First Horizons Unlimited travellers meet in Sweden

Last weekend in June 2018, Horizons Unlimited hosted the very first travellers meet in Sweden and I was happy to take part. Ironically, it was hosted by a German, Kai-Uwe Och and the venue was owned by a German couple – does it take Germans to appreciate the Swedish countryside, I wonder?

It was a small meet with a shade over 15 people attending, many Swedes as expected but some people from central Europe had made their way up to Dalarna and Finnskogen near Orsa. The atmosphere was excellent, everyone was humble and, regardless of experience and skills, their main focus was to listen and learn from others, just the kind of low key event I enjoy participating in. Together, we enjoyed ride outs, both on gravel and tarmac, and in the evening we cooked food on the campfire and enjoyed old school presentations. For inspirational travel stories, we were treated to photos and stories from Canada and Iceland.

In addition, I talked about WIMA and Pikilily. As the audience was only men, apart from myself and another woman, I was happily surprised that people were so interested in hearing about WIMA and the presentation went on for longer than I had expected due to all the questions.

Lastly, there was a tyre workshop where I got to develop my skills in changing the innertube. As I previously always have had tubeless tyres, before getting my GS a couple of weeks prior to this, it was welcome practice before my summer travelling.

The weekend was a success and I certainly hope that we can see a continuation of this event!

WIMA Rally Estonia

The activities were endless and the week passed very quickly: Live band and dancing every night, yummy food and tasty drinks, treasure hunt and visits to manor houses, bog walk and swamp water tastings, parade with 200 motorbikes, castle visit and medieval culture, fundraising in aid of women less fortunate, camping and crispy cold nights… and most important of all, meeting old friends and making new ones. This is what I love the most about WIMA rallies.

This year, for the first time, I had to fly in to a European rally. Sadly, my bike had to be stored away in Barcelona and I got on a flight and flew the 3300 kilometres to Tallinn. This might not be common knowledge, but the vacation periods differ vastly in Europe and in Spain the holiday period is August, so when I return home my official holiday begins and I’ll be heading up into the Pyrenees for riding and camping, taking advantage of the lovely mountains we have so close to home. But I’m getting ahead of myself. At the moment, I’m still in Sweden visiting my parents, my sister and her baby, relaxing with friends and savouring the good memories from the WIMA rally. Since I was working until the Saturday before the rally, I had the pleasure of getting home from work every evening checking Facebook, following others’ journeys and reading about good fortunes and motorbike breakdowns. I could see how friends from all over the world slowly made their way towards Estonia. I could see what weather they had and where they were staying for the night. Likewise, now after the rally, I can follow my friends, en route back home, with pleasant detours to make the most of the journey and finding enjoyable roads to ride and places to see while I spend time with my parents, who I haven’t seen in a year.

Everyone makes their own memories, here are some of mine:

The venue had a large field for camping and I was happy to use it, there was a hotel for those who sleep better in a bed. The night were insanely could though - coming from a temperature above 30 it was quite a shock for me. Luckily, I was saved by friends who lent me a blanket and thermals. I always sleep best when my nose is cold, but I want to keep my body warm.
The venue had a large field for camping and I was happy to use it, there was a hotel for those who sleep better in a bed. The nights were insanely could though – coming from a temperature above 30 it was quite a shock for me. Luckily, I was saved by friends who lent me a blanket and thermals. I always sleep best when my nose is cold, but I want to keep my body warm.
Svata Vatra - one of the amazing live bands we danced to. I even got their CD. i love bands who use lots of strange instrument, if they can do it in a rock style even better.
Svata Vatra – one of the amazing live bands we danced to. I even got their CD. I love bands who use lots of strange instruments – if they can do it in a rock style, even better.
Liv and Val - my team for the treasure hunt. We had an excellent day trying to be clever and resisting the temptation of googleling the questions. The countryside in the north west of Estonia is beautiful, and as you can see - the weather was windy :)
Liv and Val – my team for the treasure hunt. We had an excellent day trying to be clever and resisting the temptation of googling the questions. The countryside in the north west of Estonia is beautiful, and as you can see – the weather was windy 🙂
A beautiful place to stop for a coffe. Some come and some leave, there was constant movement along the treasure hunt route. Here is Syl on her way just as we arrive.
A beautiful place to stop for a coffee. Some come and some leave, there was constant movement along the treasure hunt route. Here is Syl on her way just as we arrive.
How many suitcases are there? I counted them 4 times and got a different number each time. The suitcases symbolises the amount of luggage the emmigraters had with them.
How many suitcases are there? I counted them 4 times and got a different number each time. The suitcases symbolise the amount of luggage the emigrants had with them.
Estonia is famous for its manor houses, we saw a few of them and I must admit that they are impressive and the gardens are fantastic. Worth mentioning is that you can stay in this manor house, there are ensuites as well as dorm beds and the price is not bad for what you get. In comparison, it is about the same as a hostel in central london but I belive the ambiance is a lot grander.
Estonia is famous for its manor houses, we saw a few of them and I must admit that they are impressive and the gardens are fantastic. I enjoyed walking around the grounds trying to find the facts required for the treasure hunt. Worth mentioning is that you can stay in this manor house – there are ensuites as well as dorm beds and the price is not bad for what you get. In comparison, it is about the same as a hostel in central London but I believe the ambience is a lot grander.
Again, impressive grounds and here we were invited to view the rooms as well. I enjoyed walking around the grounds trying to find the facts required for the treasure hunt.
Again, impressive grounds and here we were invited to view the rooms as well. I enjoyed walking around the grounds trying to find the facts required for the treasure hunt.
A seminar on traffic culture in different countries was offered and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Here is Keiko, national president of WIMA Japan, talking about Japanese trafic culture, prejudice against motorcyclists and potential road sign confusion.
A seminar on traffic culture in different countries was offered and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Here is Keiko, national president of WIMA Japan, talking about Japanese trafic culture, prejudice against motorcyclists and potential road sign confusion.
Bog walk - here you needed to be light on your foot and only step where the guide allowed us to, or we could disapear into the bog. An amazing nature experience. The water was clean and purifying, we could swim if we wanted, too cold for me although some were brave enough to dip in. I settled for a drink from the water and a splash on my face.
Bog walk – here you needed to be light on your foot and only step where the guide allowed us to, or we could disapear into the bog. An amazing nature experience. The water was clean and purifying, we could swim if we wanted, too cold for me although some were brave enough to dip in. I settled for a drink from the water and a splash on my face.
The parade is my favourite activity during a WIMA rally. Here is Margaret from Australia flying her ossie flag.
The parade is my favourite activity during a WIMA rally. Here is Margaret from Australia flying her Aussie flag.
The Swedes are dressed uniformly with pink WIMA Sweden vests for this occation.
The Swedes are dressed uniformly with pink WIMA Sweden vests for this occasion.
Chris from WIMA Austria volunteered to fly the banner during the parade, here with Maura, national president of WIMA Poland and my good friend Fokje from the Netherlands. We all come together under the WIMA banner :)
Chris from WIMA Austria volunteered to fly the banner during the parade, here with Maura, national president of WIMA Poland and my good friend Fokje from the Netherlands. We all come together under the WIMA banner 🙂
The week passed so quickly and too soon it was all over. Then we missed each other so much so we got to gether for an after party :) Thank you Kaialiisa for inviting me!
The week passed so quickly and too soon it was all over. Then we missed each other so much so we got together for an after party 🙂 Thank you Kaialiisa for inviting me!

This was the Estonian WIMA rally represented in pictures, I wish I had more photos to share with you, as always, the photos don’t do the event justice.

Below, I’ll share some links where WIMA and WIMA members been interviewed by the media:

From the pre-rally which I sadly missed. Pat and Sheonagh from WIMA GB were interviewd by the local newspaper in Pärnu. 
From the pre-rally which I sadly missed. Pat and Sheonagh from WIMA GB were interviewed by the local newspaper in Pärnu.

On the local TV channel TV3: WIMA Rally parade and visit to the Rakvere castle. Contains interviews with Keiko, the national president of WIMA Japan, Elsbeth member of WIMA Switzerland, Liv, member of WIMA Australia and Anneli, national president of WIMA Estonia. It starts with an advert, then scroll forward to minutes 21.20 – 24.54 for the relevant section of the programme.

Photos from the parade in the local online newspaper Virumaa Terataja.

Interview with Sheonagh from WIMA GB in Virumaa Terataja.

Before the parade, a little jig. Kindly posted on YouTube by Veronica Vefur.

Coverage of the parade with some great footage in the local car magazine Accelerista. (Thanks to Gerli, WIMA Estonia, for sending me this link and the following!)

YouTube video by Hannes Arus, showing the entire group when arriving in Rakvere finishing the parade.

And the media attention doesn’t end here, members of WIMA Curacao were interviewed at the Jögevatreff, Estonia’s largest bikemeet which took place the weekend after our WIMA rally.

Lastly, I am proud to announce that I have been elected international president of WIMA. I look forward to working further with female riders worldwide and strengthening our sisterhood. Perhaps less time for the blog, but more time connecting with women motorcyclists.

Thank you Carola, president of WIMA Sweden for this photo!
Thank you Carola, president of WIMA Sweden for this photo!

Next year, our international rally will be held in Finland and I look forward to travelling there and meeting my friends again. But WIMA is more than a one week rally once a year – it is an endless possibility of networking, building international friendship and connecting with female riders all over the world.

Updated with new links to different media coverage, you’re welcome to contact me if you know of anything else I could add and share with our WIMA community.

Pikilily

Välkomen till något så ovanligt som en blogpost på Svenska, i all ärlighet händer det ju inte så ofta, men det ska bli mer av det framöver.

Jag vill berätta mer om Pikilily, en organisation som startades av en av mina WIMA vänner, Claire Elsdon. Under sin resa genom Afrika upptäckte hon att avsaknaden av underhåll på motorcyklar var en stor orsak till trafikolyckor – devisen kör tills det rasar, bokstavligen. Trafikolyckor är nu på väg att bli en större hälsorisk än sjukdomar som AIDS och malaria. Som den handlingskraftiga och godhjäratade människa hon är ville Claire göra något åt detta. Claire återvände till Afrika, närmare bestämt Mwanza, i Tanzania, där hon nu är bosatt och fullt engagerad i uppstarten av Pikilily – en motorcykelverkstad med plats för upplärning av kvinnliga mekaniker.

Claire i Mwanza. Publicerat med tillstånd av Pikilily
Claire i Mwanza. Publicerat med tillstånd av Pikilily

Som ni kanske minns önskade jag mej donationer till Pikilily istället för presenter på min 40års dag och att jag firade med att springa Beachy Head 10k till förmån för Pikilily. Nu är verkstaden snart klar och de kommer intervjua för traineeplatserna innom kort. Jag är fantastiskt stolt över att ha kunnat vara med och bidra till något så viktigt som ökad trafiksäkerhet och jag vill återigen tacka alla mina vänner och min familj som så generöst donerade pengar under hösten! Tack! <3

Paralellt med verkstaden kommer Pikilily köra ett pilotprojekt som återigen syftar till att öka medvetenheten av vikten av underhåll och regelbunden service,  men även att rädda liv – på ett mer direkt sätt. Projektet är nämligen specifikt riktat mot ambulansmotorcyklar. Dessa finns redan på många sjukhus i Tanzania, men de är ofta så eftersatta med underhåll att de inte är körbara. Istället för att brukas i sammhällets tjänst, genom att hämta sjuka människor eller gravida kvinnor och köra dem till sjukhuset, blir motorcyklarna stående i obrukbart tillstånd. För att sjuktransporterna ska fungera behöver motorcyklarna skötas om med regelbunden service. Pikililys ämnar köpa loss 4 stycken illa medfarna ambulansmotorcyklar från ett närliggande sjukhus samt renovera dem till full körbarhet. Sedan kommer Pikilily tillhandahålla service under ett år och på så sätt bevisa att genom underhåll och service kan motorcyklarna fungera tillförlitligt och utan haveri.

De nu obrukbara motorcykelambulancer som Pikilily hoppas kunna restaurera. Bild: Pikilily
De nu obrukbara motorcykelambulancer som Pikilily hoppas kunna restaurera. Bild: Pikilily

När motorcykelambulancerna väl är körbara kommer de att användas i samhällets service genom att hämta akut sjuka människor, med prioritet för gravida kvinnor med komplikationer. I Tanzania dör 20 gravida kvinnor varje dag av komplikationer som skulle kunna förebyggas med enkla medel om sjuktransport fanns. Att få tillgång till sjukvård i dessa situationer är helt enkelt livsavgörande, så med tanke på de få alternativ som finns till sjuktransport kommer Pikilily att fylla en viktig funktion i samhället.

Om du vill donera finns länken här.

För mer information besök gärna Pikililys hemsida och se videodagböckerna på youtube, de illustrerar hela förloppet från början och uppdateras fortlöpande.