The 2 years journey riding across the world opened The Wandering Wasp’s eyes to the obstacles women in some countries face when it comes to riding motorcycles. Being able to ride a motorcycle may not even be a legal option for some. Elsewhere, it can be met with stigma and resistance. When she first heard about this relay project, she did not hesitate to volunteer as an Ambassador for Singapore and contribute whatever connections she made during her adventure.
Story by: Juvena “The Wandering Wasp” Huang.
On 13th August 2019, a group of more than 20 women riders from Singapore will ride across the causeway to receive a baton from the Malaysia counterpart. This hand-carved baton has come a long way and is part of a global movement called the Women Riders World Relay (WRWR).
The ambitious idea to pass a baton around the world by female motorcyclists was founded by Hayley Bell back in August 2018. Frustrated by the lack of choice for female motorcyclists, combined with stereotypical pink in motorcycle stores and being told there just isn’t the market for women, Hayley hit upon this idea to highlight the immensity of women in the motorcycling market.
Motorcycle Industry Council reported that 19% of motorcycle owners in the USA are women. Closer to home in Singapore, the presence of women motorcyclists on the road is more noticeable compared to 20 years ago.
Within 4 months, the Facebook group, Women Riders World Relay (WRWR), grew to 14,000 members strong. After months of planning and coordination by volunteers from different corners of the world, the relay kicked off from John O’Groats, Scotland on 27th February 2019. The relay is set to cross 80 countries within a year.
As of June 2019, the baton has transversed 40 countries from Europe to Asia and more than 30,000km even through countries where women are not the most empowered group. More than 1,200 female motorcycles all over the world have registered themselves to commit carrying this baton on the course of this relay.
Such a global movement is also the perfect opportunity to also showcase the diverse face and role of women in the motorcycling community. The entourage on the 13th August will include daughters, aunties, wives, mothers, grandmothers, cancer survivors from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia.
The Singapore leg of WRWR will end with a post ride gathering at Handlebar from 6.30pm onwards which is open for all to join. There, the baton will be ceremoniously handed over to the Indonesian Ambassador.
The relay has passed through the following countries – Scotland, Ireland, Wales, England, France, Spain, Portugal, Andorra, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia (FYROM), Serbia, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia.
At moment, the baton is in South Thailand and will cross Malaysia before arriving in Singapore.
The schedule of the relay are as follows
August 2019: Indonesia, Australia
September 2019: New Zealand, Canada
October 2019: USA, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica
November 2019: Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay
December 2019: Paraguay, Brazil, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana
January 2020: Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Oman, UAE