From Pink Cadillacs to Hell’s Angels: The biker chick tag is no longer a snarky joke, Delhi’s chick riders have their Harleys and flaunt them

Women bikers

One of the last male bastions is falling to superwomen who juggle work, home and children – and find time to ride superbikes. The Harley Davidson , the ultimate boy toy, is becoming a favoured female acquisition, and not all women who show up at the Harley Owners Group (HOG) ride pillion. Increasingly, a number of them are in the driver’s seat.

Ruchi Makwana, a hotelier who’s now on maternity leave, is one of them. “When Harley Davidson was launched in India in 2009, it was like a dream coming true for me,” says Ruchi. “I have always had posters of Arnold Schwarzenegger on the Harley in my room.”

The spunky 28-year-old Dwarka resident had been riding regular bikes for 12 years when she finally bought her Harley Davidson Sportster Iron 883 nine months ago. Her only regret is that she’ll have to stay off her superbike till she has her baby.

A self-described “hardcore rider,” Ruchi says she chose a relatively smaller Harley so that she could ride it daily. Though she can’t deal with the technicalities of the machine, Ruchi can easily fix a punctured tyre.

Ambika Sharma, MD and CEO, Pulp Strategy Communications, though, has mastered the technical details. “I service my Honda 1000cc on my own. I am also fond of accessorising my superbikes and change their exhausts myself,” says Ambika, 34, who is the only woman in the country to own a Harley Davidson Road King priced at `22.75 lakh. Only six people in India have it.

Before her pregnancy, participating in HOG events was a regular weekend activity for Ruchi and her husband, who has finally accepted his place at the pillion. her favourite riding companion, though, is her good friend and neighbour, Smita Pawah, who also owns a Sportster Iron 883. “We go out for a coffee ride, which is a girly time on superbikes for us,” says Ruchi.

For Smita, 36, an MBA working with Schneider Electric, it’s been a steady climb up the evolutionary ladder. From a basic scooter in her school days to bikes after marriage. In 2001, her husband and she bought a Royal Enfield Bullet and they got the Harley last year after much deliberation. Smita’s Sundays are dedicated to her superbike and her riding companion is her two-yearold son, who has his own biking gear.

For Sheeja Mathews, 26, an HR professional living in Bangalore, the attention she gets is a great confidence booster. “My friends insist I come on my Iron 883 to their parties so that they can show it off to other guests,” she says. The longest distance she has covered on it is 400km. She plans to do more at the national HOG rally from Bangalore to Goa (650 km) on January 31.

The Hell’s Angels have given the Harley a criminal association that the superbike’s makers wouldn’t like to talk about. Our own HOG’s Angels are set to change that perception forever.

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