FREDERICTON — A global relay aimed at making the streets more welcoming to women motorcycle riders has completed it’s Canadian leg and passed the baton off to the United States.
Thirty women riders in New Brunswick drove their bikes through the rain Tuesday before meeting up with a group of Americans at the border crossing to Calais, Maine.
“It was a great day, and the rain seemed to stop every time we stopped to do something,” New Brunswick organizer Catherine Lawrence said Wednesday.
Lawrence said the relay, which crossed the country from British Columbia, is about inspiring women and prompting the industry to realize women motorcyclists represent an important market. She said an increasing number of women are riding motorcycles and buying bikes and accessories.
“There is a lack of choice for women in everything from proper fitting protective clothing to bikes,” she said. “We need gear and bikes that are made with women in mind.”
The New Brunswick riders made a slight detour into Hartland to cross the world’s longest covered bridge, before planned stops in Fredericton, Saint John and St. Stephen. The stop in Saint John was at Eldridge’s Harley Davidson — a dealership owned by a woman.
The Women Riders World Relay was launched by Hayley Bell, a 27-year-old from the United Kingdom.
“I wanted to ignite a global sisterhood of inspirational women to promote courage, adventure, unity and passion for biking from all corners of the world and do something that’s never been done before to this scale,” Bell writes on her web page.
“My aim is to wow the industry into realizing the global market for women in motorsports and to inspire women world wide.”
Lawrence, who rides with a North American group called the Motor Maids, said many women now riding motorcycles don’t fit the old stereotypical image of “biker chicks.” She said some women in the group are seniors, and at least one is in her 90s.
“I have five grandchildren,” Lawrence said.
The relay will spend 14 days crossing the United States before moving on to Mexico. It’s expected to end in the United Arab Emirates early next year.