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Women’s Builder Project 2016
Builder: Stevie Inglis
When Stevie Inglis’s husband, Max, first bought a motorcycle six years ago, she was a passenger just once on it and she didn’t enjoy it.
“I’m never riding on the back of yours again”, she said to Max.
Stevie knew she wanted her own bike. “I’m a control freak”, she says. So she went out and took a motorcycle training course and when she was finished, her husband gave her his Spark, a Honda VFR 800.
Her history with motorcycles didn’t start there though. Growing up, she rode dirt bikes with her father who is a mechanic himself, as is her brother. When Patti Derbyshire told her about her plans for Torch Motorcycles, to build motorcycles specifically for women Stevie thought, “Wow, that’s something amazing”. The idea of building “something for real women” greatly appeals to her.
It’s not just the bikes either. It’s the apparel. At 5’10” Stevie has a larger frame and when she went shopping for a motorcycle jacket, “It was humiliating”. She ended up in the “dudes section” and as she points out, the men’s jackets just don’t fit women the same. Neither does the hardware. After all, we are built quite differently. From the shoulders to the hips, to the legs, to the reach of the handlebars, women have a physiology that requires its own unique designs, specifics that make the difference for comfort and safety.
When I asked why the motorcycle industry hasn’t geared itself to its women riders, Stevie speculated that maybe they don’t see it as a big enough market share, that it’s still old school, men-derived, that business owners don’t see the profit.
Stevie is excited about the idea of working with her hands and she is looking forward to learning the skills, to being able to fix her own bike. A devoted mom of three (twins: a 16 year old boy and girl and a 10 year old girl), Stevie is also inspiring her own kids just like her dad did for her. Her 16-year-old daughter is planning to be part of the build project, to tag along and watch how it all comes together. She’s hoping to get her mom’s Spark bike but Stevie says not for starting out. “She’s a speed demon” so she says her daughter will get something a little less powerful, a 250 cc. Her son, the other half of the twins, is also mechanically inclined although lately she says he’s more interested in architecture and constructing the greenest building, something she is incredibly proud of, as well.
Stevie says her motto is “have fun with it!” and she doesn’t take anything too seriously except her family.
When asked about advice for other women interested in taking up riding, Stevie recommends they take a course where they supply the bikes to try it and see if it’s something they enjoy. For her, the enjoyment comes from the freedom. “The wind in your face. Being able to stop on the road when you want. All of it feels liberating.”