Ann Ferrar / Author / Contact

Journalist and author Ann Ferrar is an accomplished writer of narrative non-fiction from New York City. She is the biographer of Bessie Stringfield and author of Hear Me Roar: Women, Motorcycles and the Rapture of the Road.  Published in 1996 by Crown/Random House, Hear Me Roar broke new ground as the first-ever book on the history of women in motorcycling in all of its facets, including riding in different biker subcultures, racing in various motorsports, and long-distance adventure touring around the world. Ann's upcoming book is the biography African American Queen of the Road: Bessie Stringfield—A Woman's Journey Through Race, Faith, Resilience and the Road.


Ferrar, with her decades-long track record in journalism and narrative non-fiction, has written feature articles for The New York Times, American Motorcyclist, American Iron and other publications. Online, her articles have been published on the websites of the National Motorcycle Museum and the AMA Hall of Fame Museum. Ann's story of Bessie in Hear Me Roar informed the AMA of Bessie's hidden achievements and of her character, thus helping to get Bessie inducted to the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, posthumously in 2002. The story was read by the emcee to the audience at Bessie's induction ceremony.


Throughout her career, besides covering motorcycling, Ferrar has written feature stories and essays on women's issues with emphasis on health and medicine, as well as popular culture and entertainment, and eclectic human interest subjects. Her feature articles have been published in major international magazines, websites and via national newspaper syndication.


Ann's curiosity and passion for finding and writing about notable yet overlooked women led the author to conduct and audio-record rare interviews with Bessie Stringfield. Ann's exclusive, copyrighted sound recordings of Bessie are have been the foundation of her many publishes stories about Bessie dating back to the early 1990s, and they the bedrock of the new biography. Preserved by the author in pristine condition, the tapes are untouched and untainted by modern technology; as such, they are the only authentic sound recordings of Bessie Stringfield known to exist.


Bessie was a hidden figure who rode motorcycles around America in the pre-Civil Rights, pre-feminist decades of the early to mid-20th century. Ferrar's African American Queen of the Road  biography has never-before-published stories of Bessie's private life.

In 1990, at the start of her research and writing the first edition of Hear Me Roar, the author met Bessie Stringfield. In addition to Bessie, Ferrar met and interviewed more than 100 women, rode tens of thousands of miles around America on her own motorcycle, and was a participant-observer in scores of biker rallies and other events. Ferrar's archival research, along with interviews of descendants of early 20th-century riders, yielded the first chronicle of these forgotten pioneers of the American road.

Hear Me Roar  was critically acclaimed, cited in scholarly studies of women in non-traditional roles, and covered by The New York Times, CNN, Entertainment Weekly and other mainstream media outlets, in addition to the motorcycle press. 


Over the years, Ferrar has been consulted for her expertise on the history of women riders, especially for her knowledge of Bessie Stringfield. She was consulted for a segment about Ms. Stringfield on CNBC's Jay Leno's Garage. She has contributed her expertise to museums and appeared in PBS and History Channel documentaries, including Glory Road: The Legacy of the African American Motorcyclist and the multi-part American Biker. The author was a guest lecturer at the Women's Studies Department at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She has given seminars at colleges, libraries, and at events for riders and women in the general public.


Ann rode her own motorcycles for 18 years, owning six different bikes. She began in her native New York City and became an assertive urban rider and a long-distance solo rider, covering 35 of the 48 lower U.S. states and parts of Canada. It was a natural transition for Ann to switch from writing for national women's and health magazines to writing freelance motorcycling features for the Driving and Travel sections of The New York Times.


Ferrar, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, began writing short stories as a young child, as soon as she was old enough to hold a pen and pencil. She is an alumna of Brooklyn College, City University of New York, where she graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts.


A member of the Authors Guild and PEN America, Ann lived in TriBeCa in Lower Manhattan for many years, where she was nicknamed the Literary Biker Chick for her combined passion for writing and riding.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, Ann was one of the then-few long-distance women bikers in the Greater New York biker community. The number of female bikers has increased greatly since then. In 1996, Ferrar was recognized by the American Motorcyclist Association with the Hazel Kolb Brighter Image Award for Hear Me Roar. The book inspired many more women across America to get on the front seat and take control of the handlebars.


Ferrar still lives in the Northeastern region of the United States with her rescued Staffordshire bull terrier. She is finishing the biography African American Queen of the Road: Bessie Stringfield, A Woman's Journey Through Race, Faith, Resilience and the Road.


Selected feature articles written by Ann Ferrar include:


"Bessie Stringfield: Southern Rider Goes the Distance," National Motorcycle Museum, Anamosa, IA, 2023 (updated from the earlier version of 2008)


"Bessie Stringfield, Inducted 2002," written by Ann Ferrar for the website of the American Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum. The story was adapted by Ferrar from her 1996 book Hear Me Roar. The story in Hear Me Roar had informed the AMA of Bessie's hidden achievements, thus helping Bessie get inducted to the Hall of Fame. The story was read aloud by the emcee at Bessie's induction ceremony, and it was posted in full on the Hall of Fame website for many years. Eventually, due to rampant piracy and plagiarism by others, the author abridged the story. Today, only the shorter version is posted on the Hall of Fame website.)


"Where Neon Meets the Road," New York Times, May 14, 2004


"The Biker Question: To Roar or Not to Roar," New York Times, July 25, 2003


"Bessie Stringfield: The Motorcycle Queen of Miami," American Motorcyclist Magazine, March 2003


"Windswept Freedom on Two Fast Wheels," New York Times, May 19, 2002


"Riding the Road to a Cure: The Pony Express Ride for Breast Cancer Research," InTouch: The Good Health Guide to Cancer Prevention and Treatment, May 2002


Foreword to Sturgis Stories: Celebrating the People of the World's Largest Motorcycle Rally, a photo-essay book by Thomas Endres, PhD (MN: Kirk House Publishers, 2002)


"Bessie Stringfield: A Tribute to a Life-Long Harley Girl," American Iron Magazine, Special Daytona Issue, June 1993. This was Ferrar's narrative tribute article about Bessie, and it was the first time Stringfield was introduced to the wider world beyond Miami, Florida.


For the past three decades, other journalists have sought Ann Ferrar's expertise on Bessie Stringfield and the history women bikers. Here is a select list of independently reported articles including interviews with Ferrar:


Tinner-Williams, Nate: "Bessie Stringfield, the Black Biker Queen Whose Journey Is Still Unfolding," Boston Globe, April 11, 2023


Cunningham, Sharise: "Hidden History on Two Wheels: Bessie Stringfield,", Feb. 1, 2021


Hines, Bea L., "Sea of Black Women Motorcycle Riders Ensures Spirit of Pioneer Lives On," Miami Herald, Aug. 27, 2021


Lorchner, Jasmin: "Motorrad-Pionieren Bessie Stringfield, Rebellin auf Radern," Der Spiegel Online, August 22, 2019


Stewart, Nikita: "Overlooked No More: Bessie Stringfield, Motorcycle Queen of Miami" New York Times, April 4, 2018


DeFares, Giselle: "The Black Woman Who Biked Across the US Alone During the 1930s Jim Crow Era,", March 28, 2018


Logan, Ian: "Feature: Bessie Stringfield," Iron & Air Magazine, 2017, Issue 092


Plueddeman, Charles: "A True Pioneer, Bessie Stringfield," HOG/Enthusiast Magazine, 2011, Issue 009


Stevenson, Jed: "Hear Me Roar: A Woman's Symphony on the Road," New York Times, July 28, 1996


MacKay, Liz: "It's a Woman's SportThe Evolution of the Female Motorcyclist: Ann Ferrar, Hear Me Roar: Women, Motorcycles and the Rapture of the Road," Motorcycle Industry Magazine, July 1996


Shores, Lillian "Wills": Hear Me Roar: A Fabulous Odyssey," Motorcycle Times, July-August 1996


Sassone, J.R., "Celebrating All Women Bikers," Blackriders Magazine, Special Women's Issue, Fall 1996


American Motorcyclist Magazine: "Hear Me Roar Author Honored: Ann Ferrar Receives Brighter Image Award," AMA News, Jan. 1998


Bellino, Sunitha: "Women Bikers and the Thrill of the Ride," Times-Beacon Record Newspapers, April 16, 1998




Glory Road: The Legacy of the African American Motorcyclist: documentary film shown on PBS and The History Channel, 2008; now streaming on Prime


American Biker: four-part documentary series shown on PBS and The History Channel, 2009, now streaming on Prime


"Ann Ferrar and Hear Me Roar" television news featurette in All About Women series, CNN, summer 1996



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