WATCH: Biker training facility marks 100 years of female suffrage with pink breast cancer awareness campaign

Share this article

Traditionally seen as a macho industry and sport, motorcycling is getting a feminine makeover at one Lancashire training centre, which has changed its training gear to pink to celebrate 100 years of women’s suffrage. TOM EARNSHAW finds out more...

A biker training facility is using the 100 year anniversary of women getting the vote to champion breast cancer awareness and breakdown the motorcycling’s male-dominated stigma.

Riverview Motorcycle Training, Hesketh Bank, has gone pink in all their riding gear to raise awareness for breast cancer screening, with Debbie Dowie from Boot out Breast Cancer with supporters and staff. Photos and video by Neil Cross.

Riverview Motorcycle Training, Hesketh Bank, has gone pink in all their riding gear to raise awareness for breast cancer screening, with Debbie Dowie from Boot out Breast Cancer with supporters and staff. Photos and video by Neil Cross.

To do this the company, Riverview Rider Training, has taken the unique decision to make all of its training gear bright pink.

Co-owner Russ Roberts said: “It was the back end of last summer that we decided to do this after thinking about it for a few years.

“The winter months are very quiet for training so we used them to put all this together.

And with it being the centenary of women getting the vote, it just fell into place and felt like the right time.”

Actress Jessica Jayne Harney from Leyland

Actress Jessica Jayne Harney from Leyland

Russ, from Hesketh Bank, added: “I’m sick to death with the motorcycling industry being all about men.

“We have to push equal rights and feelings of equality in the industry.

“If you don’t want to wear it you can go somewhere else!”

The colour was chosen in solidarity with breast cancer support and its pink ribbons to bring greater awareness and support to combat the disease.

Riverview Motorcycle Training, Hesketh Bank, has gone pink in all their riding gear to raise awareness for breast cancer screening, with Debbie Dowie from Boot out Breast Cancer, Russ Roberts and Wayne Taylor and  actress Jessica Jayne Harney

Riverview Motorcycle Training, Hesketh Bank, has gone pink in all their riding gear to raise awareness for breast cancer screening, with Debbie Dowie from Boot out Breast Cancer, Russ Roberts and Wayne Taylor and actress Jessica Jayne Harney

But Russ also explained how the decision to it had a personal connection through his business partner Wayne Taylor’s ex-wife Caroline.

Caroline was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was aged just 32.

“Wayne is a ‘blokey blokey’ but he loves it now,” explained Russ.

“Women are typecast as being slow or something equally as offensive but we want to put an end to that idea. It’s 2018 for goodness sake.”

Actress Jessica Jayne Harney from Leyland

Actress Jessica Jayne Harney from Leyland

One recent graduate of Riverview is 25-year-old actor Jessica Jayne Harney, who completed her compulsory basic training (CBT) there for a stunt role in hit new Netflix show, Safe, starring Michael C. Hall of Dexter fame.

Jessica, from Leyland, said: “A lot of the time on television stunts, where people are on motorcycles, normally it’s the man that you see, so to have a young girl, not just a woman, is just a really great thing to have.

“To show people that younger women can do things like this and show our worth.”

The pink gear was brought in from late January and the feedback has been supportive.

“It’s been a few months now, it’s still relatively new, but we have feedback and it’s seen as a good thing.”

Chorley-based Debbie Dowie runs Boot out Breast Cancer, a charity which aims to provide equipment for diagnosis.

Debbie Dowie from Boot out Breast Cancer

Debbie Dowie from Boot out Breast Cancer

Debbie was earlier this month crowned the 2018 Inspire Woman of the Year Award for her charity work.

She said: “The passion in Russ’ voice towards this is really amazing and it’s really nice to hear so much enthusiasm about this.”

And Russ added: “If you are for change it has to be all the way down the line. We have to commit to equality wholeheartedly.”

Chorley charity doing its bit for breast cancer research

Debbie Dowie runs Boot out Breast Cancer whose mission is to raised funds to purchase the latest state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment for NHS breast units in the north west.

And for Debbie, while the majority of breast cancer suffers are women – it’s men that suffer too.

Debbie said: “We have 400 men a year that will get diagnosed which we why we have a bit of purple in our logo to show it affects both men and women.

“It’s important that we do have the latest state-of-the-art equipment. Technology is moving all the time and also needs to be free to people all the time.”

Motorbike stunt lessons for TV work

Jessica Jayne Harney from Leyland completed her compulsory basic training (CBT) at Riverview after landing a stunt role in hit new Netflix show Safe, starring Michael C. Hall of Dexter fame.

25-year-old Jessica, who studied acting at Runshaw College, said: “I got a phone call from the show to say that they wanted me for the role but I needed at least my CBT qualification.

“My dad and brother who both ride did their tests at Riverview so I rang them right away.

“They were so supportive of me from the beginning. If I had gone somewhere else I might not have got their dedication.”

Jessica, who is building her acting portfolio and has appeared on the likes of Coronation Street, Hollyoaks, Cold Feet and film Walk Like a Panther filmed the role last November at Hale train station where she was on set for two days in total riding a Vespa bike.

And for the upcoming actor, being a female motorcycle rider is doing its bit to showcase the industry as something that’s not just for men.

“A lot of the time on television stunts where people are on motorcycles, normally it’s the man that you see, so to have a young girl, not just a woman, is just a really great thing to have,” Jessica explained.

“To show people that younger women can do things like this and show our worth.”

The former Runshaw College and Balshaw’s CE High School added: “It was an incredible experience and something I will be proud of for the rest of my life.”