618 women set new bike meet record

Women ride to Ace Cafe to bag a brace of biking records

618 women helped to smash two biking world records: for the largest female bike gathering and the largest female bike parade.

Hundreds of women rode to the Ace Cafe in London to enter the record books and also to make their voices (and exhausts) heard in the bike industry.

Later in the day 251 women riding 251 bikes also beat the outstanding female bike parade record, set last year by 221 Australian women on 190 bikes.

Organisers Sherrie Woolf and Nimisha Patel thanked all of the women who helped to break both records. They are considering putting on similar events in other parts of the UK. 

Woolf said she now hopes the bike industry will start paying more attention to women bikers, who she feels are often overlooked.

'The industry isn't catering for women, it isn't listening,' said Woolf. 'That's one of the reasons for this event, to say look how many women are riding their own bikes.That's the point we want to make, we're not just sat on the back - we have our own bikes.'

'The other day I was shopping for leather trousers, I went to my local shop and there was not one single pair of leather trousers that had knee sliders - I was going to the Nurburgring and I needed sliders!

'It was really annoying, they think women aren't going to go to the race track they're just going to sit on the back of their boyfriends' bikes.'

Some men have been critical of the idea of a women only event but Woolf joked: 'They're welcome to have a male-only event... I'll come and watch.'

She added: 'It's a minority thing and people always say the same with Black History Month - why do they need their own month? It's because every other month is for white history, every other day is a male bike day so it's important when you're a minority.'

Is the bike industry sexist?

Visordown spent a sunny Sunday with the women at the Ace Cafe asking for their opinions and experiences.

Sergeant Emma Poston rode to the Cafe on her Metropolitan Police Ducati Scrambler.

She should know a thing or two about getting on as a woman in a male dominated industry. She has risen to the top and is the only female police motorcycle sergeant and currently the only woman running Bike Safe courses in the capital.

Sergeant Poston said: 'Men always ask me, if you drop your bike could you pick it up? It's so annoying. I'm not going to drop it. I ask them: 'Could you pick it up?''

Sergeant Poston is considering running a female-only Bike Safe course.

17-year-old Lilleymae Perry from south London came on her Aprilia RS4 125, she's been riding since she was 16 and is saving up cash to get into racing.

She said: 'Men look at you as if they were better than you, they discriminate. But I ride to my own ability and don't compete - I'm usually as fast as they are on the corners.'

Italian biker Donatella Cosco rode to the event with 20 of her friends, she thinks it's important to separate individual men from the motorcycle industry.

She believes face-to-face the men are always welcoming and inclusive at events and she has never found any sexism. However, she thinks the industry can be sexist and highlights the grid girls in bike racing.

Polish biker Kasia Ganzera works as a secretary at a construction site. She said when she told her male colleagues about buying a bike they were supportive and encouraged her to take her test.

She came to the Ace Cafe to meet other female bikers because she doesn't know any other women who ride. 

'I want to embrace the girl power,' she joked.

The youngest female biker to ride through the gates of the Ace Cafe was 10-year-old Emilia Komarewicz - she is 63 years younger than the oldest female biker who took part. 

The event was also raising money for The Hospice of The Valleys, the charity supported by the Circuit of Wales one of the event's sponsors.

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