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 new, big project :

Stories, ventures, and how to crack a stubborn nut

Women face obstacles moving in public spaces, be it prejudices, traditions, prohibitive laws, violence. All over the world, courageous, creative women have found ways to overcome these obstacles. Using specific means of transportation, they challenge gender stereotypes, gain independence, self-confidence and strength. Each one of them changes her society from within, and becomes a role model inspiring others to follow suit.

In the West, the pioneering work was mainly done in the past. Women truckers no longer raise eyebrows, nor do woman motorbikers and pilots. The pioneers (still alive) were born in the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s. Outside of the West, it is happening now : Iranian truck drivers, skateboarding girls in Cambodia, a pilot in Pakistan, 4×4-riding bedouins in Oman, cycling girls in rural India, drivers in Saudi Arabia, taxi scooter riders in Bangladesh and Tanzania.

Move she does will delve into a large array of ages, cultures, regions, vehicles, classes, backgrounds, and will take many years to develop to its full range and potential.

The project will create a platform for a large number of stories of these pioneers, in portraits, text, audio and short videos.
As soon as a first and diverse series of stories will be collected and processed, a project website will be created, intermediate targeted publications, social media visibility, and a first small book. Ultimately this project aims to become a book, an exhibition, and a series of lectures mainly for youngsters.
The further roll out of this project, and for me one of the most important and valuable pillars, is the distribution of the Move she does-stories in the countries where I find them : in local media, in schools, in villages, together with and by local women.

First portraits of Elke Maria Löhnerz, 78 years old (°1944)
Biker up to this day, rally car racer, sailor, epee fighter, teacher / Germany

78 year old Elke Maria Löhnerz fights ageism, gender stereotypes and a tree near the Polish border 

First archive material of Elke Maria Löhnerz