Today team ItemMom chatted up with Shubhangi Manjrekar, a mommy, fashion designer, kick-boxing trainer, bike riding instructor (for women) and a true bike riding aficionado.
A true biker at heart, there has been no hurdle she isn’t ready to cross. She has recently attempted the “Long Distance Riders” by riding 1610 kms in less than 24 hrs. A member of The Bikerni (Association of Women Motorcyclists), Shubhangi was chosen Ad-min of its Mumbai Chapter over a year ago and the association has only grown from then onwards. She has been riding her Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 cc motorcycle for four years in and around Maharashtra and south of India. Some of her long rides have been to Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Himachal, Hampi and Dandeli apart from regular Mumbai – Goa – Mumbai rides.
Being a multi-talented person, she has a brand named – ‘Tasi’ (a fashion designing venture). She is also a Kick-boxing trainer, and has established a Motor cycle training school named “First Gear” to empower women.
Shubhangi is a true foodie at heart yet has a passion for fitness!
When did u realize that your passion was riding bikes?
I have been fascinated by motor bikes since childhood and this fascination transformed into my passion for riding.
Not only is it my passion but it’s more like meditation for me. It is pure bliss!
How do you manage time between your family, work and your passion?
I believe that if you are passionate about something, time manages itself as you plan things accordingly.
Also if you are good at balancing your family (especially kids) and work then nothing can come in your way. I am blessed to have a very supportive family and the seniors at my work place are aware of my passion and extend their support wherever possible.
Having a good rapport with kids makes a lot of difference and that takes care of half the things. The way you understand them, they also understand your needs. I explain my plan of the rides I am about to undertake and then go ahead with the logistics.
Also, I plan my rides well in advance so that I can take care and arrange the things properly at home as well as at my work place. In my absence my mom, my mom-in-law and husband takes good care of the kids.
How do your children react to your passion?
My kids are quite kicked about the idea that their mom is a rider.
They love to come along with me for short rides.
I am also giving riding lessons to my elder daughter Surabhi, so that she too can join me in the future.
What kind of gender biased behavior did you go through when you started riding?
Bike and women!!!! That’s the very first thing which comes in their mind and shows on their face!
It is difficult for most men to digest the fact that women do ride bikes, because as per their thinking, bike riding is a macho thing and how can women take away that pride from them?!
Slowly things are changing for the better and in the bikers fraternity many have accepted and many more are yet to but sooner or later they will have to!J
My experience as a daily commuter in city, the moment some of them get to know that it’s a female rider, they either try to race with you or show unnecessary stunts and that’s not all, sometimes they also pass some lewd comments. And, it doesn’t end there.
Some times I feel like a celebrity, cause if I am parking the bike or taking it off the stand they keep staring, they will try to judge whether I will be able to manage it or not. Sometimes I get suggestions also from a few people such as “Why are you riding a bike? You should ride a Scooty” or lessons on how to remove a bike from the stand or how to park a bike!
Sometimes it’s funny but at times they get on your nerves.
What was the make and model of the first bike you owned?
The very first bike was RX 135 which had been gifted by my husband.
Which bike do you own now and what is your dream machine?
I own a Royal Enfield Thunder Bird 350 cc and my dream machine is Triumph Bonneville.
Any words of wisdom that you would want to share with our readers regarding following through your passion after marriage and children?
A big Hi to all Item Moms who multi-task for a living and are multi-talented!!!
My only suggestion is, we moms invest so much time in our family especially in our kids that we forget everything else. I suggest we should keep some time for ourselves as well.
If you invest some time in yourselves and in your passion, your kids will love you and respect you more. I am sure if you are balancing your family well then you will always get good support from your loved ones as well.Shubhangi Manjrekar