Corporate honcho by day, biker by weekends: Meet Ambika Sharma
She kicks into high gear in her Corporate life as easily as she does on the highway. Meet Ambika Sharma, founder of Pulp Strategy and Managing Director at Instappy, who is also an avid biker. A bike junkie, Sharma’s favourite ride is Suzuki GSX-R1000 or her Harley Davidson Road Kin. Her love for outdoors and adventurous nature means she is always ready with boots and leather jacket even in the middle of a tight schedule. She rides every weekend for more than 100 km, even it is just to catch breakfast and head back home. SheThePeople.TV caught up with the lady to find out how she reconciles the two passions of her life-her work and riding.
The love for biking was inherited
You can almost say that biking is an inherited passion for me. My father, himself an avid biker, encouraged me to ride my first bike – a Royal Enfield – at the age of 12. That first ride marked the beginning of a love affair that has stood the test of times; I today own 2013 Suzuki GSX-R1000 1 Million Commemorative Edition and a Harley Davidson Road King.
Biking, for me, represents a lot of things – an expression of freedom, a way to escape the humdrum of everyday life, a medium to bond with friends and strangers. It, for me, is an unrestrained expression of self. I also often ride with my dad as my pillion on weekends, chatting on Bluetooth connected helmets. This, after a week’s hectic workload, is our sacred time together. Give me a bike and an open road, and you will never find a happier person!
I am the inquisitive sort, always looking to discover new trails and venturing off the beaten track
Father as the inspiration
I haven’t taken any special courses or classes; my father has acted as my mentor and trainer. My dad is close to 70 he still pulls of a 700 kms in a 14 hour ride cross country with flair. He inspires me at so many levels.
Riding brings along some tales worth telling
There was this one time when I was in a petrol pump in Uttar Pradesh. A guy came up to me and asked me to get off the bike, just so he could test ride it. Wanting to avoid an altercation, I told him that the bike was an aviation fuel-driven test machine which was configured to my fingerprint. Thankfully, he bought the story and went his own way.
The ‘kick’ of racing
I have had a lot of impromptu races during my rides – there is always someone willing to race you! Whenever I get challenged on the road, I always oblige with a burst of power. I have taken my bike on the track at BIC a bunch of time but I prefer the long distance travel more.
The inquisitive biker
I like to go on long bike rides, and have charted practically every major bike route in India. My favourite biking trails include Rajasthan, MP, the North-East and Gujarat. I have also travelled all the way to Kanyakumari on my bike, and frequently ride out to nearby trails such as Himachal Pradesh on weekends.
I am the inquisitive sort, always looking to discover new trails and venturing off the beaten track! I just love exploring and interacting with different people and cultures on my travels. On a recent 5000 kilometre trip that wound through Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujrat, MP and Goa, I ended up loading my bike on ferry at a stop, just so I could discover what other side, even though it was way off our route!
When I initially started riding bikes, it was a concept no one around me had even heard of. I remember receiving weird scorns and looks from men all around
I ride to rejuvenate and recharge myself, and continuity is my keyword. As such, I make it a point to go for a ride every weekend in a 500 kilometre radius, either alone or with other riders.
Society is opening up to women riders
The scenarios have changed entirely. When I initially started riding bikes, it was a concept no one around me had even heard of. I remember receiving weird scorns and looks from men all around, as I would ride my bike across different towns and cities. Many considered female riders a liability. What has changed, I believe, is that women themselves are stepping out of limiting thoughts and believes that are holding them back. And since we ourselves are fearless and show little regard to what someone else may think about us riding bikes, the society is steadily opening up.
Also, the communities we have today for female riders were missing at a time when I started. Trails of India is just one community for bikers. We also have other female only biker groups and associations, which are keeping alive the passion within female bikers. We still have a long way to go in making roads safer for bikers, regardless of their gender. Also, while there is more awareness, some people continue to make the experience inconvenient for us, with their staring and ambushing female bikers in a corner. If we can keep a tab on such elements, female bikers would get to enjoy a free-spirited and comfortable experience.
Tips for women bikers To all my fellow women bikers across the world, I would only suggest them to learn how to use a knife and read a map. Once through, go ahead and talk to people without creating a fuss about it. Generally, you would be surprised to find how helpful people are.