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Women Riders World Relay

Less pink and more options please, say women motorbike riders who are part of an international relay to tell companies to consider them when making motorcycle merchandise.

Underlining their point, Roz Farnan wears men’s leather bike pants because she couldn’t find women’s, while Helen Taylor has a men’s jacket that is too bulky for her.

They would appreciate more motorbike gear made for women’s bodies.

The pair are part of the Women Riders World Relay, which is gaining momentum by the day.

As of today, around 16,000 riders had registered for the relay that set off from Scotland in February.

A core group is travelling from country to country carrying a baton.

That baton has reached New Zealand.

Over four days female riders will cover over 1900 kilometres of the country’s roads by motorbike.

Some are doing the whole journey, while others will join in for different legs.

The relay then heads to Japan and Canada.

Taking part in the whole New Zealand leg are Helen and Roz from Wairoa, and Michelle Lomax and Lisa Porter from Waipiro Bay.

They start tomorrow from Waitangi as part of the core New Zealand group who will be on the road for 10 days travelling the length of the country to Invercargill.

“It’s about empowering women and meeting with other women riders,” says Lisa, who is a member of the Highway 35 Motorcycle Club, as is Michelle.

“We just want to be a force to be recognised,” she said.

“It’s another world when you are riding your bike. Michelle and I are nurses and so we’ve seen it all from accidents on the road.

“We’re cautious but it’s freedom.”

Gisborne women Jesse Baker and Carmel Kendrick will join them in Taupo tomorrow.

The women have been on motorbikes since they were teenagers.

Helen said it was a different zone when riding a motorbike.

“You forget all your worries.”

All the women have been sponsored personally, and want to thank those who have made their journey easier through financial or other contributions.

There’s not much room for luggage on a bike — essential items only. These must include tools for potential mishaps and strops to secure the bike when they cross Cook Strait for the South Island leg.

A group of motorbike riders from the East Coast are off to join the Women Riders World Relay on its New Zealand leg tomorrow. They are among 16,000 women worldwide riding their motorbikes across different countries to let companies who make motorcycle merchandise know that women ride bikes, too. From left are Michelle Lomax (Tokomaru Bay) and Lisa Porter from Waipiro Bay, Roz Farnan and Helen Taylor from Wairoa, and Carmel Kendrick and Jesse Baker from Gisborne. Picture by Liam Clayton