The Australian division of the Women’s International Motorcycle Association (WIMA) has the honour this year of hosting the 2015 International Motorcycle Rally straight after the MotoGP.
WIMA Australia president Moira Stewart says the rally will attract hundreds of women from more than 12 countries.
Moira says the rally is usually held in a European country and she attended the last two international rallies in Switzerland and Poland.
It was last held in Australia at Kiama NSW in 2000, New Zealand in 2005 and Japan in 2010 but in Europe in the other years.
This year’s rally at The Shearing Shed, Gap Road, Cowes, Victoria from October 19 – 25 is open to WIMA to members and their husbands and partners. It will include organised rides to tourist attractions, welcome and farewell dinners, and evening entertainment.
“There is a program of rides to destinations such as Wilson’s Promontory, Healesville Sanctuary, the Penguins and the Native Botanic Gardens for example and the evening entertainment will include a bush dance so I guess the theme is “all things Aussie”,” she says.
WIMA has been on a membership drive the past year, she says.
“I wish I knew why more women don’t ride – perhaps it’s because society in general is more risk-averse today (with notable exceptions, of course),” she says.
Moira says VicRoads shows as many as 20% of registered riders are women, but she says that is not represented on the roads.
“There might be a lot of women who got their registration just to say they did it, but they stop riding after their first scare, or get pressured into quitting by their family and friends.
“There is a lot of social pressure on women not to ride because the general population think it is unsafe.
“However, they represent only 2% of crashes and fatalities.
“What people don’t realise is that women are safer on bikes because they don’t have that testosterone factor.”
While Moira enjoys the companionship of other women riders, she confesses that the major attraction of riding is the feeling of being on your own.
“You’re on your own on a bike and that’s automatic freedom,” se says. “No one is nagging in your ear. You do what you want to do and don’t need anyone else if you have a bike.
“It’s a bit daring – it’s considered daring for blokes but more daring for women.”