You can make anything by writing – CS Lewis
It all started in January 2011 by Urvashi Patole and Firdaus Shaikh in Pune, the first and largest all-women motorcycle association in India – The Bikerni. Currently they have more than 100 offline and more than 200 online members across India. “The whole idea was to give a platform to women to pursue their passion for motorcycling and to help women break in to the male dominated motorcycling world. At Bikerni we are involved in all aspects of motorcycling – teaching women to ride bikes, helping them source bikes and riding gear to bike maintenance workshops. We try to empower women via motorcycling,” says one of the leader of the pack, Uravashi Patole.
Of all the machine they have chosen Royal Enfield to be their ride. “Honestly we think that no bike in particular is tough to handle. All motorcycles are the same; it all depends on the rider’s ability to handle the motorcycle. We preferred Royal Enfield’s on the trips like to Ladakh because they are known for their reliability at higher altitudes and other wise. The machines make good power and the thump of riding it gives us women a complete high!” From being India’s first all women motorcycle club to ride to Khardungla (World’s highest motor-able road) to recently coming all out to protest against the Delhi rape case. They have been taking active part to support women related causes. “Recently we celebrated the International Female Ride Day on the first Friday of May across the globe. Women motorcyclists ride to work and have leisure rides on that particular day. It’s a celebration of our passion for motorcycling!”
Though it looks like a joy ride but it must have not been an easy to ride a bike in a country where women are suppose to stay home. “For some of us, it has been a battle with loved ones to pursue our passion due to pressures from family and society stereotypes, it’s been really difficult. But these Bikernis are pretty strong headed and determined and even though they haven’t got any support, they moved ahead in motorcycling and eventually their families have accepted their choice. Our co-founder Firdaus is an example of this,” says Uravashi Patole knowing that journey has just begun.
(Published in Society June ’13, Page No. 14)