• Sarah Merrell

Why Women's Sportbike Rally Rocks for Women Riders

I first learned about Women's Sportbike Rally through my husband, and it was so long ago that at that time, I was still riding on the back of his bike. And even after getting my own back, I wasn't super jazzed about attending. I pictured this group of talented, skilled women who all knew each other and I assumed I wouldn't fit in. I was a very slow, cautious, new rider and lacked any experience, knowledge, skill or even friends in the motorcycle community. But, my husband encouraged me to sign up, so I did. It wasn't at all like I expected.

First of all, I was blown away that all the women welcomed me with open arms and it didn't matter how slow I was or how new a rider. No one one judged me. In fact, they were really encouraging. Instead of feeling intimidated, the faster and more advanced women inspired me. I found that the women's sportbike community is special, and many of the women have become close friends over the years.

Now, 10 years later, things have changed a bit. I'm a Women's Sportbike Rally veteran and lead the advanced group ride for the east coast rally. I also serve as the marketing director for the rally. I support Women's Sportbike Rally because of how much it's helped me over the years. Whether you're new to Women's Sportbike Rally and just considering it, or you're a rally veteran, here are some reasons to attend this year's event.

1. It's a great chance to meet other women riders

Although the number of women riders is growing, we're still out numbered by our male counterparts. About 20% of motorcyclists are women, and then a percentage of that ride sportbikes. So I get really excited about meeting other women sportbike riders who share the same interest and passion. We all have something in common that enables us to connect. And other than a women's-only track day, when else are you going to meet over 50 women sportbike riders in one place? Plus, the women you'll meet at Women's Sportbike Rally are just so kind, so encouraging and badass. If you're an introvert and attending the rally solo for the first time--don't worry! There are lots of ice breakers and networking opportunities to get to know everyone. You won't feel alone.

2. You'll learn a lot

I've found the women at the rally are very open and willing to share their knowledge. When I was a new rider, some of the better, faster riders slowed down to let me follow their lines and gave me tips when I asked for feedback. There are also a variety of workshops available to learn some new skills--like working on your bike or learning more about motorcycle adventure travel.

3. It's at a perfect riding destination

Whether you choose the west coast rally in Morro Bay, California, or the east coast rally at The Dragon in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, you're guaranteed to be riding in a beautiful place. The views are absolutely stunning and there are a plethora of fun riding roads. You'll want to take lots of pictures of the breathtaking scenery.

4. Group rides ensure you won't get lost - and you may find new roads to ride

The women riders leading the group rides (myself included) are very good about making sure no one is left behind on group rides. We stop along the way at scenic overlooks so folks can catch up. You're not on your own. Also, through the guided rides, you may learn about some new motorcycling roads that you haven't tried before.

5. It's a great opportunity to learn about gear

The gear that I currently use, like my leather suit, gloves, helmet, boots and even some motorcycle parts, I learned about through Women's Sportbike Rally. Either because I saw other women using it, or be because I got it as a raffle item (WSR has a killer raffle with tons of cool gear that's given away). It helped to see what other women wear and use. For example, I snagged a pair of TCX boots through the rally and I love them. If I hadn't tried them through the rally, I wouldn't have known how great they are.

6. It supports a great cause

The rally supports the Skin Cancer Foundation in memory of Tiffany Weirbach, the original "sportbike girl". But it supports another cause: it celebrates women riders. In a male-dominated sport, and an industry that markets largely to men, it's a breath of fresh air to have a weekend celebrating the women in the motorcycle community. Being a woman sportbike rider isn't always easy. We get a lot of ignorant comments and sometimes people "just don't get us". It's difficult for people to put being feminine and a woman and being a sportbike rider in the same category. But women are beautifully unique and can't be placed in one box or simplified with a single label. Women's Sportbike Rally celebrates us.

7. Your man can come too

If you have a male friend, boyfriend, husband or partner who wants to come, he's more than welcome. Women's Sportbike Rally doesn't mean "no boys allowed". Even if you don't have your own motorcycle yet and ride on the back, you are still welcome at WSR. Men do have to come with a registered woman attendee as her guest, but men are allowed. So don't worry about having to leave your man at home--unless you want to!

8. It's a blast

The rally is just plain fun. I don't really have another way to put it. It's like the most fun girls' weekend you'll ever have. Just picture a bunch of badass women laughing and riding together. And at night by the bonfire, after an exciting day of riding, you can kick back, have a drink and just enjoy getting to know everyone. For rally veterans, the event is like a reunion. It's fun getting to see many of the same women year after year.

9. You'll know people when you go to various motorcycle events or destinations

When I go to track days or hang out at the overlook along The Dragon, I get excited when I see women I've met through WSR. For instance, I did my first solo track day without my husband a few weeks ago and it didn't feel like I was solo since I knew so many people there that I had originally met through WSR.

10. There's cool swag and good food

I mean, who doesn't love some good swag! You'll get a rally t-shirt and a goody bag and the chance to win some awesome raffle prizes. Plus, you won't go hungry. Whether you choose the west coast or east coast rally, there's great food to be had. After a day of riding, you'll be hungry!

This year will be my first year not just attending the east rally, but also the west coast rally. I have Yamaha USA to thank. I'll be riding the MT-09 throughout the west coast rally and blogging about the experience. So stay tuned!

I hope to see you at Women's Sportbike Rally! Here are the deets:

- West Coast Rally is June 28 - 30 in Morro Bay, California

- East Coast Rally is September 6 - 8 at Deals Gap, North Carolina

To register or learn more, visit

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