Every society in the world, including India, has embedded gender prejudices. These prejudices determine what conduct is appropriate for both genders and frequently restrict the options available to women. The realm of biking is one place where these preconceptions are very clear.
In India, riding a motorcycle is still widely seen as a man's hobby. Women who ride bikes have frequently encountered criticism. But with time, that has (thankfully) started to change and society has become more accepting of the fact that women, too, can ride.
But Indian women are defying the gender stereotypes and demonstrating that motorcycling is not only a sport for males
Read about these seven Indian women riders who are setting the bar high:
1. Dr Maral Yazarloo
Dr Yazarloo is an avid biker by choice and a dentist by profession. She has ridden her motorcycle more than 25,000 kilometres across India, encouraging other women to pursue their goals. The Bikerni, a group that supports and encourages women who desire to ride motorbikes, is an organisation that Dr Yazarloo founded.
2. Urvashi Patole
Software engineer Urvashi Patole developed a passion for motorcycling from a young age. She pursued her ambition and became a professional motorcyclist despite opposition and doubt from her family and friends. Urvashi is the first Indian woman to complete the arduous Raid de Himalaya, one of the world's most difficult rallies that take place in the Himalayan mountains.
3. Veenu Paliwal
Before her untimely death in 2016, Veenu Paliwal, also known as the "Lady of Harley," was one of the most well-known female bikers in India. Before she discovered her love for motorcycling, she was a successful model and a mother of two. Veenu was a Harley Davidson brand ambassador who frequently rode her motorcycle through the streets of India, defying gender norms and encouraging other women to do the same.
4. Anam Hashim
One of the youngest female bikers in India and a skilled stunt rider, Anam Hashim is an inspiration to many. She began riding motorcycles when she was 15-years-old, and through time, she rose to prominence in the Indian biking scene. Anam has appeared in numerous periodicals and TV shows and has performed stunts in various biking competitions. She is a supporter of women's empowerment and exhorts other women to follow their aspirations despite any challenges they may encounter.
5. Pallavi Fauzdar
Pallavi Fauzdar is a mountaineer and cyclist who has accomplished a number of noteworthy exploits in the biking world. She has travelled more than 15,000 kilometres on her motorcycle across India, as well as via the Himalayas and Ladakh. In addition to being a mountaineer, Pallavi has scaled a number of Himalayan peaks, including Mount Everest Base Camp. She is a fervent supporter of women's emancipation and exhorts other women to engage in adventure sports and test their limits.
6. Harpreet Baweja
Harpreet Baweja enjoys riding motorcycles and has ridden them all throughout India. She has ridden her bike over 30,000 kilometres, passing through Nepal and Bhutan. Harpreet is a supporter of women's emancipation and a founder member of the women's biking organisation Bikerni. She exhorts women to overcome gender stereotypes and pursue their hobbies despite what society may think.
7. Shilpa Balakrishnan
Software developer Shilpa Balakrishnan rides motorcycles with a lot of fervour. She has taken part in a number of riding competitions, such as the Southern and Himalayan Odysseys, and has also travelled through Nepal and Bhutan on her bike. Shilpa is a part of the Hop on Gurls women's bike organisation, which seeks to encourage women's involvement in motorsports.
Together with the other ladies discussed in this post, these women serve as encouraging examples of how Indian women are defying gender stereotypes and pursuing their hobbies. They are demonstrating that women can be just as talented and skilled as their male counterparts in the world of motorcycling despite the difficulties they confront. They are paving the way for more women to take up bicycling and riding by sharing their experiences and tales, which is changing the perception of women and bikes. Their bravery, tenacity, and fortitude serve as examples of the strength of the human spirit and the necessity of eradicating gender stereotypes in order to promote equality and inclusion in society.
If this inspired you, here are women entrepreneurs who are making sure they make their presence felt in what was earlier known as the man’s world.
Another interesting point to note is that a growing number of Indian women are preferring to travel alone in order to experience the nation on their own terms. India is a diverse country with a rich cultural legacy, and women who want to explore new areas and cultures may find that travelling alone is freeing and rewarding. Here are some destinations to consider if you’re a woman considering solo travel.