Women Empowerment! ‘Kudla Bikerni Female Bikers’ Back after 11 Days & 4,300 Kms Journey which commenced from Mangaluru to Rann of Kutch and back to Mangaluru
Mangaluru: If all women are created equal, but there are quite a few who are extraordinary having started riding motorcycles, which only men used to zoom around for decades. Women have been trained to ride softly and carry lipstick or dress to thrill with all that extra make-up done in front of a mirror. Gone are those days where the present women showing their Women Empowerment are trying to beat the men, either in academics, sports, adventure, and now MOTORBIKE RIDING! Little did four women from the city, who decided to go on a pleasure trip on their motorcycles, realize that they would inspire many women on their journey from Mangaluru to the Rann of Kutch. While the women were already excited about exploring the Rann of Kutch, they were surprised by the welcome and respect they earned during the journey.
In 2011, the “BIKERNI” – India’s pioneering group of women motorcyclists was formed. A brainchild of Pune-based Urvashi Patole and Firdaus Shaikh, this association quickly grew to over 500 members in 2014 and as on date has easily over 2000 members pan-India, inspiring many women to start riding, which in turn opened avenues in the fields of racing, stunting, touring and brand influencing for female riders all over.
In Mangaluru, while various biking events, motorsports activities and Road Safety rides together with the Traffic Police, have always been male-dominated, the absence of female riders was a point that was regularly touched on. And then in 2015, the Mangalore chapter of the BIKERNI was launched with the blessings of the then Mangaluru Commissioner of Police- Chandrashekar and ACP Traffic – Udaya Nayak. Over the years, the passion for riding has just been really contagious and these girls have ventured out and beyond and many groups as well as solo rides – both short and long. Following their mantra of “Every day is a new adventure and a new challenge”, they eventually had been planning for this long thought off dream and ultimately towards the end of 2021, Four of the Mangaluru Bikernis boldly rode out to the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat – a good round distance of over 2,600 km.
All along the way wherever they halted for a break or to top up fuel, many people would come up and talk to them and want to take pictures with them. And then these girls realized that even on this ride of their own, they were inspiring others to do what they love, and to travel and experience every corner of this amazing country – that is our very own India! And all along the way, from start to end, these Four riders were their own motivation for each other throughout the ride!
Divya Poojary, a medical representative, rode a Royal Enfield Himalayan, Pooja Jain, a businesswoman who owns a textile shop ‘Devika Sarees’, who also holds a black belt in karate and teaches karate too, rode a KTM Duke 390 and Apoorva M, a mother of a 6-year-old boy, and Krithi Uchil, both software engineers, rode on a Yamaha MT-15. Krithi Uchil is the founder of Mangaluru Bikerni Club. Kirthi loves touring and has travelled to several places in South India along with Pooja Jain and Divya Poojary. Apoorva has toured small distance destinations and this was her first experience to cover nearly 4K plus kilometres.
They started their journey from Mangaluru on December 24 and reached the Rann of Kutch on December 29. They returned to Mangaluru on January 5, covering a distance of 4,300 km. They rode through Maharashtra and clocked an average of 500 km per day. District Additional Superintendent of Police, Dr Shivakumar had flagged off the bike tour to promote women empowerment near circuit house, Mangaluru on 24 December 2021. Krithi Uchil who was instrumental in establishing Mangalore Bikerni Club said that when they were planning the journey to witness the Rann Utsav, there were many women bikers who showed interest but eventually dropped out.
Speaking to Team Mangalorean Krithi said, “Four of us were determined to complete the journey. Interestingly, when we were planning the ride, we met Apoorva, a mother of a six-year-old boy, through a common friend. When she heard about our plan, she was excited, which motivated her to buy a new Yamaha motorcycle the next day. She practised hard for two months, only to be part of this journey. When IPS officer Shivakumar flagged us on our biking endeavour, he told us to inspire women through our journey. Throughout the journey, we received unexpected recognition everywhere we halted, with people coming forward to take pictures and selfies with us. In Mangaluru too, people have begun to recognise us”.
“The Kannada Sangha in Bhuj reached out to us, and one of the members hosted us in his house, and they also arranged for our visit to Vighakot. BSF personnel appreciated our efforts. Since Pooja has relatives in Surat, we halted for a day there, when we were going to the Rann of Kutch, as well as on our return. They arranged for a warm welcome on our return journey, with many from the biker community joining in. Overall, it was a smooth journey, with no major breakdowns, and we visited all the prominent tourist destinations in Gujarat,” she added.
What started as a journey to explore the country, became a mission to empower women to follow their dreams. Congratulations to the four DARING & ADVENTUROUS WOMEN on their achievement from Team Mangalorean.