Free Press Journal

India Bike Week: Wonder women set biking goals


Leslie Porterfield

The India Bike Week focused on motley women bikers who roared on high-speed mean machines by overcoming challenges, writes Tapapriya Lahiri

Conventionally, biking is synonymous with men. But, how many of us, imagine women riding Harley Davidson or any other international brands? Now, India is witnessing the rage of women bikers — be it travelling solo or registering under all-women biking club — these robust women hardly care about mans plaining and dusted off the gears, revved up their mean machines and participated in 5th edition of India Bike Week held in Goa. In this two-day extravaganza, women bikers garnered lot of interest, which made their male counterparts green-eyed and jaw-dropped.

This time too, Little Vagator Hills in Goa beheld remarkable biking storm with some solo women bikers and all-women biking clubs armed in their favourite bikes. Enrolled biking divas at IBW defined, beauty is not only restricted within the fashion folklores, women have unequivocally and adequately made themselves adept to travel the world on wheels.

Women from different walks of life, sported biking skills at IBW—how to tour around the countries and continents on wheels and riding on untrodden roads—these adventurous women shared how they braved severe challenges and criticisms, as Indian society is way behind overcoming stereotypical parameters.

Dr Maral Yazarloo

Solo Bikers

Through IBW, solo women from offshore and onshore came equipped and created a stir with VROOM… And, when its Leslie Porterfield—the US biking diva—known for world’s fastest women on wheels, who also loves to restore old bikes. While thriving on her motto, Leslie says, “Biking gives me a sense of freedom and connection with nature while riding through the unknown terrains and similarly, it washes out the intoxications of mind and emancipates from all the normal distractions of life.”

“IBW gave me an opportunity to visit India and meanwhile, I interacted with Indian women bikers, those who have found a lifestyle in motorcycle, racing and riding heavy bikes with élan. Even, Indian automotive market is quite efficient, and I learnt about the favourite Indian bike models. And, met so many new people and shared snippets of this wonderful passion and sport.” added Leslie.

Dr Maral Yazarloo, a doctorate in marketing, who would have had stupendous career in MNCs’ or in any premier B-Schools, but she found joy of life, when she started researching on bikes. Maral says, “I decided to question myself, which bike can take me to seven continents and can survive in all the conditions? After thorough exploration and talking to other world travellers, I chose BMW GS — as I needed a higher cc bike to enjoy in good roads hence chosen 800cc – now I am contented with my bike, size and power.”

“In India, IBW grew with an uninterrupted passion and being a women biker, I am courted by seeing capable biking abilities in this forum. Similarly, I inspired thousands of women, those who still lacks the confidence to throttle out all the ambiguities. It is the only biking forum in India which gives bikers’ an impetus to attend this festival with an addition to expert panellist, who joined the discussion. And, I met some women biking groups participated in IBW.”

Anjaly Rajan

Badass biking groups

When men’s domain has been challenged by ¼ of women of the nation’s population, some of the lady biking groups says at IBW, “It’s a gateway to freedom, enjoy we-time and many outwardly expressions. These badass women shared their life, experience, good road trips and hurdles they faced while globetrotting.”

Anjaly Rajan, creator of the group ‘Riderni’, a Gujrat based women biking group, says, “We teach women to ride and made them feel the freedom of motorcycling. Here at IBW, we got lot of exposure through workshops and trainings and it is an apt place to learn and grow together.” While asking about challenges, Anjaly seconded that, “Riding a motorcycle is thrusting to take confidence into another level. Similarly, she also gives big-time complex to those stereotyped men, those said, ‘she was leaning against culture’ and Anjali believes, time has changed, and riding motorcycle has become a culture for us.”

Had anyone thought a doctor in the field of psychology will show tremendous interest in bikes? Perhaps no! But, Dr Sarika Mehta had made it possible by forming a group named ‘Biking Queens’ to empower women and ride for social cause.  Dr Sarika says, “Being a psychologist, I always try to uphold the psychology behind riding and make the enthusiasts well-acquainted about the road safety. At IBW, I shared what I believe, biking is a strong mediator and we can disseminate strong message to society, where women are still caged and afraid to pursue their dreams.”

“IBW is a prodigious platform to exchange information and I interacted with several riders. Every year, I come from Surat with ‘Biking Queens’ group. Biking with a motley group of women gave an immense gratification, when we crossed million miles in several European countries — Germany, Austria, Switzerland and many more.”

Biking Tips from Leslie Porterfield

  • My tips would be always having the proper gear, and the proper fit
  • Gear is an imperative component in bikes to and save lives
  • Make the investment up front and never quit learning. It makes motorcycles more enjoyable
  • Take a track day, an advanced rider course. Even if you have no desire to race, a day on a track expert guidance will make you a better and safer rider.