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When it comes to motorcycle groups, there are those who feature more prominently in the mind of mainstream media, but one group of bike enthusiasts who are a crucial part of the culture but often underrepresented are female riders.

That’s where the Curvy Riders come in. Set up in 2006, the ‘Curvies’, as they’re affectionately known by the group, is a motorcycle club set up for women, by women, for female bike enthusiasts around the UK. 

In total there are 35 Curvy Rider groups across the British Isles stretching from Aberdeen to Cornwall. The club was predominantly set up for women to join like-minded women to go on ‘ride-outs’, but has become a nationwide community full of fun, trust, laughter, friendship and the odd bit of cake. 

Emma Morter, who has been chairwoman since 2010, joined shortly after the club’s inception: “It was started in 2006 by two ladies in Scotland as they had no one to ride with. There were lots of men around, but very few women, so they got together and started the club. It was our 15th anniversary last year. 

“It started off as a forum to meet other lady bikers and it has grown from there. I started the Isle of Man region in 2007 and was made chair of the ‘Curvies’ in 2010. I’ve made so many new friends that I would never have met, from all over the country. Plus you get access to lots of cake, our motto is ‘ride, eat cake, repeat.’”

“The thought of getting back on my bike was the thing that kept me going through lockdown”

Sarah Laws and her Triumph Goldline

One of the newer members, Sarah Laws, has also found solace in meeting a whole host of new friends after what has been a tricky couple of years. “I started getting back into biking in 2018 when I was having health issues” she said. 

Having originally been diagnosed with IBS, Sarah got a second opinion in the latter part of 2019, when it was revealed she had colorectal cancer, which needed to be treated urgently due to the tumour in her bowel. 

“The biking went out the window as I had to have combined chemo and radiotherapy, and then had two feet of my bowel removed and half of my rectum. Then I had a colostomy bag fitted for six months and was one of the first people in the UK last year to have robotic AI surgery. 

“But the thought of getting back on my bike was the thing that kept me going through lockdown, as I wasn’t allowed to leave the house for ten months. I had to get myself together mentally and physically. I then decided to become a call and chat volunteer for the NHS. 

“In February 2021 when the new Triumphs came out, I had a friend at Triumph who owed me a favour. So I was on the phone asking for me to be on the list for the new Goldline, and 20 minutes later I got a call from a dealership asking for a deposit for the bike. So in July I took ownership of ‘Goldie’ and then became a member of the Curvy Ladies, because I always wanted to meet women riders.

“The first meeting I went to wasn’t a ride out and I was nervous, but when I went in a couple of the girls got up and gave me a hug to say ‘welcome’ and I sat down with them after the ice was broken and it felt like I had known them forever.”

More female motorcyclists than ever before

Despite more women taking up motorcycling in the past decade than ever before, unfortunately there are still a number of cases when women feel marginalised within the biking community. 

“There was an incident once when I pulled up at a set of traffic lights,” remembered Sarah. “I remember there was a guy sitting next to me revving his bike saying ‘Come on, come on’ and I revved my bike, which was much louder than his, and he lifted his visor to say ‘Nice bike.’ I lifted mine to say ‘Thanks’ and he replied ‘f— me a bird’ and I thought, ‘am I not supposed to be on a bike?’ It can be intimidating for women on ride outs, and that can put a lot of women off.”

Casual sexism isn’t the only instance where women have felt marginalised within the motorcycling industry. San Melvin, who is also part of the Isle of Man region, reveals how it can be difficult to find motorcycle gear aimed at women. Luckily her friendly Curvy Rider peers are always at hand to help in any way they can.

“Any problems we have we always put on our private Facebook group and there’s always somebody, or knows of somebody, who has had that problem in the past and can help with anything. I’m only 5’1 and when I started out I always had problems with my bike being too big. Someone suggested I get my boots built up a little bit to help, and it’s little things like that, that men don’t really understand what women go through with riding.

“We’re always there for each other. I’ve moved house twice on the island and a couple of them have helped me move, and they’ve become friends for life. Even when some have moved over to the mainland, we still keep in touch and try to see each other.” 

San Melvin on her Kawasaki

Joining Curvy Riders will cost you £15 a year. For that fee you will be able to ride with any group across the UK. So if you’re travelling outside of your local area and wish to go for a ride in another part of the UK, you can always find a group of women who are eager to meet fellow riders. You will also be able to join the closed Facebook group and be part of the discount scheme when companies offer products to the club.

But despite all of those benefits it is clear the biggest benefit you will receive is meeting like-minded individuals who share your passion for riding. “If you were to ask me what the Curvy Riders are about, I would say friendship and support are the two biggest things,” chairwoman Emma stated. 

“Join Curvy Riders, even if you haven’t passed your test, because we welcome all riders, as we’re all about encouraging women getting into biking. We make rides that are suitable for learner riders, and once you’ve passed your test we’ll celebrate with you and support you when you move onto your big bike. 

“A lot of women feel like they’re a rare breed when on a big bike. We’re still rare enough that we attract attention. People still go ‘oh look there’s a woman on a bike.’”

San also agrees: “I was 42 when I started riding. I was so nervous the first time I met the ‘Curvies’ because I didn’t know anybody and I’d only been riding a couple of years and didn’t have a lot of confidence. 

“I met them at the social event, the club has once a month and there were about 10-12 of us there. It was so nice, warm and relaxed and everyone got on so well. It was really lovely. They just gave me the confidence that I needed. 

“I joined to get to know people, and to have some friends to ride with, and now they are friends for life.” 

Motorcycle insurance you can trust

Whether you’ve never ridden before, are coming back to biking after a break, or you’re a seasoned veteran, Bikesure will have the perfect motorbike insurance policy to match your age and experience, no matter which bike you ride. Call 0333 252 7312 for a speedy and free no obligation Bikesure insurance quote.

Members of the Curvy Riders are also eligible for a discount of up to 10% on their motorcycle insurance. 

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