Heels on wheels! City Lady Bikers Unleash Women Empowerment

Mangaluru: As they say “Better Late Than Never”, even though “International Women’s Day” was celebrated on 8 March, the importance to aspects of women like Safety and Equality came to light today, 25 March in an effort to show the world that they can be equally good in all respects- few of the lady bike riders of Mangaluru came together for a meet-up followed by a city ride. United Bikers of Mangaluru along with Mangaluru Bikerni (Lady Riders), powered by Royal Enfield and City Team Gravity joined hands together to bring all enthusiastic riders, with special emphasis on lady riders together, to highlight Safety issues as well as Business Potentials for Lady Entrepreneurs, hence the theme “Liberating the Woman of Today”!

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With the blessings of the Mangaluru City Traffic Police, this get-together and city ride was used as a platform to highlight Road Safety with Helmet Awareness for Pillion riders. The event was held at Forum Fiza Mall on “Good Friday”, 25 March 2016 from 10 am onwards. The concept of the event was “Liberating the Women of Today”, which was coordinated by Mangaluru Bikerni (Lady Riders). During the occasion, Self-defense techniques and requirements were demonstrated by Karate expert by Ms. Pooja Jain and her friend. Also tips and Opportunities on Women entrepreneurs was delivered by Mrs Vasudha Shenoy, who was one among the guests of honor for the function.

The chief guest for the occasion was DK Commissioner of Police- Chandrashekar, and guests of honour were – ACO Udaya Nayak, SI of Kadri Police station- Suresh Kumar; Sundeep Shetty- Manager of Forum Fiza Mall; along with bevy of ladies namely- Preethi Uchil- an entrepreneur who is also at the helm of a NGO in Mumbai helping Cancer patients; Suhasini- a social worker; Rajani Dugganna- the ex-Mayor of Mangaluru City Corporation and a social worker; Vijayalakshmi – the ex-President of Mahila Okkutta and a active member in Buntara Sangha; and Vasudha Shenoy- social worker and tuition teacher. All the ladies guests spoke during the occasion and highlighted the role that women play in the society today. They also complimented the lady riders for taking a bold step in riding the motor-cycles, showing their opposite sex that they too can ride a bike like men.

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Addressing the gathering Police Commissioner Chandrashekar said, ” Riding a bike is a sign of independence. I am glad that women are taking a bold step in riding motor-cycles. We should not discriminate women, because in the present world, women too are shining better and reaching greater heights in their career. Now that women have taken up riding two-wheeler they should also follow the traffic rules and regulations- avoid reckless riding, speeding and dis-obey traffic rules. It’s always better to be safe than repent later. This is indeed a unique event planned by the organizers. Hope today’s awareness programme will make a difference and make a change in the community”.

Following a brief formal function, the Flag off pertaining to the Ladies rally was done by Commissioner of police. The riders went around the city, riding in a discipline manner- with the rally culminating at Forum Mall. Doesn’t the image of a lady in leathers, astride one big motorcycle just get to you? Be it Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity in the Matrix Series, Gal Gadot as Gisele in the Fast & Furious series or the next door neighbourhood girl out on a spin, there is something very interesting in knowing that the fairer sex is very mechanically minded and inclined to machines that appeal to us.

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Presently in many of our movies, a person zooming in on a bike does give a hint of sophistication to that part, and for many of us riders, – a moment of well-lit up recognition, which only a motorcycle rider would understand. Respect! However out on the streets, especially in our congested highway and by-lanes, a lady at the wheel of a car, or on a two wheeler, immediately tends to attract unwanted attention and many a times is at the receiving end of sarcastic comments and scornful looks. Is it just that, it’s because there is a lady on the road, a person, whom we are supposed to appreciate and respect, but can’t help making fun off at times like this, just because!!?

In the modern world, a lady out on her own, effortlessly handling either a small Hyundai i10 or a large Suzuki Bandit, is quite a welcome sight on any road. Granted, there maybe a few cases where they could be a little nervous and tend to over-correct, thereby sending the motorist, following behind, into near cardiac arrest. But we have definitely seen our fair share of men who are equally if not worse, when it comes to mistakes while in the driver’s seat. In fact in a lot of cases, we have seen guys – both drivers and riders behave like they own the entire road, sweeping down entire lanes, hugging corners without giving way to oncoming traffic and generally just creating a ruckus on the roads.

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In comparison, ladies at the helm, are a welcome change, as they do not get off into the adrenaline-blasting mode of bash-the-other and rule the road. They know when to just let idle and allow others to vent their steam, and when the time is right, to just floor it. The appearance of lady bikers on the road was largely unknown, in India, until xBhp started uniting the biking fraternity. Overnight, 2-wheeler aficionados could discuss relevant material to their loving rides, debate and argue forever about insignificant details and go on and on about the trips they have taken. Of course, it was not long when people started noticing the dainty girls zooming around on Scootys’ and maybe the occasional Enticer. The Internet was the medium that brought many of them together and the connection was built.

In 2011, the Bikerni was born, a brainchild of Urvashi Patole, who actually started riding since the tender age of 14. Stunts and injuries that went hand in glove did not deter this tough girl and 12 years down the line, she has over 4,00,000 kms down to her credit, emphasizing the raw passion that drives her continuously. Together with other ladies, like Firdaus Shaikh, Sheetal Bidaye and Chithra Priya – Urvashi has helped bring the Bikerni into the spotlight of the Motorcycling community, with a bang. The growth of their many chapters spread across India, consisting of 500 + riders, has helped these dedicated women who love their motorcycles, to ride out across the length and breadth of the country. Among their many awesome rides, the one that remains etched in memory would be their 10-member, 2013 Leh – Ladakh expedition, followed by their 5000 kms round trip, on the entire Southern Coastal belt.

As the Bikerni’s mission states – “to create an equal platform for women motorcyclists and to empower women all over India through the field of motorcycles”, this is definitely one team that is a guiding light for all girls out there who are tempted to try their hands on 2-wheelers. And in today’s age where ladies have proven themselves time and again, across the spectrum of occupational streams, the appearance of a woman handling a large capacity bike, with ease, in any traffic – is certainly a welcome sight.

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Unfortunately, in a lot of our cities, in many families, the simple thought of someone’s daughter showing an interest in riding anything larger than a Scooty, tends to lead their parents into a tizzy with wrong notions scrambling in all directions. And with that, while many girls are actually bold enough to try a proper motorcycle out, their love for adventure is curbed, because of what parents and family might think. And for those who have tied the knot, might even have to deal with in-laws. With the rigid upbringing that we are famously known for, many women have actually had to give up their love for motorcycling just to keep their husbands and in-laws happy.

However as with everything changing and evolving for the better, the roads are equally owned by both ladies and gents. We all have impositions clamped down on us. But hell yeah, what is life if not to break the rules once in a while and do what we like? So for all the girls out there who hesitate to get astride a proper motorcycle, you won’t know or understand until you try it. So gear up and ride out – take it as the time of your life!! Or do you intend to try it out when you cross 70?

CHANGE- If you are not riding the wave of change…you will find yourself beneath it.

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