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BABES ON BIKES

L for leather



Previous
(With Inputs From Joeanna Rebello Fernandes, Ramaninder Bhatia, Shrabonti Bagchi And Amardeep Banerjee)        




'I had to show my family a video to prove I did the stunt Garima Puniani | CHANDIGARH Civil engineering student Twenty-year-old Garima Puniani is a civil engineering student who fell in love with bikes when she saw a group of youngsters perform stunts on the vrooming beasts. Then, one day, a friend who was a member of a club called A2B (Addicted to Bikes) wanted a female biker who could perform a 'burn-out' - a stunt where the front tyre of the bike remains stationary while the rear one lifts and takes a round. "I did it for the heck of it and for a long, long time there was this feeling of awe and disbelief. I could not believe I had done something like that, but then neither did others in my family and friends' circle. I had to show them the video to prove it, " says the softspoken, attractive girl. She has gone riding up to Kasauli and nearby hills with the club members on borrowed bikes. "Mom says she won't buy me a bike for a few years more, " she says. "I would love to go to Leh on my own Thunderbird, " she adds. "My brother also wants to accompany me. And I would love to ride a Harley Davidson. "

L for leather

July 16, 2011


(With Inputs From Joeanna Rebello Fernandes, Ramaninder Bhatia, Shrabonti Bagchi And Amardeep Banerjee) 'I had to show my family a video to prove I did the stunt Garima Puniani | CHANDIGARH Civil engineering student Twenty-year-old Garima Puniani is a civil engineering student who fell in love with bikes when she saw a group of youngsters perform stunts on the vrooming beasts. Then, one day, a friend who was a member of a club called A2B (Addicted to Bikes) wanted a female biker who could perform a 'burn-out' - a stunt where the front tyre of the bike remains stationary while the rear one lifts and takes a round. "I did it for the heck of it and for a long, long time there was this feeling of awe and disbelief. I could not believe I had done something like that, but then neither did others in my family and friends' circle. I had to show them the video to prove it, " says the softspoken, attractive girl. She has gone riding up to Kasauli and nearby hills with the club members on borrowed bikes. "Mom says she won't buy me a bike for a few years more, " she says. "I would love to go to Leh on my own Thunderbird, " she adds. "My brother also wants to accompany me. And I would love to ride a Harley Davidson. "

'I was 15 when I first rode a Bullet Meghna Khanna Hoskote | BANGALORE Runs a boutique lifestyle store Meghna Khanna Hoskote became a mother eight months ago. Till she was five months pregnant, she used to ride out on her bike, a Royal Enfield Bullet 350-cc (1984 model), until friends and family finally made her stop. These days, she sometimes lets her son sit in front as she finishes chores near her house in Bangalore's leafy Ulsoor area, but for really smooth riding she prefers heading out of the city. "Bangalore, though it's perfect for biking because of the lovely weather, is not the greatest city to really enjoy a ride because of the traffic. Forget biking, any form of travel here is stressful, " rues Hoskote, who runs a boutique lifestyle store called Levitate in Bangalore's Indiranagar. For the 32-year-old, the love for wheels came early in life. Her father was a fighter pilot and she grew up in Air Force stations around the country. "I rode a scooter when I was 12, and at 13 I rode a Yamaha and then a Hero Honda. I was 15 when I first rode a Bullet, and I was sold for life, " she says. In 2005, Hoskote was part of a group that rode from Bangalore to Khardung-la Pass in Ladakh during a trip organised by the Royal Enfield Motorcycle Co. "It was the best ride ever!" she exclaims. These days, she takes off to destinations around Bangalore to get the breeze in her hair, with her son comfortably ensconced in an outriding car. "It's a problem finding somebody to ride with. As a woman rider, you can't take off on your own. " She quickly corrects herself, though: "Of course you can. But you've got to be in a frame of mind where you think, 'hey, you got nothing to lose'. "

L for leather

July 16, 2011


'I was 15 when I first rode a Bullet Meghna Khanna Hoskote | BANGALORE Runs a boutique lifestyle store Meghna Khanna Hoskote became a mother eight months ago. Till she was five months pregnant, she used to ride out on her bike, a Royal Enfield Bullet 350-cc (1984 model), until friends and family finally made her stop. These days, she sometimes lets her son sit in front as she finishes chores near her house in Bangalore's leafy Ulsoor area, but for really smooth riding she prefers heading out of the city. "Bangalore, though it's perfect for biking because of the lovely weather, is not the greatest city to really enjoy a ride because of the traffic. Forget biking, any form of travel here is stressful, " rues Hoskote, who runs a boutique lifestyle store called Levitate in Bangalore's Indiranagar. For the 32-year-old, the love for wheels came early in life. Her father was a fighter pilot and she grew up in Air Force stations around the country. "I rode a scooter when I was 12, and at 13 I rode a Yamaha and then a Hero Honda. I was 15 when I first rode a Bullet, and I was sold for life, " she says. In 2005, Hoskote was part of a group that rode from Bangalore to Khardung-la Pass in Ladakh during a trip organised by the Royal Enfield Motorcycle Co. "It was the best ride ever!" she exclaims. These days, she takes off to destinations around Bangalore to get the breeze in her hair, with her son comfortably ensconced in an outriding car. "It's a problem finding somebody to ride with. As a woman rider, you can't take off on your own. " She quickly corrects herself, though: "Of course you can. But you've got to be in a frame of mind where you think, 'hey, you got nothing to lose'. "

'Back then, women bikers were sluts, now they're cool Sapna Bhavnani | MUMBAI Hair stylist Irode my first bike at 15, it was an RX 100, " remembers Sapna Bhavnani, enfant terrible of Bombay's hair-styling circles. She picked up the habit from her then-boyfriend, who rode, if she remembers correctly, a yellow Honda CBX1000 that he converted into a dirt bike. "He taught me to ride. I think I must have been the only woman biker in Bandra at the time apart from an older girl called Kitty who I thought was the coolest, " she says. Incidentally, Bhavnani used to take her wheels to school, but was never allowed to park within the gates as others could their cycles. Riding was still easier then. The roads were far less inhibitive;there were no speed-breakers or even propriety police who stopped her riding down the steps of Mount Mary Church. "But back then people regarded women bikers with contempt, dismissing us as sluts. Today of course we're considered to be cool. " Younger women now want to be machinists after her, but some sexist men try to put a spoke in her wheel. "If anything, you can't ride freely now like you could before, " she complains. "Because I am a safe rider, I cover up completely when I ride, wearing a jacket, tights, boots and a full face helmet. I'm not one of the sexy, short-shirted biker chicks on TV. But my small frame gives me away. Often, no sooner am I on the road than I'm surrounded by idiots - men on bikes who heckle me or weave dangerously in front of me, probably because it's an affront to their masculinity. It reached a point when I looked for fellow bikers to ride with and seldom rode out of Bandra, " she says. She has now retired her Bullet and returned to her Yamaha, but is on the lookout for a Yezdi 350. She is also in the market for a more feminine wardrobe. More Steve Jones than Brigitte Bardot, Bhavnani says, "I've just realised I've always dressed for the bike and have cultivated a rather masculine comportment. And so I finally bought a new wardrobe recently, one that shows off my legs. "

L for leather

July 16, 2011


'Back then, women bikers were sluts, now they're cool Sapna Bhavnani | MUMBAI Hair stylist Irode my first bike at 15, it was an RX 100, " remembers Sapna Bhavnani, enfant terrible of Bombay's hair-styling circles. She picked up the habit from her then-boyfriend, who rode, if she remembers correctly, a yellow Honda CBX1000 that he converted into a dirt bike. "He taught me to ride. I think I must have been the only woman biker in Bandra at the time apart from an older girl called Kitty who I thought was the coolest, " she says. Incidentally, Bhavnani used to take her wheels to school, but was never allowed to park within the gates as others could their cycles. Riding was still easier then. The roads were far less inhibitive;there were no speed-breakers or even propriety police who stopped her riding down the steps of Mount Mary Church. "But back then people regarded women bikers with contempt, dismissing us as sluts. Today of course we're considered to be cool. " Younger women now want to be machinists after her, but some sexist men try to put a spoke in her wheel. "If anything, you can't ride freely now like you could before, " she complains. "Because I am a safe rider, I cover up completely when I ride, wearing a jacket, tights, boots and a full face helmet. I'm not one of the sexy, short-shirted biker chicks on TV. But my small frame gives me away. Often, no sooner am I on the road than I'm surrounded by idiots - men on bikes who heckle me or weave dangerously in front of me, probably because it's an affront to their masculinity. It reached a point when I looked for fellow bikers to ride with and seldom rode out of Bandra, " she says. She has now retired her Bullet and returned to her Yamaha, but is on the lookout for a Yezdi 350. She is also in the market for a more feminine wardrobe. More Steve Jones than Brigitte Bardot, Bhavnani says, "I've just realised I've always dressed for the bike and have cultivated a rather masculine comportment. And so I finally bought a new wardrobe recently, one that shows off my legs. "

'I learnt early in life that there was nothing I couldn't do Gurdeepak Kaur | CHANDIGARH Former school teacher The first time she rode a bike - she was already married and a mother of two - a cop started chasing Gurdeepak Kaur and her niece who was riding pillion. The two girls, giggling and worried in turns - giggling because it was the first time Gurdeepak was on a Royal Enfield, and worried because she didn't have a licence - managed to shake off the tail and laughed all the way back home to Sector 8, where she stayed then with her in-laws and kids. That was in the late 1970s. Today, 64-year-old Gurdeepak miraculously retains the same adventurous spirit, and presents an awesome picture when she is astride a sturdy Bullet or a Pulsar and drives away to, well, glory. People stop to look at the silver-haired beauty riding the mean machine, but she barely registers the stares. The lady has too many things on her to-do list - a world tour, acting in movies and maybe participating in a car rally with her daughters, who also ride anything on wheels they can lay their hands on. The three recently rode on the roads of Panchkula to the wedding of Bollywood actress Gul Panag - dressed in all their feminine finery on power machines, they made for a compelling picture. Gurdeepak's daughter, Simrit, who lives in Mumbai, recently rode a Ducati Monster Dark 600-cc during a holiday in Italy. And her other daughter, Simran, who lives in Chandigarh, rides a Bullet and participates in car rallies. While Gurdeepak learnt to ride a Lambretta scooter at the age of 17, Simran learnt it at 12. "They were riding their grandfather's Honda in their late teens, " she recalls. Gurdeepak - who has played parts in movies like Tare Zameen Par and Dev D - recalls how her adventurous spirit made her do things unheard of in those times. "Those were the days when being married meant you were dead. I mean, if you wanted to do something really badly, you just had to tap your courage and do it. I learnt early on in life that there was nothing I could not do if I put my mind to it. " Nobody ever taught Gurdeepak to ride bikes. "We would just watch our father or brothers and knew the theory, " she says. "But it turned out to be an easy drive. "

L for leather

July 16, 2011


'I learnt early in life that there was nothing I couldn't do Gurdeepak Kaur | CHANDIGARH Former school teacher The first time she rode a bike - she was already married and a mother of two - a cop started chasing Gurdeepak Kaur and her niece who was riding pillion. The two girls, giggling and worried in turns - giggling because it was the first time Gurdeepak was on a Royal Enfield, and worried because she didn't have a licence - managed to shake off the tail and laughed all the way back home to Sector 8, where she stayed then with her in-laws and kids. That was in the late 1970s. Today, 64-year-old Gurdeepak miraculously retains the same adventurous spirit, and presents an awesome picture when she is astride a sturdy Bullet or a Pulsar and drives away to, well, glory. People stop to look at the silver-haired beauty riding the mean machine, but she barely registers the stares. The lady has too many things on her to-do list - a world tour, acting in movies and maybe participating in a car rally with her daughters, who also ride anything on wheels they can lay their hands on. The three recently rode on the roads of Panchkula to the wedding of Bollywood actress Gul Panag - dressed in all their feminine finery on power machines, they made for a compelling picture. Gurdeepak's daughter, Simrit, who lives in Mumbai, recently rode a Ducati Monster Dark 600-cc during a holiday in Italy. And her other daughter, Simran, who lives in Chandigarh, rides a Bullet and participates in car rallies. While Gurdeepak learnt to ride a Lambretta scooter at the age of 17, Simran learnt it at 12. "They were riding their grandfather's Honda in their late teens, " she recalls. Gurdeepak - who has played parts in movies like Tare Zameen Par and Dev D - recalls how her adventurous spirit made her do things unheard of in those times. "Those were the days when being married meant you were dead. I mean, if you wanted to do something really badly, you just had to tap your courage and do it. I learnt early on in life that there was nothing I could not do if I put my mind to it. " Nobody ever taught Gurdeepak to ride bikes. "We would just watch our father or brothers and knew the theory, " she says. "But it turned out to be an easy drive. "

'It's not about build, but strength Padma Rao | MUMBAI PR professional There's a picture album on Facebook titled 'Not Without My Daughter, Lalli Rao', but this is not a memoir about escaping the 'love jihad'. It is a proof of attachment between 25-year-old Padma Rao and her 150-cc Yamaha FZ 16, her beloved 'daughter'. It was in her pre-teens that Rao discovered the pleasure of riding down a solitary road. By the time she got to college, she graduated to motorbikes because she wanted "an engine to her cycle and more than just handlebars with brakes". "I bought my bike this year, after testing an Apache, " she says. She takes 'Lalli' out for a spin on weekends, where she gets a range of male responses - from a thumbs-up to less flattering gestures. "Even in Mumbai, men have gender biases. They continue to resent women who 'trespass' traditionally masculine turf, be it a bike or a football field, " says Rao, twice guilty, being not only a woman biker but an amateur footballer as well. "It's not about build but strength, " she says. So far her ride has been uneventful, and the only harrowing turn she's had was when she ventured out past 1 am for a nocturnal spin, and a street dog gave chase. Well, better dog than man.

L for leather

July 16, 2011


'It's not about build, but strength Padma Rao | MUMBAI PR professional There's a picture album on Facebook titled 'Not Without My Daughter, Lalli Rao', but this is not a memoir about escaping the 'love jihad'. It is a proof of attachment between 25-year-old Padma Rao and her 150-cc Yamaha FZ 16, her beloved 'daughter'. It was in her pre-teens that Rao discovered the pleasure of riding down a solitary road. By the time she got to college, she graduated to motorbikes because she wanted "an engine to her cycle and more than just handlebars with brakes". "I bought my bike this year, after testing an Apache, " she says. She takes 'Lalli' out for a spin on weekends, where she gets a range of male responses - from a thumbs-up to less flattering gestures. "Even in Mumbai, men have gender biases. They continue to resent women who 'trespass' traditionally masculine turf, be it a bike or a football field, " says Rao, twice guilty, being not only a woman biker but an amateur footballer as well. "It's not about build but strength, " she says. So far her ride has been uneventful, and the only harrowing turn she's had was when she ventured out past 1 am for a nocturnal spin, and a street dog gave chase. Well, better dog than man.

'My big bike is a deterrent for those who intend to harass me Maya Ganesh | CHENNAI Sales and marketing professional Maya Ganesh, 37, says her riding suit is a good camouflage when she's on her bike. "I look like an astronaut wearing it - all covered up - which perhaps keeps trouble away. But if my hair flies out, people do realise I'm a woman. Still, I guess the fact that I ride a big bike is a deterrent for those who intend to harass me. " Ganesh rides an Enfield and has a Yezdi '95 Road King which she restored on her own with a little help from an 87-year-old mechanic. She even drives a Willys Jeep of World War II vintage. "I'm fascinated by old vehicles, " she says. The Chennai-based Ganesh, who is a sales and marketing professional with Frost and Sullivan, rode a bike from Delhi to Khardung-la last year, a trip which she says is her most memorable. She's done smaller distances with other groups, which includes a trip from Chennai to Vikramgarh near Mumbai. She recalls an incident during the Chennai-Vikramgarh trip. "A woman walked up to me at a traffic intersection and asked for an autograph. She said she'd read about me in the papers. It was amusing. "

L for leather

July 16, 2011


'My big bike is a deterrent for those who intend to harass me Maya Ganesh | CHENNAI Sales and marketing professional Maya Ganesh, 37, says her riding suit is a good camouflage when she's on her bike. "I look like an astronaut wearing it - all covered up - which perhaps keeps trouble away. But if my hair flies out, people do realise I'm a woman. Still, I guess the fact that I ride a big bike is a deterrent for those who intend to harass me. " Ganesh rides an Enfield and has a Yezdi '95 Road King which she restored on her own with a little help from an 87-year-old mechanic. She even drives a Willys Jeep of World War II vintage. "I'm fascinated by old vehicles, " she says. The Chennai-based Ganesh, who is a sales and marketing professional with Frost and Sullivan, rode a bike from Delhi to Khardung-la last year, a trip which she says is her most memorable. She's done smaller distances with other groups, which includes a trip from Chennai to Vikramgarh near Mumbai. She recalls an incident during the Chennai-Vikramgarh trip. "A woman walked up to me at a traffic intersection and asked for an autograph. She said she'd read about me in the papers. It was amusing. "

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Gopalan MenonJul 23rd, 2011 at 18:10 PM

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