A Look into The Litas: Auckland
What is it like being a female rider in New Zealand?
It’s interesting. Times are changing but there is a weird stereotype that girls who ride bikes are tough or a bit ‘manly’ because you know, bikes are just for dudes….apparently. I have also found the women riders here tend to be a little older interestingly enough.
People are usually surprised when you tell them. We're really working to make it more accessible and not unusual for women to ride bikes here so the more women we get onboard, the less surprised people will act.
Must admit, I love pulling up somewhere with all the girls, taking off our helmets (still working on my movie hair flick, most days I look like I’ve been dragged through a bush backwards buuut you know, goals) and the stares we get is priceless.
Is it pretty normal to see women riding motorcycles or less common?
Sadly it’s less common, but definitely getting better! It’s getting a little old going out, holding your helmet and people saying “Cool you ride a scooter!” Nothing wrong with scooters, but come on man, expand your mind!
Actually starting The Litas here has been insane though. Women riders from all over are coming out the woodwork and there are countless girls who tell us they are inspired to now go out and get their licenses. The riding community (for women) is so small here though that when I do see another female rider out and about, it’s usually another Lita. We’re taking over!
What are your roads like?
Such a mixed bag. Most of us ride around town each day, the roads are fine, the drivers are horrific. A lot of them are still wrapping their heads around the fact that we share the roads with them. I’ve almost been hit by cars too many times to count. In terms of the scenery and the open roads, we have some absolutely insane rides around New Zealand. No matter which direction you head in, you’ll eventually hit those nice curved roads, beautiful greenery, a coastal view here and there. We are also lucky to have a lot of great spots to stop and camp only a couple of hours away from Auckland, which makes weekend excursions really easy.
What is the weather like throughout the year for riding?
We tend to get all seasons in a day in Auckland which makes packing for the day a difficult task. Typically our winters are cold, windy and wet – but nowhere like what some place in America experience! It lasts a few months, but hooning past the traffic makes it worth it. This winter wasn’t the worst, so one day it’s hot – the next day it’s pissing down and you walk into work looking like a drowned rat. Summers are the absolute best though. We’re hitting summer now and we cannot wait!
What made you want to start a branch of the Litas!?
I had been Instagram stalking the shit outta you girls for months before I even got my bike and was disappointed that there was nothing quite like it in New Zealand. My cousin Sarah and I were the only female riders we knew around this age and we really wanted to connect with a rad group of women who were just keen to get out and do cool shit on the weekends. I debated whether I should start my own group, but connecting on an international level was the draw card. We love America and want to come back next year, so it would be so rad to meet up with you girls when we come over again!
As soon as we got set up, things moved quickly. The day after my new bike arrived I contacted Jess and within the week, we connected with our third Lita Amber, had our first meet up, joined up 10 members and got a photoshoot under our belt. Things have just escalated since then!
What kind of events have you had so far? Any ideas for other Litas trying to plan events?
So far we’ve attended a couple of group charity rides, taken our bikes over to Waiheke Island to explore, we kicked off Summer sessions last week where we got together for a drink after work to hang out, and this weekend we are riding out to a cute little surf town called Raglan which is a couple of hours out of the main city. We’re also organising a Ladies Night at our local bike shop Experience Motorcycles in the new year where the wonderful mechanics are going to give us a Bike Maintenance run through to make sure we’re looking after them properly.
We’ve also had a bit of interest from girls who have never ridden but want to give it a go, so we’re looking at hosting a day where we can teach them how to ride and show them it’s not as scary as it seems!
Planning takes a lot of time and while I like to be a little more spontaneous, it doesn’t always work for everyone else. Our private Facebook group has an awesome place for us to chuck ideas around, and i’m getting into the habit of setting an actual date in advance so people can prepare. Best to remember that you can’t please everyone, so even if two people show up then it doesn’t matter because you're still going to have a good time anyway.
How many ladies are now in the Litas Auckland Branch?
We just hit 32 today!! Whaaat?!! I am on cloud nine. They are all so awesome.
Photos by Glenn Manchester | Interview with @i_court from @thelitas_auckland | Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org