The Litas: Fostering Empowerment on Two Wheels

Jul 22, 2020 View Comments by

The Litas motorcycle group

In an era when the motorcycle industry has witnessed a gradual tapering off of sales from a peak in 2006, an interesting statistic surfaced in the most recent survey (2018) by the Motorcycle Industry Council: Women make up 19% of motorcycle owners. That is up from less than 10% the previous decade. Even more illuminating is that among millennial motorcycle owners, 26% are women. This seismic shift is partially due to the proliferation of female-exclusive riding groups that are using social media to connect and grow their bases. Even more intriguing is the verbiage on many of these clubs’ websites, proudly promoting an emotional and impassioned sisterhood of unity. The result is a growing presence of women on two wheels.

One such female-exclusive group is The Litas. Established in 2015 in Salt Lake City, UT, by Jessica Wise, The Litas welcome women from all walks of life in a celebration of individualism and a shared passion for motorcycles. There is no hidden symbolism or meaning in the group’s name; Wise and her best friend just liked the sound of it.

The Litas is building local communities with a focus on empowering and inspiring women. “Something about riding a motorcycle and feeling confident on it,” Wise muses, “gave me confidence, which made me feel powerful. I love the idea that you can ride a motorcycle and do what you want and still be exactly you. It’s not like you get a motorcycle and you all of the sudden have to fit the stereotype.”

Clubs and organizations have always been a staple of motorcycling; they’re a unique mix of ardent individualism and devoted camaraderie. Where many of this new wave of female-oriented clubs differ—and this includes The Litas—is endorsing an open philosophy of unapologetic empowerment for women. “One of my biggest goals for The Litas is to show women they can ride a motorcycle if they want to, or build an empire,” Wise emphasizes. “It doesn’t matter what they want—they should do it.” This union of support, whether it be helping other women learn how to ride, find riding partners, or plan gatherings and events, extends well beyond the physical aspect of two wheels, providing a much more meaningful and emotional foundation—something few, if any, of the male-oriented clubs ever dared openly voice.

It’s exciting and encouraging to see the zeal with which women are organizing riding groups, growing out this grassroots two-wheel movement. The increasing numbers of women riding motorcycles represents an emergence of a new era in motorcycling, driven as much by individual empowerment as a passion for machinery and the inherent freedom of riding.

To start a branch of The Litas in a particular city, there must be three founders. The founders then plan rides and arrange meetups, welcoming in new members. There are no dues or patches with The Litas; the club serves simply as a conduit to a community of women riders who share a passion for self-expression.

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