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How Hamba motorcycles are empowering women in Zimbabwe

By General Posts

by Faith Ikade from http://venturesafrica.com/

Mobility for Africa is empowering women in rural Zimbabwe with new electric powered motorcycles that can be used as a source of income generation.

The electric motorbikes known as “Hamba” gives women the opportunity to transport and sell their goods, while saving time and effort usually spent walking to pick up household goods for their families around the district of Wedza.

Shantha Bloemen, Mobility for Africa Director said the initiative is centred on women, following research done by the organization which shows that men always get priority on transport. “These are women that never thought they would drive anything. The whole intent was to focus on where the burden is greatest, but also the lowest rural women are on the lowest peg of the pyramid,” she said.

Assembled in Zimbabwe’s capital city of Harare with parts made in China, Hamba is powered by a solar-charged lithium-ion battery and can travel up to around 60 miles per ride. Mobility for Africa is now in the second phase of the pilot project before it can go commercial.

The project was an adaptation to a similar bike used in China and was an important tool used to reduce poverty in the country. Several households and women could use the bike to transport items from their farm to a local market.

Hamba will be sold for $1,500 USD and changing the batteries at a solar-powered station costs between 50 cents and $1. However, Mobility for Africa is currently leasing the bikes to groups of up to five women for the equivalent of $15 a month, thereby making it affordable for poor women in Zimbabwe.

Women in Zimbabwe can now carry farm produce to markets further away from home, offer transportation services to villagers and use the motorcycle for domestic chores.

Small business owners like Mary Mhuka, who is leasing the Hamba with her daughter-in-law and a neighbour, can now sell vegetables at a business centre 15 km away for more money than she would get locally. “We used to carry firewood on our heads for very long distances but now it’s much easier as this motorcycle has taken away that burden,” she told Reuters

According to Fadzai Mavhuna, the Hamba pilot coordinator since February 2019, “Some of the women have increased their income because they have embarked on projects like baking, tailoring and horticulture.”

Hamba is also helping women in the health sector. Pamhidzai Mutunya, a farm health worker, said before the arrival of Hamba, many women gave birth at home while others had to walk 12 km to the nearest clinic because there was no transport.

More so, Hamba has proved to be an essential in the fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis in Zimbabwe. It allows healthcare workers transport patients more easily, and helps rural communities receive essential supplies during a country-wide lockdown.

Although Zimbabwe has not recorded a large number of confirmed COVID-19 confirmed, the lockdown has affected people’s income, especially in the informal sector, which is commonly dominated by women.

Nevertheless, Hamba has given women in Zimbabwe an opportunity to earn and be empowered in a country faced with several sanctions alongside an economy which runs at a declining speed.

Ladies of Harley will still celebrate even though Female Ride Day moved to August

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from https://medicinehatnews.com

International Female Ride Day was scheduled for this Saturday, and while COVID-19 has pushed the date all the way back to Aug. 22, the local Ladies of Harley motorcycle group will still be celebrating this weekend with a safely-distanced ladies’ ride.

The trip is scheduled to begin at Badlands Harley Davidson at noon and will take roughly two hours with a socially-distanced pit stop planned for Echo Dale Park.

Anyone attending is encouraged to park at least six feet away from other bikes.

BMW’s most ‘avid motorcycle rider’ is a woman. She’s also in charge of the company

By General Posts

from https://www.ksro.com

BMW(NEW YORK) — Trudy Hardy is no stranger to motorcycles.

Hardy, a licensed street rider for 20 years and former executive at British carmaker MINI, now sells the “2-wheeled side of life” as vice president of Motorrad of the Americas, BMW’s motorcycle division. Her position puts her in charge of motorcycle operations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil and she oversees the brand’s 150 U.S. stores.

Few women hold high-level executive roles in the motorcycle industry even as the number of female riders has jumped to 19% in 2018 up from 10% a decade ago.

Hardy, who was appointed to the position last July, views women as an important part of Motorrad’s business, which has been primarily men in the 45 to 55 age group.

“We’re broadening the range [of bikes] we have … ones that have lower ride height or adjustable suspensions,” she told ABC News at Motorrad’s U.S. headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. “Women need to be comfortable on the bikes they choose.”

She added, “We want to expand our audiences. There’s a lot of untapped potential for us.”

Last week BMW unveiled the R 18, a retro-styled bike geared toward the U.S. market and Motorrad’s first entry in the cruiser segment. The bike’s ergonomic design allows for relaxed riding and optimum control, making it appealing to women. Motorrad’s entry-level bikes, the G 310 GS and G 310 R, were also built and priced to attract female riders, according to the company.

Genevieve Schmitt, founder of Women Riders Now, an online magazine, said women are the fastest-growing demographic in motorcycles versus young men and baby boomers.

“It seems to be exponentially growing,” she told ABC News.

There are two reasons women are turning to bikes, she said: more gear in women’s sizes and the rise of female enthusiast groups on social media. She has also noticed an emphasis on female-focused advertising when there are women executives in the industry.

“I was personally very excited to see BMW choose a woman for that leadership position,” she said, referring to Hardy. “BMW tends to be seen as a conservative company. She was the most qualified candidate — for sure.”

Mark Hoyer, editor-in-chief of Cycle World magazine, pointed out that there has been an increase in ride events and tours marketed directly at women, such as Babes Ride Out and The Suffragists Centennial Motorcycle Ride. Harley-Davidson has also led the charge on getting more women excited about bikes by hosting “Women-only Garage Parties,” a concept it piloted in 2006 with its dealer network.

“The industry has evolved significantly in the last 10 years,” he told ABC News. “It tended to be more masculine … an old time, chest-pounding culture.”

More women are signing up for safety training and the proliferation of online groups and platforms has encouraged women to take up motorcycling, said Andria Yu, director of communications at the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC). Women riders spend an average of $574 a year on tires, routine repairs, maintenance, replacement parts, modifying equipment and accessories compared to $497 that men spend, according to the 2018 Motorcycle Industry Council Owner Survey. Female entrepreneurs are also filling a much-needed void in the industry by manufacturing gear cut specifically for women, Yu noted.

Yu, a former journalist, started riding in 2001 to save money on her long commute to work and was soon hooked.

“I just found riding to be so much fun,” she said.

Hardy’s team of 50 U.S. employees includes 14 women, some of whom are avid riders. But knowing how to ride “is not a prerequisite to work here,” she said. “It’s not for everybody and I never push it on someone who does not feel comfortable on two wheels.”

For Hardy, being on a motorcycle “is an escape mechanism,” she said. “I love the feeling of really being in control.”

But convincing Americans to embrace Motorrad’s “make life a ride” slogan has been a challenge for the brand and industry leader Harley-Davidson. Motorrad delivered 175,162 bikes globally in 2019, an increase of 5.8% from 2018. BMW, however, acknowledged that 2019 was a “difficult market environment” for the brand, with sales in the U.S. and Canada totaling 15,116 units. Harley-Davidson’s U.S. bike sales in 2019 fell for a fifth straight year and the company recorded its lowest global motorcycle shipments in a decade. The COVID-19 pandemic will also likely put a serious dent in industry sales with the closure of manufacturing plants and dealerships.

Hoyer said the decline in motorcycling could partly be attributed to the high barriers of entry and associated costs. The used market now accounts for 70% of motorcycle transactions, according to Hoyer.

“You’re not giving up much when you buy used,” he said. “They’re affordable and the safety and stability control have improved immeasurably.”

He added, “Bikes, like Harley-Davidsons, have traditionally held their value.”

Schmitt said industry sales never really bounced back from the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009.

“Young people have so many enthusiast options available to them now,” she said. “They live differently than their parents and grandparents.”

Hardy conceded that Motorrad’s demographic has been “aging a bit” and her focus now is bringing younger riders into the brand and “targeting the right person with the right bike.” The BMW name has also presented its own challenges.

“We have this perception that we’re expensive to own — we need to overcome this,” she said. “We have some very affordable and attainable bikes that have a lot of safety equipment on them that our competitors do not.”

Hoyer noted that Motorrad’s string of recent products has helped it take market share away from competitors like Honda and Royal Enfield and buck the downward sales trend.

“Motorrad has done an excellent job of embracing its own history,” he said. “The Heritage line has been very successful.”

Hardy said her top goals this year as head of Motorrad USA are to create more passionate riders and to get back on her own bike. She even launched a training program for all BMW staffers who want to get a motorcycle license.

“This should be the most fun place to work in the BMW Group family,” she said.

25 Amazing Women Who Changed Motorcycle Travel Forever

By General Posts

Celebrating adventurous bold women on two-wheels

Women travelling on motorcycles were, for a very long time not treated seriously – even today, it happens to be that females are not treated equally to their male companions or other motorcyclists which happen to be males. To celebrate Women’s History Month we would like to introduce you to 25 amazing characters which paved the way for modern, more equal opportunities to discover the world on two wheels as a female.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE ON BIKERNET

These two SA female motorcycle racers defied the Dakar odds

By General Posts

by Sean Parker from https://www.wheels24.co.za/

While many of us were enjoying a break over the festive period and new year, Kirsten Landman and Taye Perry began 2020 by competing in one of the world’s toughest sporting events: the Dakar Rally.

This year’s race took place in Saudi Arabia for the first time and competitors were faced with a route of 7900km. They traversed massive sands and rocky terrain and performed exceptionally well to finish the race.

Wheels24 reported earlier in January that Landman, a 28-year-old from Durban, completed the two-week-long race in an excellent 55th-place overall, while Perry (29) came home in 77th place.

They performed incredibly well over the twelve days on the bikes and the reality of how dangerous the Dakar came to light when Portuguese rider Paulo Gonçalves died after crashing in the seventh stage of the race, the first casualty since 2015.

“I was very nervous, one of the officials came to me and said this is the point of no return. Once you go over this (starting) podium it’s over. It’s the beginning, but it’s over,” says Perry in an interview on Carte Blanche.

Landman, whose love for motorbike racing started at 10-years-old, said: “I grew up watching Dakars, and you see videos of riders crying because they are so physically exhausted they can’t get out of a section, it is so physically tough and draining.”

 

Montreal woman leaves her job, hits the road for solo motorcycle trip across Canada

By General Posts

Wendy McGean fulfilled her dream — of driving cross-country on a motorcycle — at 55 years old

Suddenly, in her late forties, Wendy McGean started having an unexpected reaction every time she’d spot a motorcycle on the road.

“My head would just pivot and I’d think: ‘I really want to do that!” she told CBC Montreal’s Daybreak.

At the time, she thought it was an odd feeling for a married mother of two teenage daughters with a white collar job.

“It was a very traditional kind of life,” she said.

Before she knew it, McGean was leaving all that behind — her home, her job, even her marriage.

“Some people thought I’d absolutely lost my mind,” McGean said. “I just completely turned my life upside down.”

Just one kick at the can

McGean started to chase her dream of riding a motorcycle at 51 years old, signing herself up for circuit training. She realized that she didn’t feel comfortable on only two wheels and bumped up to a three-wheeled bike.

She said it was “love at first sight,” and suddenly McGean was buying a bike of her own.

“I think it’s the first thing in my life I found that I thought, ‘this is mine,'” she said. “It represents complete and utter freedom.”

Not long after McGean got a taste of that freedom, she suffered a major loss. Her father died.

“[It] made me realize that if there’s something that I want to do in my life, then I better get at it,” she said. “So I made the decision to leave my marriage.”

After 23 years of married life, McGean said she started to feel like a square peg and her life was a round hole. Something just didn’t fit anymore.

“I was lucky enough to have somebody that understood that I needed to explore that,” she said.

After living on her own for a while, McGean saw that her workplace was offering an early retirement package that she qualified for. She took it, moved out of her apartment and put everything she owned in storage, except for a one-person tent.

“I got on my bike and headed north without any reservations or anything,” she said.

Forging connections, old and new

With no plans and no commitments, McGean spent the next five weeks riding west to Tofino, B.C. and back, stopping in different towns and meeting new people.

One man she met at a gas station was intrigued by her motorcycle and struck up a conversation about his own cross-country ride on a bike. Before pulling out of the station, he gave her a hug.

“Stopping and having conversations with people I met along the way was probably the best part of the whole trip,” she said.

McGean also took the opportunity to reconnect with people she hadn’t seen in years — she spent a night with a friend in Ontario she hadn’t seen since high school, and also stopped to visit some cousins in Manitoba.

McGean’s cross-country treks are over, for now, but she said she’s grateful for the experience.

“At some point along the way, I finally realized that I had to live my life for me,” she said. “I had to do things that made me happy.”

She’s not sure what lies ahead for her, but McGean is now looking for a job doing something she loves in the Montreal area because she wants to be near her daughters, who are now in their 20s.

Looking back, she said her adventures really helped her come into her own.

“I’m comfortable in my own skin now. Probably for the first time in my life.”

Join the Cantina – Subscribe Today

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NEW BIKERNET AND BANDIT’S CANTINA PROGRAMS FOR 2020

To keep Bikernet moving forward in the New Year, we’ve shuffled things around a bit. We have decided to shut down all major advertising sales and will move all of Bikernet’s impressive library and 24 years of archived editorial content into Bandit’s Cantina, Bikernet’s subscription-supported section.

We will however keep the Bikernet Blog active daily and accessible for free.

All major content will be expanded into the Cantina.

https://www.bikernet.com/pages/custom/subscription.aspx

So, from a business side here’s how it will work for the New Year. We will continue to build great content featuring the Weekly News, a variety of features and tech articles.

Our readers can stay abreast of all the action on Bikernet by joining the Cantina for as little as $24 yearly or $39 for two years. They will also receive a special package containing an assortment of Bikernet goodies and bling.

Industry members, if you’d like us to keep supporting your company and promote your products, events or services with editorials, we will do so for a mere $98 a year. Keep sending your press releases and we will take care of them.

For the company that wants to reach all 50,000 Bikernet readers and Bandit’s Cantina subscribers 24/7, your ad will be placed on our Blog page and your banner will accompany any and all of your company’s content. Just $165 a month. This also means all of your company content is archived on Bikernet for the duration working 24/7 and supported with your banner ad.

We’ve taken Bikernet Entertainment to a new level.

This is a very special area with whole books, broads, and rare antiques. And now you will also receive complete and amazing Jack McIntyre Event Galleries of images. For just about 20 cents a day, you will receive:

Bandit’s Cantina Access:

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Enfield to glam up, slim down bikes for women, GenX

By General Posts

New bikes from Royal Enfield are likely to be the most affordable ones.

Royal Enfield is slimming down to conquer. It plans to make far lighter bikes, offering lower and more comfortable seating positions, to draw youngsters and women to a brand that has hitherto been associated with men who had truly arrived. And these will likely be the most affordable bikes as well from the maker of the iconic Bullet.

These bikes will weigh significantly less than the Bullet and be seated lower, styled after the roadster. Due for launch in the first quarter of 2020, these are internally codenamed J1C, and may sell under the Explorer brand.

The model has been developed after taking critical feedback from women and youngsters to offer them a bike with comfortable ingress/egress and steer away from the traditional perception of Royal Enfield ‘bulk’, said several industry executives aware of the plans.

“While we cannot comment about future product line-ups, we can confirm that at Royal Enfield, we assign huge focus on keeping our motorcycles accessible and approachable to all, in an endeavour to bring more people to experience pure leisure motorcycling,” a spokesperson told ET.

The company declined to discuss its product pipeline, features and pricing strategies.

Royal Enfield was losing a significant chunk of upgraders to competition as rivals launched several sports bikes. The Explorer is an attempt to wrest back the initiative, industry experts believe.

The launch of J1C is part of a new product onslaught, and the plan envisages launching at least one new product every quarter from 2020. After J1C, the company will be launching the new generation Thunderbird, which may be re-christened as Meteor, before the BS-VI versions of Classic and Bullet hit the road in 2020.

Royal Enfield has upgraded the existing UCE or Unit Construction Engine for BS VI emission norms to ensure adequate availability.

Struggling to arrest volume declines, Royal Enfield has undertaken a series of accessibility measures that include product enhancements, geographic expansions, and establishment of small-format retail stores.

To be sure, the total number of driving licences issued in India is 161.1 million, of which about a tenth is issued to women drivers. Women buyers account for about 7-8% of the existing Royal Enfield volumes. Although the numbers are still small, more women are buying bikes such as the Himalayan or Thunderbird X.

The new platform for women motorbike enthusiasts would open a vast opportunity for the company, which has seen untapped potential in Goa, Chandigarh, Maharashtra, Kerala and Karnataka.

Goa has the highest proportion of women drivers, with 23% of the total number of licences issued to women. For Chandigarh and Maharashtra, the comparable figures are 18.47% and 18.28%, according to the Road Transport Year book of 2016.

In the second quarter of FY20, sales volumes from Maharashtra, Kerala and Karnataka accounted for a quarter of the total at Royal Enfield.

The monthly run-rate of Royal Enfield dropped 15% to 60,334 in the first eight months of the current fiscal year. The Street expects sales volume of 7.25-7.30 lakh units in the current fiscal year, which implies a decline of about 12%, the first in at least a decade.

Hayley Bell named American Motorcyclist Association 2019 Motorcyclist of the Year

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U.K. rider founded Women Riders World Relay, helped unite motorcyclists worldwide

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — For calling attention to the needs of women riders and for creating a worldwide connection among them, Hayley Bell of the United Kingdom has been named the American Motorcyclist Association 2019 Motorcyclist of the Year.

Bell is the founder and president of global business development for the Women Riders World Relay, a movement joined by thousands of motorcyclists from 84 countries to create a “global sisterhood of inspirational women” and to demonstrate to motorcycle manufacturers and makers of riding gear that female riders are a formidable and growing market that deserves their attention.

The AMA Motorcyclist of the Year designation, awarded annually by the AMA Board of Directors, recognizes the individual or group that had the most profound impact on the world of motorcycling in the previous 12 months.

“For her efforts to promote the motorcycle lifestyle around the world and bring together riders from all nations and backgrounds, conveying the positive aspects of motorcycling and drawing attention to the market potential of female riders, Hayley Bell is the 2019 AMA Motorcyclist of the Year,” said Maggie McNally-Bradshaw, chair of the AMA Board of Directors. “Women riders are an important segment of the motorcycling community and they are a critical building block for the future. Hayley’s efforts not only reaffirm that sentiment, but they help carry it forward at a time when motorcycling needs new riders in the fold.”

Women Riders World Relay participants carried the relay baton for a leg of the journey through their countries, then passed it along to the next group of riders. The relay brought together women from diverse cultures and bridged political differences, even across national borders.

Bell was determined that the Women Riders World Relay demonstrate that female riders “are exactly equal to other riders.” Along the way, the relay drew support and participation from male riders, as well.

The full story about Bell and her accomplishments can be found in the January issue of American Motorcyclist magazine.

5-Ball Racing Gear Leathers Season Discount

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Need Help: Call 310 830-0630 or drop a line to Bandit@Bikernet.com

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