A global motorcycle relay designed to boost women’s profile on two-wheels will begin later this month.
The Women Riders World Relay will fire into life in Scotland on Wednesday, February 27 in John O’Groats, with the hand-crafted baton then moving down the country and along a winding tour of the British Isles.
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From there, it will then be taken to the Ace Café London on Saturday, 9 March for special launch event with guest speakers including Elspeth Beard, Carolynn Sells, Jodie Fieldhouse and Míde Emans. The following day, Sittingbourne Speedway will also host an introduction to speedway, motocross, sidecars and trials.
The group was founded by 27-year-old office manager, Hayley Bell, from Warrington, who will begin the relay next week with around five other riders, following a 10-hour ride from her home to the starting point on a KTM 690 Duke.
"The culture within the group is immense," Hayley said. "Not only the bikes and the women, but the traditional aspect of each country and the women within them. There have been no qualms between members and it’s a really positive welcoming unity and everyone gets it.
"We wanted to highlight what women can do and it is certainly no Sunday ride," she added.
Since the group was formed at the end of August, over 14,200 women around the world have joined, with each person who signs up to ride with the baton becoming a 'Guardian'.
To do this, riders must pay a fee of either £5 or £25 and sign a waiver at the back end of the Women Riders World Relay website. You can also sign up through the group’s Facebook page, too.
With the increasing popularity of the ride, a number of volunteers have now come onboard as admins of the project. This includes 27-year-old, Sara Osterholzer, who rides a Suzuki Bandit.
"The first day I saw the post on one of the Facebook groups, I joined up. By the time I was a member the numbers were just piling up, with literally hundreds of riders joining every hour.
"My background is in helping people start-up businesses and I have a huge passion for motorbikes and finding more women who ride.
"I always felt like I only had two friends who rode and it took me quite a long time to get my confidence up to get riding and so there was something about it that really excited me.
"It’s the same with all the admins, we were all passionate about helping with this and all had the skills to do it. People often have an idea and don’t really drive it forwards. We are all driving it forward and want to help Hayley make it a reality."
Alongside the relay, the group has now also become a central hub for female riders to ask for advice, compare bikes and even find new friends to ride with. Alongside local get togethers, members have also been meeting internationally when visiting other countries on holiday.
If you are unable to make the trip, but would still like to keep an eye out on the progress of the baton, then you can follow it around the world on their website, thanks to the installation of a tracker by BikeTrac.