Urvashi and Firdaus
For your club, what does motorcycling stand for?
The Bikerni aims to spearhead women empowerment through the medium of motorcycles and encourage women to go on adventures they would have never thought to go on before.
We aim to promote female motorcyclists in India and provide them a platform to connect with other female enthusiasts and improve their skills. Women Empowerment is the way to go. Every woman deserves to live life to the fullest achieving all that she has dreamed of and more.
Tell us briefly about the motorcycling ethics followed collectively by your club especially when related to practicing and promoting safe motorcycling?
We are not a gang. We are a respectable platform for women motorcyclists in India.
We were missing out on a women only fraternity of motorcycle riders so decided to start a facebook group in January 2011 and added all the women bikers we knew and had heard of. Gave the group a catchy name which we thought was appropriate and thus 'The Bikerni' was born.
We promote ATGATT strictly i.e. all the gear all the time. We ensure that our girls follow traffic rules and promote safe riding always.
We organise awareness rides with the city based RTO's for better promotion of safety.
We do not encourage back biting and tell the girls that whatever issues, please address it in an open forum and thankfully that is keeping us strong as a family.
How would you justify the inherent dangers and risk involved in riding motorcycles?
We always advise the girls:
All the Gear all the time (ATGATT). Dont grab attention to yourselves, carry a safety knife, always stop in crowded areas, don't divulge information unnecessarily, keep your loved ones informed about your whereabouts and ensure that you have a list of emergency numbers, your allergies and your blood group placed in your kit bag or laminated and kept in your jacket pocket.
Tell us briefly about the 2 most memorable/important motorcycling events organized by or participated in by your club?
We organise motorcycle trips, participate in the International Female Ride Day every year, associated with Royal Enfield for a television show where 11 female motorcyclist’s set the record for the first and largest group of lady motorcyclist’s to have reached Khardung-La, the highest motorable road in the world on motorcycles. We also take part in social causes especially women and girl child related eagerly such the ‘International Girl Child Day’ in October with CRY-Child Rights and You. Among our biggest achievements is a 11 member group trip on the Delhi–Khardung La route, which is the highest motorable road in the world for which achieved a Limca record for being the first all-women group in India to successfully attempt the route. We regularly organises trips in each member city, where “road captains” assign routes and plan trips.
How has your motorcycling club contributed to the society/brotherhood and plan to do so in the years to come?
The purpose to ensure that no woman is mistreated or looked down upon. To make the people understand that it is not a question of gender but it is all based on skills and talents alone. A woman can be an amazing rider and a man, a brilliant chef. Every single second that we are astride our motorcycles or walking on the roads, we aim to make a difference to what the public perceive a woman to usually be as. We break expectations with a motive to ensure safer cities for the women in India and empower them.
Through the Bikerni, we are steadily and slowly establishing a professional and respectable platform for women motorcyclists and by tying up with the RTO office's in every city and organising rides and events with them, we ensure that a strong platform is being set for the sisterhood of motorcyclists here in India.
What are the best and the worst things about motorcycling in India?
For women we have a message, please don't bother about other's likes and dislikes. Give yourself the importance and respect that you so strongly deserve. Life is not too long, so make the decisions and take the path you want to be on right away. Some of us did so at an early age and stuck to that path. We never bothered about the snide comments, the 'its just not meant for you', the 'please advise your daughter to not do something so risky', the envious comments and the hurdles placed and faced.
India needs to open up to the fact that women can be skilled motorcyclists and have an equal right to get astride a motorcycle and ride.
It has been a misconception that women are directionally challenged and cannot handle powerful machines. It is the hunger to prove society wrong and to experience adventure in all aspects is what makes us ride