Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A year of being a Lady on a Bike!

Well, its almost a year now and almost 7000km (Ok, that's not too much when compared to passionate bikers, but sure I can be forgiven being a beginner!) since I laid my hands on my first ever Bike - A TVS JIVE! Ever since I started cycling (it was a BSA SLR), I had been thinking about my first bike. Somehow I could never imagine myself riding scooters. I always pictured myself on a bike. And a year ago, TVS came up with this best of both worlds - Auto Clutch 4 Gear Bike called Jive. Ofcourse I laid my hands onto it.
At this point I should say how I learnt to drive. Here in India, the legal age to get a license and to drive is 18. So my mom was more than sure, not to let me anywhere near a scooter also till I was 18. Throughout my college days, somehow I could never bring in 'learn to drive' into my schedule. Soon after my college days, I took my neighbour / friend's scooter and tried driving it on my 'rural roads' (read: bumpy, not much traffic road). It went pretty well, no issues at all. Then I took my dad's Hero Honda Splendor and with a lot of help from dad learnt to drive it, (first of all, learnt to managing them without falling over!). Then started all the weirdness!!!
As I was trying to drive in a ground, with my dad beside, this elderly man on his walk, crossed us. I just smiled at him and pat came his response, to my dad "She's too small for that bike', and walked past. Am I? I mean, at 5.4' and in my 20s, am I small? And are those small boys in their teens, sized well for the bike? I got really really furious. I got this feeling a lot more when I actually started riding - A woman in her 20s is seen irritably, while a boy in his teens is seen with acceptance when it comes to bike riding! Well, putting that furious-ness aside, I managed to learn to drive in a ground. But that differs a lot from driving in actual traffic.
I learnt that later on with the help of this person who was my colleague, good friend and bro. His Bajaj Platina became my training ground once again and in real roads and in real traffic, I managed to drive slow.
Again back home, dad gifted me my first bike - TVS JIVE! For the first 2 months, I didn't go past 30, and nowhere beyond 10km radius from my home before my longer & faster drives began. There has been heck a lot of musings in most of my rides.
First thing is, not many come to know that it’s a female, riding the bike coz I’m always clad in my biking jacket and jean. That saves a lot of unwanted attention. However sometimes in traffic jams and parking etc, some to manage to find it’s a lady! Many have been actually taken aback in surprise and shock, when they spot my heels or when I take off my helmet!
Once in a traffic jam near Anna University, 2 men behind me on a bike spotted my high heels and suddenly realized I’m a gal. As the jam began to ease, they overtook me and before driving past, he commented ‘Akka, sooper-a bike ottringakka’ which means ‘Sister, you ride bike pretty well’.
Once in another traffic jam in OMR, I was near the median, with 2 men on some bike beside me and after him were 2 more guys on 2 Kawasaki Ninja’s (one in green & one in black). You can’t spot a Ninja often on Chennai Roads. All the bikers around including me turned to look at the Ninjas. I too lifted my helmet visor to look at the bikes. These 2 men on the bike beside me suddenly realised that I am girl, as I lifted the visor, kept looking at me and the ninjas alternatively. It must have been a double shocking surprise for him!
Once it was pouring cats and dogs and I stopped by at a shop momentarily. As the rain reduced, I came over to start my bike again when a youngster asked me for lift. I just lifted my helmet’s visor and the moment he knew I was a gal, I said sorry and went off.

This pic was taken in Perungudi Lake. Other places I've been to with my bike include, Pallikaranai Marsh, Sathyapurishwarar Temple, Kandigai Quarry, Unamancheri Temple, Madambakkam, Cholamandal, Steve Borgia's Heritage Hotel, Dakshinachithra, and a lot more!  
Falling down has happened a lot too, esp. when I started to ride. ‘Oru manushan theruvula nadakkarappa neraiya vishayangala kathukkaran’ is a dialogue of Actor Surya in the movie, Vaaranam Aayiram. It means, ‘a person learns a lot when he’s on road’. Yes, I’ve learnt a lot too! Infact, I’ve developed ‘Auto Phobia’!!!
It’s an extreme level of love-hate relationship that I share with Auto drivers. They know all the routes to every nook and corner so perfectly – so love. Once in Mylapore, I enquired for Radha Krishnan Salai to an auto driver. He asked if I wanted to go to Radha Krishnan Salai or Radha Krishnan Colony, in the locality!!! They know 'all' places!!! Why hate – They just don’t drive smooth. No usage of horn or indicators or rear view mirrors. Several times I had to stop abruptly coz the auto ahead of me would have taken a sudden left or right without indicating! Once an auto driver on this lane changing business without looking into the rear view mirror almost made me bam at him and almost breaking my brake lever!
Once somewhere near Nungambakkam another auto’s lane changing without indication made a biker fall over my bike and me in turn onto another scooter! My helmet lock broke in this fall!
Once again, another place, another auto’s lane change that too at a road bend, made me brake so suddenly, and the biker behind me failed to brake and hit my bike and I fell down!
Not just auto’s certain cars also freak me out - esp, the large and costly cars driven by owners. They are owners, so not very skilled drivers often and end up driving so slow to protect their car. Esp, Innova’s that drive at 40kmph on a narrow road, depresses me! I can't overtake it and keeping on driving at 40 throughout, behind the car is ........... 
I have a mantra to be chanted 10 times every morning, for the people who have recently upgraded to car from bike – Now repeat after me: “I have a car, not a bike”. So, why this Kolaveri? Bikes are narrow, Cars are not, which is a fact often forgotten by recent car owners.
What’s the point trying to go between a bus and the road median in a traffic jam, where only a bike can enter, and actually end up creating more jam?
Cars are broad, bikes are narrow. The biker behind a biker can also see what’s ahead of him whereas not a biker behind a car. Sudden curves to prevent a dent on a road, is not even ok for a bike, and a big no-no for a car, unless you indicate lane change! For God's sake use the god damn indicator lights!!!
I’ve also developed some favouritism in the roads, ECR topping the list. It’s such a pleasure to drive on the ECR. Infact a few of my friends from across India, swear that ECR is the best road to ride, more than Marine Drive too!
I know the biker in me is full on, when my right leg presses the brake to bring the bike to a halt that's EVEN when I'm in the errrr.... pillion!!!!! Well, the reactions have always been positive or negative – never neutral about a Lady on a Bike!!!

P.S: Entered on Indiblogger Power 1 Biker Code of India Contest by Castrol Biking.

39 comments:

  1. time to buy a bullet!

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    Replies
    1. Let's see Karan. That's gonna take some more time! :)

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  2. Kudos!! Keep riding Bhusha.. Hit the hills..you will definitely enjoy it.

    www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.com

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    1. I must! I must! So eagerly looking forward for a chance to hit the hills!

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  3. awesome account Bhusha... I always wanted to learn to ride a bike but lost the courage after getting many back injuries. I think women bikers are much better than their male counterparts for they atleast drive without bandha

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    1. Thanks Divi. Divi, come on, you should try out riding one soon... Even if you don't ride often, just learn, I'm sure you'll enjoy it so so much...

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  4. It is so annoying, these auto drivers. I feel what you wrote. I am so jealous of you riding a bike! My height is too short for riding bikes. So I envy you. But its great to see women drive bikes.

    xo,
    B.
    http://crazypoplock.blogspot.in/

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    Replies
    1. No, pls, don't be jealous of me!!! Anyways Thank you.. :)
      But then, seriously, why don't you try it out wearing high heeled wedges?

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  5. Great going . All the best for the contest ...

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  6. Ha ha ha! Seems you enjoy really good time on your bike Jive :)
    You know girls riding bike is really not that common in any city, including Mumbai. Here also people turn to confirm it's a lady on bike. But, in Goa, it's very easy to see some lady, mostly foreigner, riding Bullet that too without getting much attention....
    Keep riding, keep writing :)

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    Replies
    1. True. Been in Mumbai & Delhi too and didn't spot many lady bikers... Spotted some 10 or so bikers here in Chennai after I started riding... :)

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  7. Very interesting. Some 50 years ago it was rare to find a girl riding a Cycle in the South.

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  8. Completely in awe. I really admire women bikers. I would like to ride as well but I have always chickened out!

    Way to go.

    Joy always,
    Susan

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Susan.. :)
      You should try riding... Come on Susan.. :)

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  9. So that is why u ride.... :D

    Keep riding, writing, rocking..

    :)

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  10. So I guess one day we will see a photo of you riding a Kwaks Ninja Mitr.{:)
    Its nice to see Ladies on bikes. A lot ride them in this country and 600 to a 1000cc bikes as well.
    I can always tell a Lady on a bike, its the shape.?? {:))

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    Replies
    1. Hee hee heee... Hope I ride a Ninja soon... :)

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  11. Interesting narrative. I was curious if there were going to be entries from female bikers for this contest. You rock!

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  12. Time you try a bullet, Wish to do the ECR. All the best

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    1. Ha ha... Should try out one soon.. ECR is my all time fav!!! Thank you.. :)

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  13. You really need not wear a particular dress just to hide your gender. Come on, young lady! You are motivated enough to pursue your passion, why should you worry about attracting attention. Ride the bike in a salwar and tell the world you are a woman who does not flinch from doing what she loves. Surge on...

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    1. That's so nice of you... There are some bikers, and auto drivers who irritate me on the road when I ride in a feminine attire... That's why! Let's see, I might soon ride in salwars!!! :)

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  14. 1 year completed! Congrats! Keep riding! Keep writing.

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  15. Nicely written.... n like all the guys, I too am completely in awe with chicks on bikes. Whats great is the frustration on the autowallahs dat has come out!!

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  16. Nicely written! I too, like all the boys, am in awe about chicks on bikes but whats great is the frustration on chennai autowallahs that has come out :p


    keep rolling

    Rishabh

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  17. Hey biker gal! Loved your post! Nicely written-Esp, the parts where you talk about the indicator lights! I ride a scooty pep, and I have the same problems with autowallas and car-drivers. They don't indicate when they take a right or a left and it is a real pain to drive here! But still, I love driving because it makes me feel fresh and energetic! Nice post, keep blogging! :):)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Sowmya.. :)
      So true. A drive in ECR or Vandalur-Kelambakkam or Mambakkam road is such a energizer. Its the cities filled with autos that blow my head off!!!

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