Who says mean machines are for men? The Hyderabad group of The Bikerni are born to ride
Jai Bharati is an architect, a running enthusiast and an ardent traveller. Prasanna Dommu is director operations at an infrastructure company. Sana works night shifts at an MNC. Amulya Mantha has just completed her studies. What binds these women together is their passion to ride. They are a part of The Bikerni, a two-year-old association of female bikers in India.
“A few months ago if someone had told me that Hyderabad has more than two dozen bikers, I would have reacted with disbelief,” says Prasanna, who along with Jai Bharati was instrumental in forming this group in Hyderabad.
In March, the group had six members when they undertook their first major ride — to Anantagiri Hills — to mark Women’s Day. Word-of-mouth helped the team discover more likeminded women bikers. On Friday, May 3, the bikers assembled at Kompally at the crack of dawn for a ride to commemorate International Female Ride Day.
“We want to encourage other women bikers to come forward. Riding to Ladakh is the biggest dream for any biker. Someday we’d like to do that. But there’s a need to spread awareness in the interiors of AP. If things work out, we’ll plan a 10-day ride to Godavari districts,” says Bharati.
Each member of the group has anecdotes to share — sneaking out their brother’s or father’s bike for a ride, getting caught, and finally the family encouraging them to ride. “I am happy this group exists. It’s easier to tell my parents I’m with a group of women bikers. Earlier, my father would wonder if my brother should follow me in a car to ensure I’m safe,” says Amulya Mantha, the youngest in the group.
Sana started riding a Yamaha RX100 before trying the Enticer. “When you ride with a helmet and a jacket, no one can find out it’s a woman rider. We don’t draw unnecessary attention,” says Sana, who loves to ride in the wee hours of night on short breaks from work. Bharati chips in, “Prasanna and I take turns in leading the team when we plan rides, so as to ensure everyone is safe. We drive safe; we don’t overtake or drive rash on highways.”
Nicky, who rides a 1978 Enfield, feels at ease on heavier bikes. “The bullets of that era were tougher to ride. It’s an amazing feeling to be on one,” she beams. Prasanna, who drives both Royal Enfield and a Harley Davidson agrees, “Heavier bikes, I feel, offer a better grip on roads.”
As the group debates on bike preferences, Bharati says riding leaves her with satisfaction that’s better than a runner’s high. For Sana and Amulya, it’s the adrenaline rush of being able to handle mean machines meant for men. Prasanna sums it up: “Riding makes you feel liberated. I’m sure this confidence will help us in handling other aspects of our life better. We enjoy riding and not here to prove a point.”
A platform for women motorcyclists in India, formed by Urvashi Patole in 2011, now has over 200 members across the country.
A few members set a record for being the first women riders group to have reached Khardung-La (Ladakh), the world’s highest motorable pass.
International Female Ride Day
The annual event is observed on the first Friday of May each year as part of a global campaign for women motorcyclists who own, ride or have access to a motorcycle.