Women going solo - is it safe?

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by GypsyWriter, May 5, 2010.

  1. GypsyWriter

    GypsyWriter Sarah

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    I'll be the first to admit that I'm a very independent person. Heck, ask any of my family and they can tell you the same thing. I've only been riding a motorcycle for a year but have gone 10k miles, which included one long 2-week (solo) trip and numerous smaller weekend jaunts. The problem comes with my family and, to a much (MUCH) smaller extent, my boyfriend who got me into motorcycling: they say it's not safe for a woman to go cross country solo.

    So, SO friggin' frustrating, and as time goes on it seems to be getting worse. Aside from the motorcycle accident stories/pictures/etc I keep getting via email from my parents and assorted family members, any time I advertise a long trip there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth - I get my ass chewed and pled at not to do such a foolish, suicidal thing.
    :hack :hung

    Seriously, I know that a lone female needs to be safe but, arg, some of what they say is getting to me. First off I don't want to disappoint my family but I refuse to live a boring-ass life. I don't even know if this is a rant or a request for stories, but just ARG!!!!!
    #1
  2. MiamiMotorcyclist

    MiamiMotorcyclist used to be -MiamiUly

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    There was a great Ride Report by a woman who did some solo travel.
    Wish I could find it but maybe someone else will.

    You will always have this website to turn to, let someone know you are coming to their town type of thing.

    There are some great people on here.
    #2
  3. widebmw

    widebmw Been here awhile

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    Google "Dee Gagnon" and "Lois on the Loose"
    #3
  4. GypsyWriter

    GypsyWriter Sarah

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    One RR I fell in love with was Erica's Highway To Hell here on ADV. That would be my dream trip, but she even had a small mishap eariler in her trip. Pays to be prepared, that's for sure.

    I'll have to Google those other two, I always love hearing adventure tales of other women. :)
    #4
  5. Fishyhead

    Fishyhead Eremikophobic

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    Check out nicomama and thedarthpeach.
    #5
  6. GypsyWriter

    GypsyWriter Sarah

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    I absolutely LOVE Nicomamma's RRs - I always want to take notes because she's so danged organized!! Definitely an automatic read for anything she posts up. ;)

    What I'm most tired of quite frankly is the harping from my family. I guess that's a universal problem though, isn't it? Yet it seems my ovary-packing status always comes up in these arguments and it's getting on my last nerve...
    #6
  7. *Gravy*

    *Gravy* Jedi Loser

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    I'm not female but I get the same types of things from family and co-workers. One thing I like to do is keep up on the latest car crashes and "strange mishap" deaths.

    Mom: Did you see in the paper that motorcyclist who was killed last night on Hwy 61?
    Me: Yea, turns out the guy was leaving a bar at 2 AM no helmet, still too bad. By the way, did you see the article about the guy who was getting into his truck after church? He slipped and fell on the ice, hit his head, and died instantly. Now there's a tragedy.
    #7
  8. SquirrelyGrl

    SquirrelyGrl Squirrely Girl

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    Oh yeah,
    I totally know where you're coming from. It's nice to ride by yourself sometimes, I like to know that I don't have to wait on anyone to see what they want to do or have to think about what they want. I can stop when I want, eat what I want, it's so nice.
    But, the my b/f strongly advises against it. I put more miles on my lil dr than he did in one year, before we got really serious. Now that we are kinda, I do see his side of worrying about things that could happen to me. Which things could happen, more easily when on dirt.
    #8
  9. casalinda

    casalinda casalinda

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    I have been travelling by myself on a bike, and sometimes in a car, nearly all my life just because I usually want to go somewhere others dont have the time/money/inclination to go. I have found that a woman alone is a non threatening object and more likely to be looked after than attacked. If you dont feel safe in a place or circumstance just rev up the bike and move on.

    One amazing German woman motorcyclist is Angela Brandl who goes to the most way out places. her website is in german but you can find other reports on her in google in english

    my site about an overland trip alone is
    www.haefale.de/linda/index-html

    there are more books coming out by female touring bikers too:norton
    just do it!!!
    #9
  10. wraith9

    wraith9 Adventurer

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    #10
  11. Uglyprimate

    Uglyprimate UglyPirate

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    With modern technology, the internet, Spot tracking and GPS, it's brain free.

    Women have been solo truck drivers for quite a while as well.

    You have a paranoid family.
    #11
  12. Iwantabikesobad

    Iwantabikesobad Long timer

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    life is short, death lasts longer, live life and enjoy it.
    in 20 years are you going to regret more taking the chance on the trip or wishing you had done it.
    Ask for some people on the way to ride with you for a half day or so and keep in contact with fellow riders in what ever area you are in.
    The first mile is the hardest.
    #12
  13. HappyRiding

    HappyRiding Luddite

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    Sarahp,

    I ride alone most of the time. I've never had any problems. I don't check in with anyone or leave an itinerary. I do check my voicemail every couple days but my family knows I won't have my phone turned on most of the time. My family might not be thrilled about it but they stopped protesting years ago when I was flying all over the country in my Cessna solo.

    I can handle simple repairs but I chose my DL650 partially because there is a Suzuki shop on every other corner. I do have many ADV and ST.N friends that are only a post away if I need a hand. So far, my only problems have been a dead battery and a very loose chain. (At an ADV event last year I only had to put the bike on the centerstand and lay my tools on the seat then go off to get a beer. I came back and the chain fairies had my chain adjusted to spec. BTW, they will fix a guys bike just as fast as a damsel's in distress.)

    People tend to be more good than evil and common sense goes a long way to keep you out of trouble. I camp most of the time and if I'm uneasy , I put the pillion pegs down and keep a round chambered. Besides, last I heard, the mortality rate in this world is still 100%. I plan on living to the best of my ability and without fear. I avoid situations that are obviously risky but don't go looking under every bridge for trolls.

    Find your own comfort zone and go have fun!:thumb

    Ride Happy!
    Sara
    #13
  14. theWolfTamer

    theWolfTamer Lupie on a Mission

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    In 2003 I moved to California for a job. One of the main deciding factors on whether or not to take the job was motorcycling in that area--I didn't tell my family that though.

    I agree with the others about doing what you want to do. One of the most famous women motorcyclists, Bessie Stringfield rode solo all the time. A black woman riding by herself in the 1930's and 1940's. If she could do it, I know I can and you can too.

    One thing that shuts my family up when they start telling horror stories about some friend's uncle's cousin's nephew who had their bike two days before running into a brick wall is when I say stuff like "I'd rather die on my motorcycle than sleeping in bed. At least y'all'll know I was happy when I died."
    #14
  15. Orchardman

    Orchardman n00b

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    I hesitate to add much here, but I will tell you what my wife did when she started extended solo trips. Her Mom said, 'there are bad people out there and you'll have to stop at gas stations...yea yea." etc. Several years back, she bought a Spot locator for her and now she is the biggest supporter. Mom can vicariously participate (and me) in the trip. Mom is very tech able and watches hourly the progress. She understands the emergency call feature and is more comfortable with her trips.

    2 cents
    #15
  16. ph0rk

    ph0rk Doesn't Care

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    I would imagine the risk of being mugged or having the bike stolen is nearly the same as for a sub-150 pound male. Accident risk is probably similar, too. There are a few other concerns, of course, but for the most part I don't think it is much different.

    If you have a bad feeling about a place, leave. You won't be walking down dark alleys at night, you'll be riding down them at 50 mph. The people sending you these images and stories have having difficulty adding "motorcycle rider" to their internal list of stuff about you. That isn't your problem - it is theirs.
    #16
  17. pax maac

    pax maac Been here awhile

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    #17
  18. capeklr

    capeklr Been here awhile

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    1+ on Erica's Highway to Hell, she did a trip that she will remember for her life. She lived on that trip.
    One of the RR's that I have enjoyed the most.
    So go and do your trip, be safe and entertain us with a great RR.
    Go for it.
    #18
  19. GypsyWriter

    GypsyWriter Sarah

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    I've gone cross-country (or across most of it) several times now in a car, always by myself. Having picked up motorcycling just a year ago (this month), I'd love to start making long, long trips on my bike. This freaks everyone but the fellow adventurers in my life (and sadly there aren't too many of those in my immediate circle). I blame my family for my wanderlust - I spent much of my formative years living in Germany with parents who worked for the Army as civilians, travelling all over the continent. My sister went solo across the world travelling and yes, my parents were worried, but it seems as though because I'm doing it on a motorcycle that I'm obviously suicidal. :dood

    I really don't get it. I've asked if they have some deep seated trauma based on motorcycles but my grandfather worked on and raced Indians, and several members of my not-so-immediate family ride. (granted they're weekend warriors more into chrome than travel) I don't know if it's because I'm female, on a motorcycle, or just because I'm me :huh but they wigg out whenever I mention a longish trip.

    Gr. It's just frustrating. Last year when I did my 2-week southwest adventure (and nothing untoward happened), they demanded I keep them updated on where I was every day; if I didn't call they promised to call the flipping police and put out an APB!!!! Overprotective is one thing - I seem to have stalker parents now! And I swear on all that's holy, they didn't used to be like this (well, okay, not quite to this extent)...
    #19
  20. theWolfTamer

    theWolfTamer Lupie on a Mission

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    That makes some sense to me. They are your parents so they're gonna worry. I don't think it would be too inconvenient if you got a spot or used some other locator service like the free ones that track your cell phone on a map.

    When I went cross country the first time (I hope to do it again next year but solo) we got an 800 number that we could update nightly. That way anyone who wanted to know what was going on, could call the number. We were able to update those who were worried plus we didn't have to talk to anyone if we didn't want to. I don't know if they still have those, but it's worth looking into.

    Just go do your thing and be glad you have parents and family who care enough to worry. As long as they aren't trying to put a physical leash on you, you're free to roam.
    #20