I saw Girl on a Motorcycle in my teens, late night on Channel 4, and developed a hankering for taking off on a motorcycle, looking effortlessly sexy, having naughty romantic assignations with exotic Continental types (Alain Delon = very Continental and exotic), and being utterly free. Marianne Faithfull as Rebecca, the aforementioned Girl portrayed a life of complete independence and unashamed hedonism.
The reality of the matter is, apart from the film being utter nonsense, it doesn’t work out like that, more so if you are, like me, vertically challenged. Although she’s riding a Harley with a low seat, which looks out of place for 60s Europe as it is (and the stunt double was GP rider Bill Ivy, in a blonde wig), it’s a lot more complicated, especially for us shorties.
At no point did I see her panic about parking on a slope and not dropping the bike getting back on it, checking the road camber to see which foot will reach the ground, pulling up at a service station and hopping on to the island that the pumps are on because it’s easier, and giving up on the Kriega tailpack as it’s impossible to get your leg over the bike without looking like you’re auditioning for the Crazy Horse. Sans nipple tassels.
She never has helmet hair, yet is claiming to have done 130 in a helmet that looks like an inflated shower cap, nor appears to be worrying about getting one piece leathers off in a nasty service station loo, and her make up stays put at all times, decades before the advent of Urban Decay Up All Night setting spray.
I also doubt her heart sank at the bike release notes from Intermot and EICMA, when the seat height of any particular bike of interest was just that bit too high. And I don’t think she’s had that experience of trying on all the bike jackets in the shop, but the only one that’ll zip up over her boobs has sleeves halfway to the floor.
She does however wave the vees at other road users. I may have deployed the two finger salute on occasion too.
So this blog is an alternate view at the world of motorcycling from the view of a 5’1″ girl, and how I get by in that world. There’s ingenuity, compromise, finding what works for you even if that’s not the done thing, a sisterhood of other women doing the same thing, and if Dani Pedrosa can be a top GP rider at the same height, surely it can’t be that difficult?
Alain Delon was fit…