My life, my way
Men on motorbikes are so common. But women on motorbikes are attention grabbers! They turn heads and make other motorists stop and stare. Women bike riders have stormed the male bastion and their numbers are rising. They have traded their stilettos for biking boots and the curves that excite them are on the roads! Yeah! these women are for real and in this section we showcase the daredevil beauties who have been setting the roads on fire!
First in the series is a woman architect from Jaipur, with an office of her own and solo riding for a passion. Evidently, for Vaishali Bhagat age is just a number. Her story will make you postpone retirement plans for a long time. Read on:
- When did you start bike riding?
I started bike riding at the age of 18 itself, purchased a scooter from my own salary. My father was the one who always inspired me. In family I have my husband working with Indian railways, my son 23 old, doing his Masters in civil engineering. My mother is there and my brother is CA and I live in Jaipur.
2. Which bike do you ride?
Right now I have Honda Unicorn 150cc Dazzler model, been using it for the past 6 yrs and will be buying my Royal Enfield Bullet 350cc in 10 days.
Very first experience of riding a bike was memorable… I fell off on the turn! But the feeling was one of achievement, which at that time no girl can feel. It was long back… 28 yrs ago!
- When did you go solo? Was it your dream or did it just happen?
I had it in mind of going on solo travel since years, but could not, because of family responsibilities. But when my son went for his studies to Mangalore NITK Suratkhal, I had free time for the first time. And so I just went off. My husband was my biggest supporter, as he pushed me to fulfill my long time dream. It was in Sept 2011 – my longest solo ride 2600 kms from Jaipur to Surat and back.
- So what kind of planning went into your solo ride?
I had always dreamt of solo ride. Just planned like that. Took all the en route phone numbers of Honda service stations and dealers, a road map, my helmet and I was off!
- What was your family’s reaction. Did they support or were there protests?
My husband was the only one who knew and let me go and also pushed me that if you dream… Go and fulfill it. But when next day in-laws came to know, they were all too shocked and very much surprised, even scolded my dear, dear husband for allowing me to go with such a crazy idea! I rode between 250 to 580 kms every day.
- What kind of fears did you have in your mind about the first ride, given the rise in assaults on women of late?
I have always been such a dare devil, outgoing nature and all. Never thought that anything wrong was going to happen. In a way I am so positive by nature. I also believe India is such a vast country. With one or two mishaps you cannot blame the whole society. India is so warm and luxuriant. People are good at heart.
- What were the learnings from your solo ride?
Be sweet by nature. And in return you will earn more sweetness from people around you.
- If you were to do it again, will you do things differently?
Yeah in a way yes. Five years back Internet facilities were nil as compared to today. If I plan now, it will be definitely more techno type… GPS tracker, helmet camera, accessories etc – well equipped.. My first ride was just craziness. No safety gears, no other equipment.. Just helmet, road map and service station numbers… Now the ride will be more equipped with elbow and knee guards, riding jacket, GPS tracker, camera… etc.. etc..
- Any other exciting riding experiences
After a four years gap, in 2015, I took a ride to Rann of Kutch along with my son. We logged in 1700kms and enjoyed good bonding time.
- Your next ride?
Next ride planned to eastern India… Seven Sisters.
Way to go Vaishali! There you are folks, there is nothing that a woman can not achieve if she sets her mind to it. This hugely inspirational adventure will persuade many others bikers and non bikers to overcome their fears and maximize their potential in whatever field they are.