A woman sporting a leather riding jacket, helmets and gloves and revving her bike to take off to the hills for a ride can turn heads like nothing else…
Today, Pune’s women are front-runners for biking and are certainly breaking the old gender stereotype that society had for them.
And this is not only about riding a bike and looking like Katrina. From changing tyres to fixing clutch wires these women’s know it all. They’re no longer limited to scooters and prefer racing sitting at the far end of the bike seat. Biking is a passion for these women -and for some, a symbol of their free spirit.
A fiercely independent woman who loves to flaunt her individuality as a female biker, as well as challenging her limitations is Shami.
Shami Mulay, A Sports Nutritionist and Gym Instructor, gets around on a Splendor i3s, a popular bike on city roads thanks to its ease of handling and good mileage.
“I have been riding a bike for the past 4 years and I prefer the comfort of riding a two-wheeler that has a good suspension and bigger tyres,” she said.
Without the option of frequent and affordable public transport, I felt a motorcycle would give me the freedom to plan my day on my terms, get work done and explore the city at the pace I wanted without the hassle of searching for parking spots or negotiating the narrow roads. She adds.
“It has been 4 years now, since the day i drove my dad’s Splendor for the first time. I could see how proud my dad felt for me then and now”, says Kunjal Rathod, student of M.SC Biotechnology
Kunjal grew up in Pune where she learned to ride as a young teenager. After her dad taught her the basics, she found herself hooked.
Kunjal soon brought her Royal Enfield and learned how to open it up and put it back together down to the last tiny bolt…
“Being a woman rider for this long has now got me used to never having to depend on anyone for a single thing,” she says.
I believe that there are no such things that men can do, and women cannot. Breaking that stereotype has inspired me to ride a bike. It gives me unbridled sense of freedom.
It makes me feel free and confident. She adds.
Mohini Nikam, A BSc student has been riding since she was 17.
My first bike was tvs starcity and later I bought Royal Enfield classic 500 with my first earnings and that bike became like my baby, she said.
Nikam loves riding because it affords her independence – her best memories are of times spent biking around with her dad.
“I was determined to ride, so I started taking classes for aspiring woman riders named Running woman’s riding institute,” she adds. The self confidence Nikam said she gained, during those initial years, has made her comfortable on almost any bike.
A Banker by profession, Medha Naik learnt to ride at the age of 50 and continues to blaze her trail. She admits to courting looks from people occasionally, but she doesn’t let that stop her from doing what she loves doing, riding!
If men can ride, why can’t women? she says.
However, I know its difficult for people to come to terms with a woman on a Royal Enfield. It often makes her more vulnerable to negative and discouraging attention than usual.
“When I take my helmet off there are invariably catcalls directed at me and if I am dressed in vaguely feminine attire, I am sure to get stared at more than usual.” She adds
Regardless, she advises girls to now allow the the pressure of conformity restrict you from the pleasure of riding…
##All these spirited women riders swear by their helmets. Few pictures used above sans their helmets is only for facial recognition.
#All views expressed in this article are those of the individual respondents and Pune365 does not subscribe to them.
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