22 Amazing Vintage Photographs of Women Riding Motorcycles During the 1920s and 1930s

A motorcycle, often called a motorbike, bike, cycle, or (if three-wheeled) trike, is a two- or three-wheeled motor vehicle. Motorcycle design varies greatly to suit a range of different purposes: long-distance travel, commuting, cruising, sport (including racing), and off-road riding. Motorcycling is riding a motorcycle and being involved in other related social activity such as joining a motorcycle club and attending motorcycle rallies.

The 1885 Daimler Reitwagen made by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in Germany was the first internal combustion, petroleum-fueled motorcycle. In 1894, Hildebrand & Wolfmüller became the first series production motorcycle.

In 2014, the three top motorcycle producers globally by volume were Honda (28%), Yamaha (17%) (both from Japan), and Hero MotoCorp (India). In developing countries, motorcycles are considered utilitarian due to lower prices and greater fuel economy. Of all the motorcycles in the world, 58% are in the Asia-Pacific and Southern and Eastern Asia regions, excluding car-centric Japan.

According to the US Department of Transportation, the number of fatalities per vehicle mile traveled was 37 times higher for motorcycles than for cars. (Wikipedia)

Marjorie Cottle (second from left), a famous motorcyclist, and friends in Germany, 1920.
Madge Saunders and her husband, British comic actor Leslie Henson, 1920.
A woman on her BMW motorcycle, 1935.
Sally Halterman, the first woman to be granted a license to operate a motorcycle in the District of Columbia, 1937.
An entrant in a ladies-only reliability trial in London, England, 1927.
Three women riding motorbikes at the ACU Trials in Birmingham, England, 1923.
A woman riding a motorcycle alongside a woman on a horse in London, 1921.
Nancy and Betty Debenham, well-known motorcyclists, riding BSA bikes with their dog, 1925.
Marjorie Dare (Doris Smith) riding hands free around “The Wall of Death” sideshow at the Kursaal amusement park in Essex, England, 1938.
Marjorie Dare performing, 1938.
Children being pulled along by a woman on a motorbike in London, 1926.
A woman alongside her Harley-Davidson in California, 1925.
A woman and a performing seal at a circus, 1935.
Two women ready to play tennis on a BSA motorbike, 1925.
A woman trying out a Douglas motorcycle on display at the 18th Cycle and Motorcycle Show in London, 1933.
Workers measuring the positions of footrests and controls on partially finished motorcycles, 1933.
Miss E. Foley and Miss L. Ball, entrants in the International Six Days Reliability Trials, at Brooklands race track in England, 1925.
Nancy setting off for a motorcycle rally in England, 1934.
A woman on a 500 OEC Tinkler All-Weather Model designed for use on rough roads and cross-country, 1928.
A reverend blesses the motorcycle of a woman who is learning to drive, 1938.
A woman rider in the Six Days Motorcycle Trial, in which competitors have to cover 200 miles a day over rough terrain, 1933.
Women of Achille Serre Ltd’s Private Fire Brigade setting off on their motorcycle and sidecar to compete in the London Private Fire Brigades’ Tournament, 1925.

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