Gets shared all over the place, lol.
This is a really picture heavy post. Grab a drink and settle in. It's gonna be long but it's gonna be worth it.
The first night that we were at Harley Camp, many of us were nervous. I've been on a motorcycle before, but a few bad experiences made me a little gun shy. The fine folks at Harley-Davidson know not everyone is a fan, so they've created the Garage Party.
Which kind of sounds like it's a heavy metal band, but it's not. A Garage Party is geared towards those who have never ridden -- primarily women. It is a class designed to familiarize you with the motorcycle from headlight to tail pipe, teach you want to do if a motorcycle falls over (a great big fear that I have!) and even allows you to sit on the JumpStart. What's that? An honest-to-God Harley, securely mounted, that will allow you to sit on it, rev the engine and feel the power of a Harley.
I think everyone should do it at least once.
Look at the veritable sea of motorcycles; I've never seen so many in one place.
JumpStart, combined with the Garage Party, is a great concept in helping women to overcome their fears. The instructors, all women riders, didn't think any fear or question was too silly, too minor; they calmly and patiently addressed every single question. We learned how to pack for a road trip - I never really thought about the fact that, hello, you can't take a suitcase - what to do if it rains, how to deal with the bike when it falls, and much more.
The next day, we went to Harley-Davidson University.
Which was just as cool as it sounds.
We learned about the four guys who began Harley-Davidson in a 10'x15' foot shed - 3 Davidsons, 1 Harley - who had a dream to create a bicycle that took less effort to work. They were all in their early 20s, and although they look like businessmen in this photo - apparently the boys liked to work hard, play hard, and ride hard.
Not much has changed for Harley-Davidson.
Historically, the Harley-Davidson brand is thought of as a particular type of customer - what I call "My Brother-in-law". Bob is a great guy. He's also a biker in every sense of the word. A big guy, balding, tattooed, bearded, wearing a leather vest and big rings - the exact image if you say to yourself, "Self: What does a biker look like??"
Harley-Davidson is trying to grow its market by reaching out to four smaller, less active groups - the Core enthusiast group (men like my brother-in-law) is going great gangbusters - but Hispanics, Latinas, Women and the older age groups have a smaller market share.
Those are all customers.
They have a solid "No Cages" philosophy - which refers to the cage that a car has around you - but it also means so much more. It means reaching out, grabbing life as it hurries past, and enjoying every minute of it. It means feeling the wind in your face with the open road stretched out in front of you - nothing in your way.
I was honestly surprised at how much I found myself wanting that. Empowering women to live life on their own terms. I like that.
We were introduced to the My Time to Ride Series and watched video of women, just like us, who had decided to become Harley owners. They were nervous and afraid and everything didn't always go smoothly, but at the end of their Rider's Edge course, all were successful Harley Riders. Rider's Edge is the training class designed to get you on the road and feeling safe.
It doesn't get any better than that.
Then we had lunch with Bill Davidson, seen here with our wonderful guides Dana and Amanda -- two of the BADDEST women I've ever met.
The next day, we were in charge of our own destiny; we were the masters of our domain, and we were the solo riders on bikes just like these.
I know. I KNOW!
The entire experience was amazing. Empowering, exciting - and I'm totally going to find a Rider's Edge in my area. I drive a Jeep now, and I love it. It's fun and zippy and free, especially when the top is off and the windows are down. But there's nothing like a Harley, and I can't wait to experience it for myself at any time I want!
Tell me what life with "no cages" means to you for a chance to win a Harley-Davidson Women's Pink Label Embellished Nylon Jacket.
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