It’s a man’s world! That’s clearly not what Seema Sharma Dora thinks

Posted on Apr 20 2014 - 4:27pm by IBC News

It’s a man’s world! That’s clearly not what Seema Sharma Dora thinks. A lawyer by profession, Dora is happiest on weekends cruising, or rather vrooming the streets of the national Capital on her superbike. And yes, before one asks, she gets enough stares from the boys. Both at her and her bike.

“I do have boys trying to race me and cutting me off at corners,” chuckles Dora, as she relaxes on her mean machine. ” But it doesn’t matter. Because I can go much faster than them!” Dora is part of a small but sizeable number of women across the country who are passionate about superbikes.

From Chennai- based Alisha Abdullah – India’s first woman superbike racer – to Smita Pahwa sitting proudly atop her Harley; these women are opting for bikes – the bigger, the better. And as a result, superbike manufacturers are changing their strategy.

As Atul Gupta, Executive VP, Suzuki Motorcycles, India said: ” Today, we have more women riders of two- wheelers. And many are upgrading to superbikes.” Alisha Abdullah clearly epitomises this trend. Her love for bikes was channelled through her father R. A. Abdullah – a famous bike racer and national award winner. Talking about her journey to the top Alisha admits the road to the top has not been easy.

” It is very tough. First, there is the monetary aspect of affording a trainer. Second, you have to be mentally tough as the other bikers try to play mindgames by threatening to ‘ knock you off.’ Third, it takes time. I went through occasions when I was lapped by the male bikers and that hurt. But I came back determined to prove myself.” What Alisha does not mention is the danger of injury. For the uninitiated, a superbike is meant to be driven fast. A change to first gear will take you to 100 km, so, even for those who drive bikes, a superbike is a big change to make.
At those speeds falling down is a risk.

Alisha and Dora have reported injuries, and in fact Alisha’s recent injury has caused her to take a break from bike racing.

But she says she is determined to get back onto the saddle as soon as possible. The other reason for the rise of women bikers is the support from biker groups designed to help you enjoy your bike or superbike responsibly. One such group is Bikerni. Founded in 2011, the group, which claims to be the first all female association of bikers in India, achieved a unique distinction when it organised the largest all women expedition from Delhi to Khardung- La the highest motorable road in the country. Their exploits won them a mention in the Limca Book of Records last year.

But the more important and practical use of the group is to make women feel safe on a road full of wolf whistlers and leerers.

Also it is a great place for learning. Dora who is also a member of G. O. D. S. ( Group of Delhi Superbikers) which has a more male dominated membership, says: ” Such groups are essential as bikers can pass on essential tips such as where to buy the right gear and help solve maintenance problems.” Talking about her experience with the men she says: ” The male bikers tend to keep their distance but once they know you can handle your bike than they reach out to you.” Alisha, who is planning to start a school for aspiring women superbikers, believes that with the younger lot of women there is a lot off ‘ macho culture’ which needs to be toned down.

” They want everything too fast. They don’t realise that a superbike needs proper handling and training and you need to get used to it.” Dora agrees.

” You should graduate from 250 cc and work your way up to 1000 cc. Remember that a superbike is not just about going fast.”