by Kimberley Cummins
Do you remember during the late 1990’s when thousands of women sang along to the lyrics of Tanya Stephen’s massive hit Big Ninja Bike?
This song repeatedly blared from radios across Barbados and the Caribbean and back then, like the chorus said — every woman wanted a man who had a big Ninja bike for her to ride on, “She na waan no flim flam”.
Well, regardless of what you believed that the words actually meant, after that hit was released it was routine to see many women situated sleekly and attractively on the back of motorcycles with their arms wrapped tightly around the waists of the drivers.
Zoom ahead 20 years, and oh how things have changed. Women still, very much, like big Ninja bikes but the fondness has shifted to the extent that they now prefer to have their own.
It is estimated that about 10 women in Barbados ride big bikes — and the interest among others in joining them is clearly growing. For some reason, the big attractions for these women are the Suzuki GSX-Rs, the Honda CBRs and even the Yamaha FZs.
Barbados TODAY recently met a few of these women and they unanimously agreed that women liked big bikes for varied reasons. Some were enticed because of the speed, the look and even because, in their opinion, “women look hell of a lot better than men on them”.
After witnessing Kelly-Anne Fields and Mona Crawford display some of their skills as they rode to meet the Barbados TODAY team at Warrens Park South in St. Michael yesterday it was safe to say, the jury came back and made their decision known on the latter opinion.
In spite of that explanation, we wanted to really go in depth on why these educated, professional and physically appealing women would leave out “flossing in a nice comfortable car” to take a risk on these dangerous machines.
Both these women were unassuming figures and both rode very big intimidating bikes: “Why not a scooter or a smaller bike?”
“They don’t go as fast, plus we aren’t intimidated by big bikes, size don’t matter,” the women said.
Fields explained that she liked bikes from the time she was a little girl. At the time her father owned a “postman scooter” and she really liked the feeling of riding on it. Throughout her life, however, she did not she had this feeling until in 2011 her interest was reignited then the memories of her childhood exploits with her dad came rushing back.
On a Wednesday in February 2012, the 30-year-old orthodontist sold her car and began to learn how to ride the following Saturday.
“I didn’t waste any time,” she said as her big eyes grew larger with excitement.
The first encounter was a bit different for Crawford. She always liked bikes as well, but while at university her interest in owning a big one ignited.
The customer service representative recalled†that while in New York one of her friends who had a bike told her to get on the back.
“He pretty much went over 200 kilometres an hour and that was it for me. I was like ‘Yea I got to do this!”, the 34 year old said as she laughed loudly.
She started to learn to ride last March, received her licence in July and bought a 2009 Honda CBR 600cc about two weeks ago. Now the former equestrian readily exclaims that controlling her bike is way easier than a horse.
Unlike Fields, who rides her bike everyday and everywhere, from work to church,†she kept her other vehicle because she does not like riding in the rain.
The women have not been in any accidents — knock on wood — and believed once a rider knows how to hold his or her balance, it east to manage a bike.
But they warned potential riders not to rush into getting bikes — and if they do they need to be vigilant when using the road.
“If it is that you want to learn, learn the correct way. So either go with someone who is very experienced or go through a riding school, but just make sure you do it correctly — take baby steps.
“Some people just want to learn to ride today and get a licence tomorrow, but don’t have any experience on the road. A lot of people just rush because they like†the idea of it.
“There are [reckless riders] and we see them everyday, especially motor cross guys. I’m sorry, but they make us look bad and I think once your bike isn’t insured, isn’t road taxed, you shouldn’t be on the road and those motor cross bikes really are for the land not the road,” Crawford said.
Fields added: “I actually learnt how to ride on a [motor] cross after I got my licence, to get a little bit more confident — and it helped. But yes, you have to watch the people road. It is not only us… In life everybody might take the stick for one body… There are good riders out there and everybody need to not categorise riders on the whole.
“There are some of us who take precaution to the road. For me when I am riding I look at indicators, look and see how cars pulling out from side roads — we also have to watch and be cautious.”
Despite all the negative publicity bikers have been getting lately, these young women said their love ran deep for the machines and they have no plans to hang up there boots any time soon. They intend to be “granny bikers” in the future.
“I gine be a granny pun a bike until the bones too brittle,” Crawford said. Fields added: “Then I gine go to the Harley Davidson store and I will get a cruiser.”
“Correct! Noisy ones too,” Crawford supported with a burst of laughter.