Older women motorcyclists

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Older women motorcyclists

Older women motorcyclists
Just now!

Bikers over 40 – they turn a long nose at the world and cheat good morals. Too old to ride a motorcycle? Are you kidding me? Are you serious when you say that.

Annette Johann


An old BMW starts up somewhere in the dark. At first only on one cylinder until the second joins it, spitting. First gear flies in with a crash, and it stays there until the vehicle shudders and falls silent again after about 500 meters and the rapid run-through of all speed levels. “This is Ellen,” suspects the group of women knowledgeably and a little reverently who stand together at a motorcycle meeting and have one last chat before going to bed. “She doesn’t do much on short trips. She just accelerates. What works. Good. ”In fact, a little later, the plump woman in her late sixties comes by with a cautious and slightly bent gait and says a friendly good night. Ellen Pfeiffer, 68 years old, owner of a 20-year-old R 100 S and probably what one could confidently call the mother of all German women motorcyclists. The one who was one of the first to take control of the handlebars after the war and who today shows how a woman biker ages with dignity. Since she started riding motorcycles in 1952, Ellen paved the way for the women’s motorcyclists’ guild. In 1958 she founded the European WIMA (Womens International Motorcycle Association) in Zandvoort together with the Dutchwoman Jopy Deijs van Dinter. Jopy had met this world’s first female motorcyclist association shortly before in the USA, where it had existed since 1937, and was now trying to establish it on the old continent. At that time, »Das MOTORRAD« published Jopy’s membership application, but not without being able to resist the condescending undertone. “Please don’t laugh,” they introduced their letter, “that’s fine, neat, is even a FIM member (International Motorsport Association, editor’s note) and could seriously contact the Six Days … . Isn’t that lovely? Just write down so Jopy gets a few members and can do something. It doesn’t matter what, there’s always fun. ”Ellen wrote to Jopy immediately, and in the years that followed they both spread WIMA across half of Europe. At the first meeting in 1959, nine drivers came together, but gradually more and more women joined the WIMA, including from Sweden, France, England, Austria, Switzerland and Czechoslovakia. Today there are xxx heads in this country alone. In the 50s and 60s, women motorcyclists were still exotic. In those years the two-wheeler was only considered a cheap makeshift, and everyone was happy when they finally made the leap into the prosperous Loyd or Volkswagen and the hideous raincoats could wander into the moth box. The motorcycle as an object of fascination, pah, only the so-called youngsters dealt with it. Anyone who rode a two-wheeler was either poor or a criminal, that’s that. “In 1955, a woman on a motorcycle was something unheard of,” says Ernst Leverkus, describing the non-acceptance of female bikers in his book “50s”. “A girl on a motorcycle, well, she can’t really tick! They should rather race for the kitchen table, «he interprets the public opinion drastically. “In those years female motorcyclists simply had no status,” said Janet Anschutz in 1994 in a scientific study of motorcycle life in the 1950s. The then 29-year-old BMW R 69 driver Anke Eve-Goldmann was already thinking in 1959 in “Das MOTORRAD” where the negative image could come from. In her opinion, it was mainly the external appearance that was responsible for this. »A dirt-encrusted image of a man on a motorcycle can be a stunner, but a dirty or badly dressed female motorcyclist is a disaster …. You shouldn’t be satisfied with cracked leather jackets, scratched helmets and shapeless leathers … The motorcyclist has the public on her Way to consider, by not giving in an inch on the matter, but in the ?? how ?? demands the same feminine commitment as at a theater evening or a summer ball. “Anything can be done with a little imagination and a sense of style, she said, and even a leather suit can be breathed with a” feminine aura “. “So away with the unpretentiousness and away with the misunderstanding that a motorcycle outfit can’t be elegant. It’s just up to us! ”Well, now the ladies knew. But before any dress code could be drawn up, the girls first had to get to a machine. According to a large MOTORRAD survey (thank you very much for taking part!) Some family motorcycles were secretly stolen from the barn by the daughters in those years. Ute Fuhrmann, who grew up with her single mother with seven siblings, regularly used a brother’s Horex to ride the forest paths in the eastern Harz. “Thank goodness mother had no overview.” Renate Wiesinger practiced with his father’s 175er Zundapp with a swing saddle in the garden, and when she was 16, the farmer’s daughter Hilde Arndt secretly drove the cows from the pasture with the old family NSU. “And father always thought we’d go by bike.” Meanwhile, Ellen Pfeiffer officially got her driver’s license together with her sister, and then they bought a Horex Regina together. “That was everyone’s dream back then.” The following year they exchanged it for a resident, with whom Ellen drove off-road competitions every weekend. Anke-Eve Goldmann would probably have turned her stomach if she had known about it. Those who didn’t drive, who dreamed. “I always watched the motorcyclists and thought how nice it would be if …” recalls Veronica Y. Mariani from Muri in Switzerland. From her first salary, the then 22-year-old made the down payment for a bicycle in 1948, three years later it was enough for a Lambretta. She chugged all the way to England with it. “You should have seen my luggage. Suitcase, rucksack and whatnot. ”The young payroll clerk Rita Lang chatted off a machine for a joyride from her colleagues. “Sometimes I did it later after I got married. But only secretly when my husband was on a business trip. ”She lost her own 200 Durrkopp Diana scooter soon after the wedding due to rigid family planning. An almost inevitable process of domestication of these young savages when reason, family and finances began to take their toll. Because despite the economic miracle, the average German family still didn’t have it too much. Some gave up driving completely, others paused for decades. Rita has been driving again since she was a widow. A Ducati Superlight. But some were also quite simply lucky, like Margrit Blum, whose husband is practically a well-known BMW tuner and thus saved their 1953 500s over the years. “When I noticed how well Paul could screw, I knew he was the right one,” she laughs today. Your friends say it’s no fun. She loves the 500 boxer engine on her first machine so much that Paul had to install it in every new motorcycle, and the current chassis is the one that her husband built as a racing mechanic for Otto Butenuth’s 1975 TT outing on the Isle of Man, like Margrit does not go unmentioned. If you have, you have. Margrit and Ellen are two of the few active motor sportspeople who took part in the so-called »Zuvi« races and orientation drives between the 60s and 80s. More was not possible, as the FIM women only had access to the normal racing classification since 1980. Nonetheless, the living room vitirines are bulging with goblets. While Margrit dusted off in the 500cc class – “often the only BMW and mostly among the top ten” – Ellen fought in the 1000cc class. On a 750 Honda and the big BMW, R 75 and R 100 S. “Ellen was always damn fast,” an older Zuvi driver from Stuttgart remembers her former competitor with respect. In the end, the ADAC was the only woman to award her the motorsport badge with diamonds. “It’s actually a shame,” the woman from Frankfurt says modestly today, “I would have preferred to bring more women to the racetrack.” But in those times they mostly had other worries. For example, Ute Fuhrmann exhumed corpses in the Essen cemetery in the 1970s in order to finance her BMW. “There was 120 marks per grave, and the R 90 S cost 10,000 marks back then. You can figure it out.” But with breathing protection and the free booze it was bearable. Ute was quite resourceful anyway. Later, when there was not enough money for a motorcycle again, she quickly turned over the money that her husband had given her for a washing machine. “After that, I tortured myself for years with a wooden washboard.” But it was defended. But gradually everything became a little easier. The motorcycle boom began in the 1970s, and biking became more and more socially acceptable. And a new generation of women who were moved by women tipped one man’s privilege after the other. In 1978 the statistics recorded 31,903 class one driver’s licenses issued to women. A year later, the Hexenring network came into being, and shortly afterwards celebrity biker Ria Hinzmann founded “Visier”, the first motorcycle newspaper primarily aimed at women. Even if Robert M. Pirsig tried to define the “dirty work” of maintenance as “a man’s thing that women would never dare to do,” in the cult book “Zen and the Art of Maintaining a Motorcycle” in 1976, the bastion had already fallen. Now more and more women were infected by their enthusiasm for motorcycles, even if they sometimes had to wait many years until the courage and opportunity actually helped them get on the bike: the so-called late beginners. Mothers who enviously watched their daughters go by and now no longer wanted to stand back. “Even as a child I played on my father’s dusty motorcycle in the barn and later on? Easy Rider ?? dreamed along. But then came work, family and house building, but just never got the opportunity to get a motorcycle license. Somehow I never dared to express this wish, because of the sheer fear of being smiled at, ”remembers Getraude, 44. When the daughter had the A in her pocket at 18, Nuts couldn’t hold on to anything. Almost secretly she snuck out of the house wearing motorcycle clothing, she says, for the driving lesson. The neighbors shouldn’t notice anything. Getraude speaks for many. The desire for adventure is admitted almost shamefully. Now that the children are big and there is no shortage of money. But now, oh the irony of fate, they should be too old now. Waltraud’s circle of friends split into two camps after she decided to get her motorcycle license when she was just under 40: “The younger ones thought it was great that I still trust myself, the older ones completely wrong and improper.” Sometimes it is even the driving instructor, who puts the damning lid on it by dismissing his pedagogical ineptitude with the age argument. “I only thought of Juliane Werding’s song? Close your eyes and go through, you can do it?” «Remembers Gisela, 49, of the many agonizing hours practicing figure eight and braking. Almost all late-comers felt the same way as the good half a hundred letters revealed that fluttered into the editorial office. “My driver’s instructor and God only know how many hours it took me,” Renate, 45, admits frankly. But at some point it is packed and the first machine of its own is purchased. Small and light mostly, there is no longer any prestige thought. “I laughed and cried and didn’t sleep for nights when my husband told me that the little Kawasaki EL 250 was in the yard for me,” recalls Gisela. Not only in her case, the motorcycle was a gift from the compassionate husband. Carefully one begins to explore the world independently on two wheels. With mortal fear of every bend at the beginning and scared of every stop – but proud like the Spanish women. The triumph of having turned a long nose like Harold and Maude like the world seems to be hard to measure. Like other bikers, they experience relaxation, freedom and solidarity with the machine as a happy feeling. “Somehow it is as I dreamed,” notes Getraude after the end of all the training tours and her quarrel with the neighbors, who noticed everything and yet did not react so stupidly. The 50-year-old Irm from Lorsch immediately joined a motorcycle club and now thinks it’s “great to be there, and I’m proud of my regulars table, my motorcycle and my leather outfit. I don’t care what people think of me «. Right! After all, there is still a pent-up demand of half a century to be met. And, ladies, it doesn’t always have to be 500 Volle-Kanne meters in first gear.

Contacts and addresses

WIMA Germany, Imgard Petit, phone 0 60 73/27 66; Club MTC 40+ (club for motorcyclists over 40), Elke Maria Lohnerz, phone 06 11/94 90 005; Tubingen Youth Hostel (courses and trips for tourers over 40), phone 0 70 71/23 002; WoW (Frauenmotorradverband) Inge Landmann, phone 02 31/45 95 83, Hexenring ((Frauenmotorradverband), xxxxxx, xxxxxx, phone xxxxxx / xxxxxx.Editorial MOTORRAD, Annette Johann, phone 0711 / 182-1369.

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