An outpatient nurse at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre in Plymouth is to take part in a worldwide bikers’ relay to raise awareness of women as active participants in motorsports.
Sara Hawkins, a pre-assessment nurse from Looe, is taking part in the Women Riders World Relay.
“It is liberating, mood-improving and a great way to experience the health benefits of being outdoors”
The event starts in Scotland at the end of February and will take in over 80 countries across five continents, ending in the United Arab Emirates in January 2020.
Ms Hawkins and a friend, Lita Debbie O’Donnell, are riding from Leamington Spa to the Channel Tunnel terminal in France, where they will hand over the baton to the French team.
They are starting their leg on 8 March which, coincidentally, is International Women’s Day.
Ms Hawkins is a lifelong motor-biker, riding in her father’s sidecar when she was a child and getting her first motorbike at the age of 17.
She rode a lot before having children and took it up again in the Army in Cyprus. She now rides a Triumph Bonneville T120 and she often takes to the roads around Cornwall.
When mornings are lighter Ms Hawkins also rides her bike to work at the surgery centre in Plymouth, which is run by Care UK.
Speaking about the relay, Ms Hawkins said: “This initiative is fantastic and Debbie and I are delighted to be playing a part in it.
“Riding a motorbike is a bit of an addiction – it is liberating, mood-improving and a great way to experience the health benefits of being outdoors,” she said.
She added: “The number of women riding motorbikes is growing so the industry needs to take note of our needs – biking gear that fits and is safe to wear, bikes that are designed for women and other issues.
“We really hope that this truly global initiative will make a difference,” noted Ms Hawkins.
“I want to show the industry the force behind the market that is so blindly overlooked”
The relay is the brainchild of Hayley Bell, who said: “I wanted to ignite a global sisterhood of inspirational women to promote courage, adventure, unity and passion for biking from all corners of the world and do something that’s never been done before to this scale.
“My aim is to wow the industry into realising the global market for women in motorsports and to inspire women worldwide,” said Ms Bell.
“Going into motorcycle stores and seeing a lack of choice, combined with stereotypical pink and being told ‘there just isn’t the market for women’, highlighted to me just one small element of a much bigger picture around women in motorsports,” she said.
“I want to show the industry the force behind the market that is so blindly overlooked,” she said. “I am doing this because women bikers can make this happen.”