The motorcycle sisters

The motorcycle sisters

It is seen as the ultimate name in motorcycles  and men have waxed eloquent about their love for the machines that come out of the 'Royal Enfield' stable. However, women are increasingly storming this male bastion and hitting the road  with their mammoth companions.

For telecom professional Sudha Kodandaramaiah, her father's passion paved the way for an   unending fascination for motorbikes. "My dad is very passionate about riding and we had a lot of bikes at home.  My somewhat orthodox family didn't allow me  to ride initially but three years back I decided I wanted to do this."  

"I  had my share of inhibitions,  exacerbated by the remarks people made about bikes being too heavy and not meant for girls. When I contemplated buying my own bike, a Thunderbird 500 CC, many people discouraged me as they felt I will not be able to manage it. But I went ahead with my plan anyway," she added.

 

For  Learning Development Manager  Pratima Hebbar, the interest in riding grew out of a necessity. "Basic commute was what I was looking at and I thought why not bikes?" she says, adding, "Being a female rider has both pros and cons. People would ask me questions like 'Isn't it heavy? What would you do if the bike falls? Can you put centrestand? How would you fix a puncture?' and so on. On the roads, I have been catcalled, raced with and even blocked by male riders while on my way to work. However, I have also received a lot of praise, thumbs up and requests for selfies."

 

Pranita  Aruun Zanje  aka Rinku, as she known in the riding community, was also inspired by her father.  "I learnt riding when I was in my seventh standard. My dad rode a 'Royal Enfield Bullet' and I used to think 'One day I will also ride it'. I have two Royal Enfields now and I am crazy about riding. I have married another rider so we get along very well in our shared enthusiasm."

While Pranita doesn't seem to have faced many challenges herself, she rues the lack of commitment from some other women riders she has seen. "Even though we have lady riders in our club, they are hardly there for trips. I am the only regular rider there." She has a soft corner for aspiring riders and when young girls come up to her and evince an interest in her bike, she teaches them for free.

All three women, like many others, are preparing for a three-day festival in Goa now. Called 'Royal Enfield Rider Mania', the largest gathering of Royal Enfield enthusiasts around the world, the extravaganza involves  three  days of music, meeting up and motorcycling action.

Says  Pratima, "I look forward to this event  every year. The 600 km ride from Bengaluru to Goa is in itself an attraction. Plus you get to meet lot of people and see events and custom bike displays."

"It is very inspirational, even for non-riders. There is a different kind of energy there, with all the young and old riders. Plus, many female bikers  ride all the way from Hyderabad and Delhi. I feel very motivated when I see them," says Sudha.  

 

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