Danielle Cormack's motorcycle mission
New Zealand actress Danielle Cormack is on a mission to dispel the myth motorcycles are for men.
About 1000 Harley-Davidson motorcyclists have taken over the Queenstown streets for the 2017 Harley-Davidson Iron Run this weekend.
Despite common perception, it isn't just men under those leathers. Women like Harley-Davidson ambassadors Cormack and Caroline Buchanan, who are both in Queenstown for the Iron Run, are part of a growing wave of women riding motorcycles.
Cormack said she wanted to become an ambassador to help "bridge a gap" and encourage more women to ride.
"I'm an avid motorcyclist and contacted Harley feeling like their ambassador representation of females was a little under-represented. I threw myself at Harley and told them I love riding your bikes, I like riding cruisers - how about it? I love that more women are riding now too. To me that is important to help bridge that gap.
"Women riders are on the rise. Harleys might appear big, and some are, but they are so easy to ride and they really stick to the road. I felt safer riding on a Harley than other bikes and for the sort of riding I do it suits me perfectly...I think we need to bust those myths [Harleys are built for men] now because Harley make several models suited to a smaller frame."
Cormack had been riding "legally" for about four years, she said.
"It is a means for me to escape the weekly grind of work just to be able to do something quite different....It gives me an opportunity to get out of my own head for a while and focus on one thing at a time which is just riding and staying on the road.
"It also brings people together from different backgrounds, ages and communities - with the simple joy of getting on the road and riding together. For me riding in a group is a magnificent experience, hearing the rumbles of engines all around you...but also riding alone ...I treasure riding alone. I love it a lot."
She had had also joined a "motorcycle commune" where riders could build their own bikes.
"I did some custom work to a bike - I just love mechanics, taking things apart and putting them back together again. It's always been a passion of mine. My childhood toys would be carrying the scars of that."
Cormack, who is part of several riding groups, said she had never been to Queenstown riding before and it was a "rider's dream".
"There is no more magical place in the world than Queenstown. I have never ridden down here so I'm super excited to be here. I would say at the moment this is looking like it is hitting the charts at number one. It's so beautiful. I can't wait to get back on the road. Pretty much every road you take out of the heart of Queenstown is beautiful. The thing is about the New Zealand atmosphere is it is so clear and crisp here. It's very different to anywhere else in the world. That's why I love coming back to New Zealand. This is a rider's dream down here.
"I'm riding a Fat Bob and have never ridden one of those before. It's been interesting ride. Most bikes I ride are similar in size...there are just different modifications that make the riding experience a bit different. The one I'm riding at the moment, the pegs are much more forward so I have to stretch my legs out further, and this one is not as powerful...It's a sexy little machine."
The riders leave Queenstown on Saturday morning for a 20.5km ride through to Arrowtown.