Meet India’s bikers on a mission. Reclaiming their spaces, driving their passions and touching new goals. This trio is one badass lot. Dr. Sarika Mehta, Jinal Shah, and Rutal Patel are the three women who call themselves ‘Biking Queens’ and they are prepared to spread the message of ‘Nari Gaurav‘ (women pride) across the world.
Mehta, who founded the collective Biking Queens, is not new to expeditions and to women’s rights advocacy. In fact, she promoted PM Modi’s Beti Bachao Beti Padhao initiative across the country through her expeditions. Even her daughter Dhanshree Mehta scaled Mt Elbrus, one of the Seven Summits on 17 June 2017 becoming the youngest mountaineer from India to reach the summit.
“We have done several such expeditions in the past including an all-India ride with 45 young girls riding across the country with me. But as a psychologist and a mountaineer, I feel till the time, people don’t start respecting women for who they are, we cannot bring a real change. This isn’t a reality just in India but across the world. Women have to realize their full potential and not underestimate themselves and other women. I realized by going around so much that women feel they aren’t enough to achieve their goals. They still look for support and I just want them to understand that that shouldn’t stop them from doing something,” Dr. Sarika told SheThePeople.TV. She will start from Varanasi in the presence of UP CM Yogi Adityanath.
She says that it is not just about biking but about telling the world that if a woman staying in a city like Surat who is a doctor, a housewife and a socialist if she can do it then other women can too. “This is a strong message for everyone as even men would flinch before thinking of doing something like this,” she added.
Dr. Sarika has collaborated with Indian families, biking communities, Indian embassies, and high commissions during the expedition to organize meet-ups and events to spread sensitization against gender roles across the countries that fall in her expedition.
Her family took some time to come to terms with Dr. Sarika’s expeditions but since they saw her grow and women actually benefiting from her efforts, they came around to the idea, she claimed. PM Narendra Modi has also hosted her entire family after she completed the expedition promoting Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign successfully across the country.
I feel till the time, people don’t start respecting women for who they are, we cannot bring a real change. This isn’t a reality just in India but across the world. Women have to realize their full potential and not underestimate themselves and other women.
The expedition will cover India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Morocco, and the United Kingdom.
On the route and how did she come about deciding it, she said, “While I was researching for the entire route, I came across several challenges with documentation in about 10 countries. I spoke to a lot of riders from different countries, read extensively to understand the route. I was thinking earlier it would be around 15 countries but it got to 25 countries in three continents. I know we will be facing many more challenges with respect to the ride itself and then also food as I am a vegetarian”
All three women will be finishing their journey in around three months. Picture Credits- Dr. Sarika Mehta