FreeW empowers Malaysian female motorcycle riders
With the rising price of fuel and cost of living in Malaysia, many are turning to two-wheeled transport for their daily commute and short trips for necessities, giving rise to the current market demand for small displacement motorcycles and scooters. Hailing from France, Alison Grun of FreeW Riding Classes noticed female riders in Malaysia tend be neglected when it comes to rider training.
According to Alison, there are many ladies in Malaysia who want to take up motorcycling but many find the process of learning intimidating and dominated by male riders. “Let’s not talk about the driving schools, they only teach you to pass the licence test,” says Alison, “what I teach the lady riders in Malaysia is proper riding skills in a structured environment where they are comfortable and safe.”
The course syllabus for FreeW is based on Alison’s thirty-plus years of riding experience since age four and comprises of two-hour sessions in blocks of four or eight costing RM290 each. Alison says she caters to lady riders of any experience level and can take a complete novice who only knows how to ride a bicycle to a competent road rider in eight sessions.
“My teaching includes proper road craft and the necessary skills you need to be a good rider on the road,” Alison says. “You learn things like proper body placement on the bike, both low and high speed manoeuvring, head position in turns, braking, defensive riding… these are the things the driving school does not teach you,” Alison explained.
Alison then mentioned many ladies who want to learn riding tend to pick it up from the men in the sport which she says isn’t wrong but has the drawback of assimilating bad habits and non-recommended practice. “Many male riders in Malaysia, not just Malaysia, around the world, ride with their ego. This is not the best way to learn riding and ego will get you into trouble,” says Alison with a laugh.
A one-to-one approach is favoured at FreeW with classes kept small to ensure all riders get the proper attention. Alison says FreeW was founded to encourage women to overcome fears and self-limiting beliefs, for women riders to inspire others and in turn, be inspired by women’s emancipation and self-empowerment through motorcycling.