A LONG-TIME MINORITY AMONG BIKERS GETS ITS DUE
Women who ride motorcycees may seem inherently tough, rebellious, and sexy, but “Women & Motorcycling,” a traveling exhibit assembled by the American Motorcyclist Association and the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, in Pickerington, Ohio, is out to change all that. Women have been riding motorcycles since the early 190Os, and in those days they didn’t need to dress up like men or even like sirens. Included in the exhibit are photographs of pre-1920 groups of large numbers of women, stylishly dressed and out to enjoy a ride on the status vehicle of the era. Not until after World War II did the “bad boy” image of motorcycle gangs arise. The exhibit provides context for these changes by combining a general chronology of the past century, a timeline of women’s history, and a timeline of women’s motorcycling. It also features profiles of such pioneers as Bessie Stringfield, an African-American woman who began riding in 1927, when she was 16. Stringfield completed eight solo cross-country tours during her 66-year career, jumped on and off a moving motorcycle with ease when challenged by a police captain who doubted her riding ability, and served as a dispatch rider in the U.S. Army.
If you think you’d be afraid to run into the Leather and Lace gang in a dark alley, this traveling exhibit wants to change your mind. The exhibit will visit Minneapolis; Cleveland; Rosemont, Illinois; Atlanta; New York City; Daytona Beach, Florida; and St. Louis between late January and March. For a complete schedule, see