PIONEERS: The First Woman to Get a Motorcycle License

In the year 1900, Anne French became the first woman to be issued a license to drive an automobile in Washington D.C. Oddly enough, Washington D.C.s progressive stance on women driving cars did not include motorcycles. It took another 37 years before the first woman was issued a motorcycle license.

PIONEERS: Female Dispatch Riders of World War II

As Americans, when we think of the role of women in World War II (WWII), we often envision factories filled with women wearing headscarves, riveting together airplanes. That may have happened in the United States, but across the Atlantic in Great Britain, things were definitely more dangerous for the women that helped with the war effort.

Vivian Bales: The Enthusiast Girl

At age 20, Vivian Bales, a Harley-Davidson Enthusiast magazine cover girl, set out on a solo journey to explore the U.S.A. Read in her own words her experiences about being a woman rider in the 1920s, the special treatment she got along the way and the joy and excitement on being a girl on a motorcycle. Her fascinating story offers a glimpse into what it was like to be a woman rider in the early 1900s.

Marjorie Smith: A Pioneering Motorcycle Businesswoman

One of the biggest and most respected engine manufacturers in the motorcycle industry, SS Cycle, may not have existed if it wasnt for Marjorie Smith. “If it wasnt for her willingness to continue the business in 1959 and take over the office responsibilities and financial burden, there probably wouldnt be an SS,” reflects Ken Smith, one of Marjories two sons who started working with the company in the 1970s.

Della Crewe

In the first few decades of the twentieth dentury, the roads made motorcycle touring a rugged sport. Before concrete interstates and blacktop secondary roads, most roads were dirt or gravel trails. Venturing far outside the city required a flair for adventure, a lot of stamina and a rugged machine. The fact that men ventured forth under those conditions was unquestioned, but for the women to do the same caused a great deal of attention, because of their presumably passive role. Even among these exceptional female motorcycle pioneers, some stood out… like a Waco, Texas, woman named Della Crewe.

Hazel Kolb

When she appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in May 1979, Hazel Kolb was the picture of happiness and contentment. Here was this 53-year-old grandmother, halfway through riding her 80-inch Harley-Davidson Electra Glide around the perimeter of the continental United States, alone, and the significance of this national television exposure was not lost on her. “Next to the birth of my kids,” she would later say, “it was the highlight of my life.”

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