HomeCar CultureCommentaryQuail Motorcycle Gathering features women who ride

Quail Motorcycle Gathering features women who ride


The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering is held annually during Monterey Car Week and takes its name from its location, The Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel Valley, and from its showcase of vintage and brand-new sports cars. 

But there’s another gathering that takes place at the same location. The Quail Motorcycle Gathering was staged last week for the 11th time and drew more than 3,000 people who came to enjoy the more than 350 motorcycles on display as well to enjoy artisanal local cuisine, which also is feature of the annual motorsports event.

Motorcycle as rolling sculpture and work of artistry

Each year, The Quail Motorcycle Gathering offers such traditional classes as American, British, Japanese, Competition On- and Off-Road, etc., as well as some special groupings. For 2019, through featured groupings included the 50th Anniversary of the Honda CB750, Off-Road Wonders Through the 90’s, the 100th Anniversary of the Brough Superior, and the Spirit of the Scrambler Presented by Ducati. 

Best of Show honors went to a 1969 Honda CB750 Sandcast owned by Sam Roberts, whose bike also was best in class in the 50 Years of Honda CB750 class for what is considered the world’s first “superbike.”

Also featured was the role women play in motorcycling “as they increasingly move up from being ‘biker chicks’ in the passenger seat and grab the handlebars from men.”

A recent study by the Motorcycle Industry Council finds that women riders comprise nearly 20 percent of all motorcycle owners in the U.S., with a 10 percent increase in the most recent decade. The study noted that such events as Babes Ride Out desert tour and Sisters Centennial Motorcycle Ride Across America sell out all available spots.

Nearly 20 percent of motorcycle owners in the U.S. are women, study reveals

The Quail organizers quoted Adrian Yu, the MIC director of communications, regarding increasing choices of gear, apparel and motorcycles that provide more options for women riders.

“It’s almost a chicken and egg thing, but there are just so many more choices today than when I started,” she said. “There are more choices in gear. There also so many more motorcycles in the 300cc to 500cc range, which are not so intimidating for new riders, especially riders of smaller stature.

“We are chipping away at old images of what a ‘biker chick’ looks like and replacing it with: “I’m a (fill in the blank: journalist, lawyer, mom, teacher, college student) who also loves to ride, and my bike and gear reflect my personal style.”

The 2019 Quail Motorcycle Gathering included a “Fireside Chat” panel discussion featuring women riders and their role in the industry.

The scene at the show

The event also honored Malcolm Smith as the 2019 Legend of the Sport. Smith co-starred with Steve McQueen in the 1971 documentary, On Any Sunday. The 78-year-old is a six-time Baja 1000 off-road racing champion and eight-time gold medalist in the International Six Day Trials.

“His career and legacy have done more to promote the sport of motorcycling than almost anyone else,” said The Quail Gatherings founder Gordon McCall said. “He really is a legend.”

The 2020 Quail Motorcycle Gathering is scheduled for May 16, 2020. Tickets go on sale in the fall. For ticket information, visit the event website.

Winged Shadow motorcycle and sidecar apparently were designed for high-speed travel
Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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