Margaret Wilson is one of the first of a generation of female motorcyclists in post-World War II America who took up the sport and began changing the image of the motorcycling as an exclusive domain of men. This "golden gal" of motorcycling has ridden her bikes over 550,000 miles! She is a tremendous motorcycle supporter, an enthusiastic promoter and a great guide. Margaret was awarded a Golden Life membership in the Motor Maids, Inc. club for her years of active participation and dedication to their cause.
Wilson was born in Wisconsin in 1920. Her love of motorcycling began in 1946, when her husband, Mike, returned from duty in World War II and bought her a new Harley-Davidson. The 45-cubic-inch Harley had a high buddy seat, windshield and safety guard and was so high off the ground Margaret could not touch the ground. Her husband, sitting behind her, would put his feet on the ground when Margaret came to a stop to hold the bike upright. After several hundred miles with Mike on the passenger seat giving her instructions, Margaret finally took her first solo ride and she was off and on her own, instantly an avid rider.
Beginning in 1950 and for the next 25 years, Margaret and Mike also were business partners in Wilson's Motorcycle Sales of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She's a Golden Life Member of the Motor Maids, having joined this renowned national women's motorcycle organization in 1951, and she helped form the Corn State Riders Motorcycle Club in the early 1950s. Over the years, she served as secretary and road captain. She was also the only female rider on the club's organized motorcycle Drill Team. Putting safety first, she and Mike were among the first to wear helmets and protective clothing, encouraging others to do the same.
One of her proudest moments came in the spring of 1959 when Margaret was voted America’s Most Popular and Typical Girl Rider for 1958 by all the clubs in the AMA. She keeps the large trophy on display in her house.
Over the years she has assisted with many motorcycle races and events, and has logged more than 555,000 miles throughout the United States and Canada. In one year alone, she traveled all 48 contiguous states and visited nine Canadian provinces. On another road trip through Canada, she went to the northern tip of Newfoundland. Margaret and Mike both served on the Board of Directors of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum and were among the Museum's principal benefactors.
"There may be no better role model for women, whether or not they ride motorcycles, than Margaret Wilson," said Robert Rasor, President of the AMA, when Wilson was awarded the AMA Bessie Stringfield Award in 2003. "Her personal energy and passion, as well as her inestimable contribution to motorcycling over nearly six decades, makes her most deserving of the AMA Bessie Stringfield Award."