Women bikers since long have been ridiculed in India. So was Shyni Rajkumar when she first rode a Bullet in Thiruvananthapuram city. And, that was the moment she decided to slap patriarchy in the face. Next, what she did to shatter those stereotypes will inspire you to hit the road right away.
This passionate rider founded the state’s first all-women Bullet club, became a teacher to women who aimed to learn to ride Bullet bikes. And conducted a Bullet trip from Kerala to Leh-Ladakh. Her club is known as the ‘Dauntless Royal Explorers’ club.
She was the first woman from Kerala to buy the Himalayan edition of Royal Enfield.
As a solo adventurer, she took a 12,000 km trip to Ladakh and completed it in 42 days, thus, becoming the first woman from Kerala and arguably the first one from India to initiate such an endeavour. Her rider friends Anoop Payyanad and Nash Calicut were her partners in crime. T Rajkumar, her husband who happens to share the same enthusiasm for bikes,
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The badass biker fell in love with Bullets during her school days. She inherited her uncle’s passion for bikes and travelling and became a skilled rider by the age of 20.
There was some initial hesitation to ride a Bullet in Kerala, but she put on her helmet and proved that there’s nothing women can’t do. When she finally got on to ride, foul comments for doing a man’s job blocked her rode but she couldn’t care less.
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In no time, Shyni was doing what she loves to do, and interestingly with a mission to spread across a crucial message — ‘Stop violence against women’.
“Our activities were coordinated by riders from every part of the country. So it was easy when I had to book a room as I had help from local riders whom we connected through Whatsapp,” she said to TOI, adding that the men had always supported her.
“In fact, I have only nice experiences to share. In Jaipur, when I was waiting at a traffic signal, a Sikh man touched my hands asking in Hindi whether I have safety pads in my hands. It was clear that he didn’t realize I was a woman. He then curiously touched my knees and legs and commented that I have safety gear all over. I really wished to pull off my helmet and call him bhaiya to surprise, but I didn’t want to embarrass him,” Shyni explained.
Though there were few bad incidents, including Shyni’s experience with an accident in Madurai when her Bullet skidded over a rock with minor injuries, she was up and about again to finish the journey.
“I am sure that I escaped because I had enough, quality safety gear. I made sure that my family won’t know about the incident,” she said urging the vital point that riding after dusk is not safe.
She is a keen guide who knows that most people may criticise her or other women for riding a bike, but the bikers are supposed to get demotivated by the comments but to take it as a challenge and rock it.
“Most women riders face opposition from family. If it is an all-women trip, some might agree. This resulted in the formation of the club which now has around 30 members,” she said.
Hope to see more of you and solo trips in future Shyni! Keep the swag on!
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Feature Image Credit: Deccan Chronicle
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