UK's Only Motorbike Garage Run by a Woman is in Tottenham

Karen Neill is a highly respected woman in the motorcycle industry, having been involved for in it for over 20 years and a winner of Britain's Biking Heros. As a dedicated technician and rider, she owns Zenith Motorcycles, a motorcycle shop and repair centre based in South Tottenham. It is the UK's only motorbike garage owned & run by a woman. Karen is also a born and bred Tottenham resident who is actively involved in the local community, so Rachel Ho caught up with her find out more about her motorcycle journey.

Photo supplied: Karen Neill, owner of Zenith Motorcycles.

Where did you grow up and what did your parents do? 

I grew up in Haringey, just off of West Green Road and I still live there now. My mum was a typical 70's house wife and my father ran his own office machine business in the City of London. 

Describe your relationship to Tottenham.

My relationship to Tottenham is a very complicated one. I love Tottenham, it's my home and has been my family's home for over 150 years. I am incredibly proud of my roots here and I love that I know every street.

Tottenham has so much to offer but sometimes I really feel that it is its own worst enemy. There is a huge social divide in Haringey and I get really angry sometimes at the mess and crime in the area. Sometimes it's almost like that people want Tottenham to live up to its reputation for trouble. 

I love Tottenham and I would really like in my life time to see it find its feet and stabilise without losing its soul. 

Photo supplied: Karen Neill, owner of Zenith Motorcycles.

How did you get involved with motorcycles?

I got involved with motorcycles because of my grandfather and father. My granddad worked at JAP motorcycles in Landsdowne Road N17 before the war and he remained passionate about motorcycles and engineering. He was a huge influence on me.

My father is also a keen biker, he always had some project or other on the go and I would sit with him for hours handing him tools and cleaning parts for him.

I always struggled academically having been diagnosed with dyspraxia and dyslexia in my teens, so I knew that I would have to look at manual trades for my future career.I decided to follow my passion which was motorcycles. 

What advice would you give to women who want to get into the motor cycling industry?

I would advise any woman looking to work in the motorcycle industry to go for it. It is an industry that is really under represented by women in the UK. There are so many aspects of the industry to get involved in from design all the way to mechanics like me. So it's not all about getting you hands dirty if you don't want to!

Photo supplied: Karen Neill, owner of Zenith Motorcycles.

Favourite thing to do in Tottenham?

I could write an endless list of my favourite things to do in Tottenham, it's almost impossible to choose. Like spending lazy evenings after work having a drink at the Beehive or having a pizza at Loven. I love taking a walk along the canal tow path from Markfield park or a visit to Bruce castle museum and of course my weekly browse at the Tottenham Green market.

There is so much history in Tottenham and always something going on, that's why to me Tottenham is the best place to live in London. 

Find out more about Karen and Zenith Motorcycles:

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