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Posts Tagged ‘Women Riders’

BD_CalOrganizing your schedule shouldn’t be a burden.

I use a number of calendars both paper and electronic as I suspect many of you do the same.  Personally I think paper is easier, always available and generally more portable.  I was looking around for a new calendar and ran across the 2010 Big Dog Biker Calendar.  Should be no problem keeping track of important dates as the calendar has oversized date boxes providing plenty of room to write in important events as well as 12 months of inspiring images. However, don’t be fooled because most of these ladies aren’t the ‘gas chick’ on the back seat type… they ride motorcycles for personal enjoyment.  Go figure!

That’s what impressed me about this calendar.  I must be getting old(er) as many of the models are “real” women! Mature women who ride their own bike.  There is real beauty in maturity versus the plastified bimbo’s with platform shoes that are too fake, too overdone.  To each his own… I suppose.  I’ve made every effort to avoid sleazy and keep it classy.  It’s a challenge, but someone’s got to do it.

Photo courtesy of Big Dog Biker.

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davidsonsMen have dominated the world of motorcycles.  Sure women on Harley’s date back to the early 1900’s and the first women’s motorcycle group in America was Motor Maids, which started in the 1930’s.   However, in the past 10 years or so women riders have skyrocketed.  Women love motorcycles, it’s a fact! Women riders during the last 20 years have gone from 4% to 12% of all motorcycles registered in the US. Women represent 10% of the U.S. motorcycle population, and nearly 12% of new Harley-Davidson purchasers.  The Motorcycle Safety Foundation estimates that one-third of students in the rider safety courses are female.  Harley has clearly figured out women are a growth market for a number of reasons and in that process they also discovered that following the money trail in a household often leads to women.

Karen Davidson

Karen Davidson

One individual who has shaped and dramatically influenced women riders is Karen Davidson, the great-granddaughter of HD co-founder, William A. Davidson.  She is the daughter of Willie G. Davidson, yet doesn’t seem to get a lot of press unless it’s about participating in a charity event.  As the Creative Director for General Merchandise and responsible for Harley-Davidson MotorClothes I found that somewhat peculiar.

Karen is “4th Generation” and one of three children by Willie G.  She studied fine arts and fashion design in college and was employed in the NYC garment industry for a time.  She began a free-lance leather design business in 1985 and joined HD in 1989.  The company created a new, branded line of apparel and accessories for its customers at that time – MotorClothes.  She is involved in most everything from creative direction of the leather collections to design of diamond rings.  She is an active rider and involved in charity events from the Women’s Day Ride benefiting Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), Film contests to the Love Ride.  She has been a key company “booster” in support of women motorcycle riders.  Second only to Leslie Prevish (Women’s Outreach Mgr) who is also very involved with women in motorcycling.

Karen’s influence was noticeable in 1991 when the runways in Paris and New York looked like biker rallies.  Harley-inspired emblems were on everything and Bloomingdales had a “Bad and Beautiful” shop devoted to women’s motorcycle jackets.  That year the Council of Fashion Designers of America gave HD a special award for its influence on fashion.  In 1998 she was involved in a Patent and Trademark trial (and appeal) over the mark “BIKER BLUES” for clothing line which Harley ultimately prevailed.

Beside owning and riding motorcycles, women have formed a presence within the industry that has gone way beyond being umbrella girls or trade show booth babes.  And in no small part thanks to Karen Davidson’s continued efforts to promote women in motorcycling.  I prefer to think of it as a gender-neutral activity, but I get the marketing angle.

Avis and Effie Hotchkiss might have been the first women to ride across the U.S. in 1915, but I’m sure they’d be pleasantly surprised at how far women have come from the motorcycle race track to urban streets.

 

Photo’s courtesy of HD (Family Picture L to R: Karen, Michael, Bill and Willie G.)

 

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steedHarley-Davidson announced earlier this year that they were looking for female film makers who could capture the sense of empowerment, freedom, and adventure that is inherent when women get behind the handle bars of a Harley in a short film. The winning film maker would win: $5000 cash, a hi-definition video camera, a Harley-Davidson leather jacket, and a Los Angeles premiere party for her film.

Victoria Sampson’s (Need for Speed) was the grand prize film contest winner.  Harley rolled out the orange and black carpet for the gala event in L.A.  You can view her short film HERE on Facebook.  Melissa Kosar and Marta Masferrer each were selected as First Prize winners.  Congrats to all!

Victoria’s film is a well crafted short, but I can’t address whether it inspires women to get behind the handlebars of their very own motorcycle.

 

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Have you noticed the increase in women riding their own motorcycles?  I noticed many during my riding adventures this year. Every year more and more women are sitt’n in the saddle and riding solo on the open road.  Female riders have increased from 4% in 1990 to 12% today.  This aligns perfectly with Harley-Davidsons marketing plans and key product messages as the female demographic represents a significant expansion for the company.

To help “drive” the gal’s to or into their products, Harley introduced a special website and included a laser targeted publication.  Called “We Ride“, there is a lot of information on choosing models, basic handling techniques and how best to customize your ride.  Don’t be confuse.  It provides Harley-centric information about getting into motorcycling.  It’s called “soft” marketing to push product messaging at a key audience and ultimately sell more motorcycles.

I have no idea if similar to the best selling novel by Ann Brashares whether women wearing chaps gain insight into their life or are emboldened to change it.  I’m the first to admit I need help from the “sisters” on that front.

You can download sections or the entire (23Mb) PDF from the jump site here.

Photo courtsey of HD website.

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More women than ever are choosing to ride motorcycles as their main leisure activity. This bit of trivia is according to a recent survey by J.D. Power and Associates, where 12 out of every 100 motorcycles are sold to women – a 20 percent increase since 2003.

However, that’s just not enough women buyers for Harley or they aren’t getting a disproportionate share of those women buyers because the company marketers have spun up another promotion targeted exclusively for women. 

The deal is that every women who graduates from a Rider’s Edge course AND purchases a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle now through October 1, 2008 will receive a diamond ring.

This comes as no surprise from a highly male marketing team.  Motorcycling is a male dominated sport and there is very little information out there that speaks directly to woman’s interest in riding or getting her own bike…call me crazy, but today’s woman rider is college-educated earning $50,000 or more and is a role model in her community…do “diamond ring”  stereotype’s really work and influence women to make a purchase decision?

This is so yesterday’s news.  The Harley marketing staff needs to get a clue and bring on a few dozen female college interns to regain perspective.

Ring and Woman advertisement photo courtesy of HD

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