Meet the Bikernis
The roaring motorcycle zipping past in high speed is usually associated with virility and hyper-masculinity. But a group of women bikers from Pune city are breaking gender norms to show how women can be good and passionate bikers. They call themselves—Bikerni—India's first motorcycle association for women. Around 350 women across the country are a part of Bikerni today.
“Bikerni is a platform where we support women who are passionate about motorcycling,” says Firdos Shaikh, a member of the group. But it was not easy for them to reveal this passion to their families. Malavika R's parents told her directly: women don't ride bikes! And even Firdos Shaikh's family which is into biking, did not approve of her getting into it.
The challenges are not limited to the home alone, they have to face resistance from the world at large as well. Often men keep honking at them at road signals, in a condescending fashion. But the spunky Bikernis don't let these things affect them. They have achieved higher goals already—like gaining an entry into the Limca Book of World Records for riding their bikes to the highest motorable road in Ladakh.
“Although the bike is associated with speed and power which people assume women can't handle, we are proving that we can do it so easily—you don't need power for it, you need courage,” says Kanchan Tamhankar.