As the street lights turned red and the vehicles came to a halt, a phalanx of young hawkers ran towards the road. One of them came across a woman on a motorbike. The helmet that she wore concealed her face. The hawker confused her for a man and was surprised at the sight of a woman as she lifted her helmet to talk to him.
That is how uncommon it is to find a woman riding a motorbike on the streets of India. So many heads turn to look at the woman who whooshes by on her motorbike. It is surprising that the same heads do not turn if the woman is on a scooty or bicycle. It is the bikers specifically that are uncommon.
Are we riding towards change?
As times are passing, we are coming across more and more women who are appreciating this two-wheeled beauty and going on their own adventures on them.
Up in the mountains, it is not uncommon to find women bikers. Moreover, anyone who has been to higher altitudes will agree that those bikers are not making heads turn so often, each time they pass by people. And this is a good change.
Indian women bikers – a story of inspiration
A part of the credit for bringing about such a positive change goes to the women bikers in India who chose to follow their heart even if it meant taking the risk of going against the norms. Bikers like Roshni Sharma, Urvashi Patole, and Aparna Bandodkar are an inspiration for women and young girls who dream of going about their own adventures, even if that means to ride a motorbike to their work every day. After all, how big are the mountains of societal norms and judgments once you’ve trailed the peaks of the Himalayas?
The story of the Indian biker Deepa Malik is worth a mention here. A Paralympian skier, Deepa Malik has journeyed 9 passes in 9 days over the highest motorable roads of Ladakh on a special bike. She has not only battled her illness but has also set a poignant example of following your heart and let nothing stop you from doing what you want to do.
These bikers seem to share one common feeling that a motorbike is much more than just a two-wheeled transport. It is an emotion. Some feel it gives a sense of freedom while some feel proud of breaking taboos and encouraging more women to come on the roads. It also is a getaway for some. But for most of them, it is the sheer happiness of the adrenaline rush that hits as they kick the gear and zoom off!
Can’t find the starting point? Bike riding groups to your rescue!
The above-mentioned biker, Urvashi Patole, founded a group of women bikers called The Bikerni. The idea was to give a platform to women who wish to ride motorcycles, thereby encouraging them. Today, The Bikerni has about 700 members and is spread across 17 cities. There are also other groups like the ‘Hop on Gurls’ and ‘Biking Queens’ and several bike riding events like ‘Raid de Himalayas’ and ‘Bike Week Goa’ that have played a role in encouraging more women to ride motorbikes.
It’s about the journey, not the destination
The best part about the women bikers is that most of them do not take up riding the motorbike with the aim of bringing about a change. They do so because their heart feels like it and they enjoy doing it. But, in the process and as an aftermath, they are encouraging women and moving towards greater equality.
Anjali Singh is a twenty-year young student of the Delhi Technological University. Spending her growing years in Delhi, she feels that this city has nurtured in her a love for theatre, traveling, and writing. She writes plays for theatre and travels to places performing them. Anjali dreams of changing the world through the power of ink whilst voyage the mountains of Leh on a Bullet.