Wheels of change
THE shifting demographics of recreational bikers were strikingly apparent this week when Lismore Motorcycles held its first women-only motorcycle maintenance workshop.
And while women are taking motorcycling more seriously and filling a larger slice of the market, so too is the industry starting to take notice, with two industry sales representatives attending last week's session.
To the surprise of organisers, nearly 30 women bikers turned up to learn from the best - workshop manager Jeremy Good and motorcycle mechanic Ben Rose.
Mr Rose stunned the motorcycle industry two years ago by reaching the finals of the Yamaha 2009 Oceania Motorcycle Technician Grand Prix while still an apprentice.
Salesroom manager Darcy Bradford said women riders were a fast-growing and under-catered-for group and the workshop on basic motorcycle maintenance and safety was well overdue.
"Women are an increasing market, but this is our first workshop like this," Darcy said.
"We just advertised by word-of-mouth through the girls who get their bikes serviced here.
"We've got a Yamaha representative and a motorcycle tyre representative here too, as well as Grant Tuckwell from Wheel Skills rider training."
Christine Fox is one of two female motorcycle saleswomen in the Lismore showroom and she wasn't surprised at the turnout.
She grew up on a farm riding bikes, but didn't get her licence until she started selling bikes at the dealership three years ago.
"They made me get my licence or I couldn't ride the bikes," she said with a laugh. "So I'm still on my Ps.
"The workshop was fantastic. We get lots of ladies coming through the door these days. They come in to get their accessories and they like to have a chat - they like to know who is servicing their bikes."
Ms Fox says she had seen an increase in female riders during the past decade.
"I think it's all the mums getting away from their families," she said.
"There are two ladies I know who spend their entire week racing around after the family and then they're on their bikes and off.
"The workshop was so successful so we will probably hold more. Next time we might do a motocross one because there're quite a few women dirt bike riders out there."