With hair blowing in the wind, travel gear strapped on, and only travel for incentive, The Bikerni, an all women-motorcyclist group, inspires admiration and awe. On this Women’s Day, let’s meet the group that’s been going strong since the day of its inception.
What once was a small group of women riders, the Bikerni Association of Women Motorcyclists – founded by Urvashi Patole in 2011 as a common platform for women bikers – is now an association of 600 plus members. Bikerni hubs are active all across the country, and are divided and sub-divided into zones and cities with respective zonal heads and city admins. This structure is led by the board consisting of three dynamic ladies – Urvashi Patole, the founder; Sheetal Bidaye, west zone moderator; and Chithra Priya, the south zone moderator – who have been nurturing and watching the association grow since the day it all first started.
Apart from planning rides, motorcycling events – such as Rider Mania and India Bike Week – and club meets every month, the Bikernis have a keen interest in, participate in and volunteer for various causes related to women and children. Travel with a cause.
February 2015 saw The Bikerni celebrate its fourth anniversary. The group decided to celebrate this doing what they did best – ride like there’s no tomorrow. And, so, on the Bikerni’s fourth anniversary, on a foggy January morning at 6.15am, a team of five ladies from Gujarat – led by Sarika Mehta on her Triumph motorcycle – met 11 ladies from Mumbai at Thane check naka. Greetings and pleasantries were followed by cups of hot cutting chai and off they rode, on their way to a destination 150kms away – the Flamingo Resort, perched high on top of the scenic Malshej ghat in Maharashtra.
With Sheetal Bidaye leading the group, they made their way over the flyovers of Thane onto the Nasik highway moving in right at the Kalyan junction. Fellow commuters had quite a sight to take in – an all-women group, riding motorcycles, in a single file!
After riding for an hour and a half, breakfast beckoned. The group then halted at a local dhaba where they gorged on tasty missal-pav and plates of batata-vada. After this, they were back on the road. Imagine views that included lush green valleys and high scenic mountains; the excitement was palpable. The bikernis soon crossed the entrance to Nane Ghat, a historical foot-trail used by traders to reach Jejuri (an old town and market). The place gets its name because the custom of paying tax in the form of coins (nane) started here.
Upon reaching here, the ladies in bikers boots untied bungees and carried saddlebags off their bikes while most others looked for some snacks and cool drinks. The numbers only multiplied after fellow bikernis came riding in from Pune. Suffice it to say, the place pulsed with the ‘vrooms’ of motorcycles and equally boisterous laughs of 50 women riders!
A ride to a nearby lake was arranged the next morning. After a rather memorable lunch session, a modest award ceremony followed. While selfies and posing with prizes was the way to go for most, some others preferred to have a relaxed evening. The answer came at sundown, when simply laying down on the grass meant first-row seats to some of brightest stars in the universe.
The following marked the end of the journey – it was time for the bikernis to head back home. For a group that’s more like a family, saying goodbye was a tough one. But where there are open roads, there’ll be bikes, and one such bike could belong to a bikerni.
To find out more about the group, click here.
The article was first published in March, 2015, and has been updated since.