KUALA LUMPUR: Emily Lim Phaik Siew appears to be like ahead to each probability she will get to throw a leg over her Kawasaki Vulcan S 650 – a heavyweight bike she acquired final December – and ignite the engine.
“Travelling on a motorbike lets you get nearer to nature, particularly whenever you’re driving on mountain roads. You can instantly really feel the wind course and the chilly climate, scent the scents and hearken to the birds chirping.
“I really enjoy it,” stated the 40-year-old actual property agent and mom of 4 sons with enthusiasm.
Lim is a part of a close-knit, all-female rider group within the Klang Valley, who defy the gender stereotype that girls can’t deal with heavyweight bikes.
The group began off with 4 of them wheeling by means of the foothills of the Titiwangsa Range in direction of Bentong, Pahang, in September 2019. They loved one another’s firm a lot that they began planning extra rides and step by step welcomed extra like-minded female riders into their fold.
So uncommon is the sight of an all-girl crew that they generally get swamped with admirers.
“They were curious as they have never seen a female rider group. They were probably in awe and thought we were bold as we had attempted something they thought was dangerous,” Cecilia Su Yee Wei, 38, stated of a current expertise throughout a experience to Tanjung Sepat, a coastal city in Selangor.
The little crown on her helmet added a playful contact to her outfit, paring down the sturdy femininity exuded from the patterns of roses and thorns on her Harley-Davidson Sportster 48. “I am a girl, so I hope my bike can look like a girl’s bike, but not overly feminine,” she stated.
With various years of expertise in driving and totally different heavyweight bike fashions, the ladies have common gatherings the place they convoy and pile on the mileage.
They look out for one another on the street, fingers on the handlebars and watchful eyes on the environment. At pit-stops, they’re the cheery and chatty group that stands out.
It is rather like an extraordinary ladies’ get-together, besides that they’re decked out in protecting security gear and their prized equipment are their bikes.
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In Hollywood motion pictures, woman riders are generally seen sporting lengthy and luxurious hair as they take away their helmets. However, biking in tropical Malaysia is a wholly totally different proposition.
Riders will probably be sweaty whereas their hair will probably be oily, Jean Loke Chiew Jing, 38, shared, laughing.
“This is why a heavyweight bike is not for everyday commute,” the enterprise growth supervisor stated, including that the area it takes up will also be inconvenient.
So at any time when time permits on the weekends, the ladies will level their entrance tires in direction of an out-of-town vacation spot and set off.
Such events are each about driving their bikes and having fun with the camaraderie among the many group.
Only fellow female riders can empathise with the challenges distinctive to them, they stated, similar to having to deal with a machine three to 5 occasions their weight and grasp the methods of mounting a heavyweight bike with ease.
But this isn’t to say that they don’t experience alongside males. Male riders are chivalrous towards their female counterparts, Su stated.
Loke added: “They take extra care of us. When they notice we have difficulties pushing the heavy bikes, they will step forward to lend a hand.”
WHAT DRIVES THEM?
The motivations for his or her ardour for heavyweight bikes are totally different.
Su was impressed by a sharing session on bike travelling and the Instagram accounts of female Harley-Davidson riders within the United States.
“One of the posts showed a group of them camping at a national park, where they sat surrounding a campfire at night.
“That image stayed with me and that particular post stirred up an urge to learn how to ride a bike. And I thought, when I do that, I have to buy a Harley. It became my dream bike,” she recounted.
Following a 12 months of on-the-road expertise with a 150cc “kapchai” (a Malaysian slang phrase for underbone, a small bike), she upgraded to the 1,200cc Harley-Davidson, which she nicknamed Zeus for the booming engine that seems like rumbling thunder, in 2018.
She has since travelled to international lands like Morocco, Japan and Indonesia on rented bikes. She additionally conquered the treacherous Mae Hong Son loop with 1,864 bends in Chiang Mai on her Zeus.
The ladies usually encounter raised eyebrows.
“People would ask, are you single? You seem so carefree, don’t you have a family?” Lim shared.
A typical notion of the fairer intercourse is their want to keep up a demure stature and keep away from getting tanned. “People would say, girls are associated with make-up and beauty. Riding is a demanding outdoor activity, why do you do it?” Su stated.
Loke, who rides a Kawasaki Ninja 650R, recalled her secondary faculty days in Ipoh, Perak, when college students from boys’ faculties would rev their bikes close to her. “It was very rare for girls to ride a bike. (They might think,) you are a girl, why are you riding a bike like boys?”
These days, ladies taking cost of heavyweight bikes usually invoke a “wow” from males, she stated. “Now we always say, what men can do, women can, too.”
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Zipping on a heavyweight bike is an adrenaline-charged exercise synonymous with pace and exhilaration, and but Lim discovered similarities between driving and meditation.
“Riding requires you to focus. It makes you forget about what you are thinking and what is bothering you.
“This is my biggest gain from riding.”
With her husband additionally a rider, Lim dreamed of in the future taking the household on a street journey in Malaysia with their two-wheeled automobiles.
Loke, who has a 10-year-old son, has deliberate far forward. “I hope one day my son will pick up riding and we can travel together.”
As for Su, her largest dream is to embark on a motorbike street journey out of the country – any nation – along with fellow female riders.
“Perhaps Thailand is the most achievable destination,” she stated.
Read this story in Bahasa Melayu here.