Women’s History Month


Women have long existed in motorcycling, although they just have not been the most visible until recently. Long before us ladies could even legally wear trousers, many have thrown a leg over a motorcycle and gone against the grain, and into the wind. Let’s meet some ladies whom you may not know much about, but deserve every bit of recognition they get for paving the way for women in 2022 to continue the tradition of knees in the breeze.


Let’s start with Gloria Tramontin Struck. Gloria has been riding more years than even some of your grandparents may have been alive - over 75 years. No, that’s not her age. She’s actually been riding bikes for that long! She’s closing in on her 100th birthday, and looking forward to her centennial motorcycle ride. 


Gloria is best known for being one of the original Motor Maids - an all women’s club dedicated to showing that you can be proper, and still ride a Harley-Davidson. She began riding at 16, and has since completed numerous cross country rides. A favorite story I heard about Gloria is after a long day of around 800 miles on her H-D Heritage Softail, and others in the group ready to call it a day, she wanted to continue on. She estimates a lifetime mileage of about 650,000 miles.. Truly impressive, and she’s a trailblazer for women everywhere!


Next up, let’s meet Cris Sommer-Simmons. Cris is a longtime moto-journalist, advocate for women in motorcycling, and all around wonderful person. Cris started the “Harley Women” publication back in the 80’s, has written for numerous motorcycle publications, and even wrote a kids book, called “Patrick Wants To Ride”.  She has also participated multiple times in the Cannonball Run, a cross-country motorcycle run on pre-1937 motorcycles, which she rode her 1915 Harley-Davidson known as “Effie”. 


Porsche Taylor is another pioneer in the motorcycle world. Porsche, recognizing the need for representation of women of color in motorsports, founded a magazine in 2011 called Black Girls Ride, which has since morphed into so much more than a magazine. She has added rider education events, lifestyle events, like Essence Fest, and is a brand ambassador for Polaris and Indian Motorcycles.  Porsche is working hard and making changes in the world, especially for women of color in motorcycling. 



Perhaps you’ve heard of Dave Perewitz, a long-time motorcycle builder and painter. But we’d like to focus on his daughter, Jody Perewitz, who’s known for not only her beautiful paint jobs, but for being the Fastest Woman on Two Wheels!

Jody is a painter by day, and runs the marketing side, and day to day operations of Cycle Fab, her father’s shop. But she’s also a landspeed racer, along with riding the Cannonball Run, and racing “boardtrack” at the Sons of Speed races. And by boardtrack, while they’re no longer wood tracks, they are paved, banked tracks, and the racers have no brakes!  She was the first woman to pilot an American V-Twin over 200 mph, and holds 16 landspeed records.  


Last, but most definitely not least, is a woman who is no longer with us, but she left this world doing what she loved, and taking huge steps for women in powersports. 

Jessi Combs was a landspeed racer, motorcycle rider, welder, fabricator, educator, and so so much more. Jessi never took no for an answer, and the strides she took for women in motorsports show that “no” is a word that didn’t exist in her vocabulary. 

On her last landspeed run, she clocked 522.783 miles per hour, giving her the title of Fastest Woman On Four Wheels. 

When she wasn’t racing, and winning, Jessi was adamant about teaching women skills - and was working on what would eventually become the Jessi Combs Foundation, a non-profit geared towards teaching women about the trades. Although Jessi isn’t with us anymore, her legacy and her foundation will go on to inspire women, and especially young girls, for years to come. 



Now, this doesn’t even begin to delve into the number of incredible women in the motorcycle industry; there are countless women working hard and riding tons of miles. There are women creating awesome events, like Anya and Ashmore of Babes Ride Out, Ellie Rains of Women Riders USA, Denise Kelley who runs Sporty Parts, Bree Poland of Royal Enfield and Build Train Race, and so, so many more. 

The best part about all of these women? They’re so friendly, and welcoming. They all love inspiring more women to ride, wrench and race. So if you see any of them, don’t be shy. Say hello, and meet your next moto-inspiration in person!