Motorcycles have a rich manly lore surrounding them. Bikers are widely considered scary, masculine guys that you wouldn't want to mess with, unless you're in San Francisco in which case that's probably not a biker. But bikes recently have developed a softer side...possibly because more women are riding them.
Yep, the fastest growing market for motorcycles isn't your typical dude with a ZZ Top beard and an extensive collection of denim vests. They're women. Between 2003 and 2008, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council, sales to women spiked 52 percent
. And they just keep rising.
Why? Well, partially because, well, most motorcyclists aren't really scary guys hanging out at that bar that smells terrible out on the freeway, but middle-aged guys who saw Easy Rider
in high school and are trying to recapture their youth. They're more like Tim Allen than they are the guys making meth and hiding it in their gas tanks.
It helps that even the girly girls are getting in on the act: women who move enough Mary Kay makeup, for example, can win a pink Harley Davidson Switchback, much to the consternation of bikers everywhere.
Ultimately, of course, this is a great thing, as it continues two American traditions. The first being the romance of riding a bike down the open road and across our great country, the other being asking a woman if she likes something powerful between her legs. Which usually leads to a third American tradition, kicking a guy in the crotch, but, hey, to each their own.Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News