While motorcycle riding primarily was a man’s world decades ago, more and more female riders have grown to love the purr of an engine beneath them. These bikers have firmly embraced the femininity of the hobby and have inspired ever-growing lines of clothing and gear made especially for them.
In the South Central Wisconsin Janesville Chapter of the Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.), about 30 percent of the members are female. The Ladies of Harley have become a major player, meeting monthly as a group for rides and planning their annual Poker Run, raffle and silent auction at Boardtracker Harley-Davidson’s (formerly Kutter Harley-Davidson/Buell) Spring Open House. The event, held every May, raises money for CAMDEN Playground, a play area for children with special needs.
One of these ladies, is Precision Plus’ Laura Farnsworth, the company’s Shipping Manager. She is an active member of the community who combines her love for riding motorcycles with the riding club’s mission of raising money for the CAMDEN Accessibility Playground in Janesville, Wisconsin.
Laura Farnsworth, 56, loves to brag about her dedication to riding. She has become well-known in her H.O.G. chapter for her long rides: In 2013, she won the female prize for logging the most miles in one year (20,000).
A resident of Darien, Wis., Laura points out that up until a year ago, her bike was the only one in the parking lot at Precision Plus in Elkhorn, Wis., where she works as a shipping manager. “I thought it was funny that the only motorcycle there belonged to a girl,” she says. “Years ago, when I used to ride, I turned heads. People would look at me and say, ‘There’s a woman on a motorcycle!’”
While Laura has been riding since she was 17, it took her daughter Sarah Conroy, 34, of Elkhorn, Wis., a little longer to obtain her motorcycle license — she got it just three years ago. “When you think about it, riding a motorcycle is a really expensive hobby,” she says. “I spent years in college and earning my master’s degree in counseling, and I was so far in debt that buying a motorcycle was the last thing I was thinking about.”
Sarah had ridden as a passenger on her mom’s bike for years. Eventually, she found the allure of the open road to be irresistible and started taking classes. Shortly after obtaining her license, she tagged along with her mother to an event at what is now Boardtracker Harley-Davidson in Janesville and met John Harris. “He said, “You wanna go for a ride tomorrow?” Sarah remembers. She did, and now the two are engaged and planning a wedding for February 2016.
Sarah was able to solve her financing issue, too: She bought a Honda last summer, and this spring, she bought Laura’s first Harley from her. “Her bike is classic, and it’s a keepsake,” says Sarah. “It’s kind of neat to say it was her first Harley, and now it’s my first Harley.”
The article also features two other women, Kellie Sinks, who teaches other women to ride motorcycles and is a motorcycle safety instructor at Boardtracker Harley-Davidson, and Jody Sterr, who has logged thousands of miles together with her husband. Precision Plus celebrates the Ladies of Harley and applauds their cause.
For a PDF of the article, click HERE.