Trui Hanoulle and Iris Heiremans about to enter Iran on their Yamaha XT 500’s in 1999

I think the bicycle has done more to emancipate women than any one thing in the world.”
— American suffragette Susan B. Anthony in 1896 —

In 2008, I made and published the book Girls, Muslims & Motorcycles, together with writer, travel companion and then-lover, Gaea Schoeters. In text and photos, the book tells of numerous encounters and adventures during our overland motorbike journey through nine Muslim countries in Eurasia. There the seed was planted for my global image and storytelling project on women blazing trails with their vehicles, on emancipation through mobility:

Women face obstacles moving in public spaces, be it prejudices, rigid traditions, absurd laws, violence. All over the world, courageous, creative women have found ways to overcome these obstacles. Using specific vehicles, they challenge gender stereotypes, change their society from within, gain independence, self-confidence and strength. With their trucks, bicycles, planes, boats, rickshaws and motorcycles, they flout and challenge whomever holds them back.
Travelling to villages, towns and remote mountain areas, I track down, interview and photograph some of the world’s wayward women. A few are over a hundred years old, one just turned twelve. Some are local or international celebrities, others are simple housewives. Yet each and every one of them is a trailblazing role model, inspiring others to follow suit.

Move she does delves into a large array of ages, cultures, classes, backgrounds and vehicles.
Through this storytelling, I aim to unearth a part of untold herstory, showcase the courage, power and ongoing struggles of these often unsung sheroes, to inspire next generations, and to create more understanding, sisterhood and equity. And to provide more real life role models.

Since 2022, I have been able to meet mind-blowing women and groups in IranEngland, BelgiumGermany, ItalyJapan and Tanzania, for a total of 31 stories. In September and October 2024, I will be travelling around India, meeting a trucker, a tuktuk rider-teacher, a stunt woman, a pioneer pilot of 88, a group of cycling girls, a skateboarding village, and more. In 2025 I aim to travel to Algeria, maybe Pakistan, maybe another country in Central-Africa. Meanwhile I continue to work in Belgium (mainly writing) and neighbouring countries. In 2026, the full editing, designing and preparing of the book for publication will start. 
[ if you want to look into any of the previous or current journeys, you can follow me on my Polarsteps profile, a traveltracker/blog available on web and app. ]

The project consists of portraits, interviews, context story, audiorecordings and short videos of these trailblazers.
All along, stories are spread through articles, talks in schools and for general audiences (contact me if you want to book a talk), web pages, maybe a podcast. By the end of 2026, the project will become a published book, first in Dutch (my native language) as Baanbrekers (Trailblazers), later in English.
And proud to announce the exhibition of some 20 large scale photographs in the famous Concerthall of Bruges, Belgium, from 9 November 2024 till 2 February 2025.
Vernissage on Sunday 17 November. WELCOME to ALL!
Baanbrekers / exhibition by Trui Hanoulle

Trui Hanoulle is a freelance photographer, storyteller, graphic designer, writer, arts teacher, motorbiker, long-distance traveller, queer and coffeeholic. 
Move she does / Baanbrekers is her own initiative and creation, financed independently of any media or other agenda.

Here are the very first portraits I made for the project, of Elke Maria Löhnerz, a passionate motorbiker, rally car racer, sailor, epee fighter, teacher. I made her story back in January 2022 in Germany close to the Polish border.
Sadly she passed away on 2 April 2024. Born in 1944, she was 79.
On her obituary it says: “Ein buntes Leben ist zu Ende gegangen.” / “A colourful life has come to an end.”

A video and some of the archive material of Elke Maria Löhnerz