Pics: Akshata Shetty
Daijiworld Media Network - Udupi
Udupi, Dec 26: You may think motorcycles and sports bikes are meant only for men, especially given the commercials on television that portray them as such. But here's a group of women that has turned the notion on its head. Meet the members of 'Coastal Biking Divas', the first women's motorcycle club in the coastal belt of Karnataka.
'Coastal Biking Divas' was founded by Apeksha, who started riding bikes from a young age. For her, riding did not stop at just maneuvering through the traffic, it was her aim to take biking to the next level and become an inspiration for every woman who has a passion for bikes but is restricted by social norms or family.
Sana Iqbal, another biker who came riding all the way from Hyderabad to Udupi this October, flagged off the Coastal Biking Divas in Padubidri. The logo of the club was also released on this occasion.
Speaking to Daijiworld, Apeksha says, "It was my dream to have a bike club exclusively for women. With this motto, I started this initiative. I was inspired by male bike rider Suhail Saheb. I started my venture ‘Coastal Super Bike Riders’ in Bengaluru as a coordinator, after which I decided to have a similar group in the coastal region."
"Bike riding is a wonderful way to enjoy leisure time. But it is yet to become a passion among women in India," she adds.
Narrating her initial days as a biker, she says, "When I first started biking, I was the only woman rider from the coastal region in the super bike group. Then one of my friends joined. At that time, I felt uncomfortable as I was the only girl who would go out biking, but the support from the group was tremendous. They treated me with respect, just as a family member. I expected many people to raise eyebrows at my adventure. My experiences contradicted my expectations though.
"The second objective behind starting this group was to create awareness about women empowerment. I started encouraging women on Women's Day celebration and women who have passed civil service examinations through this club," she says.
"It is a fun activity for holidays. Entertainment for women does not mean just watching TV serials. Why should boys have all the fun? Northern India has many bike riding groups unlike the southern states. Other biker clubs like Coastal Superbikers, Rev Limiterz, KTM, United Riders and Hot Pistonz supported me wholeheartedly when I decided to have a group in the coastal area."
The club looks forward to grow in number, create awareness on road safety and open up new avenues for ladies who are passionate about bikes.
The group is careful about road safety and traffic rules. "Usually we keep gloves, knee guards, helmet and other bike accessories in our group as precaution. So it looks like we are preparing for a competition. But no, it is just for fun and not to win any competition. We also follow road rules and speed limit strictly," says Apeksha.
The riders usually set out in a group. "In group riding, coordination is very important and we support one another. It increases our team spirit and adventure.
"Now we have ten members in the group. Among us, three ride Royal Enfield Classic 350 and the remaining members ride sports bike, Hero Honda, Hero Glamour, and FC bikes. One member is from Mangaluru, another from Perdoor and remaining eight members are from Udupi. We plan a bike ride considering each other’s convenience," she says.
"The group is looking forward to attract more members. It is very easy to register in the club and there is no compulsion," she further says.
Another rider, Harshitha, says, "Bike riding was my childhood dream and I was also crazy about driving. I wanted to be like a guy because they have all the freedom when it comes to biking. I learnt to ride a bike in just three days. There was no bike riding group until a few years back, and I was a solo rider. After I met Apeksha, I immediately joined the group and I enjoy being part of it."
She further adds, "I will never forget the inauguration day of our club. I am very happy to be in this enthusiastic group and I am looking forward to make it better. We are learning disciplined riding and how to prepare for long distance rides."
Apeksha has completed her BSc, MSc and also hold an MBA in healthcare service.
Shantini Shetty, Shubhashaya, Manjari, Sharol, Carol Quadros, Raksha Jatan, Florine Roche, Aditi Nayak and Bharati Nayak are the members of the group.