Fri. Dec 6th, 2019

TECH 'N WHEELZ

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Women Motorcycle Diaries: Priyanka Telang on her love for motorcycles, travel, photography and blogging

8 min read
Priyanka is a techie by profession and biker by heart. She loves travelling and exploring places, photography and blogging. Priyanka is also a member of 'Your Shot, National Geographic's photo community' and founder of a blog - manyjourneysmanystories.com

Priyanka is a techie by profession and biker by heart. She loves travelling and exploring places, photography and blogging. Priyanka is also a member of ‘Your Shot, National Geographic’s photo community’ and founder of a blog – manyjourneysmanystories.com

technwheelz: How Long have you been riding motorcycles?

Priyanka: I started when I was in 9th Grade, so its almost 19 years now.

technwheelz: Any specific Reason you ride for?

Priyanka: I just feel free on a bike, its the taste of freedom which I adore, I love driving too. Since I am a hard core traveler any mode of transport which can take me some where, I want to learn that.

Riding is great, because you can feel the change in weather, the harsh terrain, without being locked in AC, it makes you experience the real, without any modifications and definitely you can travel faster without getting much stuck in traffic. You have to be always alert on a bike and that makes it even more adventurous, makes you feel alive.

technwheelz: Describe how you got here, where you are in motorcycling?

Priyanka: To be honest, I never treated riding as something to accomplish any goals or to be recognised it was a personal experience for my own happiness. It was as simple, as living, as breathing, its just that since women doesn’t ride much, women bikers are treated like they have done something different. For me its all same, I loved traveling, so I loved biking and the associated thrill which connected me with “”The Bikernis” and then I found, I am not the only one with crazy love for adventures. It made traveling fun with a group of like minded women and since then I have done a lot of riding.

technwheelz: The first motorcycle you started riding/learnt riding?

Priyanka: My father bought me a Pride, which i was not in love with, but later one of my friend bought a splendor+,that time it was brand new, and I already drove LML Select II, so I just took the keys from him, he told me to change gears using feet. And I was flying, he was not sitting behind me, I took my best friend instead and she was even standing behind me, that much confidence she had.. I felt like king and that time I knew I am in love with bikes. Then as and when something got launched and someone in my circle bought it, I made sure I rode it.

technwheelz: Tell us about your ride now and do you repair your motorcycle?

Priyanka: Now I own a Bullet 500. I have majorly lived in Delhi and UK until 2014, when I decided to shift to Pune, I had no friends no connections, just randomly I was excited to join the Bikerni gang because it was active there. So as soon as I reached first I bought a pre-owned Thunderbird 350, it was silver not my favorite color and had problems.

I had to invest a lot of money in services and still sometimes, it used to break on the way and ruin the fun of our rides. Thats when I had to learn the basics, changing short wire, carburettor, mounting an unmounted chain etc. I got it painted white and this new look made it unique as there were no thunderbird in white color. I truly loved to photograph it, later I had to plan for Rann of Kutch ride and I was not comfortable in taking the old one. So I sold it and bought a new Bullet 500, it was a great exchange, however thunderbird is a winner in looks, but Standard is the stud of all, it is convenient to fix and has better mileage and performance.

technwheelz: Joined any Riding clubs?

Priyanka: Definitely my favorite “The Bikerni” , Wild and free.

technwheelz: Is there a local motorcycling event you regularly participate?

Priyanka: I am not of a motorcycle event rider I am more of a traveler as I mentioned before, so till now the most regular have been The bikerni Anniversary rides, this year I went from Australia to join this as I was dying to ride and see my girl folks again. Also I have participated in Ride to be One, Women’s day ride etc, but wasn’t regular there.

technwheelz: How far have you ridden your motorcycle?

Priyanka: I have ridden all over Ladakh region, and also did a long ride from Pune to Rann of Kucch. Other than that I have many other rides around different terrains. I love off-roading, so more than going far, its a matter of how tough for me?

technwheelz: Do you have a motorcycling achievement you take pride in?

Priyanka: I was really proud when I rode Kardungla pass and Changlangla Pass in Ladakh, specially because it was my first adventurous ride, before that I have never even tried a Royal Enfield. I didn’t own a bike so, I was not a regular, trained rider, I was naive, all i did was just some city traveling on my friends bike. When I hired the bike for Ladakh, the person told me, “madame please let a male ride the bike for you”, you can be pillion. It was the first time, I was hurt and nervous at the same time, whole night I couldn’t sleep. And next day I took the bike, we rode all over Ladakh, and had some daring adventures, without any back up van. I am grateful to God for saving us.

I remember one specific moment, when we 6 were travelling on bikes, 3 knew riding including me and others have never ridden a two wheeler. So it meant no one can ask me to be Pillion and one of the bike was punctured there was no help for kms, no signals and two guys went on to get some help in one bike. I was there along with 3 other friends, waiting until dusk, there was no help and we had no clue where we are, and where the other guys were. Finally they arrived with some help, two of us, stayed with the repair van and they asked us to continue as it was getting dark. I was riding to Nubra, I could see silhouette of mountains fading with sunset and only dark images appearing, in a terrain unknown, a road unknown, a destination also unknown. The other bike was following me as the bike’s headlight was broken. In that moment I had a great feeling of Pride, what i was doing was a raw adventure, there were no safety gears or help around we were truly on our own. And I was leading, well that was the first and after that i had many such pride moments. Few more in Ladakh ride and then many in Rann of Kuchh ride.

As I said I am not much in to riding events or competitions, so I never participated I only enjoyed it on my own for myself.

technwheelz: Do you have any motorcycling heroes?

Priyanka: I do admire all my gang of girls in The bikerni they are my heroes. The way they have fought the stereo types and internal family conflicts to follow their passion is a heroic act in itself. I am truly inspired by Maral Maya who rode, 7 continents, got married on her way in Machu Picchu, got pregnant during her expedition and still rode until she completed. This is something one couldn’t achieve without a determination and great mental strengths. Urvashi is my hero too, not just because she is a great rider, but she did something above that and started a platform to empower and unite all such females. We need to support each other to go ahead and she realized that, it helps to have an association to know someone is there, when you need, you are not alone.

technwheelz: How are women motorcycle riders treated by most people and by male riders?

Priyanka: Well for most of the people we are from different world, they are in awe of admiration or sometimes their ego is hurt to see women riders achieve so much in something which is dominated by males.
Its mixed reactions, many times during our rides, when we used to take stops, people will come and asked to get a snap with us, it felt good :). This celebrity treatment is mostly enjoyed by female riders.

With males its somewhat expected in the society so no big deal for people. But sometimes its insulting the way some locals would try to race you, or tease you while riding, its humiliating. I just wanted to give them a hard lesson, but all i could do is ignore as its a waste of time.

Our male counter parts have been supporting, I have seen people admire women riders and they treat them their own. However there are some cases where they make fun too, and think they know it all and females are just trying to compete. There is a stereotype, like we have a bias against female drivers that if their is an accident its the woman’s fault, similarly in riding too. However its changing now for good.

technwheelz: Parents/Friends what do they comment?

Priyanka: I am fortunate to have very cool parents, my mother was the one to tell me about Bikernis, she saw a newspaper article and showed me, see there are others like you, join them. She was the one to push me out of Delhi and start in Pune as Delhi is so unsafe its hard to enjoy daily life and travel without feeling insecure.

My father never has treated me like a girl, so I really didnt have a challenge, he even asked me to get a big poster of my ride and me. They love flaunting my adventures and many times they are afraid, like when I was going to Rann and Ladakh. They specifically were concerned and yet they knew I won’t stop, so they supported me. My experiences and stories make them rich too. My friends have been very supportive, for them I am their go to PT for travel tips person. They are always awestruck with my adventure and after each of my trip, there is a story telling session because my rides and travels are always full of incidents. I love narrating in detail all what happened with intensity, they visualize what I went thru and keep waiting for my next adventures, some want to join, some want to take tips, some just enjoy listening, for them I am example of how to live life and that’s a big expectation to live up to :). I have recently started a blog, to cover my journeys and experiences its https://www.manyjourneysmanystories.com/

technwheelz: The motorcycle you wish dream to see parked in your garage?

Priyanka: I would love to own a Harley, but its so hard on pocket and I am not that rich yet.

technwheelz: Message for female riders?

Priyanka: Well! Ladies Explore, Dream, Discover! there is no other pleasure than fulfilling your dreams, so keep riding to explore new terrains, keep improving, keep learning. Whatever your dreams are don’t give them up because you might regret . Do your efforts to fulfill them, not excuse about why you can’t?. Manage time, manage boundaries, your family, your world will still go on, so keep yourself happy and alive, ride safely, take care of each other. Not let your achievements come in way of your humility and grace. Be gentle on those who can’t, and be tough on those who say, you can’t.

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