One of the beautiful aspects of riding a motorcycle is that, for those few precious moments when you watch your speedometer leap into life and feel the wind rush past your face, when you feel the pull of gravity drawing you closer towards the blur of a corner, things like your gender cease to matter.
It is just the machine and you. That is the joy of the road. That is freedom.
Freedom that lasts just up until you stop, step off the bike, take off your helmet - and are promptly greeted with offers to help park the machine you just rode in on.
The pleasures of taking to the open road on a motorcycle are gender-neutral. There is the rumble that growls from deep within your machine when you twist the throttle; the sheer distortion of sound and vision at 112kmh; the lurch as you and your bike suddenly pull away, leaving the traffic behind you.
And yet, all my years of riding - and I have been riding for about half of my life now, on different machines, in all manner of places - have taught me that while the pleasures themselves may be gender-neutral, people consistently assume that the people experiencing them are male.
In some ways, they are not wrong to do so.
I have always been a bit of a thrill-seeker and, since I was little, I have been fascinated by machines. Motorcycles found their way into my life before I even knew what "feminism" or "gender bias" meant.
But statistically speaking, I am a minority. In Britain, where I live, men are three times as likely to own a motorcycle, moped or scooter than women.
It is a rare occasion that I encounter fellow women on two wheels on the road, especially riding solo.
Why are there so few of us women experiencing one of the great joys of summer: riding into the sunset on two wheels?
Part of it has to do with the relationship between men and machines. Historically, machines have belonged to domains typically considered masculine - labour and industry, war and militarism.
Women's relationship with machinery, by contrast, has been restricted to the domestic sphere (see "Christmas morning she'll be happier with a Hoover.").
Today, thankfully, we have progressed to the point where women are allowed out in cars. But in the popular imagination, for women, cars remain extensions of the home, tools to shop for groceries or collect the kids - tasks for which motorcycles are not particularly well suited.
Another part has to do with the association in the public imagination between motorcycles and crime, deviance and aggression.
Real-life infamous incidents centred on motorcycles have, over the years, fed widespread perceptions of bikes as vehicles for gangs - composed primarily of men - engaged in nefarious activities.
And part of it has to do with the limited number of ways that pop culture has allowed women and bikes to come together.
Men who want to ride have a spectrum of different motorcycle-based masculinities to choose from. There are the metrosexual Belstaff jacket-wearing David Beckhams; the Mad Max-style crazy adrenaline junkies; leather-clad Angels types; and even existentialist motorcycle maintenance gurus.
By contrast, when women associate with bikes, in pop culture at least, it is to indicate that they are strong biker chicks: Carrie-Anne Moss' Trinity in The Matrix (1999), Megan Fox's Mikaela Banes in Transformers (2007) or Anne Hathaway's Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
There are those who would argue that the biker chick is a sign of progress - women who have ditched their Hoovers to pop pert wheelies - and those who view this archetype as another form of objectification, this time clad in leather.
It is a debate worth having, but in the meantime, where does that leave those women who just want to wear Gore-Tex?
Unfortunately, until we see more images of women wearing boring outfits, until we get more models of female motorcyclists like British travel writer Lois Pryce, until we have more women's motorcycle clubs, the rest of us will have to keep correcting assumptions: explaining that, no, that is not my boyfriend's bike and, yes, I did ride on it by myself.
The good news is, it is not bikes that engender you, it is people who do all that.
So whether you are a catsuit-clad road goddess who does not touch dirt, but loves the smell of burning tyres, a grease monkey who tinkers with her own gaskets or simply a commuter looking for a more exciting way to get to work, do not let people get in the way of you feeling the elements charging at you, refreshing your soul with the thrill of liberation, the sensation of flying.
I just ignore them and keep on riding. And so should you.
• The writer is a lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University.