If you are a girl looking forward to going on a long road trip on your own, here is a story that will tell you why you must definitely do it.
This is a story of a woman who travelled 2000kms, alone, on her Harley Davidson. Pooja Rajput is a Lieutenant commander in the Indian Navy, who travelled from Goa to Mangalore, Coorg, Muzapillangad, Ooty, Conoor, Calicut, Moodabidri and Karwar. She explored all these places on her 1600 cc monster companion, from the 8th of April to the 15th, this year.
A woman rider, although not really a new concept, is not very common either. One of the reasons for this is concerned with woman safety in our country. With so much currently happening in some of the major cities in India, it is not surprising that women fear for their safety, especially if they are travelling alone. When asked about this topic, this is what Pooja had to say –
“You need to get out of the house, sitting in your home and thinking that something would go wrong should not be on your mind. Go out and assess yourself on the road. I have a knife with me all the time, I have an iron baton, and a pepper spray… All these things are in my jacket pocket or my pants pocket. Women should also learn some self-defence techniques”.
She agrees that while women riders in themselves attract quite some attention in India, women on superbikes, like a Harley Davidson, get a lot more attention than normal and not really in a very positive sense. While many people find it inspirational and amusing to see a woman ride a bike, there are a few who take it with a pinch of salt, is her opinion. She recounts an incident that happened to her, while she was on this trip, where she over took a bus and the driver started to honk mercilessly.
“I was right on the bus, the bus could not pull up and started slipping backward. With great difficulty, I managed to manoeuvre my bike to the left. Some people are very rowdy on the road. A woman on a bike sometimes attracts a lot of unwanted attention. On a smaller bike maybe people just pass by, but I get noticed more because of my superbike”
It is not that she did not face any hurdles during her journey. She reckons her naval training took care of all of them for her. Troubles are inevitable, but it all about overcoming all those and moving on to reach your destination. Pooja strongly believes that its high time women come on the roads to take up travel in India, leaving behind all the pre-conceived notions, and without worrying about facing the fears while sitting at home.
Technical expertise and practical skills can’t be forgotten, when it comes to bike riding. Some amount of practice and training is required in order to maneuver these motorcycles. A few roads can, in fact, be pretty challenging, challenging your riding skills. As the naval officer describes –
“The hairpin bends one after the other put a lot of strain on an individual’s body, especially with the heavy weight of the superbike. Crossing the hills on the way to Ooty with five narrow and steep hairpin bends was a test of my riding abilities”
She advises women, not to be scared, but to be prepared, and venture out, well-armed with will and skill.
Well as they say, riding is all about outdoing yourself and exploring different places, within yourself, as outside. Enjoy the serenity of the places you visit, but make sure to enjoy the journey, as being involved in the process makes the result sweeter!