Saturday, April 2, 2011

Biker Chicz of North America by Edward Winterhalder, Wil De Clercq

Biker Chicz of North AmericaThis is a nonfiction containing profiles/biographies of 22 different women in North American that ride. They don't sit on the back of their husband's bikes like I do. (Hey, I tried! I'm deaf and the clutching thing proved a bit complicated for me and no, I don't want to be staring at a little red light when I should be paying attention to the road...) They ride their own. 

Those familiar with my reviewing style know that when I review nonfiction books, I don't just blabber away about the writing style or its content and leave it at that. I like to give my followers some highlights. Thus, I chose the most fascinating of these 22 chickz (not an easy task) to share with you.

Imagine, waltzing into the Harley offices with no experience in magazine production whatsoever with a 16 page mockup and a proposal to start a Harley magazine. Ballsy, huh? Cris Sommer Simmons did it with her friend and fellow female rider, Jo. "..we really didn't know what we were doing and what to expect. It was a bold move but we were really passionate about starting a magazine and about Harley motorcycles." 

This 16 page mockup and passion for bikes led to Harley Women Magazine.

Lucky Belcamino started her own biker chick club, the East Coast Biker Chicks. This woman has been a chef, a recovery agent, and a real poker player. Her club started with a mere 8 members and now had "the distinction of being the largest and loudest all-female motorcycle club in New England."

Gevin Fax.. whatta woman. She's not only a biker, but a musician, stunt woman, and an African American/Native American female who fought her way up the corporate ladder. She worked for United Telecom and discovered she was not getting promoted because "she was black and she was female." 

Gevin didn't settle for a low position. She fought for her rights and after a long battle, she won. "My lawyer warned me from the outset that I better be prepared for a long battle, that it was going to get ugly. And ugly it got. The company did everything it could be wear me down and cause me to fail. They gave me the worst possible jobs, messed around with my shift schedules, provoked me, you name it, they did it. But I never took the bait, always showed up for work on time and never balked at what I was assigned to do."

Awesome Fearless Female!! Did I mention she also did bike stunts???

Becky Brown started Women in the Wind that began with ten members and became over 1,700. I like this quote from her, "I'm not sure why riding a motorcycle was an idea I had to act on, except that I was always a tomboy and felt the boys were having more fun compared to the girls." LOL. 

This woman was also one of the first women to work in Textileather Corporation's production department. She applied for and received an industrial electrician's apprenticeship. This was a domain very much restricted to men at the time. She had 8000 hours of on the job training and 4 years of trade school. 

Becky is proof that "we can do it."

Laura Klock has broken numerous records at the Speedway in Bonneville, Utah. Both of her daughters are now racing as well. "They are the first mother-daughter-daughter trio in the history of land speed racing to hold records at the same time." 

I like this quote from Laura, "We all know that accidents can happen on the street and in racing but it's not something you dwell on. If you do you're better off parking your bike in the garage and leaving it there. You have to keep your head in the right place and keep your focus."

Gina Woods hosts a radio program called Open Road Radio and began Gina Woods' XX Chromes All Woman Bike Build in which a team of women get together at various venues to build a motorcycle. These are not women running around in bikinis and striking sexy poses. These women are dirty, greasy, and got tools in their hands. Right on!!!!

Vicki Roberts Sanfelipo is a biker and nurse who began an important safety course for fellow bikers about dealing with motorcycle accidents, Accident Scene Management Inc. "The course is seven and a half hours long and is based on U.S. DOT First Responder Curriculum." There are four segments: preventing further injury, assessing the situation, contacting EMS, treatment. 

This chick also had the first ever wedding on Crazy Horse Monument with both her and her husband's bikes at the altar. 

Lorrie Penteluke is a survivor story. While being a passenger on her husband's bike, they were hit by a drunk driver. She suffered massive internal injuries, lacerations, tissue and ligament damage, broken hands, and as soon as she healed, cared for her husband who had 50 percent of the bones in his body broken. 

How many of you would get back on a bike after that experience? This woman did, but not as a passenger. She got her own bike in order to prevent both her and her husband from being hurt at the same time again. She also started a leather shop and her and her husband began selling bike parts and custom bikes. 

That's what I call a remarkable recovery.

Gloria Tramontin Struck is eighty five years old and she still rides. Her goal now is to take a ride with her ninety something year old brother who can no longer "keep up with his kid sister anymore." 

This gal is my favorite, partly because I love history so much. Someone really needs to write her memoirs. She was an original Motor Maid! "The MM is the oldest motorcycle organization for women in the world." Gloria is one of the longest standing members still riding after 64 years. 

And this woman worked on airplanes!!!!!!! Whoo hooo!!! She worked at Bendix Aviation factory when she was 18 as an inspector during WWII. And she must've made a good impression cause when the fellows came back, the factory kept her on (It's a well known fact that most women were "let go" cause this was a "man's job." Grrrrr.) She then worked in the radar and automatic pilot division where she wired components. Thus, this woman helped pave the way for women like myself, today. 

At 85 years old, Gloria still rides to Daytona Bike Week every year. Favorite quote: "I'm concerned about traffic conditions, sure. You have to be if you want to be a survivor. So many drivers are not paying attention. They're on their cell phones or texting and doing all kinds of things when they should be concentrating on the road. Heck, I've seen women apply lipstick or fix their hair using their rearview mirror while driving. How crazy is that? Can't they do that at home?"

My husband and I agree.

And something I learned from this book that I never knew before.. Elizabeth Taylor had a bike called Purple Passion. 

All in all, I consider this a must read for all biker chicz, whether you ride your own or sit behind your man, or have a Harley, Triumph, or Kawasaki.. I received this from the author upon request. It's just the perfect read to feature on Book Babe. 


  1. What an awesome review. So full of history and inspiration for young and old today if your a woman.
    What class acts. Thanks for sharing and I hope you have many more pleasurable rides on the back of your bike.

  2. I just received the link to your site from Mr. Winterhalder.
    I'm very pleased to have this link and an avid book reader to help me choose my reading material!

    Excellent review, thank you...and I've added you to my reading list! This site is a "must read" for me!