NZs First Female Motorcyclist?

Early photographs of female motorcycle riders are scarce with the sport of riding motorcycles regarded as the domain of men. So it was a pleasant surprise to come across a photo postcard depicting what looks like a female rider dressed and ready posing in front of an early fixed speed Triumph. The scene is labelled as Motor Reliability Trials and dated 24th April, 1909. According to newspaper reports from that period the trials were run by the New Zealand Motorcycle Club and started from their club’s rooms at 52 Willis St in Wellington. The route was 84 miles to Waikanae and back. There were 28 competitors of whom one was a lady from Hastings. The lady rider experienced a mishap negotiating a water-course approaching Waikanae and retired.
Being a photo postcard it was printed off a glass plate negative so has excellent detail. This is evident in the second close up photo of the motor. The cleaness of the machine and the glean of the paint work would suggest that the motorcycle is quite new.