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Friday, March 19, 2010

Party at the Garage!

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Motorcycling can be rather intimidating for women looking to try the sport for the first time. There’s the pressing question of where to begin. Do you buy the riding gear first, then the bike, or the bike, then the riding gear? Maybe you’ve never ridden a motorcycle before, but you know you’re destined for the road. If you’re not friendly with anyone who owns a bike, how do you even get your hands on some handlebars before the big purchase? The folks at Harley-Davidson have been in the game long enough to have heard every query and worry would-be buyers have when it comes to making the leap into the sport, so the Motor Company began coordinating women-only “Garage Parties” in 2005 to introduce women to the sport of motorcycling in a comfortable, unintimidating setting.

To celebrate the growing trend of female riders—the fastest growing demographic in the motorcycle industry since 1990—Harley-Davidson has declared March “National Garage Party Month”. Several HD dealerships in the Milwaukee-area are hosting one or more Garage Parties this month. On a cold, wet March 9th evening, House of Harley-Davidson on Layton Avenue hosted about 45 women for the season’s first event. The group was a diverse mix of women ranging in age, skin color and motorcycle know-how. After a brief introduction, the attendees are divided into four small groups, then each of the groups go to one of four informational seminars: Motorcycle Orientations, MotorClothes, Customization and How to Pick Up a Motorcycle.

Motorcycle orientation is an informative look at Harley-Davidson’s five families: Sportster, Dyna, Softail, Touring and VRSC. The dealership’s sales associates explain the differences between the bikes, throwing in fun facts here and there, and invite participants to hop on the bikes and get a feel for them.

At MotorClothes, an expert explains the basics of protective gear: helmet, gloves, boots, pants and jackets. Samples are passed around and women are taught why each is important and how to size it correctly. There’s time to discuss your personal riding needs and, of course, style.

One of Harley-Davidson’s virtues is the company’s massive collection of parts and accessories that allow riders the option to customize their bikes to make the ride as comfortable as possible and reflect personal style. At Garage Parties, women learn at Customization that a motorcycle doesn’t have to be an imposing beast to be conquered. Pink and chrome, black and matte, a lady’s motorcycle can literally be whatever she wants it to be.

One of the biggest fears would-be riders have – and this is one that has kept many ladies off a motorcycle completely - is that they’ll dump the bike on the ground. And worse, not be able to pick it up. Harley-Davidson doesn’t want to see its riders standing, humiliated, beside a beautiful motorcycle lying prone on the asphalt as a phone call is made to a big strong man for aid. So every Garage Party teaches its female participants how to pick up a motorcycle safely, and gives them an opportunity to try it for themselves.

Harley-Davidson’s aggressive campaign to get ladies on bikes is one of the reasons more women are riding motorcycles than ever, accounting for 23% of all motorcyclists, compared to just 3% in 1990, according to Motorcycle Industry Council statistics. The women-only Harley-Davidson Garage Party events are both fun and educational, and free to any woman looking to learn more about the sport of motorcycling.

To learn more about the Garage Parties visit: www.h-d.com/garageparty

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