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Female Rider Breaks Social Barriers With Groundbreaking Journey

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WATCH: Maral Yazarloo rode 110,000 km through 64 countries, 40 of those while pregnant, and became the first Iranian woman to openly enter the country on a motorbike without being arrested.

The BBC recently published its “100 Women” list, an annual celebration of what the global news outlet feels are the world’s most influential and inspirational women. For the first time a female RTW rider has made the cut: Maral Yazarloo-Pattrick, an Iranian Ph.D. who’s completed a 17-month ride traversing 64 countries and all 7 continents riding solo aboard her densely-packed BMW F650GS.

And yeah sure, there is a stack of super-cool women soloing around the globe these days, but what sets Yazarloo-Pattrick apart is her unique position to represent Iranian women in the quest for riding freedoms. While foreign-born women can ride in Iran with little hassle (think Lois Price and Kinga Tanajewska’s outstanding coverage), it turns out Iranian women are not allowed to ride motorcycles in public.

Maral Yazarloo Adventure rider breaks stereotypes

But Iranian women very much want to ride, especially because many are allowed to race on closed off-road and road courses, yet risk arrest and/or persecution if they ride on public roads.

While this inspiration had been ever-present during her RTW ride it really hit home on the final leg as she became the first Iranian woman to openly enter her own country’s border on a motorcycle without being arrested. She started thinking about all the messages she’d received from Iranian women telling her how lucky she was and decided she would try to make a difference.


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Maral started her RTW journey in 2017, riding over 110,000 km by the time she completed her adventure in August 2018. So much happened along the way. For example, when she first set off from India she was just Maral Yazarloo. As she traveled, her long-time boyfriend proposed while visiting her, then flew to Macchu Pichu to get married, never once asking for her to give up her RTW ambition. It turns out one of those visits started a family for the couple and Yazarloo-Pattrick rode pregnant for the last six months of her journey, raising eyebrows and awareness of women’s rights.

A baby girl was born shortly after Yazarloo-Pattrick returned home, already a RTW traveler in her own right (40 countries!) with a bright future ahead in a world where – fingers crossed – all women can know the unique freedom of exploring on two-wheels.

Yazarloo-Pattrick is currently home in India, where she moved 14 years ago to get her Doctorate. She is elated by her travels and proud that she was able to complete her ambitious RTW journey. “My goal is to support Iranian girls who love riding motorbikes,” says Yazarloo-Pattrick. “I want them to be able to experience the joy of riding.”

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Author: Jamie Elvidge

Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.

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