AMA's Tigra Tsujikawa: Women riders no longer a niche

Publish Date: 
Jun 27, 2012

TIGRA TSUJIKAWA is the power behind the AMA’s International Women & Motorcycling Conference, the 2012 edition of which will be held July 26-29 in Carson City, Nev. An avid street and off-road rider, Tsujikawa logs an average of 4,000 off-road miles each year, and has been carving canyons on sportbikes for almost three decades.

Tsujikawa contends that women riders do not comprise a niche but, rather, are part of the enthusiast core market, and essential to anyone retailing in this business. The AMA’s visibility with women skyrocketed this past year when the association named Maggie McNally its first female vice chairman of the board and off-road riding advocate Nancy Sabater its Motorcyclist of the Year.

We asked AMA marketing manager Tsujikawa about female buying power, distinct riding needs, and what the upcoming rally means not only to enthusiasts but to the industry at large.

Dealernews: What does the AMA women’s conference provide female riders that other events do not?
Tsujikawa: The 2012 AMA International Women & Motorcycling Conference is an event that is focused on women. It is the largest gathering of its kind in North America, and is a platform for women riders, passengers and women who are interested in motorcycles. While we don’t exclude men — in fact we encourage them to attend with the women in their lives — the conference provides a female-focused perspective on gear, skills development and empowerment skills and, above all, a chance to meet other women to learn from, inspire and become friends with.

What progress has been made in addressing women’s riding issues in the last 10 years? What still has to be done?
A lot of progress has been made in the last 10 years as it relates to female riders. Today there are many more women riders, and I believe that riding gear, skills classes and great events like the AMA International Women & Motorcycling Conference, and organizations like the AMA — that recognize and support women in all segments of riding — have a lot to do with that growth and change.

Women riders share some key things in common with their male counterparts: We all need gear that fits and is safe, and we all need places to ride. But in a predominantly male-oriented industry, it’s important to understand that there are some differences in how women approach riding and to continue to be open to what women want and how to provide it. If the motorcycle industry invests time building a relationship with women riders, women will reward that investment with their loyalty.

I would add that women can be very influential in a purchasing decision, even when the product or service is not solely for her own use. When you consider the potential impact of women on buying decisions along with the projected growth of women as a market segment, it is clear that this is a demographic that will factor greatly in the future of motorcycling.

Women riders — both off-road and street — must make their presence known, give their opinions, join the AMA and other motorcycle advocacy groups, and become motorcycle citizens. When we participate in protecting what we love, and teach others to do this, the number of women motorcyclists and their voices will increase.