Motorcycles

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I’ve come across the story of yet another inspiring and pioneering female motorcyclist – Anke-Eve Goldmann, a six foot tall German motorcycle racer. Slim and striking, she felt comfortable with both cameras and eyes focused on her as she proved her mettle on two wheels.

It appears that from the 1950’s onward she competed in Endurance and Speed competitions, but was barred from competing at higher level Club or GP racing because she was a woman.

I find it especially interesting that Goldmann designed her own motorcycle racing leathers. Apparently she worked with German leather riding gear manufacturer Harro in designing her custom riding gear. I’m presuming there wasn’t much in the way of motorcycling gear available for women in the 50’s so she helped create her own.

The custom summer one-piece riding suit she designed had a distinctive diagonal zipper starting at the neck and angling across her upper torso. A look that is certainly current today in women’s fashion. Harro went on to manufacture her designs for public consumption.

In winter her jacket featured a wide multi-buckled belt, too large to be merely a kidney belt. Perhaps it helped keep her warm in cold temperatures. Her winter riding suit was significantly bulkier and larger than her svelte summer cat-suit, and clearly accommodated woolen under layers.

After her closest friend died in a riding accident, Anke-Eve Goldmann seems to have given up motorcycles altogether, and began to travel with a backpack to remote Asian locations. Traveling alone, she trekked through Burma, the Sunda Islands, Vietnam, and Cambodia, not many years after the conflicts there had ended. More of her story at The Vintagent.

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You might also like to read about globe-circling motorcyclist Elspeth Beard

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Thinking about Elspeth Beard today as I pack up my motorcycle for a long weekend tour. I’m heading south to the BMW Motorcycle Owners International Rally in Pennsylvania to check out the latest and greatest motorcycling gear from custom earplugs to battery chargers, rendezvous with friends, listen to some great live music, take a riding course and be transported by adventure travel presentations.

Back to Elspeth. I only recently learned about her and was instantaneously impressed with her intrepid spirit, and am more than a bit jealous of her bravery. In 1980, at age 24, Elspeth dropped out of architecture school and began a solo around-the-world motorcycle journey. (Today she runs a successful architecture firm in England and still rides.)

Her travels took her from her native London to the U.S., up to Canada and down to Mexico and then on to Australia. From there she headed to Indonesia and then Burma, India and Nepal. Her route home took her through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece and Europe. By the time she returned to England, after three years on the road, she’d clocked 48,000 miles on her odometer and lost fifty pounds. She survived crashes and illness and rebuilt and maintained her bike single handedly.

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I love the confidence and ease Elspeth exudes in this photo while straddling her 1974 R60/6 BMW. She stopped and made the aluminum panniers part way round the world.

Read more of Elspeth’s amazing story here. I hope she writes a book someday about her adventures. It’s tales like hers that light my imagination and make me realize that almost any dream is possible if I really want it to come true!

I’ll get back to blogging when my motorcyle’s back in the barn.

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What do you call a bunch of women motorcyclists who are yarn-a-holics? Purl’s Angels, Moto-psycho Knitters, The Close Knit Gang? We can’t decide either!

On a recent weekend adventure, a group of landlocked gals headed for the coast of Maine in search of twisty roads, lobsters, and yarn! On Saturday morning, while the men in the party were off getting haircuts, we immersed ourselves in a fiber artists heaven called Halcyon Yarns in Bath.

Motorcycling and knitting seem pretty incongruous and we all had a good laugh at ourselves as we crammed colorful skeins of yarn into our tank bags and next to our tents. We’ll be knitting up a storm until the road beckons us again. Now all we need is a name for our “gang. We’re taking suggestions…

Purl's Angels

box of yarn

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