Though it’s not documented the very first woman to ride a Harley Davidson motorcycle was probably Janet Davidson. Janet was an aunt of Arthur, Walter and William Davidson. She helped her nephews out by using her artistic talents to paint pinstriping and lettering on their motorcycles.
Several other women are notable in the just over 100-year history of the Harley Davidson Company. In 1929 Vivian Bale road her 45 Twin D Harley on a trip of almost 5,000 miles. Along the way she stopped to meet with dealers of her favorite ride. After completing this legendary trip she spent many more years riding and performing motorcycle stunts at various racing events in Florida.
Brigitte Bardot was a famous movie star and pinup star in the 1950′s. In the 1960′s she became so enamored by Harley Davidson Motorcycles that she debuted her hit single entitled Harley Davidson. Also popular was a photograph of her astride her favorite motorcycle. She is wearing hot pants and a partially unzipped leather jacket.
Well-known actress Elizabeth Taylor rode a Purple Passion motorcycle that was given to her by her friend Malcolm Forbes. It was said that the bike matched her famous eyes.
Peter Fonda is probably one of the most famous male Harley Davidson Riders thanks to the 1969 movie Easy Rider. Dennis Hopper also appeared in this movie and the photo of a scene showing them both together, each atop his Harley is still sough after today.
Malcolm Forbes, the founder of Forbes magazine and one of the wealthiest men ever, not only loved giving Harley Davidson’s to friends as gifts, he owned more than 50 of them himself. Forbes began riding motorcycles in his late 40′s and enjoyed it so much he began collecting them. His personal endorsement of the Harley made its sales soar to new heights.
Jay Leno is another celebrity who is known for his love of Harley Davidson motorcycles. He loves them so much that not only does he own several, but he also does his own maintenance and repair work.
Several other well-known Harley Davidson riding celebrities include: Elvis Presley, Don Johnson, Jackson Browne, Mickey Rourke and Tina Turner. And who can forget Arnold Schwarznegger and His Terminator role. Former President of the United States, Bill Clinton also posed astride a Harley during his campaign.
Though not famous in the best way, the hard-core motorcycle gang known of as the Hells Angels also favor Harley Davidson bikes. There is no known link to the Harley Davidson Company. This motorcycle club began in 1948 and by the 1960′s was notorious throughout the United States and Canada. Tied to drugs and crime just the site of these bikers was enough to strike fear into an entire town whenever they rode through. Today the Hell’s Angels sponsor several charitable events in the United States and Canada. Unfortunately they still frequently appear in the news for criminally related activities. The motorcycle club has been deemed an established criminal organization by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.