In a way, you can’t help but be cool when you’re a chick on a bike. The juxtaposition of control and freedom and the thrill of the road beneath her feet are something of an exercise in the complexity of femininity. Although motorcycling has long been a male-dominated art, lots of women participate in and forward bike culture. And they’ve done so, across cultures and professions, and throughout motorcycling’s history. These ten biker chicks all have singular attitudes and philosophies, but share this: they’re all undeniably badass.
Often photographed on motorcycles, k.d. lang likes to rule the road in vintage style. In Novermber of 2011, the singer auctioned off a beautiful 1967 Triumph TR6 “Desert Sled”.
Why She’s Badass: She’s won tons of Grammys. She’s performed at the Olympics. She’s a Buddhist, vegan, and an animal and human rights activist. And she’s one fantastic musician.
Former Texas Governor Ann Richards (1933-2006) rode a Harley-Davidson during her term as governor because she “thought she needed to do something kind of jazzy.” The white-haird, firecracker governer had the biker babe spirit, and broke barriers in Texas and beyond.
Why She’s Badass: A prime and beloved example of Texana, she was a spirited public servant, an active senior citizen, and had a great sense of humor. Her legacy has even inspired a two-act play called Ann: An Affectionate Portrait of Ann Richards.
Augusta and Adeline Van Buren also broke barriers, but long before Ann Richards was even born. These sisters were the first women to travel from sea to shining sea on solo motorcycles, and completed their New York to California trip in 1916.
Why They’re Badass: These ladies completed a 5,500 mile course that would be advanced for anybody to do, and they did it almost an entire century ago. Not only the first women, but some of the first people to dare ride motorbikes across a huge continent. The highway system looked a lot different in 1916 — and were, in many ways, more dangerous.
Iconic French actress/model/singer Brigitte Bardot was enamored with Harley-Davidson motorcycles. In 1968, she released a French language single called “Harley-Davidson”.
Why She’s Badass: Any woman worthy of being the subject of a Simone de Beauvior essay (in this case, 1959′s The Lolita Syndrome) is definitely badass. Additionally, her features have been used on the bust of Marianne, the French national emblem.
One of the most successful entertainers of all time, Cher quips, “I’ll never get rid of my motorcycle or my truck.” It’s just a part of what makes Cher Cher.
Why She’s Badass: She’s won Emmys, Grammys, an Oscar, Golden Globes, and every other award imaginable. She did things before doin’ things was cool, like get tattoos and wear lots of leather and glitter. An absolute icon, Cher is one of the most successful and multi-faceted people on the planet.
Her Diamonds may be White, but Elizabeth Taylor’s Passion…is Purple. In the 1980s, she was gifted a motorcycle by then-boyfriend Malcom Forbes that she dubbed “Purple Passion.”
Why She’s Badass: The celebrated beauty had more than just great acting chops — she was also known for her several businesses and AIDS philanthropy.
Maybe not the First Lady of motocycling, but definitely the first lady of motorcycling. Born into a motorcycling family in 1912, Dot often wore long skirts and pillbox hats while she rode, proving that you could still be classy (or maybe a bit prudish) and ride motorcycles. Her mission was uniting women riders, and her legacy is The Motormaids.
Why She’s Badass: Dot Robinson broke a transcontinental motorcycling record in 1935. She owned and operated her father’s motorcycle dealership until the 1970s. She’s in the Hall of Fame. She’s a true legend.
Pop-punk singer Pink and her husband Carey Hart are single-handedly making motorcylces all rock n roll once more. An entertainer, mom, feminist, champion of women’s rights, and all-around rebel, Pink embodies the free spirit of the lady motorcycle rider.
Why She’s Badass: She can win Grammys and awards abroad for her pop-punk fearless female image. Pink is badass and a legit biker chick too, as she owns several bikes.
According to tabloids, Queen Latifah was injured in a motorcycle accident in 2008 in the Virgin Islands. Her brother, who was a policeman, was killed in a motorcycle accident in the early ’90s. Although it’s cool to be a biker chick, here’s hoping that she stays 100% safe!
Why She’s Badass: A positive role model for women and rappers, Queen Latifah has used her fame to forward wholesome comedy and a kind image — even though she’s totally badass.
Wynonna Judd recently had a garage sale and auctioned off her maroon-and-chrome 1992 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softtail. Guess she was done with her days of hell for leather. Described as always really down to earth, she sold her bike and other wares to fans and friends and neighbors in order to downsize to move houses.
Why She’s Badass: Guess she traded her bike for a bigger dream: the country music star moved to a 500 acre estate down the road from her mother and sister.