Meet the Bikernis! India’s First All-women Motorcycle Team Is Riding To The Himalayas
When a woman decides to choose her own path and follow it, nothing, repeat nothing, can stop her. These 20 women dressed in tough biking gear are living examples of this.
On the 9th of July, India’s first all-women biking expedition set off to navigate the mountain roads leading to the mighty Himalayas.
The group is as diverse as can be, with different professional and personal backgrounds, and ages. They share a passion for motorcycles, and a common purpose: to conquer all odds and create biking history.
Apart from the riders, the entire entire crew is all-women, and includes doctors, mechanics and technicians. The expedition is led by renowned Pune biker, Urvashi Patole, the founder of India’s first women bikers community, ‘The Bikerni’.
The Royal Enfield Himalayan Odyssey-Women (HO-W) is a 2,200 km journey through rough, mountainous terrain. The riders will travel from Delhi to Kashmir and end their journey in Chandigarh on 24th July.
Twenty-eight-year-old social media analyst Patole has has led many biking expeditions, but has never been a part of an all-women team before. She hopes it will be a trailblazing expedition, that will bust a few myths about women bikers being unable to handle bikes, and the required mechanics in rough terrain. “I have trained in first aid, self-defense (Israeli Krav Maga) and on how to handle extreme situations during such rides in the last few months,” she said.
The challenges abound of course ranging from the basic ones most women adventurists and travellers face. Where do you go to the toilet? Mountain terrain can be barren, and it is not easy to find a cover. If someone in the team is menstruating, she may find it hard to drive a bike long distance.
Patole has also trained her team of riders to tackle tricky rocky terrains, how to ride through slush, water and snow and fix their own bikes if need be. Royal Enfield has also trained a select group of women from their staff to be onroad mechanics for this expedition.
Thirty-year-old Sarah Kashyap, Royal Enfield’s first female member of their rides team, is Patole’s co-lead rider. As an assistant manager in the strategic initiatives of the rides team in Gurgaon, Kashyap has been focusing on the female element of bike riding for some time now.
The group which kick started its expedition from India Gate, New Delhi, will pass the motorcyclists most do destination, Ladakh. They will cross Manali, Jispa, Leh, Tso Moriri and Tso Kar, and also explore the lake circuits and the highest motorable road, the Khardung La Pass.
This 20-strong team of women bikers is all set to enjoy the ride on their own steam. For them, there is no other way to feel on ‘top of the world’.