If you thought biking was about muscle and brawn, Ranjana Gopalakrishnan (20), a habitual biker, is definitely not who fits the bill. Self-admittedly underweight, she assures, “If I can do it, then anyone can.”
A law student from Bangalore Institute of Legal Studies, she says attending the India Bike Week 2012 — an annual bikers festival — in Goa fuelled her interest. “I went for a chai pakoda ride (one of the many rides organised as a part of the festival) and rode pillion with my neighbour and brother on a Honda CBR 250R,” she says. Now, an owner of a KTM Duke 200 she has been biking for the past two years. Her brother Rakesh Gopalakrishnan was very helpful, she admits, and lent his Royal Enfield Thunderbird to her.
Now a pro, she has been on a round trip from Bangalore to Goa in 24 hours, apart from trips in and around Karnataka, and Puducherry. Her parents are ‘cool’ with it, says Ranjana, who has her gang of cousins to bike with. “One feels anxious only on the initial rides. I love going for long rides and chilling out on the highway,” she says, adding that her parents always thought geared bikes were safer than a regular gearless scooter. “My parents encourage me irrespective of how many times I fall. They say that’s how you learn. It’s fun. But I wear safety gear like knee guards and jackets,” she continues.
Luckily, she always had someone to pick her up when she fell, mostly good samaritan auto drivers, who are otherwise known for being rude with passengers in Bangalore. Ranjana makes it a point to go for a long ride at least once a month now. “I’ve been to Goa twice and was a pillion rider when I went to Ooty. Riding is all about balance. The bike I own now is easy on bends. It doesn’t weigh much,” she says.
After learning the technicalities of biking, she has started being a part of ‘bike-talks’ with guys and girls alike, which she previously didn’t relate to. “We talk about different bikes in the market and I’ve started enjoying it now,” she laughs.