It isn’t my average day when I get to meet a crane driver. But then it’s far from my average day when I get to meet someone who is not only a crane driver, but also a motorbike enthusiast and (more importantly) the creator and editor of a new magazine aimed at women motorcyclists.
At London Advanced Motorcyclists we’ve been contemplating what we see of as an issue with advanced riding. The majority of people who sign up are middle aged men. While it’s great that people are joining, we would love to appeal to younger riders and female riders as well. Biking isn’t the domain of gentlemen of maturing years, and advanced riding is of great benefit to everyone. So we’ve been slowly trying to introduce a change of our approach so we provide an encouraging environment for all people to get what we see as essential training.
And that’s kind of how I got to meet Vicky – the crane driving, motorcycle riding magazine editor of Women on Wheels. Thanks to Twitter I have been trying to follow and support a lot of female focussed biker profiles, tweets and events (it’s a small step but hopefully one of many small steps). Through someone who’s connected to someone else I saw a tweet about Issue 1 of a new magazine aimed at women bikers. After reading a bit more I discovered that it is home grown magazine, started in the heart of West Sussex, with a UK wide focus. This was definitely something that we at LAM should support so I got in touch with Vicky to find out more.
The magazine is actually the result of an unfortunate accident involving a falling bike, a solid wall and some bones surrounded by soft tissue, otherwise known as “a leg”. Apparently the bike was saved from damage by the leg. Phew. So in her downtime Vicky engaged her creative juices (she has a background in design and marketing) and came up with the idea of the magazine – “I can’t ride but I can still talk about bikes and riding. This makes me happy.”
By the sounds of it this magazine idea has been coming for a while. About a year ago Vicky wrote and article themotolady.com (here’s the link to the article). This in turn spurred her on to create a Facebook group called “Biker Chicks from Sussex.” It was for women to “discuss the challenges we face like bike size, bike weights, finding clothing, attitudes and self confidence. It opened my eyes. I wanted all the other ladies to realise they were not alone.”
The group gave Vicky the opportunity to meet, connect and become friends with a large group of female riders. Wanting to give more back to the community, Woman on Wheels was born. The first issue is OUT NOW and can be picked up from Whiteways Cafe Bury Hill or Rykas Cafe Box Hill, or for those of you further a field you can order from the Woman on Wheels website or FB group using PayPal. She is working on distribution via other biker cafes too. As an added bonus you’ll be helping the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust too as 20p from each issues sold will go to them (this is enough of a reason to buy several copies).
Issues are quarterly. The next one will be out beginning of December “and it will be bigger with more juicy content!” (Juicer than the first group of readers voting Guy Martin #1 biker boy!) Vicky is keen on getting the community and readers involved, so aside from interviews with some well known celebs (I won’t say who so you’ll have to get the next issue to find out) she would like content from readers. Issue one has a feature called “Me and my baby” – photos of readers and their bikes, like Sam from Wales who made it to the cover of issue 1. If you’re interested then get a hold of issue one or get in touch with Vicky via Twitter
I get humbled by the enthusiasm of people such as Vicky, and also the community that grows out of it. There is a large group of women out there who want to connect with each other, talk bikes and just ride. Riding a bike a takes a lot confidence and unfortunately there is still a male bravado attitude which can knock some women back. Luckily this attitude is less prevalent (thank you good guys – and dreamy Guy Martin) and a lot of groups and people are becoming more welcoming. We also have some great female biker heroes, Maria Costello for example, becoming well known on the tracks. But now “we” also have a magazine – Women on Wheels – to encourage women into biking and bring them together so more people get to enjoy the wonderful world of motorbiking and all the excitement that comes with it.
Vicky’s Biker Bio
Note: The thoughts and views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of London Advanced Motorcyclists.