It Begins on the Page
Ann's Role in Maintaining Bessie Stringfield's Legacy

You have read about Bessie Stringfield -- here and on other venues -- because author Ann Ferrar was the only writer to record and preserve the oral history of Bessie Stringfield herself. Since 1993, beginning with Bessie's eulogy in American Iron, Ferrar's various short-form works on Bessie have reached a worldwide audience, informing successive generations about her.

Bessie was featured in Ann's first book of narrative non-fiction, Hear Me Roar: Women, Motorcycles and the Rapture of the Road (Crown: 1996). Later, Ann composed a tribute biography ** for the website of, upon Bessie's induction into the American Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2002.

The latest of the author's works is a forthcoming book of narrative non-fiction, Finding the Real Bessie Stringfield: A Journey Through Race, Faith, Resilience and the Road. This book is very different -- it is part biography of Bessie Stringfield and part memoir of Ferrar's life experiences as they relate to Bessie's. Certain aspects of Bessie's past are laden with contradictions, and the book will explore those.

The two women's lives were intertwined in Bessie's last three years, when the elder was able to reflect on her extraordinary life, and to teach the younger woman, who was coming into her prime in the male-dominated milieu of motorcycling.


During her 17-year riding career, Ferrar owned six different motorcycles. She was an accomplished urban biker navigating her native New York City. Ann's solo long-distance rides brought her from Laconia, New Hampshire to Sturgis, South Dakota and Los Angeles, and down to Miami, Daytona Beach and Key West, Florida. Ferrar rode some 30,000 miles around the USA over six years of researching and writing Hear Me Roar, published in 1996 by Crown, New York.

Hear Me Roar, was the first book to chronicle the history of American women bikers, their lifestyles, and achievements in motorcycle sports. Ann was a participant-observer in major motorcycling and niche events across the USA well into the 2000s. The author was happiest when listening to loquacious old-timers (like Bessie), and when on the "hunt" researching in out-of-the-way archives, libraries and museums.

During Ferrar's long-standing career as a freelance journalist and author, she has written feature articles for The New York Times and for major women's periodicals, on a variety of subjects ranging from motorcycles to women's issues and medicine, respectively.

Ferrar is a second-generation Italian American who now lives in New Jersey with her two rescued dogs. Stay tuned for more on her forthcoming biography/​memoir Finding the Real Bessie Stringfield: A Journey Through Race, Faith, Resilience and the Road.

**Dear Readers: In February, 2018, the author abridged her longer, more detailed biography of Bessie Stringfield which had been posted on since 2002. The piece had to be shortened due to plagiarism and unauthorized adaptations.