, Nationwide salutes four who have been named to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
a Adeline and Augusta Van Buren: In 1916, Adeline and Augusta rode to coast to coast on Indian motorcycles – the first women to make the transcontinental journey solo on two motorcycles. The sisters rode to convince the military that women were capable of serving as dispatch riders. Although they were unsuccessful in that mission, they were able shatter many of the early twentieth century’s stereotypes about women.
a Bessie Stringfield: In the 1930s and 1940s, Bessie – a female, African-American motorcyclist - broke down barriers by completing eight solo cross-country tours and serving as a U.S. Army motorcycle dispatch rider. During these tours, she rode fearlessly through the deep South when racial prejudice was a tangible threat. Bessie rode her first motorcycle, an Indian, at the age of 16 and went on to own 27 Harley-Davidsons.
a Dot Robinson: In the mid-twentieth century, Dot paved the way for women motorcyclists. In 1939, she and fellow motorcyclist, Linda Dugeau, began Motor Maids of America. Today, Motor Maids is thriving and is the oldest motorcycling organization for women in North America. Dot also opened doors for women in motorcycle competition. An enduro racer, in 1940, Dot became the first woman to win in AMA national competition.
“These women are inspiring to all riders,” said Mark Mederski, executive director of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum. “And, the Hall of Fame encourages motorcyclists to nominate more remarkable women for inclusion.”
Women who have been considering two wheels and are inspired by Women’s Motorcycle Month have many resources available to help them learn to ride. Nationwide’s Hazen offers three tips for getting started.
a Websites such as www.motorcycles.org, www.msf-usa.org and www.AmericanMotorcyclist.com provide information on everything from locating a safety course in your area to buying proper riding gear.
a Find a local dealership where you feel welcome and learn about different motorcycles before purchasing. Sit in the saddle and check out the practical aspects, such as making sure both of your feet can easily rest on the ground and determining if handgrips, controls, and mirrors are easy to reach and operate.
a Join a women’s motorcycle club in your area. Not only do these clubs allow women to enjoy the community of riding, many also focus on charity work.
More information for first time motorcyclists can be found at www.nationwide.com.
About the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum
The AMA’s Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum brings to life the stories of the people and the machines that define the rich heritage of motorcycling in America. Supported by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and thousands of generous donors, the Museum is located on the AMA campus in Pickerington, Ohio. Its three major exhibition halls are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (closed on New Year’s, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas). Adult admission is $10 per person; students age 12–17, $3; AMA members, $5. Seniors receive a $2 discount and members of motorcycle clubs and organizations are eligible for a $1 discount per ticket. A $25 family rate and group rates are also available. For more information, call (614) 856-2222, or visit the Museum’s website at www.motorcyclemuseum.org.
Nationwide, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the world, with more than $161 billion in assets. Nationwide ranks #108 on the Fortune 500 list. The company provides a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, life, commercial insurance, administrative services, annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions, long-term savings plans and health and productivity services. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.