IFRD - International Female Ride Day. An international day to celebrate and encourage women on two wheels. This event has been held on the first Saturday in May for 17 years internationally. For the past three years we have had a large event hosted in New Zealand, from various groups (read last years blog for more history of IFRD)
2023 saw women riders from around the country descend on Masterton for a weekend of entertainment and celebration. This years event was hosted by the Central Gems, and was a very well run weekend. For the first time we had pre-registrations. Although the IFRD ride is held on the Saturday, the shenanigans begin the Friday before, with women taking a long weekend for themselves to join in with other like minded riders. Checkins were opened on the Friday evening, which meant the Saturday morning ran very smoothly and on time.
Registrations were capped at 200 for the dinner, and that number was reached well before the event date. Unfortunately dodgy weather around the country meant that some of the rides could not make it for the weekend, but local, smaller rides were held across Aotearoa as well. After all, it's not about the size of the event, it is about celebrating women riders.
The main event saw 154 women take to the road from the Masterton Club for a 160km mystery ride. A police escort out of town at 10kph was just the start. The lunch stop (the only hiccup of the entire weekend, the less said the better) was at Tui Brewery, then back to Masterton, where we were surprised at Henley Lake with a pre-organised ice cream truck. I mean, who doesn't love a good ice cream as a surprise!
Dinner, prizes and lots of talk was held at the Masterton Club, whose welcome there was everything you would expect from a traditional Kiwi organisation. Enough food to feed 200 hungry women, cooked and served with warmth and hospitality.
And Sunday morning didn't see the Masterton hospitality stop, with a coffee cart at Fagan Motors, where we had the opportunity to mingle and say our goodbyes before hitting the road home.
The Lita's Waikato have put their hand up to host 2024, which will see us all travel to Cambridge. Ladies, check out the Facebook group they have created for this event. As I write this it is still early days for the planning of 2024, so do be patient and let them take their time to get it right.
Why do we all gather like this? It is not a feminist movement, nor is it to exclude men. This is simply a celebration of women on wheels and a chance to highlight that it is no only men who enjoy riding motorcycles. 23% of all motorbikes in New Zealand are registered to females and yet I can still go on rides with 20 other riders and be the only women rider. IFRD gives us a safe environment to gather and talk, make connections and find opportunities for other group rides around the country. The groups that volunteer to hold an IFRD ride need to be commended. Each event is different, with the group stamping their own personality on the weekend, and they are all just as enjoyable as the last.
So come along and join us in 2024, but don't wait until then to find a local group and get out and enjoy the beautiful New Zealand scenery, pot holes and all.