Take it easy, take a ride

Mention the word: Motorbikes, and the image for most people will be the snapshot from the movie “Easy Rider”, 50 years ago.  Leather outfits, helmets and the soundtrack, even if only the recurring line of Born to be wild playing over and over again. But why should only the male bikers have all the fun?  This train of thought led American Haley Bells to found the WomenRiderWorld Relay group last August.  It started with a facebook group, and word spread quickly over states and continents and oceans. Currently the WRWR counts about 15,000 members in over 80 countries. 

Only half a year later 200 lady bikers headed off on the very first world-wide relay February 27th from the UK and then quickly passed through Ireland in March.  “I heard about it about two months ago and then I found out there is no actual event happening yet in Ireland. So, why not me, somebody had to do it.” Said Gabrielle Murphy originally from Ringsend. 

It was no problem that the actual relay had left the island because there is the option of a spin off event, called ripple relays.  “These are the ones you can organise separately from the main event. We also use a flag instead of baton.“ The rider carries the country flag with her and gets it signed at the finish. Gabrielle Murphy headed out on her ripple relay on a rather wet Saturday morning in June flag. “There [was] a biker fest on the same day, that’s why I decided for it as our destination. The weather picked up on the way and then there was the crowd.” 

heading out from Martello Tower Carpark in Sandymount
Picture Kathrin Kobus

Her passion for bike riding had always been there at the back of her mind but it was only in her late twenties when Gabrielle finally got the biker license and shortly later her first bike. “I bought it a few weeks later in Wexford, but had it delivered. Then I rang my instructor again for some extra tips before I headed out on my first solo drive, just to Shellybanks and back.”

With new hobby, a motorbike came a new relationship, a bike riding picture on the profile surely helped to smooth things along.  “He has a BMW, and once when I was on the back, pillion I almost snoozed off because it was so comfy.”  The family is for now complete with two bikes, one car and a son. 

Gabrielle Murphy, second left with fellow women bikers at the Killarney Bikefest
Pic courtesy Gabrielle Murphy

The World Relay meanwhile is still en route. The flag/baton has by now travelled through Europe and Asia. “The women relay are still going strong. Now they are in India and Pakistan where the female riders face a lot more challenges to complete their stage of the relay.“ She told NewsFour in July. Her signed flag from the ripples relay will be one of many added to the all over tally at the conclusion next January when the relay comes full circle back to London. Meanwhile she would like to meet with fellow female riders who must surely be out there. Shared rides, shared fun.  Contact for further info and future events in Ireland or somewhere else in Europe or the world:  wrwrireland@gmail.com

By Kathrin Kobus