• June 26, 2016

Businesses gear events toward growing female clientele

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Posted: Monday, July 21, 2014 4:30 am

Two all-women motorcycle events at Killeen Power Sports and Fort Hood Harley-Davidson brought out novice and seasoned bikers alike for fun, food and information Wednesday night.

Killeen Power Sports’ annual “Ladies Night” drew nonriders and members from seven women motorcycle clubs, including the Queens of Sheba, Klasee Lady Riderz and Showstoppaz.

“It would take something extraordinary for me to ride, like a club needing a member, and then I might do it,” said Nadia Hall, who prefers the role of passenger to operator.

Both the Killeen Power Sports and Fort Hood Harley-Davidson events featured similar sessions conducted by employees who reviewed motorcycle basics and safety, and the different classes of motorcycles and riding gear and parts. Women sat on motorcycles to understand how to select the right bike and practiced the proper way to pick up a downed bike.

“The ‘Garage Party’ is designed for women who want hands-on demos and tips before getting behind the handlebars for the first time,” said Carlie Currer, Fort Hood Harley-Davidson’s general merchandising manager. “We add some fun, free door prizes and food to make it an enjoyable evening.”

Tonia Krei and her daughter, Lauren, 8, attended the “Garage Party” because her husband bought a new Trike Tri-Glide, a three-wheeled motorcycle.

“I’ve ridden a little as a passenger, but I want to learn what to do, so I can get my license,” Tonia Krei said.

Neill Higgenbottom, sales manager at Killeen Power Sports, sees women as a separate and growing segment of riders.

“About 30 percent more women are riding now than in the last 10 years and they’re riding all different types of bikes,” Higgenbottom said. “Events like Ladies Night allow the company to support women riders and educate nonriders who may buy a bike someday.”

Jim Foster, owner of Killeen Power Sports, said they do a “Ladies Night” annually.

“We may do two next year because these ladies are having such a good time and it’s a great turnout,” Foster said.

Tonia Krei took a test ride on the Jumpstart, a stationary Harley-Davidson motorcycle, and she almost mastered the shifting sequence after a few minutes.

“It was really exciting, and I didn’t crash,” she said.

Mona Shymkus sat on a Triumph motorcycle at Killeen Power Sports and felt her fear start to fade.

“Maybe I’ll be a rider instead of just a passenger,” she said.

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