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Leading Women Motorcycle Riders of the 20th Century

Women motorcycle riders in the early years of the two-wheeled vehicle and well before talk radio were scarce and uncommon, but there were a few. Avis and Effie Hotchkiss were famous in 1915 for traveling 9,000 miles on one of Harley-Davidson’s motorcycles with a sidecar in 1915. By the 1920s Harley had decided to respond to the motorcycle niche by manufacturing motorcycles specifically for women riders.

Soon after, Dot Robinson began making an effort to establish women as viable motorcycle riders. Her efforts carried forward in time until her late 80s, always making a point that a woman rider should still look like a lady when doing so. Dot was famous for riding, both on-road and off, making herself famous by winning a few competition championships as well.

Probably one of the most daring women riders of the same time period as Dot was also Bessie Stringfield, an African-American famous for cross-country trips and riding through the South, when doing so could have put her life at risk during the 1930s and 1940s.

Being a Harley rider herself, Maria Sanchez in no stranger to the lack of female motorcyclists.  Having been to Sturgis, the world’s largest motorcycle rally, twice and riding 3,600 miles in 10 days with 9 male riders, Maria can appreciate what it took for these women to make a name for women motorcycle riders.

When she’s not riding her Harley, you can catch Maria Sanchez covering life and stories of Ventura County on The Maria Sanchez Show, weekdays at 9:00AM (PST).

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