Kiwi leg of global relay finishes at Classic Motorcycle Mecca
A motorcycle relay criss-crossing the globe has wrapped up the Kiwi leg of its journey with a celebration at Classic Motorcycle Mecca.
The Women Riders World Relay was founded to 'ignite a global sisterhood' among women motorcyclists, according to founder Hayley Bell, in the United Kingdom.
One of the women involved in organising the New Zealand leg of , ex-Invercargill woman Maureen Macnamara, says Classic Motorcycle Mecca – a haven for motorcycle enthusiasts – seemed the natural end to a ride centred around encouraging women to celebrate their passion for motorcycles.
"When we were planning everything, I thought ‘well, we have to go there’ – you couldn’t do something like this and not come to a place like Mecca," she says.
"The new display at Mecca on women riders is fantastic, and exactly what WRWR is about - getting women rider stories out there!"
The New Zealand portion of the global relay began in Waitangi, with riders treated to a rousing haka and waiata before setting off, and travelled down the country to Taupo, Wellington, Picton and Christchurch before officially ending at Feldwick Gates at Invercargill’s Queens Park.
Their epic journey was then marked with a party at Meccaspresso.
"There were so, so many emotions. The first was 'oh thank god, we made it' – without any incidents and that kind of thing; then it went to 'oh thank god, we actually made it!' Then there was that realisation that now it’s done, it’s over," she says.
Most of the women didn’t know one another before the relay but quickly shared a camaraderie, she says.
"It’s about doing something that you probably wouldn’t or couldn’t do otherwise … it’s exhilarating, it’s thrilling, it’s a skill you have to master, it’s a challenge. It is a bit of an escape to be honest. It just makes you smile."
The women shared many of the same frustrations.
Women made up 20 percent of the market but often their involvement was overlooked – to the point that many retailers did not even carry gear made for them, she says.
"As women going into bike shops, staff will often be looking over your shoulder for a man."
The relay hoped to change the perception of what the average motorcyclist looked like, while encouraging other women to give it a go at the same time, she says.
The relay began in Scotland in February and is set to run until January 2020, with about 20,000 women from around the world expected to take part by the time the relay ends.
Collette Edeling, from the WRWR, is charged with carrying a baton accompanying the riders in each country, which has a scroll with the names of participants inside. She flies between each country with the baton, and is set to head to Canada for the next portion of the relay.
Click here to learn more and track the relay as it travels the globe.