Female Bikers in India.

Padma Rao, one of the few female bikers at India Bike Week, iNDIA. (sanjay austa sanjayausta@gmail.)

Padma Rao, one of the few female bikers at India Bike Week, India


When you think of a  girl on a bike,  you think of her riding pillion.   Biking is a male preserve where boys use their bikes to assert their masculinity.  They have their peculiar mannerisms, their boy talk  and adventures that one man can share only with another man.

But entering this cozy boy’s club are few girls who are not content on sitting behind the boys to make them look pretty.  They have their own bikes- just as  big, heavy and menacing.   The girls go on long cross- country tours just like the boys and make all the heads turn at the traffic signal in the cities.

 (sanjay austa sanjayausta@gmail.)

Labadhi Shah from Gujrat on her Harley, Goa

“ A biker is a biker. There is no such thing as a male biker or a female biker. I don’t like exclusive clubs. I ride my bike on weekends with a group of friends who are mostly male but I am just one of them”, says Padma Rao, 27 a PR executive from Mumbai.  She has been riding her bike in Mumbai since the last three years. Her love for cycling she says led her to biking.

But female bikers remain a minority as is evidenced  at the annual India Bike Week held in Goa.  Only a handful of  female bikers show up among a huge jamboree of male bikers.  But those that do,  match the men in both the machines as well as riding prowess.

 (sanjay austa sanjayausta@gmail.)

Singer Anushka Manchanda at India Bike Week, Goa

Labadhi Shah, 30 rode for Goa’s biking rendezvous this year  on her Harley Davidson all the way from Navsari in Gujarat,  covering a distance of over 900 kilometers one way. “There is nothing that a man can do that a  woman cant. I want to encourage more women to ride”, she says. She dismisses the argument that these bikes are too heavy for  woman.  “ Its not about the weight of the bikes . Its all about the passion”, she says.

A girl  on a two wheeler attracts attention anywhere in India. But a girl on a leviathan of a bike like Harley leaves everyone google-eyed at the signal.  The usual tendency to taunt or race is replaced by a sense of inadequacy.

 (sanjay austa austa)

Sonia Jain an avid Biker from Delhi

Singer Sukhmani Malik, who rides a Harley says she is used to the attention now. “ I don’t notice the attention anymore. I am a singer  and I am used to being on stage and being looked at. So I don’t notice it that much on the streets”, she says.

However there are some unpleasant incidents that female bikers sometimes face.  “ I had to call the cops when a male biker  who was following me , tried to make me fall off my bike at a crowded stretch in New Delhi”, says Ria Dhabas , 21 a Harley girl.  She got her bike as a birthday  present when she turned 20.

 (sanjay austa sanjayausta@gmail.)

Singer Sukhmani Malik from Chandigarh on her Harley

 “ There are usually two types of reactions you get from men on the road. One is appreciation. When they gives you a thumbs up. The second is where men try to race you  or try stunts in front of you”, she says.

Some unpleasant   experiences notwithstanding,  the girl bikers are here to  stay and  push the envelop of riding.  Sheetal Bidaye, 38 has a  Limca Record for being the first female  to ride her bike to  the highest mountain pass in the world. “ This was in Ladakh when I crossed  the  Masimik La pass solo in 2010”, she says.  In Mumbai where she lives she also teaches other girls how to ride a bike.

Ria Dabas got a Harley for her 20th birthday

Ria Dabas got a Harley for her 20th birthday



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