Last year, in my quest to find other women who ride adventure type bikes like me, I came across South African Jo(landie) Rust’s Facebook page: BMW GS Girls. Jo is an inspiration to many riders, a gutsy young women who does not take no for an answer, who rode around South Africa on a bike and then motorbike and who has recently become the first female instructor for BMW South Africa.
Jo’s vision with her Facebook site was to bring women from all corners of the world together, have a fun forum to share thoughts, adventures, encouragement and motivation – especially for the newby rider. It has also created an incredible global network of women who share the same passion. And should you get so lucky to pack for that global adventure, there will be a BMW GS Girl in every corner of the globe who would want to catch up with you.
I subsequently became one of the admin team, representing Australia and was (and still am!) very excited about it. But I was still no further along the path to finding girls who ride the same off roady stuff my husband and I enjoy. So when Jo suggested we should attempt to hold a global ride ride day in March, the gauntlet was thrown!
I had posters advertising the ride made which were sent off to all local bike dealers in Sydney, and I put posts into every conceivable dirt/off road and adventure website and FB group I could find because I so far I had only met one girl, Cristina, who rode any kind of dirt bike let alone a GS. Okay, it might have something to do with the fact that I have only been riding for two years and we hadn’t hit the social circuit of GS safaris and adventure riding here in Australia that still seems to be somewhat of a boy domain. But still!!
Compared to the States and Europe where girls on bikes and especially BMWs seem to be everywhere, Australia seemed quite different … until that one day in March, our Global Ride Day, a wet, rainy and somewhat miserable Sunday after a week of glorious sunshine where six totally awesome girls turned up to prove that Australia delivers!
Leading up to the day 16 riders had confirmed attendance and I was beside myself with excitement. T-shirts printed, GS stickers done, banners printed and my ever supportive wing man Chuck keeping me from turning into a nervous wreck. Virgos, planning maybe your forte but hell, it’s stressful to get it PERFECT! And everything had been perfect until a few riders cancelled on Saturday, then a few more – and then it started to rain!
By 6 am we were down to three riders, I was nearly in tears. I texted those that still had not cancelled and received the best reply ever from Kinga: “Pfft, rain! I am in in no matter what.”
So I sent out little reminders to everyone I could think of that the ride was still on, packed the bikes with banners, T-shirts and rain gear and set off to Procycles Hornsby, who had kindly offered their car park as our meeting place.
And this is when those long searched for Australian girls came out to play – Kat, Rachel, Lana, Kinga, Veronika and Caroline, you braved the weather, brought your wingmen and created the best day ever!
Whilst the ride up the Old Pacific Highway and Wisemans Ferry Road to lunch at the Settlers Inn at St Albans was mainly tarmac (a few took the challenge of a very slippery ride up Settlers Road), the company of a group of awesome women with great attitude, humor to boot and partners who were there to support this event, made the ride simply awesome.
Jo Rust, you should have been there!
So, BMW GS and every other brand Girls – I am excited to announce that this was not a ‘one off’ event – with Kinga and Kat we are going to plan ride and camp adventures,ride days and off road training days.
Let’s make GS Girls work for us, it is not exclusive, all riders are welcome, every brand is welcome, newby riders are greatly encouraged to join us and boys, we love having you!
A huge thank you to all – Kat, Kinga, Rachel, Lana, Veronika, Caroline, Mike, Mick, Marek and the best wingman of them all, Chuck. – Andrea