Debra Vidro's version of women's liberation comes in a set of saddlebags.
The 49-year-old South Lake Tahoe woman, who rides a Harley-Davidson motorcycle clad in a leather vest and pants, will be among up to 7,000 motorcyclists headed for Lake Tahoe this weekend for Big Blue Run.
"I love the ability to smell the mountains, to see all around," she said.
Ed Robinson, a San Jose rider organizing the Big Blue Run, said women account for 10 percent of the Harley-riding public, with an average age of 46 and income level topping the six digits. Double that for those making new purchases.
"(Women) are the fastest growing segment of Harley riders," said Robinson. "Women are more outgoing, willing to take risks."
Marla Sharp, who works in Lake Tahoe Community College's physical education department, started riding a Harley 125 enduro bike 24 years ago, when she learned to ride in the dirt outside Carson City.
Attitudes about women owning their own bikes have changed considerably since then.
Vidro and Sharp estimate that at least 25 women at the lake have their own motorcycles.
"People aren't as shocked now. It's really common to see women riders," Vidro said.
There are stereotypes, however.
"I think there's still a stigma of bikers. There are a lot more professionals," she said.
Contact Susan Wood at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at email@example.com
If you go
What: Big Blue Run
Tonight: Party at Cal-Neva Resort
Saturday: 8 a.m. registration for poker run at the Horizon Casino Resort
South Shore stops: Ski Run Marina, Hoss Hogg's, Brother's, Beacon