When you think of America and you think of motorcycles, you think Harley-Davidson.
In 2020, a black female named Paris McGowan joined the team as a technician making history for herself.
The 25-years-old revealed that she learned to ride motorcycles in just two years after securing a job at the
Gateway Harley-Davidson store in south St. Louis County.
She said: “I came up to Harley-Davidson for a job interview because I love to hang around.
I saw the bike that I wanted before I did the job interview. I ended up purchasing the bike.
I’m tiny, so when people see me on my bike, they’re like ‘Oh my gosh, that’s a girl.”
McGowan graduated from the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute in Orlando with a specialization in Harley-Davidson in the year 2022.
“I’m the first African-American female technician to work on Harley-Davidson. You barely see any Black technicians working on Harley-Davidson, but here we are.” McGowan shares.
She also says that the Harley-Davidson community is more like a family that embraces her with open arms. There are a lot of Black female Harley riders or just Black female riders in general.
We need to be shown more. My mother, who is a strong, proud Black woman, rides her own motorcycle. I have aunts and cousins who all ride together. I mean, we just did a female unity ride for Labor Day. I believe there were at least 300 or more female riders out there, and it was incredible.”
While McGowan understands that she isn’t exactly who people imagine when they picture motorcycle technicians and riders, she says clashing with stereotypes and breaking boundaries is empowering.
It’s time to move on. We shouldn’t have these barriers anymore. If you can do it, I can do it. Also, maybe even better. I just found a passion, and I stuck with it. I can only just start the snowball.