Zen and the Rider Girl’s art of finding a motorcycle’s soul

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Talking about the next big ride can wait. Also, the fact that she is the first Indian woman Moto Vlogger, the first and fastest woman rider to complete the Narmada parikrama, that her Youtube channel has 9 Lakh and 33 thousand subscribers and her name is in three India Book of Records.

Even as Mumbai-based Vishakha Fulsunge recently represented India in World Vlog Challenge by trekking from Lukla Village to Khumbu Glaciers at the Everest Base Camp in Nepal, she insists that it is motorcycling that gives her a peculiar balance and connection with herself.

“I discover myself anew every time I ride. There is so much learning that takes place, not just about the places I visit and people I encounter, but myself. It’s like connecting to another soul,” she tells IANS.

Before riding, this BBA pass-out changed eight jobs in three months (“I just couldn’t sit at one place in an office”). That is when she knew she had to take up something that involved bikes. When Fulsunge took up a pizza delivery job, she came across videos where people ride across cities, showing footage of interesting places and getting paid as per views or subscribers from YouTube.

“At that time, it had not really picked up in India, but I still bought camera and bike, and started making Vlogs. There was both appreciation and criticism, but I carried on. I struggled for around three years to turn my passion into a profession and get my first brand deal,” she recalls.

Stressing that the biggest challenge she encounters are not on the roads but trolls, the biker adds, “How do you prove those people wrong who are forever negative about what you do? There was a slight pause in my career when trolls affected me, but now I have learnt to ignore them completely.”

Talk to her about how safe this country is for solo women riders, and she smiles that it can be really tough to trust people as she has encountered multiple problems during her travels. Recalling that during her solo Naramada Parikrama ride, the biggest problem was staying the night as the general perception is that women cannot travel or stay alone, and, if they do, there’s something wrong, she says, “Another issue I face includes halting to use the washroom. One has to keep checking if she is being followed. Besides, riding in the night can be tough as repairing the bike, if it starts giving problems, becomes an issue. Frankly, it is a particular category of people who make things unsafe for women riders.”

She adds, “By the way, I am trained in self defense, and always carry a small sharp knife and a pepper spray. Whenever on a ride, I share my live location with four close people including my mother.”

It was Leh that was Fulsunge first long solo ride destination, and she can never get enough of the Himalayas. “I felt so tiny in front of those huge mountains, it was a humbling experience in the true sense of the word. I remember sitting at a location and staring the at everything around me for at least an hour.

Though her family was quite worried after two major accidents landed her straight into the ICU 2 major accidents and me landing directly in ICU, nothing really held her back. “My mother is quite supportive, and so was dad who is no more.”

While titles like ‘Rider Girl’ give her a high, Fulsunge has also learnt basic repairing — taking care of a puncture, servicing and changing cables etc.

“Sometimes I even repair bikes of people stuck on highways. Most of them get shocked seeing a woman repair their bike. I generally say I am a mechanic,” she concludes.

–IANS

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