Anthropologist Barbara Joans, who studied women riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles, dies at 89.

Anthropologist Barbara Joans, renowned for her research on women who rode Harley-Davidson motorcycles, passed away at the age of 89 in March. Joans, pictured with a captivating display of her book "Bike Lust" in a bookstore window, remained an avid rider well into her 70s.

Driven by academic curiosity, Joans transitioned from being a passenger on her husband's Harley to piloting her own low-rider, intrigued by the cultural significance of throttling back and experiencing the raw power beneath her. Her findings culminated in the seminal work "Bike Lust: Harleys, Women, and American Society," published in 2001 when she was 66, offering insights into the intersection of motorcycle culture and gender dynamics.

Beyond academia, Joans, a tenured professor at Merritt College in Oakland, integrated her passion into her teaching, occasionally arriving at work on her Harley to engage students. She embraced a nomadic lifestyle, relocating multiple times between New York and Santa Cruz, where she split her time between a San Francisco apartment and a retirement community. Her adventurous spirit extended to participation in events like the Pride parade with Dykes on Bikes and even riding alongside the Hells Angels.

A true nonconformist, Joans embodied the ethos of the counterculture movement, championing feminist ideals and challenging societal norms. Despite not riding a motorcycle until her mid-50s, she fearlessly embraced new challenges, earning a reputation for resilience and tenacity. Her legacy as a pioneer in both academia and motorcycle culture will endure, inspiring countless individuals to embrace life's unpredictability and seek adventure beyond the next horizon.