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Biker Rally Appeals To A New Demographic: Women

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Matt Largey/KUT
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Bike enthusiast and rally patron Teffany Lowell

Bikers are flocking to the Lone Star State this weekend for the Republic of Texas Biker Rally. The event, now in its eighteenth year, brings thousands of bikers and spectators to Austin from across the country.

Among the estimated 40,000 bikers in attendance, you may take notice a growing number of women riders – reflecting a national trend that one in four riders are women. .

The Texas Standard’s David Brown speaks with Austin bike aficionado and ROT rally patron Teffany Lovell about the increased presence of female riders and what has caused the shift.

While a large portion of women bikers settle into being the norm, Lovell still feels that even amongst female riders she has a tendency to stick out however. “I ride a pretty big bike" – a Harley Davidson Fat Bob, in fact. "I guess I ride like a man.”

Still, motorcycle manufacturers are taking notice, marketing new designs to appeal to bikings' female fans. Some of the new bikes sport seats and handlebars meant to accommodate a variety of riders

Lovell says that while biker culture now opening the doors for more women, it still has a way to go.  “It can just be dirty sometimes” says Lovell, referencing to some of the patches some bikers boast on their jackets and vests.  

But for Lovell, the rewards of riding outweigh any risks “I know it’s risky but I just enjoy it so much. I like being in the wind. I’m willing to take that chance.”

David entered radio journalism thanks to a love of storytelling, an obsession with news, and a desire to keep his hair long and play in rock bands. An inveterate political junkie with a passion for pop culture and the romance of radio, David has reported from bases in Washington, London, Los Angeles, and Boston for Monitor Radio and for NPR, and has anchored in-depth public radio documentaries from India, Brazil, and points across the United States and Europe. He is, perhaps, known most widely for his work as host of public radio's Marketplace. Fulfilling a lifelong dream of moving to Texas full-time in 2005, Brown joined the staff of KUT, launching the award-winning cultural journalism unit "Texas Music Matters."
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