People graduating in 2020 may have a much different graduation experience than those who came before. Still, they’re putting on their graduation masks, caps, and gowns, and moving down their new paths in life. Take Paris McGowan, a brand-new graduate of the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute of Orlando, with a specialization in Harley-Davidson.
She’s a Black woman motorcyclist who grew up in a family of riders in St. Louis, Missouri. Her mom rides, her dad rides, and other members of the family do, too. Watch this video and you’ll see an adorable photo of tiny, eight-year-old Paris sitting on a GSX-R, grinning so big it almost hurts your heart. She’s clearly having the greatest time any eight-year-old ever had, so is it any surprise she became a rider when she got older?
Not just any rider, though—a history-making one. With her graduation, McGowan is now the first-ever Black woman to graduate from MMI as a Harley-Davidson technician. It’s a barrier she’s very proud to have broken. When people see her, she may be a lot of things they’re not expecting. However, she says that people soon learn that with bikes, she definitely knows what she’s doing.
“There are a lot of Black female Harley riders, or just Black female riders in general,” McGowan said. “We need to be shown more. My mother, who is a strong, proud Black woman, rides her own motorcycle. I have aunts and cousins who all ride together. I mean, we just did a female unity ride for Labor Day. I believe there were at least 300 or more female riders out there, and it was incredible.”
More than anything, McGowan says, she wants women and girls—especially women and girls of color—to see her, and also hopefully see themselves. Motorcycling is for everyone—and wrenching is for all of us, too, if we want it to be.
There’s a difference between just seeing or saying these words and actually seeing someone living that life. McGowan did it for herself, but she also hopes to help normalize the idea that women of color can do absolutely anything, from working on the quintessential American motorcycle to anything we put our minds to. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you don’t belong. Ride away, achieve your dreams, and prove them wrong.
JIMS Milwaukee-Eight® “On Bike” Valve Spring Compressor
When changing valve springs for performance upgrades, or simply replacing a leaking valve seal, it is necessary for the technician to completely remove the cylinder head from the engine. This adds unnecessary time and expense.
With an MSRP of $265, you can now use this revolutionary and creative new tool that JIMS has developed, which eliminates this step completely. This patentpending “on bike” valve spring compressor kit for Milwaukee Eight engines, works with the cylinder head installed on the motor.
Simply remove the rocker box covers and rocker arms, and install this unique compressor on the rocker arm shaft. Once the cylinder is filled with compressed air, the technician can easily rotate the tool and compress the top collar of the valve spring exposing the keepers to remove the top collar, valve spring, and seal.
This patent pending tool dramatically saves time for any technician working on Milwaukee Eight performance upgrades or service work. For more information please contact us at (805) 482-6913, email us at email@example.com, or visit www.jimsusa.com.