An estimated 50 riders participated in the Luxembourg portion of the rally on Sunday, which started in Bollendorf-Pont, before heading to Grevenmacher, Remich, Sandweiler, Ettelbruck, Bourscheid, Esch-sur-Sûre and finishing in Martelange.
Ann Kathrine Kayser Hansen, who often goes by Trine, co-organised (with Nicole Damas) the Luxembourg leg of the relay. Originally from Denmark, she’s the mother of 15 and 20 year old daughters, and has worked at an EU institution in the grand duchy for 29 years.
Trine spoke with Delano prior to the event about what she hopes to accomplish, why women don’t feel included in the sport, and what she wants car drivers to know about sharing the road. The interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Aaron Grunwald: Why did you get involved with the relay race?
Ann Kathrine Kayser Hansen, aka Trine: I’d been speaking with [Hayley Bell, founder of WRWR]… because we’re all facing the same frustrations, if you like. In terms of equipment, in terms of clothing, in terms of, and I’m being a little bit harsh on Luxembourg here, but it’s still very much a boys club. I think the overall percentage of women riders is less than 15% worldwide [editor’s note: Trine later said that was a ‘guesstimate’]. So that’s not a lot. There are a lot of women who want to do it, but they’re kinda holding back for whatever reason. So this is all about raising awareness.
What’s holding them back?
If you’re a mother of two young children, I’m going to be honest with you, Aaron, it’s a dangerous thing to do. We know this, right. You get on the back of that motorcycle, you have no protection other than the gear that you’re wearing…. People [who are driving cars] are on their phone, they’re arguing with their kids… wing mirrors don’t seem to add much value to a car. There’s all sorts of things. So there’s a danger element. But I also think that it’s such a masculine world, that women maybe think ‘it’s not for me, I’m not going to find anybody who likes to do it too’. And that’s what I think has been amazing about the relay. Hayley thought she was going to gather 400 women; we’re over 16,000 now. Which is just mindblowing.
What do you like about riding motorcycles?
Not to harp on this too much, but going back to why women maybe don’t feel included in the motorcycling world, is it sexism when you walk into a shop, is it dirty looks on the road?
I don’t know if it’s dirty looks on the road; it’s astonished looks on the road. Now you notice that my helmet has a bit of pink on it; the helmet I had before was pure black. So when I’m dressed up in my gear, [with a] pure black helmet, you’ve got no idea whether it’s a boy or a girl, right? That’s the way it is until you take off that helmet and people go, ‘wooah!’. Also because the type of motorcycle I ride [a Harley]… but if you go into a motorcycle shop anywhere in the world today, a normal one, you will have, let’s say, 50 square metres of equipment for boys and if you get 5 square metres for girls, that’s about it. And it’s stereotypically something with pink on it. So, I put a little bit of pink on my helmet, but I’m not a pink girl. So, I don’t necessary want a motorcycle jacket that has flowers and unicorns on it, but you know men and women are built differently. So I want something tailored for my body, for the female shape, rather than trying fit into an ill-fitted men’s jacket just because I like the colour a bit.
Is it more of a problem in Luxembourg?
Everywhere. That’s globally.
But there is a certain [element of] sexism to it, Aaron, I’m not going to lie.
Why did you choose a Harley as your first bike?
It seems the relay race is important, the day is important, but are you trying to build more of a community?
Absolutely. And we’re gonna hopefully be able to build even further on it. We’re going to organise so-called ripple relays… in order to keep the momentum going, because it’s all very good to kick up a big fuss and relay the passes through and everyone goes back to what they were doing before; that would just defeat the aim of the exercise, really. It’s about really building up and uniting and coming together and getting to know together. Because I [only knew a few] motorcyclist women in Luxembourg before I entered into this thing.
Because we know there are women riders in Luxembourg, I see them. But when you’re on the motorbike she’s going that way and I’m going that way, it’s a bit difficult… it’s not the most social sport. I know that they’re there, but it’s about bringing them together.