Don’t go around stereotyping, don’t label, and definitely don’t limit- the International Women’s Day is marked on March 8, and it is a festive mood of womanhood, celebrating their existence and their potential. It is a day that signifies and stresses upon creating a more equal world that allows and encourages the female gender to make their mark in whatever field or passion they pursue. And while some women would want to celebrate their artistic intuition, others don the role of an entrepreneur, bringing new businesses and products into the market and then there are those who put on their helmets and get ready to showcase how typecasting can eat the dust as they cruise the horizon.
Liesl Marshall, born in South Africa, is a perfect example of a person who lives and drives by her passion. The 50-year-old mother is getting ready to gear up with a difference to shape the concept of bikers in the kingdom – she rides a HD sportster 1200cc.Her passion to teach bought her to Middle East ten years ago, and it has been her ever trailing dream for over decades to own a Harley Davidson bike and to become a member of H.O.G bike community. Last November, on her 50th birthday, her children made her dream become a reality by gifting a Sportster as a birthday present.
“I grew up in a very small town and motorcycles were not that common but were considered a luxury. I am one of four girls and my eldest sister came home to visit from the city where she was working and she rode a BMW road bike. I was about 14 at the time and I can still remember how excited I was to see my sister riding that big bike! On my 16th birthday, my parents surprised me with a yellow Honda scooter and I was very excited to be one of a few girls that owned a scooter in our town”, Ms Marshall recalled. Liesl Marshall goes to work every day biking, and according to her, riding a motorcycle is like many other things in life. If anyone wants to be safe and improve their skills, they have to be committed and have to ride one often. She started riding bike around the Amwaj Island, where she lives. She gradually gained confidence with the help of her mentor Anna Daimantido (a veteran biker), and started riding in heavy traffic.
First solo drive to Oman
She passed her motorcycle license test on 2 November 2016, five days before her 50th birthday and received her birthday gift (Harley Davidson Sportster 1200 cc) on 10th November of the same year. “I have now been riding for nearly 4 months, and have already clocked 10,000km on my brand new bike! I am looking forward my first long ride which will be in August to Oman. I am also planning many more trips; one being a ride to my own beautiful country, South Africa, hopefully in December
This novice bike rider says that safety is a biker’s motto. She appealed to the riders to be observant and cautious while on roads. “I personally do not like wet roads and the sand on the roads. They make our rides dangerous and unsafe. Always wear protective gear when riding and always anticipate what the drivers around you will do. It is good to stick to group rides in the beginning. Riding often to improve your skills as well as watching videos can also be helpful”
Liesl Marshall also suggested to upcoming riders that they seek help from more experienced riders, highlighting to speak to the dealership where they purchased their bikes for advice. There are many motorcycle groups in Bahrain so get involved in the rider community. When asked about her view on International Women’s Day, she said “I think everyday should be Woman’s Day! There is nothing in life exclusive for men; my life has changed so much since I was young, views have certainly progressed. Women are equipped with as many qualities as men would have; and nowadays they are committed to taking on roles that were early on labelled for men only. We have been raised to be confident and independent in this competitive world.”