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 Motorcycles Interviews

Jinan Khoury
Stylish, Feminine and Charismatic Woman

16thof October 2009

"Stylish, Feminine and Charismatic Woman" Jinan Khoury
....has a passion FOR RIDDING MOTORCYCLES...

Jinan Khoury was kind enough to sit down with BatoAutoMoto for an interview. She currently is the host of "Speed", a show on MTV Lebanon, which she currently spends most of her time working on. Jinan is famous for being a stylish,  feminine, and charismatic woman who happens to have a passion for riding motorcycles. This was enough to make us want to learn more.



1. Before we talk about girls on bikes, let’s hear about your motorcycle, and why you chose it?
I have the Kawasaki Ninja 250 R 2008 model , and the reason I chose it- well it’s because I'm a tiny person, and it’s the smallest bike I could find, it’s one of the few ones that I can sit on and be able to reach the ground. I'm into sport bikes, and I would never ride on a different kind even if I were given one for free.

2. How did you become interested in riding motorcycles in the first place?
Let’s just say, that when other girls had little pink bicycles with baskets on them, I was riding a motorcycle—a Honda QR50 motocross. I started very young. It was my older brother’s bike and when he outgrew it, I started riding it.



3. So it began when you were about eight, and continued till now?
I rode it until I outgrew it myself. When I was a teenager I was more into learning how to drive cars. Then at 17, I rode a Suzuki GSXR 1100 for a few weeks; and it was a dream come true! I had to wear high heels to reach the ground.

I was bike-less after that right up until about a year ago when I got my Kawasaki, and now we're inseparable.

4. Do you know any other women who ride, and do you think it is rare for women to ride motorbikes in Lebanon?
Yes, I've met six women who ride, and I know there are more - around 10 to 20 maybe. There are women who are interested in riding, but don't take the initiative to learn. More women are interested in riding as passengers, so in Lebanon, yes it is not common to be a woman biker.

5. How do other bikers generally react when they see you on the road?                   
They are definitely shocked, and say anything from "you're kidding me" "you’re joking, right"  “WOW”, to "yeah whatever". One biker, however, was so intimidated that he didn't even show a reaction at all, although I could see the shock all over his face. Almost all the bikers are utterly impressed, some shower me with questions of how, when, and where, others ask me to join them in their rides.
non-bikers' reactions on the roads

People from all ages, men, women, and children, both males and females, are surprised. They look out of their car windows; some keep staring until they lose sight of me. Some are too surprised to react, others try to communicate with me with a ‘thumbs up’ or a “you go girl” and some even tell me “May the Virgin Mary bless you”. You’d be surprised how many of these people are women.

6. Do you feel like you are going against gender stereotypes in any way by being a female biker?
Yes it is very rare for women, especially in Lebanon, where sometimes even men avoid telling their parents that they own a motorcycle. Women here do not ride motorcycles, and there is a tendency to stereotype those who do ride motorbikes as tomboys, but look at me, I'm wearing a dress and have make-up, there is nothing about me that is tom-boyish! The women bikers that I know are very feminine and some of us are even mothers.

7. So do you think that eventually the numbers of w omen on the road will increase? Definitely. A lot of women are not aware that there are other female bikers out there, so once we promote this, if we form a group with the current female riders, definitely it will increase.

8. What is your favorite thing about biking?
Ah, this is my favorite question. The thrill, the passion, the rush; riding gives you a sensation that nothing and no one else can provide. It relaxes you, gives you a release- and I ride in all moods, it helps to sooth you at all times. There are times when your body needs a ride; every muscle and every part of your body craves that release. Once you start, if you are a true biker, you cannot live without a bike.  

9. What is your least favorite thing (road conditions, traffic,...) and how do you deal with it? The traffic, I get around with it, you know, I try not to ride during rush hour. As for the road conditions, where do I begin. Horrible. Outrageous road conditions. You have no idea what it’s like when you're riding really fast, and then you get a hole in the middle of the road out of nowhere, and there's a car on your left and a car on your right, and you have no option but to go through the hole. You cannot ride in Lebanon without being 100% concentrated on the road. 

Male drivers tend to have more problems with people on the road. I think with female bikers cars tend to give more way more often when they realize it’s a woman in the bike. In any case, when riding in Lebanon, you have to be careful of the road conditions, and the other drivers; it’s double. Cars really disrespect bikers on the road all the time.

How I deal with these situations? Honestly, I pray. I pray that I will arrive home safe. Sometimes things happen, like two cars will be racing and we are twenty bikes on the highway, and they start racing between us. That's when I start praying. "Oh god please just let them go." At that point that’s all you can do.

I would like to take advantage of this interview to make a point about bikers.

In Lebanon, there are negative ideas about bikers because of some of the bikers you see on the road who do silly and dangerous acrobatics: these are definitely not the real bikers. Real bikers are educated people. I myself have an MBA! I know doctors, engineers, architects, pharmacists, all sorts of highly educated bikers with good family backgrounds. When we are out on the roads, we have codes. We stay to one side... there is a discipline to the way we ride. The bikes we own are very expensive, and some have more than one. To be able to own these luxurious bikes, you definitely have to be of a certain socioeconomic class to afford these 20-60,000$ bikes. Most of the bikers in my group are above 40. They are mature and experienced bikers who ride almost every Sunday (most with their wives behind them) to enjoy the scenery and to unwind from the stress during the week, and ultimately for the fun of it. 

10. Would you describe it as almost being a culture?
It is an attitude. It is lifestyle. It is who you are, not what you do. Once you are a biker, you are always a biker. This explains why people ride up to sixty years old. There is so much passion in riding that it becomes you and you become it. This is what I wanted to add. 

11.  Now back to how you share this passion for motorbiking with friends or family members.
My father, who started it all, taught my brother when he was six. When my brother outgrew his motocross I rode it. I don't remember my brother ever not owning a motorcycle. We sometimes go on family rides; my mom and my dad drive behind my brother and I and we ride in front and go on long trips together. It’s so much fun, it’s a family passion that we share together.

As for friends, I have met quite a few biker friends with whom I ride almost every Sunday except in winter.

12. Do you ever take people for rides?
No I don’t, both for safety reasons and for handling reasons.

13. What is your favorite driving route?
I love to go to the Shouf and to Jezzine for so many reasons. The scenery, the trees, the waterfalls, the serenity, the combination of all types of roads from highway to narrow straights and hard curves, also it is sentimental for me because it’s where I took my first group ride. 

14. Are you part of any motorcycle clubs?
Actually I am, I'm part of the Free Riders. 

15. What does that entail?
The Free Riders allow all kinds of bikes, but participants are admitted quite selectively.

16.  What are some of your other passions or hobbies?
I'm reading. If I’m not riding, or working, I'm reading.

17. What is one of your favorites?
My favorite books are Sophie's World, The Prophet, Who Moved my Cheese, and a few chapters of The Secret. I'm interested in everything from Psychology, History, to Philosophy, and General Knowledge. I'm constantly reading, all sorts of topics.              

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