This article was recently flagged up to me and I couldn’t help but feel not only very encouraged by it, but also very impressed by the women involved. If you click through and have a read, you’ll see that its talking about the significant growth (albeit from a very low level) in the numbers of women riding motorcycles in India – not as a pillion, but as rider themselves. I’m not surprised to read that these women are loving the independence that comes from having their own two wheels, as I can relate to that completely (and currently hankering after a set myself here in Mwanza!). I think what really struck about this story was the fact that in order to ride their motorcycles, these women have found the courage not only to learn to ride – which can be a daunting task in any country – but also in doing so, to challenge the beliefs and perceptions of others, especially family members, that they aren’t safe to go out alone and that motorcycling is a respectable choice. Their choice is a brave and defiant one about women feeling empowered and having fun, which seems to me to be a very good thing.
Here in Mwanza, it is highly unusual to find women riding motorcycle. Out of 4000 motorcycle taxi riders in this region, there are reportedly only 7 females. However I’ve spoken to many women here myself, who would love the opportunity to learn to ride, especially if they could be taught in a positive, encouraging environment by a woman. I’ve experienced for myself the shock and disbelief from so many men that I actually ride, so its not at all surprising to me that many women wouldn’t even consider themselves eligible to learn. This article gives me hope that as Pikilily starts to grow, more local women will be encouraged to learn once they see others like themselves riding around town and doing good business. In time, I think it’d be great fun if this evolved into women’s biker clubs like in India – what a fun and powerful thing that could be!