And it’s mostly not.

When I entered “Biker Fiction” in Goodreads, it came back with a list of books that were mostly steamy romance novels featuring women trying to tame a bad boy biker (mostly that badass tattooed biker-gang type). Ladies, if that’s the kind of guy you’re going for, more power (and a whole lot of luck) to you, but that’s not what I want. I want books that encompass the girl who rides her own. The freedom and power she feels, the confidence she gains and the happiness it brings her.

Women now make up a huge chunk of new riders, a trend that’s been growing steadily in the last few years. We are no longer willing to ride bitch (a horrible and demeaning term which means riding on the back of the bike), and vendors are catching on. Despite that, it’s still difficult to find a bike that doesn’t need customization to make it fit, and it’s still hard to find gear that isn’t designed for the back of the bike. Apparently, it’s also difficult to find decent books.

Are There Really No Books At All?

No. There are a few. Not all of them are by women, or specifically about women, and they are mostly in the nonfiction genre, but there are books I’ve loved or that are sitting in my TBR pile.

Reads For Women Riders (Or Not …)Harley and Me by Bernadette Murphy
Published by Counterpoint on April 18th 2016
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs, Women, Adventurers & Explorers
View this book on Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon · Barnes & Noble · The Book Depository

“Bernadette Murphy’s luminous book shows us how to take risks that make us fierce and vulnerable, knowing that true strength is about being generous as much as it is about not giving in.” —Emily Rapp Black, author of The Still Point of the Turning World and Poster ChildWhat happens when women in midlife step out of what's predictable? For Bernadette Murphy, learning to ride a motorcycle at forty-eight becomes the catalyst that transforms her from a settled wife and professor with three teenage children into a woman on her own. The confidence she gained from mastering a new skill and conquering her fears gave her the courage to face deeper issues in her own life and start taking risks. It is a fact that men and women alike become more risk averse in our later years —which according to psychologists and neuroscience is exactly what we should not do. And Murphy stresses that while hers is a story of transformation using a physical risk, emotional and educational risks can serve the same beneficial purpose for other women. 

Murphy uses her own story to explore the larger idea of how risk changes our brain chemistry, how certain personality types embrace dangerous behavior and why it energizes them, and why women's expectations change once estrogen levels drop after the childbearing years. She also explores the idea of women and risk in pop culture—why there are so few stories of the conquering heroine (instead of hero). Surely Thelma and Louise driving off the cliff should not be our only pop culture reference for women finding true freedom.  

With scientific research and journalistic interviews weaving through a page-turning, road trip narrative, Harley and Me is a compelling look at how one woman changed her life and found deeper meaning out on the open road.

Read and Loved

This next one is written by a man, and his wife does ride on the back – but it’s a hilarious read that any of us who have embarked on a long motorcycle trip will identify with!

Reads For Women Riders (Or Not …)David And Suzanne's Big Frickin' Canadian Motorcycle Adventure by David P. Moore, Erick Lingbloom
on January 1st 1970
View this book on Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon · Barnes & Noble · The Book Depository

The trip began quite innocently. All they wanted was a simple, week-long vacation to celebrate their new freedom. How hard could that be? With their last child pushed out the door, it was now 'their' time. Time to travel, to explore, to visit uncharted territories. Time for them to sample strange new cultures with strange new customs and strange new languages. But where to go? And once the destination was decided, how to get there? Not content with doing things the 'easy way', they first bought a motorcycle. A futuristic behemoth of a touring bike with a design ripped straight from the pages of Buck Rogers that proved to be a topic of conversation at each and every stop - whether they wanted to talk or not. Armed with poor planning, poor judgment, laughter, love, and an optimism usually reserved for the perilously insane, our daring duo cast caution to the wind and headed straight into the heart of the deepest, darkest continent known to man: Canada. In the days to come they would have ample time to reconsider the wisdom of their choices as they encounter torrential rains, stomach-churning mountain roads, Canadians, Grizzlies, creepy motel owners, moose, hidden tombs, cloned Vikings, more Grizzlies, starvation, dehydration, beavers, gourmet food, Karelian Bear Dogs, more Grizzlies, ferries, frog swarms and witchcraft all before reaching their final destination at a Lodge in the mountains of Banff National Park. Would they survive? More importantly, would their 30-year marriage survive? And why is it exactly that in Canada milk comes in bags, the metric system rules, and every word has an extra 'u'? These answers and more await inside. So pick a comfy chair and climb on board. It's a heck of a ride.

Other Resources: Women Riders Now.

Founded by Genevieve Schmitt, a long-time rider, Women Riders Now is the longest-running and most comprehensive resource for women riders. It boasts an active following, fueled by some great content, including the latest motorcycling statistics, advice on buying a bike, reviews and advice. Beginners and long-time riders alike will benefit greatly from checking out this free resource.

Do you have any you’d like to add? Please let me know in the comments!