We’ll be honest and admit that we had a hard time starting off this story. We’re not the stereotyping sort and wanted to steer clear of the cliched, “women doing a guy’s thing” peg. We’re also not the patronizing sort and hence overhyping things was also a strict no-no. And so we decided to just approach the story and accord it the merit that it deserves. As a result, we caught up with three lovely ladies, who are passionate about their mean machines, and aren’t averse to going full-throttle when it comes to burning rubber, fueling passion, and chasing their dreams.
Rapido first spoke with Soundari Sindy from Chennai, who has no hesitation in letting us know that her love for motorbikes has been egged by her husband, also an avid biker himself. Soundari has been riding since she was in 6th grade. “Since I was a child, I always had a penchant to do things that made me different and unique. I started riding bikes back in school, and as the years passed by, the love for riding just kept increasing.” Soundari rides a Suzuki Gixxer SF, and an Apache RTR 180 - both won by her husband in different competitions. Soundari loves long rides, and the two wheels of her beloved bikes have taken her to Pondicherry, Yelagiri, Vellore, Bangalore, and Nagalapuram. We couldn’t resist asking Soundari the reactions she gets when she takes her helmet off. She laughed and said, “It’s mostly awe. Most people look at me with appreciation. Some even come up to share a word or two of encouragement.” However, there have been a couple of stray incidents when Soundari has witnessed cynicism. “It’s very rare, “ she said. “There are some people who feel a little intimidated on seeing a female biker. They attempt to poke fun, but I don’t really care for their egos. I am a positive person and like staying that way!” Stay positive always, Soundari, and keep on doing what you do.
Rapido next met Sapna Sukesh, an entrepreneur and a mother. Sapna runs a riding gear and bike accessories store in Bangalore. She rides a KTM RC 390, but dreams to someday own a Kawasaki Versys 650. Sapna was rather modest when asked how long she had been riding, “I’ve been riding for about two years now, but it’s only in the last year that I have started riding extensively,” she says. A self-confessed “track junkie”, Sapna usually takes off to zip across race tracks in Chennai and Coimbatore. Describing her love for bikes, Sapna said, “There is nothing else that gives a feel of freedom than riding a motorcycle. The breeze blowing into you, the encounters with nature, and the reactions one gets brings a sense of being one with the world around.” Piqued about the “reactions”, we asked her if she meets with similar reactions as Soundari. “Everyone is more encouraging than anything. Most of the reactions are good,” she put it crisply.
And finally we spoke to Indhuja Pillai from Bangalore. “I prefer being called IP, “ said the UI designer who works with a travel start-up, so that’s what we addressed her as. We gauged her penchant for nicknames, when she told us that she calls her Royal Enfield Desert Storm “Sugar.” Her love for “Sugar” was obvious when she responded to our question about her dream bike by saying, “Nope! This bull is perfect for me.” While IP’s tryst with biking is rather nascent, it’s evidently a delightful partnership that she shares with her bike really; something that she documents in her blog (blog.Indhuja.com). Having traveled to Hassan, Belur, Halebeedu, Jog Falls, Gokarna, and Yana caves, IP describes her passion for biking as, “The more I’m getting to learn riding as an art, I realize that it’s more about living to ride, and riding with soul.” Signing off, IP told us about an incident when her bike ran out of fuel on the way to Hassan. An elderly gentleman helped her by getting her fuel from a petrol pump 3 kilometers away. With IP all set to leave, the gentleman imparted some words of “wisdom” and chided her for riding alone. Little did he know, IP always rides solo!
It’s not uncommon to see a woman riding a bike in India anymore, and it is a welcome turn of events that the initial surprise and shock has made way for appreciation, encouragement, and acknowledgement. This women’s day, Rapido salutes the lovely women of the world, who deal with jobs, and glass walls to shatter myths and love their bikes.