Summer has arrived at last! Today I had a fantastic day riding around Orust, an island north of Gothenburg. This is an area I have visited on various occations but I’m not familiar with the
roads and it was a great pleasure to just lay back and follow someone who knows it all. We road some truly amazing roads and bridges today!
Mollösund is a small harbour-villlage that blooms in summer due to tourism but I expect it is rather calm in winter. A sunny day like this it is truly a precious place to visit.
This is certainly a nice spot for a wedding dinner, the guest were slightly surprised when we turned up in search of an icecream vendor. An no, we did not stay for cake 🙂
I was might pleased yesterday when I cleaned the chain. Today I learned how to tighten it, apparently not having a central stand is no excuse, there is still a way. I may make progress slowly, but I’m getting better bit by bit.
So, after the amazing record breaking meet at the Ace Café it is time to look back at our WIMA rally and ride out. Our numbers were not as great as at the Ace Café, we were roughly 200 women, but among us 11 countries were represented, Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, The Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom. This, I believe, is the essence of WIMA, to be able to meet up with fellow female riders from other parts of the world every year for a week of riding, playing, partying and networking. For us Swedes, this year was different because, being the hosting nation, we all worked during the week. It is hard work hosting a rally but it is, nevertheless, wonderful.
At the first evening the rally is declared open and we celebrate together with a special meal. Every country is represented on stage by either the national president or a representative and our International President holds a welcome speech. After that, the party can begin and will last all through the week until the last evening when the rally is announced closed.
Among the things served this starter was my personal favourite. But we also had “Pyttipanna” (a dish that was traditionally made of leftovers cut in pieces, I doubt it is made like that anymore). As desserts, the good old apple cake and sticky chocolate cake were served, can’t go wrong with these.
Every night we had either a live band or a disco and since dancing, among other things, actually is a very good way of keeping warm I was dancing every night. I was wearing my riding boots, they are rather heavy but never mind, since I was too busy to have time for running during the WIMA rally the boot-dancing made up for that.
The bar was open almost all the time and I believe we had as much fun behind the bar as the ones buying the drinks.
As always on WIMA rallies, there are silly games and this year was no exception. The teams showed their skills during three different tasks, finding numbers wearing a cone was the first. This was followed by the Heidy-game, i.e. to dress up with lipstick, apron and headscarf and consume a fizzy drink as quick as you possibly can, this is a lot harder than it sounds. The last game was to catch water balloons in water and carry them with your mouth. I was surprised, believing I dislike such games, but was proven wrong when I had to fill in for an injured player and actually had lots of fun. Next year, I might even sign up.
Honestly, the weather wasn’t fantastic, but no worse than any other place I had been to this summer, everywhere was equally cold – from Sweden to Ireland and back again. Despite the cold and sometimes rainy weather, the WIMA girls were busy making plans for riding and it was great to hear of all the places they were visiting: Kalmar and the bridge over to Öland and Allvaret. Mollö where you can see over to Denmark, Lund with its University, Vimmerby and Astrid Lindgrens World, The Elk Park outside Ljungby, to name a few. Maybe one day I too will have seen this much of Southern Sweden.
Despite most people being away during the days there were always things going on at the camp site. People cooking, doing laundry, just lazing around or going for a swim at the beach nearby. In addition to this we had the possibility to hear Pat and Sheonagh’s inspirational presentation about riding in India and how they through successful networking in the biker community got the opportunity to borrow Harleys for their tour on the very challenging Indian roads. In addition, they meet with the Bikirnis and spoke at the Indian Bike Meet, among other things. At a WIMA rally there is time for everything and something for everyone.
As always, my favourite part of the rally is the parade. I’m not normally a fan of group rides, hence all the solo travelling, but the WIMA parade is a group ride like no other. It feels so powerful riding out with this large group of friends from all over the world and with the bikes decorated with national flags and WIMA flags we do make an impression when we ride past villages. At one point we rode a long straight stretch of road and from my position in the middle of the group all I could see up ahead were WIMA friends, looking in my rear mirror the view was the same.
We had planned for a long ride, 100km and at the destination we would join the local bike meet at Tydinge. In this region, more or less local bikers meet at this café on Thursdays for something to eat and a chat. The bikes are always counted at the entry because the owner gives 1sek per bike to the Chernobyl fund. A normal Thursday there are around 700 bikes, the previous record was of 890 bikes, our arrival contributed to smashing that record. The new record, which I think will stand for some time, is 1120. WIMA and our support riders contributed with more than 200 bikes. The local newspaper had advertised our coming which I imagined contributed to a few more bikes arriving than usual.
Our president Carola and a few other WIMA girls were interviewed by the local newspaper, we have the article uploaded in PDF on our WIMA Sweden website, they are in Swedish but I plan to upload them here with a translation. There are a lot of pictures up as well so it is well worth checking out!
Lastly, I want to report the success we had in WIMA collecting money for the chosen charities. WIMA International’s elected charity is the Motorcycle Outreach. It is a small project based in Indonesia and Tanzania and it provides motorbikes to healthcare centres which makes it possible for nurses and doctors to reach patients in remote villages. Furthermore, training in riding and maintenance is provided which gives a zero breakdown guarantee. Read more about this project on their website. At the rally we collected a total of 6500sek (equals roughly 600 Euros) and, in addition, a promise was given from the German girls to add 1000 Euros (!) to this.
As for the WIMA Sweden’s chosen charity, Cancerfonden, a total of 10 000sek was given. WIMA are a generous bunch of girls!
It is always sad when a rally is over but, as always, promises are made for future meetings and new rallies. Next up is Australia in October, it’s going to be great fun, and Hungary in July 2016 is not far away either. See you there!
I’m back in London for a bit and had the opportunity to visit the Ace Café yesterday when female bikers set two new Guinness world records, one for the largest all-female bikers meet and the other for largest all-female ride out.
A huge organisation was set up to register and count all women arriving, they were filmed and given a sticker with their number. Betwen 9am and 2pm a total of 618 women aging between 10 and 73 arrived. Of these, 251 joined in for the ride out. This greatly smashed the previous records and needless to say the event was a great success.
Sadly, the Ace Café had to close early due to an individual (male) who did a burn out on the public road. The cafe has notices informing that the police have the power to close the Ace Café down due to anti-social behaviour and that it is each and every individual’s responsibility to not make this happen. Annoyingly, it seems the police thought the presence of such a high number of women bikers had triggered off something amongst some male bikers and they thought it best to close the place down. However, I think it is important not don’t give focus to the shit-heads who are out to disturb. The event was a success and I believe we all had a very good time mingling and making new friends and at the same time showing how many we are and that the market need to cater for our needs, for example regarding appropriately fitting safety gear. We are still a minority but we are to be counted with.
Here’s my summary in pictures, enjoy!
On the premises were the British racing icon Maria Costello as well as the traveller and author Zoë Cano, which gave diversity and as well as inspiration. Zoë rode her Bonneville across the Americas “On The Roads Less Traveled”. I have her book on my shelf and I look forward to reading it. It is available from Amazon among other places.
The women behind this event are Sherrie Wolf and Nimisha Patel and I want to end this post by expressing my admiration! Well done girls! You did it, pulled it all together and made it happen. I think this new record will stand for some time!
If you want to read more about the background of the event click here.
Lastly, I’ll link to a youtube clip from the event, I do think that the title is misleading and, again, I want to emphasise that the main thing happening this day was the female gathering and the record breaking that took place. Nevertheless, the video is a good watch.