For those not used to seeing women in the rider seat of motorcycles, Saturday’s all-women bikers’ rally must have been an unusual sight. An event of The Times of India’s Mumbai for Women initiative, the biker’s rally started from Chowpatty and ended at the Mahalaxmi race course. The enthusiasm was palpable even before the rally was flagged off, as women in biker jackets and gloves talked about Harley Davidsons, Enfields, Apaches and Yamahas. About 50 women, many accompanied by their husbands, took off for the morning ride.
The rally, led by former Miss India and actor Gul Panag, was flagged off by additional commissioner of police (traffic) Brijesh Singh. The women were given the route and told to follow Panag. Many were unhappy at the speed limit of 25 km/hour. “I believe I can handle a motorbike much better than many men I know,” said a participant, who, with common consensus, asked for a higher speed limit for the rally and got her way. Participants were cheered by people along the way as they reached the Mahalaxmi racecourse, where the RWITC had arranged for the bikers to interact. The participants were given certificates by Panag and Singh.
“Biking has always been men’s forte.
Since it requires some amount of strength to handle a bike and a good sense of balance, it was believed men are better for the job. However, this can slowly be seen changing as women have taken it up with gusto,” said Singh. Panag said riding a bike is a symbol of women’s empowerment.
“All the women in my family ride bikes, so it was something I grew into. I’ve always loved bikes, their power, freedom and individuality. It is good to see so many of the women taking it up,” Panag said. Both Gul and Singh encouraged women to continue riding.
“We urge everyone to ride with a helmet and follow traffic rules,” said Singh.