Wonder Women

Written By: The Lowdown - Nov• 30•12

Developing more female motorbike riders is an on-going challenge for the Lusaka Motor Cycle Club (LMCC). Like most motor sports the equipment, track and training opportunities as well as attendance at competitive events doesn’t come cheap. However, motor sport provides an exciting spectator event and a great advertising opportunity for corporate sponsors all over the world, including Zambia. Events can also provide a forum for highlighting current community and public health campaigns that affect both women and men.

International recognition of women in sport gained momentum in 1994, with the ‘Brighton Declaration’ that aims at the full involvement of women in every aspect of sport. The world governing body for motorcycle sports, and the global advocate for motorcycling The Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) signed this Declaration in 2006.

Long gone are the days where girls are expected only in the ‘cheer-leading’ role in most sports, but with motorbikes the rider is relatively more vulnerable. Racing speeds on motocross tracks can range up to 50 kilometers per hour with only boots, helmets and leg padding to protect you from a fall. Parents are often heard to voice their concern that their girl-child might “get hurt” in contrast to pushing a boy to compete as if the boy would get hurt any less in a bad accident?

A good crop of determined coaches both male and female, but especially female, is probably the best way to give girls a chance in the sport. Commenting on the 2010 FIM Africa event in South Africa, one parent said that the saving grace for her female racers were the ladies who deliberately sought out and encouraged all the girl participants “from Women in Sport”. Her comment on most of the other organisers and parents attending the same meeting was that she found the attitude towards lady riders “generally dreadful”.

Considering that the sport takes discipline and dedication from the whole family and we have so much space in Zambia it is actually surprising that more women have not taken the lead in bike-riding. Girls who have the opportunity to travel round the farm or neighbourhood on the family-owned bikes do not seem to see that this is a natural beginning to engaging in competition. Some of the models are unwieldy for female riders to handle and the terrain is demanding, but you could say the same thing for horse-riding which enjoys much better participation of women and girls.

For more information on the sport and ‘social biking’ in the Copperbelt and Midlands you can get hold of the LMCC Secretary on email: bethbecker55@gmail.com



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