“Biking is the one thing we all have in common. It’s what brings us together, but it’s about so much more than that. It’s about friendship and supporting each other. I’ve made so many friends through the group; I’ve met people I never would have otherwise.”
Those are the words of Emma Morter, chairwoman of long-running lady biker group Curvy Riders. She joined the club just a year after it formed in 2006, not long after she passed her motorcycle test. Emma said: “Curvy Riders was originally an internet forum, launched by two women in Scotland called Ed Crummy and Linz Inglis. They wanted to meet people to ride with, and encourage more women to become bikers.
“The club grew from there and moved southwards, with regional groups forming all over the country. I live in the Isle of Man and became the regional rep here in 2007, then became the chairwoman in 2010. We’ve now got 1,100 members.”
Mum-of-three Emma explained why she personally loves biking. She said: “I’d ridden pillion with my husband Dave for years, then thought ‘I’m going to have a go myself’. The Isle of Man is great for biking; there are definitely more bikers per head here than in a lot of places. It’s that feeling of being connected to the machine and to the landscape.”
She added: “It still feels a bit rebellious to be a woman biker. So many people say to me: ‘You don’t look like a biker’ and I ask them what a biker is supposed to look like!”
Emma explained that, for an annual membership fee of £15, Curvy Riders can attend the group’s annual meet-up, take advantage of special offers and have access to the lively private Facebook group. She added that some of the 40 regional groups also have their own local Facebook pages and WhatsApp groups, all there to offer encouragement and support to fellow riders.
“A lot of women bikers don’t know many others who ride, and can feel a bit intimidated by men when they’re out and about,” said Emma, whose day job is at Manx National Heritage.
“They can sometimes lack the confidence to get on the bike, and can face physical challenges that men don’t when it comes to size and strength. It can also be frustrating when you go into a bike shop and it’s assumed that you’re riding pillion. There are definitely barriers to overcome, so it helps to have other women to talk to.
“The Facebook groups are like an unofficial Airbnb, too – someone will ask about accommodation in a certain place, and someone else will invite them to stay at theirs! There will also be questions about where to buy the best gear for women, though with companies like LadyBiker it’s much easier to get clothing that fits now.”
She added: “We have members of all ages and from all walks of life, and biking is the one thing we all have in common. It’s what brings us together, but it’s about so much more than that. It’s about friendship and supporting each other, often through tough times. I’ve made so many friends through the group; I’ve met people I never would have otherwise.”
Regional groups hold their own get-togethers locally, which members from other areas are welcome to join if they’re in the vicinity. These might include ride-outs, spa days and curry nights, or special events like clay pigeon shooting.
And, once a year, Emma and her fellow Curvy Rider committee members take on the challenge of organising a national meet-up which is open to all members. “We haven’t had it for the last couple of years due to Covid,” said Emma. “But we’re back this year, and will be in mid-Wales in July.
“Usually, around 100 of us get together from all over the UK. We’ll meet in a nice hotel from Friday to Monday, ride out in the daytime and then have social stuff going on in the evenings.”
She added: “Curvy Riders is run by a small team of seven volunteers – we’re scattered all over the country so we’d been meeting online for years! It’s very much a team effort with our regional reps supporting us. It can be hard work, but it’s so rewarding when you go to a national meet-up and see 100 bikes in the car park. It’s great to know they’ve all been ridden there by women.”
Members of Curvy Riders will receive 15 per cent off their LadyBiker orders during 2022; contact the club for the discount code.