This all-women group has taught over a 100 women to ride the Bullet with grace

From heavy Bullets to flat tires this biker group is teaching women to hit the roadsImage courtesy: facebook.com/HopOnGurls
news Biking Saturday, May 07, 2016 - 18:32

If you ever come across a group of women, astride a Royal Enfield Bullet, chugging away on the streets of the city, do not be surprised. Because this is exactly what Hop on Gurls, the Bengaluru-based all-women bikers’ club does. Formed in 2011, Hop on Gurls is the country’s only all-women Bullet club. However, the group does embark on mixed-rides with members from other bike clubs across the country.

“While we encourage women to ride other bikes, there is something about the Bullet that draws us to it; maybe it’s the challenge,” says Bhavya Srinivasan, co-founder of the club. Busting the myth of the Bullet being a man’s vehicle, the women have taken to it with great panache.

 

Image sourced from Facebook

Weighing around 180 kgs, the Bullet is one of the heavier bikes in the market, thereby making it tougher for a woman to handle. Or, is it? “All these ideas around the weight of a Bullet are just myths; anybody can handle a bullet. If you have the grip for the vehicle, then you can handle it. There are people who are hardly four feet tall in our group and can ride it with ease. You just require a certain knack for the vehicle,” clarifies Bhavya, rubbishing all theories associated with the weight of the vehicle.

Riding the so-called male bike, women in the group feel strong and self-confident. “It is very empowering to be a woman riding something as beastly as a Bullet. It has taught us to be independent and handle issues that would normally require male assistance. Today, in case of a flat tire, anybody from our group can manage to change it, without asking for any sort of help from anybody else, not even a mechanic,” says a proud Bhavya.

Hop on Gurls conducts classes for women who are interested in learning how to ride and want to master the Bullet. Today, there are over 100 women who have graduated from these classes and have taken to riding the bike with ease. “While the minimum age to enroll is 18, we have people till the age of 45 who have enrolled in our classes,” says Bhavya. The women are also taught how to maintain the bike.

Image sourced from Facebook

The biggest challenge women face with regard to these classes is the weight of the bike. “Many women are in awe of the bike as soon as they see it. However, once they are past the initial stage of handling the weight, there is no stopping them. A couple of them transcend to using the second and third gears in the first training session itself,” says Bhavya. Once these women get over their fear of the bike’s monstrosity, the change in their attitude is noticeable. “It makes them believe they can do anything.”

After the training session is over, the class is then taken to the highways, where they are trained to undertake long bike rides. “It starts with a two-hour ride, then a six-hour ride and then finally overnight rides,” says Bhavya, mapping out the training session. After acing the highways, many girls from the club have gone on individual trips all the way up to Leh and Ladakh.

However, while all is fine till they learn to ride the bike, it is difficult to sustain the passion for the vehicle. “The stigma attached to a girl riding a Bullet still exists. While they might learn to ride it in the class, parents and in-laws of the girls are not very keen on their pursuing to learn or continuing with it,” rues Bhavya.

Nonetheless, not all is lost. Co-travellers and people on the road are opening up to the idea of women riding Bullets, alongside their male counterparts. “I have received salutes from men who were riding alongside me on the roads. There was also this one crazy incident where a man quickly rushed across a busy road to take a selfie with me and the bike,” laughs Bhavya.

Originally based in Bengaluru, the club has now spread its roots to Mumbai and Pune as well, teaching the art of riding a Bullet to women across the country. “Whenever our girls go for a ride, just join them. You will understand what I am talking about,” jokes Bhavya, signing off.

 

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