A month after Saudi women finally won the right to drive on June 24, eight of them are creating their own Harley-Davidson bike chapter.
“We have been waiting a lifetime for this,” Aliya, a 23-year-old student from Jeddah, told Fox News. “Always watching my brothers ride. Now they’re teaching me.”
Five of the women went to the Harley-Davidson store in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh wearing their compulsory black abayas while they browsed the motorcycles and Harley merchandise. The store has recently acquired gear and clothing for women and marketing posters displaying women on motorcycles.
The all-male staff reportedly welcomed the change and the trading manager of the store, Al-Mutlaq, claims many women have had a growing interest in bikes.
“This is for sure going to be growing, we already have had a large number of ladies asking about the training and asking to get a bike,” he said. “And we have already established the ‘Ladies of Harley’ Riyadh chapter, so they can go on their own group rides too.”
“The most important thing for now, is women learning to ride,” he added.
There are even weekly gatherings for women to learn how to ride outside the city on a racetrack where an experienced rider from Ukraine instructs an all-women's class. The program reportedly costs $400 and the women who participate sport safety vests, tight jeans, and practice cone weaving and U-turns.
Many have welcomed the new law which gives Saudi women a basic right that men have, and credit Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salam in his mission to make reforms to the country. However, in recent weeks the kingdom has imprisoned several peaceful human rights and women's rights activists and expelled the Canadian ambassador for criticizing the arrests.