Engines Revved Up
Yo Vizag|September - October 2019
At young impressionable ages, when most adolescents were figuring out matters of the heart, these young women had already found their true love.

The sweet sound of engines revving, the feel of the wind on their faces, and the thrill of the ride continues to be the panacea for their soul. Diverse in ages, different in interests, yet sharing one strong bond, meet members of Women’s International Motorcycle Association (WIMA), India (Vizag), the first of its kind women motorcycling group from the city. Jaya Siva Murty brings their story.

VAISHALI KULKARNI MORE

Unusual beginnings

All of 52 years young, Vaishali More thanks the good-old-times, when social media wasn’t so prevalent, and people still had their privacy. “I was into dirt biking and stunts on bikes at college, and thanks to a lack of social media, more often than not, my parents did not know what I was up to”, she laughs. Often found competing with boys, her father decided to put a stop to her biking, and got her married. “This worked out in my favour, she shares, for my husband gave me all the freedom I wanted.” Having taken a break when her son was growing, she’s been back in the biking scene since 2015, as the first solo woman motorbiker of AP. “The day I got my bike, an ex-student was visiting, and she was my first pillion rider. She was also the one who gave my bike her name of ‘Esprit Libre’ meaning free spirit.” This was shortened to make her name Ellie, an entity which has been with Vaishali through her fascinating times and over 26,058kms of riding till date.

Awards and recognition

Recently nominated as the MotoGirlIndia of AP by the biggest biking app Throttle and 2019 recipient of the Sangamitra Award from Visakha Media Services, Vaishali has been a guest of honour and guest speaker at many events. Felicitated by Big Biking Commune at Mahabalipuram; Ministry of Women and Child Welfare, West Bengal and Kalinga Motor Sports Club, Bhubaneswar this biker mom is known for her work in spreading awareness among rural women on genital hygiene, cervical and breast cancer during her long rides through India’s villages.

Coming together as WIMA India ( Vizag)

While Vaishali More had always been a solo rider, it was her long standing dream, to get women together and form a group. “As a riding club you can do many things. You can go for longer rides, take up social causes and uplift each other.” That’s when the Women’s International Motorcycle Association (WIMA) came to her notice. Founded in 1950, in the US, this was the first organisation to recognise women in the sport. Today it is the largest motorcycle association in the world for women and also the oldest. It has 29 national divisions across the world, with WIMA India being formed in June 2017. Vaishali soon became their core member, and on Teachers Day in 2019, the group was formed in Vizag as well. Creating the first women’s biking club in the city, was thus a dream come true not just for Vaishali, but for all its members.

Group dynamics

“The first thing we did as a group was of course to go for a ride. But that’s not all. We stopped and sat at a park and shared our stories. And it was then that we realised how crazy and equally excited we all were.” Vaishali is also enthusiastic to share details on group dynamics. “When you ride as a group, there’s a leader who leads the team, a sweep who stays at the end and ensures everyone is before them, a marshal who rides on the side to maintain line and discipline and the novice riders who are kept in the middle, so they can be assisted and guided. Usually, in groups, ego kicks in and a person wants to hold the same position for a long time. However, here we want everyone to grow, and all positions except Group Admin will be dynamic. This way everyone can understand the power, roles and responsibilities equally.”

Future plans

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