Women are not just walking towards unheard territories and claiming it too. It is well-said in Star Trek – boldly go where no man (or woman) has gone before. Following these footsteps, let us get introduced to Bikerni, India’s first women motorcycling group, which began its journey from Pune itself. And this Women’s Day, on March 8, you can catch them at Amanora Town Centre where 25 Bikerni from Pune and all over India will come together for a bike rally. In addition, India’s youngest stunt rider, Anam Hashi (18), will be giving an exciting performance along with two other bikers.
The power behind Bikerni is Urvashi Patole who has received the first ‘Female Biker of the Year’ award by Castrol and wants to make women come into biking. The association has been gathering like-minded ladies to come together on bikes since 2011. So, what makes Bikerni as group to reckon with? Urvashi explains, “It is a movement to empower women. We don’t put restrictions and all kinds of bikes are included. As long they follow safe riding, they can join for rides and unwind.”
Urvashi’s passion for biking is infectious. And she wants to pass this passion. “When we started Bikerni in Pune, we had 14 members which went on to 40. Today, we have over 300 plus members all over India. We have city-wise and annual meets and welcome women to join with open arms. I have just one request to them – no back-biting. If there is a problem, face it. It is a sisterhood. You solve problems and it helps to keep the association like a family. I have got good response and the girls felt the warmth.” You can find members of Bikerni in Delhi, Bangalore, Hubli, Mysore, Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Guwahati, apart from Pune.
It amuses Urvashi to see the response coming for Bikerni, especially from men. She feels men can be chauvinistic as motorbiking is seen as the last vestige for men. “And here too, women are seen setting records. Many men ridicule the association and say that all this is to just show off. But we do a lot of things. On an individual basis, certain issues do rise. Basically, those women into biking are strong women. So there are certain disagreements.”
She narrates an episode when the group was driving and a guy, on seeing them, smugly told others to move aside as women bikers might hurt someone. The girls had to calm Urvashi down who is known not to take things lying down. “If I see people harassing, I try to fight back. I can handle things. Why do you have say such things?” Urvashi is also put off by organisations or people who tied up with Bikerni but tried to dictate terms or created issues, due to their own jealousies.
Speaking about the rally happening on March 8 at Amanora Town Centre, she further narrates, “We will have a city rally till Amanora City Centre where we will all assemble. Then, there will be stunts. We will also give safety tips, and talk about what we love in terms of biking. We will advice women to follow their passion and encourage them.”
With chapters in different cities, Bikerni must be a tough act to manage. Urvashi is more than happy with managing it, as she takes the help of social media for handling things. “It helps to connect and spread the word. We have appointed responsible bikers as leaders or administrators of the chapters. All of them are doing things in the correct fashion. The achievements of members are also felicitated. We take initiatives for to include people and create awareness.” Beyond the Woman’s Day rally, Bikerni is planning an all India road trip like a relay. They are also getting into breast cancer awareness. In June, another road trip comes to reality, to Leh-Ladakh. Race ahead, we say!
Catch the Bikerni at Amanora Town Centre, Hadapsar on March 8th, from 5.30pm onwards