The earliest women riders and racers are notoriously difficult to document and Anke Eve Goldmann is no exception.  I found lots of photos but little first-hand information on her.  There was one piece that has been quoted on countless Pinterest posts and in Wikipedia and a few stray tidbits here and there which have all been combined in an effort to highlight this lady rider, however, she certainly bears more research than this author has time for at present.


“Anke Eve Golman was a journalist for Cycle World, Das Motorrad in Germany, & Moto Revue in France. She was a friend of author André Pieyre de Mandiargues and the inspiration for the main character, ‘Rebecca’, in his book The Motorcycle (1963). The book was adapted for the 1968 film The Girl on a Motorcycle starring Marianne Faithful. She was the first woman to ride a motorcycle with a one-piece leather racing suit. In 1958, she helped found the Women’s Int’l Motorcycle Assoc. in Europe.”

Aside from the preceding paragraph I read that she taught German to airmen’s children at a U.S. Air Force base in Germany.  Her one-piece leather racing suit, for which she seems to have created a bit of sensationalism, was made by Harro, a German manufacturer.  She rode BMW’s and eventually became a spokesperson for them.

The imagination behind the Women’s Intl. Motorcycle Assoc. [WIMA] seems to have been Louise Scherbyn, assistant editor for “Motorcycle” magazine.  Women in different locations pitched in to help with the formation of the association, Goldmann providing assistance from Germany along with Ellen Pfeiffer.   Assistance was provided by women in France, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, and Australia and WIMA was then truly international.  Theresa Wallach was the first president.

On April 21, 1961 Anke-Eve sent a letter to Gerald West , a motorcycle journalist in Ohio.  It was purchased from the West estate and is found online, however, I could find no information on who purchased the letter and posted it online to ask for permission to use it here.  Rather than risk copyright infringement by posting a copy here, I will quote passages of interest.  She had written to numerous Americans involved in motorcycling asking for photos of American female riders but found very few willing to help her.  The letter discusses her failed attempts to obtain the photos and her reply regarding American riders/racers.

“One of them published rather foolishly a letter from me, and I was flooded by a deluge of letters from men who proposed to marry me, but neither could tell me a word of what I was interested in:  female motorcyclists in the US.  At last I managed to get in touch with the Motor Maids [chartered in 1941].  Some of them wrote to me, and also sent some photographs which, to be frank, I disliked heartily.  The ladies were shown in a type of circus parade, in fancy uniforms, something between firemen and tambourette majors, and the whole MMA organization very much looked like a social entertainment club but not like a motorcycle club.  I was told that some of the girls do real sport on their bikes, but I never managed to get one on the line.  I had a very nice letter or two from Dot Robinson, and I understand that she must be an expert rider of highest qualities.  But she is quite occupied with various jobs and barely has the time to enter a correspondence on private terms. . . You ask if the German press is covering US motorcycle events.  In general, no, as the style of motorcycling here is quite different from US practice.  Every show is loathed, and a guy with crossbones on his leather jacket or chromium gadgets on his motorcycle will be simply laughed at and not taken for full.  You see, we have some GIs here, who have sort of milkbar cowboy manners with them, riding open exhaust motorcycles with ultra high handle bars, mustang panniers, and death skulls on their helmets.  That’s why.  And US racing is made under AMA rules, not FIM [The Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme] rules, and there is not too much interest in events like Daytona here.

For more see:  “Motorrad” 2-6-1996; “Cycle World”, Vol. 13, CBS Pub, 1974; “Piston Poppin, American Motorcyclist” Nov. 1959; “The Women’s Guide to Motorcycling”, Lynda Lahman (online).