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Ambika Sharma Biker Babe
April 11, 2013 COMMENT comment
     
Ambika Sharma Biker Babe
By Ritu Goyal Harish
 
To her, the best part about biking is that the holiday doesn't start when she reaches the destination; it starts when she kickstarts the bike! "Biking is a very solitary thing. I enjoy the ride, the freedom and the time I get to think. Biking allows you to enjoy your surroundings; your interactivity with nature is higher. Biking actually clears my head."
 
Remember the scene from the film Top Gun when Tom Cruise glides on a Kawasaki GPZ 900r to the soundtrack Danger Zone? A ride on the Delhi-Jaipur highway on a Sunday morning might give you a deja vu feel of the scene. Except the bike would be a 450- kilo, 1700cc Harley. And the leather jacket-clad rider manoeuvring the mean machine would not be a man but a woman – the only one in India to own a Harley Davidson Road King. Meet Ambika Sharma, corporate strategist, managing director and CEO of Pulp Strategy Communications, who has been a biker for as far back as she can remember.

"I have been fond of biking ever since my childhood," she says "My father, an army personnel, liked bikes. I remember he owned a Harley in 1971 when most people did not even know about super bikes," she fondly recalls. "My parents were very fond of machines. We lived in cantonments which are very safe, so I was allowed to ride a bike when I was 12 years old," she adds.

She rode a bike in college in Delhi, owned a Royal Enfield Bullet for a few years and about six years ago, upgraded to super bikes. She owns a Honda CBR 1000RR in addition to the King of the Road.

Further explaining her love for biking, she says: "Biking is a very solitary thing. I enjoy the ride, the freedom and the time I get to think. Biking allows you to enjoy your surroundings; your interactivity with nature is higher. Biking actually clears my head."

A busy and extremely successful professional, Sharma manages a biking trip almost every other weekend. Her short trips are to Agra, Mathura or Jaipur and back. Three hours from Delhi where she lives, to Jaipur for breakfast on a Sunday morning – that's her favourite outing!

However, as a woman rider, Sharma says she is picky about her destination. "I consciously avoid UP when I am on a solo trip, although Agra and Mathura are good for day trips. For longer solo trips Rajasthan, Himachal and Chandigarh are very good. The people display a lot of enthusiasm and are very nice" she says.

So when on road, is the attention on the bike or her? "The bike is a powerful machine and the centre of attention to the extent that until someone looks inside the helmet and sees kohl-rimmed eyes, they don't know the rider is a woman," she admits smilingly.

Although biking is a thrilling sport, the weather in India is not always conducive for biking expeditions. "It is not easy to wake up at 5 am on a winter day in December and take your bike out. You have to love it to do it," she quips. Which is what she did in the last week of December 2012. She undertook a trip to Pushkar with her father as pillion in the biting North Indian winter. The 450-kilometre journey took them 11 hours, and it made for one of the most memorable trips she's taken: "I came back with a nasty cold, and was out of the radar for two days, but the experience was amazing!" Apart from her own trips, Sharma also takes a few trips with the Harley Owner's Group a few times a year.

In no hurry to start a family, she surely wants to pass on the passion to her kids: "When my child is six months old, I'm going to put him or her on the bike!" she jokes.

She also hopes that the culture of super biking catches on with more women in India. "When I started super biking there were hardly 100 bikes in Delhi, now there are over 1,000. But there are very few women," she divulges. She is aware of a handful of women super bikers spread across the country. "It will be wonderful if we could get together for a trip!" she adds revealing that her dream trip would be riding along the west coast in the USA.

SUPER BIKING FOR THE UNINITIATED
A bike that has an engine capacity of 650cc and above is a super bike.

HOG
Harley Owners Group is perhaps the only community of its kind for owners of super bikes. HOG promotes marketing activities, conducts events such as rallies, sells Harley merchandise and is almost a lifestyle statement just like its bikes.

WOMEN SUPER BIKERS IN INDIA
According to Karen Davidson, great granddaughter of Harley Davidson, 15 women are members of the HOG biking community. Super Bike company Hyosung has one woman super biker in Pune, and there are a few in Bangalore.

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