(Courtesy of WI Life Magazine)
Hilary Gadd of Stoneleigh WI, Surrey, loves the freedom of her chosen form of transport.
Freelance journalist, press officer and motorcyclist Hilary Gadd jumped at the chance to be photographed at Brooklands Museum, Weybridge. It wasn't long before other visitors were admiring and photographing her bike.
How did you begin biking?
I needed transport from my home in Surrey to the London hospital where I worked as a nurse for about 25 years. I used to go by train but it took a long time and cost a lot of money. I've been an all-weather biker now for 30 years.
My bike's a 535cc Yamaha Virago
- perfect because it's light, low to the ground, offers a good riding position and is very comfortable for long journeys. As its paintwork wasn't available in the UK, it gets a lot of interest from bike enthusiasts. Compared to a Harley Davidson it just purrs, so I don't wake up the street getting home late.
What's the best bit?
The freedom of not being cooped up in a tin box, of being out in the fresh air. You can see a lot better on a bike than in a car and it's easier to avoid problems ahead.
You're more manoeuvrable too.
Just like Toad
in The Wind in the Willows,
'the open road' is good enough for me. My
favourite ride is out to Dorking, in the North Downs. The scenery's wonderful.
interested in mechanics?
I don't like
getting my hands too dirty although I'm very aware of any variation in the
bike's performance and handling. My husband Andrew is the mechanic and
polisher. My other interests include home decorating, reading and studying
- and more traditional WI ones like bread-making and crafts.
Federation's Press Officer, a terrific job. It brings some challenging and
privileged moments, such as this year when the Countess of Wessex opened our new
Federation HQ. What I like most about it is changing the perception many people
have of the WI.
Do you know
I've never met
another WI member who rides a motorbike
- but more women over 60 are riding
them than those in their
20's, so there must be some other WI bikers out there.
We went away on Andrew's 800cc BMW and he'd had a special number plate made
- WE2R1 (we two are one). We've still got it.
What is an
If, you'd like
to join the WI but aren't able to attend regular WI meetings, you can become
an NFWI Associate for £40 a year. This entitles you to a copy of WI Life eight
times a year, a copy of the WI's Annual Review, a money-off voucher
booklet and, in the first year of joining, an AGM observer ticket. Contact Kerri
) for further information. Please note, only women can become NFWI Associates.
was talking to Neal Maidment
The Spirit of
Brooklands Museum, in Weybridge, Surrey, is
'the cradle of British motorsport
and aviation history' and it makes a great day out for the family. Open every
day from 10am-5pm, you can see the historic racetrack banking, restored wartime
aircraft and Concorde alongside vintage cars
Tel: 01932 857381 or visit
©WI LIFE OCTOBER