Two local women are taking on a unique challenge to ride their motorcycles from London to Paris in aid of charities close to their hearts, writes Jessica Reid.
Carla McKenzie, from Hastings, and Julie Diplock, who used to live in Hastings but now resides in Romney Marsh, have named their trip ‘Vintage to Voltage’.
They will be riding contrasting bikes – one a modern electric bike and the other a 1926 Triumph with minimal suspension and no gears – and will be taking the more difficult route on muddy trails and green roads, which will involves different skills from riding on tarmac.
Both women share a passion for motorcycling and have been riding for most of their lives. Carla has taken on a number of biking adventures before, including riding across the USA, while Julie has founded Elk Promotions which runs classic motorcycle and autojumble shows across Sussex and Kent.
Carla said: “Preparation for the ride is well underway but it is an enormous undertaking for both woman and machine.
“I think in the spirit of any adventure there is a certain amount of nervousness as well as excitement.
“Julie and I are both members of the Trail Riders Fellowship. Fellow Sussex and Kent members have been helping us to train and prepare for the ride. Fitness is key to being able to trail ride over a sustained period.
“I have been training at Bannatynes Health Club in Hastings with personal trainer Karolina.”
Carla and Julie begin their journey at Westminster on September 18 and hope to arrive in Paris on the 20th. However they are already facing some difficulties with the chosen route.
Car;a added: “There have been some environmental challenges which has resulted in the trip being scheduled for arrival in Paris later than originally planned.
“While the electric motorbike is fully compliant with all emissions regs and zones, the Triumph is not and therefore can only access Paris after 2000hrs or at the weekends.”
The trip’s aim is to highlight the evolution of the motorcycle over the past century and also raise money for three important charities; The Lt Dougie Dalzell MC Memorial Trust (DDMT), which offers support and assistance to soldiers in the armed forces; The Kent, Sussex and Surrey (KSS) Air Ambulance, which provides an emergency service to patients who have suffered trauma or medical emergencies; and also the Joan Seeley Memorial Trust in Kent, which supplies medical equipment to UK hospitals and hospices.
To donate, visit; https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/CarlaMckenzie1.