through stereotypical boundaries
By Tara Karr
Argonaut Staff 3/30/04
The rolling fields
and open roads of the Palouse inspire some local women to hop on
their motorcycles and cruise the hills.
SARAH QUINT / ARGONAUT /
Pokedea poses after speaking about women and motorcycles
Thursday at the Women’s Center.
Rose Graham, Jenny Rod, the
Siren and Pokedea Burns spoke March 25 at the Women’s Center
about their experiences as motorcyclists and how to get involved
“We’d like to try to break the
image of ‘bimbos on bikes,’ because that’s not what we’re about
at all,” Graham said.
Graham and Rod are members of
the Satin Wheels club, a motorcycle club for women in the
Northwest. The Siren and Pokey ride informally with Graham and
Each woman shared how she first
started riding motorcycles.
Graham rode side with her
husband until she met a woman who rode solo. The woman told her
she rode alone so she could still ride if something happened to
her husband. Graham learned how to ride and is now known as
“Road Mama Rose.”
“When you’re the rider, you’re
much more in tune with what’s going on everywhere around you,”
Graham said she feels more
focused and stops thinking about stress in her life when riding
“I can leave all the crap behind
me,” Graham said.
Now that she is a member of
Satin Wheels and spends time riding with other women, Graham
said she notices a difference from her days riding with men. Men
tend to be more aggressive and independent when riding, she
“When women ride together, it’s
much more intuitive,” Graham said. “There’s little bit more of a
camaraderie. If you stop to go pee, that’s OK.”
Jenny Rod started riding because
she got tired of asking everyone for a ride. Her brothers owned
Harleys in the 1960s, and Rod bought a Kawasaki 400 from one of
her brothers in 1976.
While living in Illinois, Rod
took a Skills Training Advantage for Riders course, which
teaches motorcycle skills and is required for a permit in some
later moved to Idaho and put her
bike in storage because she did not
intend to stay in the area. After 15
years without riding she said she
looked at the Palouse hills and
thought, “Oh, what a wonderful place
to have a motorcycle!”
retook the STAR course, got out her
old bike and rode it a few times
before it died. She now rides an old
BMW nicknamed “Helga” that she
borrows from a friend.
motorcycle career began when she was
9 years old and her father put her
on a dirt bike. She hit the
throttle, hit a barbed wire fence
and terrified her mother.
Siren was not around motorcycles
again until she came to Moscow. A
friend had a broken Honda 500, and
Siren wanted to learn to ride it.
She eventually fixed it, but it
still had a sticky throttle.
sticky throttle is kind of
exciting,” Siren said.
was not long before that bike was
also parked. Siren did not ride
again until 10 years later, when she
was “double-dog dared” to ride her
boyfriend’s Harley. Soon she was
riding the bike more often than he
rode it. He later gave her the bike,
a 1993 Harley 883, the smallest
Harley made which she calls
Pokedea has been riding since she
was 12 years old. Her whole family
rides, and she suspects she was
given her own bike to keep her and
her brother apart so they would not
Pokey continued to ride with her
family and bought a Yamaha 650 in
high school. Since her dad is
nicknamed “Papa Bear,” Pokey goes by
the name “Little Bear.”
“[Riding] just seems really natural
to me,” Pokey said. “I can’t imagine
not owning a motorcycle.”
After the women told their stories,
Graham explained how to get involved
with riding motorcycles. She
recommended the STAR course held in
Lewiston, which provides riders with
bikes and helmets while they learn.
you’re going to learn to ride, do it
right the first time,” Graham said.
Graham also described proper riding
“Your first line of defense is what
you wear,” Graham said. “There’s a
reason why we wear what we wear,
besides looking absolutely cool.”
Although Kevlar is the toughest
material, Graham said leather is
more comfortable. She displayed her
leather pants, vest and coat, as
well as her heavy boots.
can ride with style,” Graham said,
also holding up her rhinestone neck
Graham said the Satin Wheels club is
open to anyone who has learned to
ride. There are even a few men in
“[The men] just have to do the
dishes and ride in back,” Graham
Members of Satin Wheels meet in the
Northwest and go for long rides
together, Graham said.
“It’s kind of good to encourage lots
of women to ride,” Graham said.
“It’s not just for guys anymore.”