Scottish scenery plays starring role in new film about mental health

Dani Hair is the sole focus of the first part of the Influx short film Scotland: Where beautiful scenery meets incredible motorbikes
Dani Hair is the sole focus of the first part of the Influx short film Scotland: Where beautiful scenery meets incredible motorbikes

SCOTLAND provides the stunning backdrop to a short film that focuses on four female motorbike riders from Edinburgh opening up about their mental health.

Friends Dani Hair, Abby Manz, Clare Welch and Sally Stevens discuss how being on two wheels provides happiness and peace in award-winning Influx magazine’s latest feature.

Footage was shot in the Highlands, Trossachs, Lomond Hills and Leith, Edinburgh, with the country being hailed as a “biker’s paradise” during the near eight-minute offering.

“For me, riding bikes is a form of mindfulness,” said Hair in the film, entitled Scotland: Where beautiful scenery meets incredible motorbikes.

“Some people like yoga or journaling but for me, I think, nothing stops my mind from racing more than just being on a bike and focusing on what you’re doing, the environment around you and what’s going on. It stops you thinking about anything else and that’s just what works for me. It’s become like a form of therapy.

“Even though it started as something that made me anxious, now it actually cures my anxiety. When you have those nerves and feel like you might have a panic attack coming on, just being able to go on the bike and go for a ride; the therapy is instant.

“For me it was not only a short-term solution but a long-term solution to my mental health. I would really encourage learning how to ride a motorcycle.”

The graphic designer and illustrator was born on the west coast of Scotland but grew up in Sydney. She now lives in Leith.

She said: “A lot of motorcycle riders are actually really receptive to being open and talking about their mental health issues.

“I know that bikers like to come across as super tough and cool but everyone’s dealing with their own demons. They’re all very nice and supportive people. When you’re going, at speed, through beautiful hills or mountains, you put a little soundtrack on, zone out and think that you’re in a film.

“You just feel very, at peace, with just you and the machine and the environment.

“I knew I wanted to ride around Scotland but I didn’t know anyone here. I’ve met everyone I now know here through motorcycles. It’s a really exciting time to start riding in Scotland and around Edinburgh, especially coming out of the pandemic.

“A lot of people have got their licence because they want freedom of movement. To see people come to Edinburgh and not know anyone but then get a motorbike and suddenly they’ve got a whole community of friends, it’s really nice.”

The four women ride around the capital before facing the camera together to continue the conversation around community and mindfulness.

Manz also discusses founding the Women’s Wrenching Workshop in Edinburgh, which helps women gain vital mechanical skills.

Stevens adds: “With our work, when we do these riding experiences, we do 1000 miles around Scotland.

“I’ve had younger folk in their early 20s, and people up to their mid-60s, and a lot of them have said it’s one of the best riding experiences or, actually, it’s one of the best experiences of their life.

“It sort of just encapsulates how Scotland offers the dramatic scenes, amazing roads and why we refer to it as a biker’s paradise.”

The short film can be watched at