Before I get into the review of “Get Started Riding Motorcycles – A Definitive Guide for Women”, it’s important to know whether the author of such books has the knowledge and experience to give advice. Not to worry. Alisa Clickenger is a powerhouse in the motorcycling industry with a long history of motorcycle travel, journalism and mentoring.
Alisa has ridden solo throughout the U.S., Central and South Americas, and all over Europe, Southern Africa, and India. She also runs Women’s Motorcycle Tours, produced the Women’s Motorcycle Conference, and put on an epic long-distance riding event called the Centennial Ride.
If your first impression from the title is that this book is for beginners, and particularly new women riders, you’d be correct. But, I know plenty of “experienced” riders, both male and female who will find nuggets of useful information.
The first one-third of the book covers the basics of bike and gear selection, as well as steps for getting your motorcycle license. Alisa does this with the help of guest contributors who share their knowledge of motorcycle options and gear selection, including industry influencer Sarah Schilke and gear expert Joanne Donn from GearChic.
The topic of bike and gear selection is important for women, who often struggle to find women-sized riding gear, particularly jackets and pants. Women’s stature is usually more compact than most men so finding motorcycle selection is rather limited. Poor choices in either of these purchases can hinder a new rider’s progress, safety and enjoyment.
The book talks about how to get a license and what a new rider can do to progress from their Basic Rider Course to riding on the road. This section covers strategies for managing traffic, carrying a passenger, riding in groups, how to manage parking, basic bike maintenance and even the challenges of riding with children.
The segment on hazards does a good job hitting the high points and will be very helpful in pointing out hazards that are unique to motorcyclists. But if you want a deeper discussion and more detailed strategies, pick up my “Motorcycling the Right Way” and Dave Hough’s seminal “Proficient Motorcycling” . The links are to Amazon, but you can buy my books direct and get it autographed. Riding in the Zone is available as a pdf.
Alisa also includes Rider Profiles throughout the book where women riders share advice and tell of their experiences in an interview format. This is very helpful for intimidated new riders to understand that they are not alone in their journey to become motorcyclists.
As a tour organizer and avid traveler, Alisa spends a fair amount of time talking about longer distance travel and what to expect on an organized tour. She shares tips for packing, ways to manage mental and physical challenges and discusses logistics that will help make first forays into motorcycle travel less daunting.
Empowerment and Support
Besides offering solid, practical advice for newer riders, Alisa shares her thoughts and experiences as a women in what has traditionally been a man’s world. This includes addressing issues that can erode confidence:
“For the first few months, I recommend sticking to simple, achievable
goals like becoming a more confident rider, overcoming some of
the initial fears or obstacles while learning the heck out of your riding”.
The focus on confidence, empowerment and community building will resonate with women who are about to dip their toe into the world of motorcycling. This book is a form of supportive community of like minded women sharing their knowledge to help make the new rider’s journey less taxing.
“Get Started Riding Motorcycles – A Definitive Guide for Women” is a well written and designed book with solid information. Experienced riders will find the book rather fundamental. But, that’s what it is meant to be.
The book is a comprehensive source for the moto-curious woman who is ready to take her first steps into two-wheeled travel. The focus on the female rider is where the book stands out. Alisa and her friends offer support and understanding, as well as practical information for aspiring motorcyclists, female or male.
Black and white interior, photos and text.