In one of our previous articles about Women Riding Groups in India, Maral Yazarloo, Founder, Lady Riders of India said, “… being a girl is a bit more critical than being a guy on the road.” Fact. Being a biker has its own set of challenges in the country and the case is a tad more difficult for women riders.
The constant pressure from the family to not venture out alone coupled with an undisciplined and aggressive driving culture on our roads, the tribulations faced by solo women riders on Indian highways are many. However, there are a whole bunch of courageous Indian women who battle the odds to pursue their passion to ride through the lengths and breadths of the country and explore uncharted territories.
One such lady is Shruthi Naidu from Bengaluru who recently scaled the mighty Himalayas on her TTVS Scooty as a part of Himalayan Highs Season 2. Although Shruthi rode as a group for the Himalayan Highs Season 2, she is an avid solo rider as well.
In this instalment of Get on the Road with Motoroids, in association with the TVS Scooty Zest 110, Shruthi shares with us her thoughts about the problems faced by women solo riders in India, and some tips on how to deal with them. Here’s a transcript of our conversation with Shruthi Naidu talking about her ride experiences as a solo rider and the preparations and precautions she takes before every ride.
Q: Do you prefer riding solo over group riding? Why?
Both, as they have their own benefits and fun elements. When you’re riding in a group, you work together as a team and reach the location as one. It’s also easy to tackle any surprises on the road as they can be more easily dealt with as a group. Once you ride together you become a family, which is a great feeling.
Riding solo, on the other hand, gives you a sense of liberation and helps you think and plan on your own. When you need a break from your mundane routine, riding solo really helps. You can also control your own pace while riding solo, which sometimes isn’t possible while riding in a group.
Check out some more articles from the series:
- Riding Off the Road : Some Simple Techniques and Tips to Follow
- Is Age A Bar For Riding? Three Women Riders Share Their Perspectives
- Get on the Road : Riding in the Hills – Techniques and Tips
- Riding Solo in India : A Woman Rider’s Perspective
- Women Riding Groups in India : Triumphs and Tribulations of Our Girls on Two-wheels
- How to buy budget riding gear : A complete guide
- Video : How a Chennai Girl Realized Her Dream of Conquering the Mighty Himalayas
- Himalayan Highs Season 2 : Women of courage who conquered the mountains on their Scooty Zest
- Get on the Road with Motoroids Chapter 4 : Five Weekend Getaways on a Scooter from Five metro cities of India
- Get on the Road with Motoroids Chapter 3 : Things to do in case of a breakdown
- Get on the Road with Motoroids Chapter 2 : Ride preparations and basic checklist
- Adventure: A young lass on the TVS Scooty Zest 110 VS the mighty Himalayas
Q: What is the longest distance that you have ridden till date?
The longest distance that I have ridden is 1,690 kms in 23 hrs (one day).
Q: Over the years, which locations have you checked off from your to-do list, both domestic and international?
I have ridden in most of the states in India except North-east and I plan to do it in 2017. Internationally, I’ve ridden solo in Nepal, SriLanka, Mauritius, Malaysia and Philippines. I will be riding in Singapore and Indonesia next week.
Q: What is the checklist that you follow before commencing every ride?
The first and most important part of the checklist is my riding gear, and I check it well ahead of the actual ride date. One should always invest in quality gear as safety on the road is paramount. One must also check the toolkit and basic emergency replacement items such as clutch cables, bulbs, accelerator cables and so on before embarking upon a ride. Hydration pack and energy bar or nuts are a must as you may not find stores with food or drink during long distance rides. Carrying sufficient currency and all the documents goes without saying.
When travelling abroad, the common procedure that I follow is to hire a bike and explore the remote parts of the country like a local. I had an interesting experience of Island hoping in Philippines, using a ferry to transport the bike. Language plays a major role when riding abroad. People were even skeptical to give me a geared bike. In fact, someone even asked me to ride in front of them to check my riding skills before handing over the keys.
Q: What safety precautions do you take while riding solo? Do you carry self defence devices, for example a pepper spray? Do you use any smartphone applications?
More than carrying self defence items, I believe that planning a trip well ahead and knowing the route helps a lot in riding safely. I prefer riding in daylight, knowing when and where to take halts. I usually stop at the most crowded hotel or Dhabas on road and keep my friends and family updated about my whereabouts enroute via smartphone apps.
I prefer staying at any of the hostels listed on Hostelworld as they are very reliable. When riding at International destinations, I usually hire the bikes from reliable sources and contact the local police in case the license needs some special permission for Indians.
Q: Finally, what message would you like to give to aspiring women riders in India?
Don’t let anyone stop your riding passion. Believe in yourself and do it.