From Alaska to Silk Route to Goa: Indian women motorcyclists breach male bastion

Panaji: From riding along snow-lined wilderness in Alaska to biking along the ancient Silk Route in Central Asia, India's women bikers are now stormed the uber-macho biking male bastion and how. Women bikers at the India Bike Week, which gets underway at Vagator, a coastal village located 25 kms north of Panaji are getting attention as well as respect, even as the two-day event which goes underway on Friday.

Yoga instructor and biker Sangeetha Jairam has biked to humid and sultry Goa from the cool airs of Coorg. We can't confirm if she's carrying a yoga mat along, but what we can see is a mean bike and an attitude which borders on philosophical. Strange attribute for a biker? Not really, says Sangeetha. Biking according to her, is a "friend, philosopher and guide".

Her biking obsession her taken her across South East Asia, Bhutan, the Himalayas and has made her trod on the ancient Silk Route through Kazakhstan and adjoining countries. "Fact is, those of us who love motorcycles are kindred spirit. And the biking space surely doesn't belong to men alone," Sangeetha told Firstpost, when asked if male domain in biking had been finally breached.

 From Alaska to Silk Route to Goa: Indian women motorcyclists breach male bastion

Representational photo. Reuters

Sangeetha's love for biking appears to have been passed down to her by her father who rode his BMW R/25 from India to London a couple of decades back. While Sangeetha's father inspired her to take up biking, Delhi's Sonia Jain came from a more 'protective' family, which dissuaded her from biking.

"My friends let me drive near the house, but only in first and second gear, but my parents would never buy me a motorcycle then," Sonia says. But ever since she got hooked to biking, she took a bold decision to drop out of her father's business consummate her bike affair whole hog.

"I decided to give up my dad's business and opted to work for a bike company. Now, biking is not just my passion, but my profession as well as my lifestyle," she says. Sonia's first motorcycle break came in six years ago, when she auditioned for the India Bike Rally, a grueling 4500km long affair which lasted three weeks.

"That was my first long distance riding experience. After this there was no turning back. I exactly knew what I would be doing for the rest of my life," Jain says. Jain will join nearly 10,000 bikers at the India Bike Week starting Friday at Vagator which for the two days will be the national capital of grunge style and statement. As part of the IBW line-up, are bike clubs from Europe, biking legends, rock shows, bistros, tattoo camps, live performances, celebrity attendees and the like.

Over 2000 Harley Davidson bikers from all across India are also expected to be present at the do.

Also part of the IBW lecture series is Seattle-based Indian techie Rashmi Tambe. It could be safe to call the Mumbai-born, the prima donna of Indian bikers solely on account of the feats she has clocked over the last few years. Judge for yourself.

"A friend and I travelled 3000 miles from Seattle to Alaska. I've also biked solo over 5000 miles across the expanse of North America and 5000 miles more through both central and westerns Europe. Think I should be the first Indian woman to do that," she says. She's driven cruisers, sports bikes, dirt bikes and even dual sports.

"Of all the things I have dabbled in, only motorcycling has stuck on. Even on days when its pouring, windy or the weather throws other challenges, I'd still be happy on my motorcycle rather than being stuck at a desk," she says. Her passion for biking has seen her take to the internet with a unique project which tracks down women bikers across the world.

"Thing is there aren't too many women bikers as role models. project aims to create resource about women bikers across the world and to fill that gap, I interview a woman motorcyclist in every country," she underlines, as she explains her 'Global Women Who Ride' project.

And like Sangeetha, Rashmi too keeps her philosophy simple. "Biking is 'my' space and not a man's space," she says.

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Updated Date: Feb 22, 2015 08:25:16 IST