These Hyderabadi Bikernis are riding from Kashmir to Kanyakumari to ‘degenderise’ roads

Three city Bikernis — Jai Bharathi, Anita Peter, Smriti Gattu took off for a Kashmir to Kanyakumari ride during the early hours of Wednesday from the city. For the next 22-days, these ladies will be riding through harsh terrains across the hinterland to drive home the point that biking is for everyone and break stereotypes along the way. “There is a misconception that such ardorous rides can be undertaken only by men. We want to show that women can do it too and take on the roads,” says Jai Bharathi.

Anita Peter confesses of being “very anxious till yesterday,” about the ride. “This is the first time I’m travelling this far for so long. We have to face obstacles, known and unknown. But its the fear of the unknown that unnerves us the most. But now that I am on my bike, ready to kick start and ride off in ten minutes, I am feeling more confident. The idea is to degenderise the roads — break the stereotypes and claim the roads that are taken mostly by men. Moreover, we are riding for a cause, that gives a lot of mental strength,” explains Anita.
This expedition is a part of the ‘One Lakh Moms’ initiative and the bikers wow to celebrate the significance of motherhood and encourage children to become the care-givers of their mothers. “We are riding to encourage the children to look after their mothers’ health. Mothers often tend to neglect their health while looking after the needs and demands of every member of the family. Thus most mothers are either skin-and-bone or are obese due to lack of physical exercise,” says Jai Bharathi a freelance architect.
 The bikernis plan to stop by a different colleges and hostels on the way to spread the message that our mother’s need to be taken care of. “With all the hype surrounding Mother’s Day still running high, we thought the timing is perfect to spread awareness about mother’s wellness. Children need to realise that mothers need more than just touching social media posts on Mother’s Day. As per the National Health Survey 2016, Hyderabad is ranked No 1 in cases of women obesity in India,” says Smriti Gattu adding, “A mother neglects her health, postpones her medical needs and keeps making numerous sacrifices for the family till her old age when all the neglect takes a toll on her health. It’s the children’s responsibility to make sure that our mothers are in the pink of her health.”
 Sensitising men to stand up for women’s dignity is also on the agenda. “We also intend to spread our ‘I pledge’ campaign that we started on International Female Ride Day. Not all men are bad, but if you do not stand up when a woman’s dignity is being violated, your crime is no less. We will go around spreading the awareness and distribute ‘I pledge’ badges as well,” says Jai.
Being the only male biker in the team, Rahul Mantripragada sure has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. “I have to set an example of a man and how he should react when a woman’s dignity is at risk. That’s a lot of responsibility,” he says laughing.
Giving him company will be Nagarjuna Tummala, who will document the entire expedition. Will they be uncomfortable to ride alone with three women? “Not at all. We are like a family and have gone on many expeditions together. All we need to do is ride safe. The plan is to start early, and ride 8-10 hours at a stretch. No night rides. I’m sure it’s going to be an adventure of a lifetime,” says Rahul signing off.
Source: Times Of India
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