Business feature: More female riders taking to the road

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Carla DuBois, left, of Clovis goes over some of the features of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle on Monday with Debbie Walton of Clovis at the High Plains Harley-Davidson dealership on Mabry Drive.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

Ronnie Jones, general manager for High Plains Desert Honda, has seen a steady increase in female riders at his dealership in the nine years it has been open.

Jones said female customers tend to be educated shoppers who know what they want and don’t want to be treated any differently than their male counterparts.

“They just kind of like to ride. They don’t want to be singled out. They honestly don’t want to be treated differently than the men,” he said.

The local female demographic, Jones said, rides everything from racing and dirt bikes to four-wheelers, scooters, sport bikes and cruisers that weigh up to 1,000 pounds.

The number of women who purchased motorcycles nationwide has tripled in the last 12 years and an estimated one in 10 motorcycle riders is female, according to data from the Motorcycle Industry Council.

Randy Rhue, finance manager for High Plains Harley-Davidson said he has seen an increase in women riders during the four years he has worked at the dealership.

Women account for around 10 percent of overall bike sales at the Clovis dealership so far this year, Rhue said, which is about a 20 percent increase over four years ago.

After three years of riding with her husband, 41-year-old billing clerk and grandmother Yvette Tenario thinks she’s ready to ride on her own.

“You’re just out there and the open road and it’s just an awesome feeling,” Tenario said. “It’s just breathtaking the things that you see that you can’t see in a car.”

“I just want to experience that on my own instead of being on the back. I’d like to be the driver that can see all that.”

Tenario signed up for a motorcycle safety course in July. She hopes to be riding a motorcycle by summer’s end.

“I know how to ride, I’m just not confident enough to ride on my own, but with a little more practice, I’ll be flying solo,” Tenario said.

Carla Dubois, assistant director for the Clovis chapter of the Harley Owners Group, said the rising interest in motorcycles among women has prompted an outreach for those interested in riding and a desire to help educate them.

Dubois, who began riding about 12 years ago, thinks even more may be intimidated or unsure where to start.

In the future, the hope is to form a ladies only riding group, giving them a social network of other female riders, she said.

“Most of the women are excited to have the ability to ride. They don’t have to wait for their husband to go riding. It’s that independence that I don’t need to wait for (him). That freedom to be able to go when you choose to,” she said.