Twenty eight year old Urvashi Patole from Pune, Maharashtra, will lead the first-ever, 2,200 km long Himalayan Odyssey-Women (HO-W), Royal Enfield’s premier riding event for women. Urvashi will co-lead the HO-W ride alongside Sarah Kashyap, who is the first woman to finish the Raid De Himalaya rally on a motorcycle. Urvashi was in Ooty, Tamil Nadu, recently where she would be trained for the ride, self-defense, first aid, and ways to tackle extreme conditions.
India Times quoted Urvashi, “The terrain is treacherous and has many challenges. So the training has prepared me to lead the 20 women through all conditions.” She works as the chief marketing officer at a motorcycle gear store. Her biking journey started when she owned a gearless scooter. After few fellow motorcyclists saw her skills, they lent her their motorcycle to perform stunts. On one such occasion, she ended up falling and breaking her wrist. “That is how my parents found out about my interest in bikes. They bought me a 125-cc motorcycle to begin with and in the process I ended up befriending a handful of other female riders. But back then, women stunters faced much ridicule,” Urvashi recalled.
During a company-sponsored test ride in 2010, Urvashi met track racer Chithra Priya and decided to set up a pan-India association for female riders. “The Bikerni came to be with 11 members on our social media page in January 2011. It grew to 40 members within six months and has since notched up over 1,000 members,” she stated. In fact, women from Canada, Nepal and Qatar have also approached the association, looking to establish chapters in their respective countries.
In September 2011, Urvashi led the first-ever, 10-women expedition to Nubra Valley and Ladakh and created a record while doing so. This was also when her camaraderie with Royal Enfield started. “The association has ensured that women are respected as riders and not `showpieces’. I am very proud of this achievement,” said Urvashi.
Over the past years, Urvashi has won all the dirt races that she has participated in. She has also been featured on a six-episode TV series on women bikers. Apart from Urvashi, other riders participating from the city include Meghana Wavhal, Prerna Shinde, and Sharvari Manakwad.