Margot Mifflin
July 12, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Hear Me Roar: Women, Motorcycles, and the Rapture of the Road

Current Status
In Season
Ann Ferrar
Women's Studies

We gave it an A-

You may think of biker chic as a recent fad for women, but journalist Ann Ferrar traces it back to 1910, when 18-year-old Clara Wagner beat most of her male competitors in a race from Chicago to Indianapolis. This celebration of female bikers is full of colorful history (in 1916, for example, the Van Buren sisters crossed the country on motorcycles with headlights that were lit with matches like gas lamps) and recent trivia (such as Entertainment Tonight‘s terminally perky Mary Hart donning leather for a charity ride). Ferrar covers racers and joyriders, clubs and rallies, and explains how women coming into their own in middle age often discover motorcycling while they’re rediscovering themselves. Despite a few corny references to women’s ”herstory,” Hear Me Roar paints an exuberant picture of women who thrill to the sound of heavy-metal thunder. A-

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