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Wahine with wheels

The thrum of more than 150 women on motorcycles filled the roads of Wairarapa earlier this month for International Female Ride Day 2023.

New Zealand’s event, hosted by the Central Gems women’s motorcycle riders’ club and Fagan Motorcycles of Masterton, revved up in Masterton on May 6, with a police escort through the town centre.

About 15 riders from Wairarapa joined the group on a 160km mystery ride, which took them north past the Tui Brewery at Mangatainoka and finished at Henley Lake in Masterton.

Riders were greeted by the iconic Tui sign, which read: “The Central Gems couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery – Yeah Right.”

“Women ride quite differently to men,” Fagan Motors business manager Rebecca Watkins said. “When women ride together, there’s no hurry to get to the destination – we tend to enjoy the scenery around us, instead of focusing only on the next corner.”

The Central Gems describe themselves as: “Just a bunch of girls on bikes that will try our best to be on time but will probably be a bit late.”

Female riders were supportive and patient with each other, particularly with new riders, Watkins said. “It is rare to see frustration or criticism – we are often quite organised and often go away for overnighters together.”

Just about “every make” of motorbike was represented on the Female Ride Day.

“Usually, large events are dominated by Harleys, but the numbers of Indians are increasing – they seem to be a popular choice for women.”

Watkins said the event caused minimal disruption on Wairarapa roads.

“Everyone arrived safely, on time, and together. Lots of smiles, reconnecting with old friends, making new ones. The support shown by the Wairarapa community was phenomenal.”

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