Liz Myers loves to ride, and the Rome woman and her Kawasaki KLR650 are joining a worldwide cause Saturday to help promote and “visualize” more women in motorsports.
Myers, who has been riding for eight years and has visited 43 states on her bike, is joining in the Women Riders World Relay (US Ripple).
A relay baton is being passed to a friend in Queensbury in Warren County in the early afternoon on Saturday. Both Myers and her friend are riding across the Adirondacks and staying at her house in Rome for the night. Then at 9 a.m. Sunday, the baton is being handed off to Myers at Bellamy Harbor and the riders will head for Geneva in Ontario County. They plan to end the day in Wellsboro, Pa.
“All motorcyclists are welcome to join us – we do not exclude men,” Myers said. “The goal of this is to bring attention to the number of women who are passionate motorcyclists.”
She said the Women Riders World Relay was started because there’s a lack of riding gear designed to fit women, motorcycle manufacturers cater design to male riders, and “we want to inspire other women riders — and future riders — to get out there, get involved, and ride.”
Many dealerships, service centers and other riders don’t take female riders seriously, Myers said.
“I am a very experienced rider and mechanic who has been to 43 states on her motorcycle – but it is normal for others to assume I cannot keep up, that I am unskilled, that I’m just following my husband around, or that I don’t know
anything about my bike,” Myers said.
“For some reason, guys love giving me unsolicited advice about tire pressure,” she laughed.
With the world-wide relay, women bikers are challenging prior perceptions and bringing attention to the number of female motorcyclists out there.
“I wanted to ignite a global sisterhood of inspirational women to promote courage, adventure, unity and passion for biking from all corners of the world and do something that’s never been done before to this scale,” said Founder Hayley Bell on the WRWR foundation’s website. “My aim is to ‘wow’ the industry into realizing the global market for women in motorsports and to inspire women world-wide.”
The United Kingdom native said, “Going into motorcycle stores and seeing a lack of choice, combined with stereotypical pink and being told ‘there just isn’t the market for women,’ highlighted to me just one small element of a much bigger picture around women in motorsports. I want to show the industry the force behind the market that is so blindly overlooked.”
In her eight years or riding so far, Myers said she has traveled a total 90,000 kilometers on dual sports.
“It’s ‘only’ a 650, but I’ve been all over North America on them,” she said proudly. “I currently ride a 2018 KLR650 — the last year they were produced. I choose the KLR because they can be ridden both on and off road — yes, I ride it off road — are easily and cheaply modified for comfort, easy to work on and extremely durable.”
In 2016, Myers said she had a head-on collision with a mule deer at highway speed in South Dakota. She thankfully escaped serious injury, and the bike was actually still ride-able.
“The bike cartwheeled, but amazingly, all it needed to be roadworthy was a few pieces of duct tape and the handlebars realigned,” she said. “If I hadn’t been injured, I could have ridden it home.”
When Myers was in grammar school, a friend’s father would take her home on his motorcycle, and that’s where her love and passion for two wheels actually began.
“I enjoyed it, and it stuck with me,” she said. “I got my motorcycle permit when I turned 18, but I didn’t learn to ride until I was 38.”
In 2011, she took the Motorcycle Safety Foundation class, found “a bunch” of other dual sport riders who took her in, and wound up riding 14K her first year.
“I am very glad I didn’t start riding when I was younger. I didn’t have the correct mindset or the income to support rider training and good riding gear, and would likely have wound up a statistic,” Myers surmised.
Myers said she owed a big thanks to the Cycle Shack on Erie Boulevard West for helping to support her and other local female riders.
“Larry and Cole have been a pleasure to deal with — they are 100 percent supportive of women participating in powersports, and have always been helpful and responsive when I’ve had questions or needed to order something,” she said.
More about the WRWR organization may be found at https://womenridersworldrelay.com/about/.