Harley rally not just for male bikers

Customers shopping in Jennifer's Web, a stand run by Jennifer Levine. / Lisa Edge

Riding bikes isn't just an all boys club anymore. Each year more and more women are taking control of the handlebars.

At the Beaver Bar in Murrells Inlet, Jennifer Levine's stand is booming with business.

"Oh my God, crazy busy we've been having a great time. It's getting back to the old days of Myrtle Beach. I can't believe the people are back, we're really really happy to see that here on the south end," said Levine. "A lot of vendors had given up on Myrtle Beach and I'm glad I'm still here I really am."

Instead of leather vests, Levine sells purses, rings, and bracelets. She started catering to women five years ago and she's been successful ever since. "I saw other things that people were selling and I said there's nothing that I really like and there's other girls that are looking for that kind of thing, the quality the different, the girly stuff."

Local biker Amanda Goodwin also notices there are more options. "You see patches, stickers t-shirts. I ride my own I'm not just a (pause) I'm a rider. They're actually acknowleding us now and that's a great thing."

Goodwin began riding with her husband more than 10 years ago. Three years ago she decided to get a bike of her own and has enjoyed it ever since.

Goodwin says in the past decade she's seen about a 25 percent increase in women taking the lead and controlling the bike themselves.

She encourages other women to try it and says the height of a motorcycle shouldn't be a deterrent. "Any bike you can actually take the springs and modify it and drop it down to fit your own height so it's really safer to be able to be flat foot when your sitting on that bike because you have more control."

There are many reasons to become a biker. For Goodwin, it's freedom, "I can have an awful day at work. I can have an awful day with the husband or the kids and I can come home get on my bike ride 50 miles. And your head completely clears. You have the whole world, the time to think. There's no noise, it's just you and the wind and the road and it's just very cathartic."

A Motorcycle Industry Council Owner survey showed from 2003 to 2008 female bike ownership increased by 29 percent.