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Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Firdaus a.k.a. @EinsteinReload

Strap on your helmet, grab your jacket, gloves and boots because we are taking a trip to the other side of the world to meet our next lady rider! Pune, India to be exact so we can meet Firdaus Shaikh, nick name Dos, and on Twitter @EinsteinReload. She also writes for two blogs. One is an automotive blog and the other on topics Firdaus likes! Check them out: Autozing51’s Blog and TheWandererMind

Meet my new friend Firdaus!

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? I started riding a motorcycle at the age of 4. Back then I’d try the mini-bikes that my cousins would ride. Post that by the age of 7 I was riding scooters and then progressed to riding full-fledged motorcycles by the age of 10. However given that I come from India where women riding motorcycles was not a pleasant thought until a few years back, I managed to get myself a motorcycle only when I turned 22.

How did you learn to ride? I learned to ride via observation. No one taught me how to ride a motorcycle.  I would observe my cousins while riding and one day just asked them what the various visible parts on the motorcycle did. Once my cousin told me what the functions of an accelerator and brake are, I was sorted. I soon figured things out and was riding without any guidance within 15 minutes of getting on the bike for the first time. I only faced one problem – I never learned how to brake well. I face that issue till date, but I am working on it 🙂

What was your first motorcycle? The Honda QR was my first motorcycle. I had to share it with my cousins though. But post that my Bajaj Pulsar 180 Classic is my first motorcycle. It took me a while to convince my mom to get me one, but I have loved it since the time I got it. In India higher cc motorcycles have been introduced legally just 3 years back, until then people would have to import higher capacity vehicles via the grey market. So for the longest time we Indians have been riding motorcycles under 250 cc. Back in the day when the Bajaj Pulsar 180 was launched, it was the most powerful machine one could get their hands on.

How many have you owned? I’ve owned two motorcycles so far- Honda QR and the Bajaj Pulsar 180 classic. However I like scooters too and have two of them. A 1987 Kinetic Honda and the TVS Wego. I prefer scooters during my daily commute to work as they are light weight and offer ample space while carrying groceries back home.

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? A motorcycle is a symbol of freedom, expression, adrenaline and speed. And I have always been attracted to these things. Also motorcycling has been in the family for years, so it was pretty obvious that I would get attracted to it. Each time I’m astride my bike, it takes away all the stress. I guess it’s the dose of adrenaline that always works. Being rebellious, the motorcycle was also the obvious choice for me. Riding a motorcycle is like having a love affair with your bike, just that this affair always lasts a life time.

Tell us about your riding. I am a bit of all- commuter, tourer, stunter and racer. However commuter and tourer is where I focus more these days. Given the whether in Pune, touring is something most riders tend to enjoy, especially during the rains. And since in Pune, one cannot go places without a vehicle commuting also forms a big part of my biking. I don’t get to race very often since the race tracks are in another state down south and it is not always feasible fly down for the races.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? For women who want to start riding motorcycles, I think they should by all means pursue their passion. People may come and tell you that a motorcycle is heavy- well that is the case for men as well. A motorcycle is heavy only when stationary, when it motion it is as light weight as it can be. About your feet not touching the ground or you tip-toeing the bike- you don’t have to ride the bike with your feet down! Just shed these thoughts and inhibitions and follow your heart.

Always remember to choose a motorcycle according to your riding style and comfort level. Try to get to know your machine and always ride with proper gear and most importantly don’t get bogged down. Ever.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? The longest trip I’ve done so far is my journey from Delhi to Ladakh last year. It was 2000 km (approximately 1242 miles) long journey on a Royal Enfield which I organized with my club- The Bikerni. This ride was the first-of-its-kind in India, since never before has a ride of this magnitude with an all women biking club ever been done in India. We also registered the ride with the Limca book of records which is the like Guinness book of records for India. I was instrumental in planning, strategizing and implementing the plan with fellow Bikernis. It was a memorable ride since I had been wanting to ride to Ladakh for the past five years and the feeling of riding to Khardung-la, the highest motorable road in the world was mind-blowing.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? During my initial biking days I was a part of two motorcycle groups – RSA (Rubber Smoking Angels) this was a stunt and drag race group. I learned a lot about stunting here and it has helped in many ways over the years. The other group was Stunt Ride Gurlz, this was an all girl stunt group. I used to over see the events for this group. Unfortunately the group was dissolved a few years back.

I then co-founded The Bikerni with my friend Urvashi. In January 2013 The Bikerni turns 2 years old and this has been a major achievement for us! In the past year itself we have got tremendous response from the media and other biking clubs in the country. The Bikerni also represents the Indian chapter of WIMA (Women’s International Motorcycle Association). It is an online and offline club with a pan-India presence and over 120 members across India. We have regular club meets and rides and try our best to bring women with a passion for motorcycling together. It is our dream to make ‘The Bikerni’ one of the most popular and elite motorcycle club in the country.

Do you have a favorite riding story? Honestly no favourite riding story yet.

What do you do when you’re not riding? When I am not riding, I am usually working. I work as a PR and communications executive and handle quite a few automobile brands. Besides that I am an avid photographer, writer and a serial tweeter (pun intended). I love writing and motorsport. I make sure I don’t miss a single MotoGP or F1 race and actively tweet during the race as well. I love traveling and racing. I have worked as an auto journalist and during this stint have been extensively exposed to motorcycling. Have raced for dirt events, drag races and one-make events as well. I am one of the few women in India who have had the opportunity to ride almost all the superbikes available in the country – Honda, Harley, Suzuki, Ducati, Yamaha. I am yet to get my hands on the Aprilia, BMW and Triumphs though.

Below is the link to our TV show. This show documented the Bikernis ride to Ladakh. [Friends you need to take the time to watch this!]

What States have you visited?

Most of us know “R & D” stands for research and develop. Marketing people would say R & D stands for research and duplicate. Watch when new product hits the market, before you know it you begin to see their competition with a similar product. Yes. That is R & D. Don’t believe me? Snuggy. How many clones are out there now? Yup. That’s marketing R & D at its best.

So what’s my point?  Have you been to Visited States Map? You click all the states you have visited and it generates a map that you can download. Here’s mine.

The States I have visited.

I would have created a map of the states I’ve been to on my motorcycle but that would have been lack-luster because it is only one. Well, I did cross the border into Wisconsin once, but I really didn’t “ride” the roads.

Back to R & D … this map thingy wasn’t my idea … I found it over on Adventurous Wanderings (I found Amy because she just started following my blog) who saw it on BikerMonkey who saw it on My Ride Blog. Kind of a blogging R & D. I now have three more blogs to check out and a desire to start a map with the states I’ve rode my motorcycle through!

How many states have you visited? Check out Visited States Map and let me know when you post your map. Cheers!

Who Knew They Created a T-Shirt With My Picture?

Today while shopping at Walmart, my daughter pointed out that they have a t-shirt with my likeness on the front! Who knew! And pink to boot!

I get around!

Batgirl was my original inspiration to motorcycling!

P.S. I’m enjoying my time with my daughter and family!

Minnesota Blogger Conference 2012, part 1

This past Saturday I attended the third annual Minnesota Blogger Conference for free! Okay, the tickets were free because of the wonderful event sponsors (listed below). The conference offered a variety of breakout sessions, the keynote speaker was a former local newscaster, Rick Kupchella, and the conference closed with a podcasting panel. Did I mention we were also served a complimentary breakfast and a baked potato buffet for lunch?

I met a few other bloggers but no other motorcyclists – female or male. There were quite a few serious bloggers working the room and networking. Not me. I sat with a friend who writes a corporate blog and has a personal blog as well. I spent the day enjoying the time with my friend and learning some things along the way.

I’m technologically illiterate and a novice blogger so I really didn’t know which sessions to attend. I followed my friend into the “Blogging to be Found and Hired” session. It was presented by a knowledgeable woman, Sara Kerr, but not what I was expecting. I should have read the description because I’m not in the job market right now (I really enjoy the team I work with and the company). To sum it up in a few sentences: You are a brand. Build it. Protect it.

For those of you job hunting, Sara recommended checking out your e-reputation by Googling your name, looking over your personal web site(s), and finding yourself socially online. How would a potential employer react to what was found? Is it a positive online presence? Good personal branding? Or do you have some work to do to reverse a negative image?

She also recommended not revealing too much personal information online by using email not a phone number for contact purposes. Also, let your family and friends know what not to post about you. Do you want personal pictures tagged with you or your children? Even if things are taken down, once they’ve been posted it is really never gone! Check your privacy settings so you can control what is public.

Sara also addressed what blogging can do for the job seeker. It can establish your expertise. Demonstrate your writing skills. Affirm your knowledge of social media. Connect you to influencers. Validate your knowledge of current trends and news. Position you as a source of information. Distinguish you from other job seekers.

This is just a brief overview from my notes of what Sara shared during her session. Again, I’m not in the job market, but I wanted to share what I heard with those that may currently be looking or just beginning the search. This week I will be blogging about the other sessions I attended.

Sara Kerr can be found on Twitter @Sara_G_N_Kerr and writes a blog Sara-Kerr.com.

Please give these generous sponsor’s some love!

AllinaHealth  Pioneer Press TwinCities.com  National Camera Exchange  Strother Communications Group  Mall of America   Plum District  Sleep Number  Padilla Speer Beardsley  Glimpses of Soul Photography  ArtHouse  Muddy Paws Cheesecake

Here is a summary of the second session I attened.

We are Women!

I was thinking back to my youth and remembered listening to this song over and over and over again. After playing it today I was reminded of all the women that have shared their stories in my Profile of a Female Motorcyclist series and my heart melted. What a group of incredible women who have faced many challenges and survived, no THRIVED!!

If you are new to the blog check out the category on the right titled, “Lady Riders” and learn about some great women. What makes them fabulous is who they are, great or small, iron butts or scooterists, single or married! They all face life with a contagious enthusiasm and joy.

So what’s missing from these profiles? Maybe it is your story. I’ve had a few women tell me their story is boring, but afterwards they agree they have a voice and something to say. What about your story on how you got on two wheels? I’d love to share it. Leave a comment or email me at pamela.court@gmail.com and let’s add your piece to this mosaic of female motorcyclist!

We are women hear us roar!

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Chris a.k.a. 2vette2camaro

I’m so excited about having another profile of a female motorcyclist to post! My next guest stopped and left a comment here on the blog so I reached out and asked if she’d like to join. I’m pleased as punch she said yes!! Let’s get this post rolling.

I’d like to introduce to you Chris or as she is known on most sites, 2vette2camaro. Chris said she choose that handle because when she first set-up profiles she owned two Vettes – a `75 and `81 and two Camaros – both `78s. Chris and her hubby live in Harrison, Arkansas. She says, “I don’t do Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, or most general social sites – too much DRAMA. Instead you will find me on SlickDeals, FatWallet, Motortopia, and some of the chopper and hotrod forums.” Check out her web site, Got Hedgehogs?! and her blog AMAZING Cheap Life.

One of Chris’ Pinto Hedgehogs

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? Since I was 16. I learned to ride before I learned to drive!

Chris at 16 yrs old on a Yamaha 185 Exciter

How did you learn to ride? My brother and his friend rode whatever bikes they could get a hold of for cheap. Usually an old dirt bike or something. I remember having fun with them, riding on the back and jumping ditches and stuff and I knew I wanted to ride. Then I started learning and eventually after buying the two Camaros, while in college, used my money to buy myself a bike instead of buying a third Camaro. As a little kid, I collected Hot Wheels and mini motorcycles so the fascination has always been with me.

What was your first motorcycle? First bike I learned to ride on was a Yamaha 185 Exciter. First bike I bought for myself was when I was 19 (over 20 years ago) and I got a Yamaha DT Enduro.

Chris and her rides!

How many have you owned? 10 total (I’ve owned more motorcycles than I have cars)1989 Yamaha DT, Suzuki 300, Yamaha 250 Exciter, 2 Yamaha Viragos, 1970 Ironhead Sportster, and presently 1986 Yamaha TW Enduro, 1981 Ironhead, 1956 Panhead (kick only)  and a “secret” project (I always have one I am building in secret).

Progressing on her ’56 Panhead

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? For the independence, the fun, the freedom. Usually when I see something, I know right away if I want to do it. Riding a motorcycle was like that for me, so was drag racing. You get this incredible feeling in your gut and it almost KILLS you until you can do it yourself. I am NOT a spectator of life – I am a doer. I want to live and live good and enjoy all life has to offer, and one of those things, very very important to me, is riding. I fell in love with motorcycles about 4 years ago and have now become all but obsessed with them, the same way I was with cars.

Tell us about your riding. I mostly use my bikes for transportation. My Vette gets about 13 mpg and my `78 Z gets around 8 mpg, so riding a bike with a backpack allows me to save more money. I obviously do a lot of pleasure riding too. My husband and I are both addicted to bikes and ride as much as we can. I like to go into town and go to thrift stores on my bike. The ladies there are QUITE impressed with how much I can stuff into my tiny leather backpack. When I bought a pair of 100% LONG cotton jeans there, it was all I could do to get them to fit into it, but I did!

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Learn to ride on something small. Do it because YOU want to, not because your husband, boyfriend or someone else is wanting you to. Too many women try to learn on a large Harley dresser because they are too “embarrassed” to learn on a 125 or smaller. I think to learn to ride on an Enduro or dirt bike is best because you get more comfortable with the terrain. Have a good teacher or take a reputable class. Everyone has to start somewhere. Also, pray each time before you ride.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? When you ride a rigid Hardtail, with scissor springs that do NOT move at all, the rides are kind of limited! Also, my `81 Ironhead has Fatboy solid wheels and if you have never rode a bobber with Fatboy wheels in the wind, you are missing out! Mostly we ride 100 or 200 miles at a time if we go out on the weekend. I ride almost daily when the weather is nice. We are not long range riders, don’t claim to be. We ride old vintage bikes and like I say “Old Iron Never Dies”.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? No, we are not club oriented.

Do you have a favorite riding story? All riding is good when you come back in one piece…….

What do you do when you’re not riding? I have been an extreme couponer for the last 5 years (saving approximately $45,000 a year) and I raise hedgehogs. I am one of 35 breeders in the whole US and right now I have 25 of them. I like to drive my cars when I’m not riding and I am the Arkansas State Representative for the Worldwide Camaro Club, one of only 5 women. I like entering (and winning) all kinds of competitions from  bike shows, car shows, burnout contests, to Halloween costume contests, writing contests and tattoo contests. I have even entered my hedgehogs in a Hedgehog Show and won! I also like getting into magazines and on BLOGS!

Chris winning another Best of Show trophy

I will be featured in the magazine Throttle Gals in February. I have been in The Horse, All You, Thunderroads, Barnett’s Harley Davidson and several well known blogs. I play the “credit card game”, making thousands of dollars a year just from sign-up bonuses (this is what buys my Harley parts). I am constantly reading self help books, am into natural and alternative therapies, I tye-dye and I am learning to weld. I like to hunt mushrooms in the Spring and deer in the Fall. I also like to shoot guns, help my husband build bikes and work on cars and I like to play with my Am Staff, Solomon. I like to ride with my husband in his old vintage JEEP. I pick berries on the sides of the road and am always looking for ways to get things for free or super cheap. I even got my tubes tied for free (I am child-free by choice). I LOVE being frugal so that I can spend my “real” money on my bikes and my cars and I love being able to share what I know with other people to inspire them. If you put your mind to it, with determination you can do ANYTHING.

Chris doing a burnout in her ’78 Z, shooting a Springfield Armory M-14, Chris and hubby Gabe

Profile of a Female Motorcyclist: Meet Liz a.k.a. @trilliumliz

Friendly. Caring. Accomplished. Author. Coach. Motorcyclist. Are a few words to introduce my next guest, Liz from Ontario, Canada. Oh, I forgot to add social media maven as well! You can find Liz on Twitter @trilliumliz and Facebook Liz Jansen Speaks and at her blog Liz Jansen! I am so please she agreed to share her profile of a female motorcyclist with us all.

Liz with her motorcycle!

How long have you been riding a motorcycle? 42 years

How did you learn to ride? When I was 16, my younger brothers bought a Honda 50 to get around on the family farm. I picked it up from them.

What was your first motorcycle? 175 Honda XL.

How many have you owned? I’m only on my 5th bike. I tend to hang on to them for quite a few years.

Why did you want to ride a motorcycle? I was 16 and it was there. Why not? And I loved it.

Tell us about your riding. I use my motorcycle for transportation as the season allows. If it’s either not too hot or icy, I’m likely to be using my motorcycle.

I also love long-distance solo travel.

What advice do you have for women who ride or want to ride a motorcycle? Do it. It’s no different than anything else your heart is calling you to do. And do it only for your own sake, not for anyone else’s. Take a course from a qualified school – not a well-meaning friend, partner, family member. Be patient with yourself – there’s a lot to learn. Purchase your bike after you’ve taken the course.

Ride your own ride. Get the bike that’s right for YOU and ride according to your skill level. Learn as much as you can about riding and your motorcycle. Always wear good quality, functional gear.  And have a blast with it! Enjoy the adventure.

Take regular refresher courses and challenge yourself to learn new skills. Off-road riding courses are excellent at teaching you how to deal with the unexpected when it happens on the road. And it invariably does.

What is the longest trip that you’ve taken on your cycle? A 2-month trip around North America in 2003. It followed a year in which I made significant personal and professional changes and was the beginning of a whole new life for me.

Do you belong to any motorcycle groups? I’m a member of a local association, although other commitments mean I rarely attend meetings.

Do you have a favorite riding story? Each ride I’m on is my favorite. I’ve been riding for a long time and it just keeps getting better and more meaningful. There is nothing like riding to connect me to the Universe and who I am. I get my best ideas and insights when I’m riding.

This summer I met Mary McGee at the AMA International Women and Motorcycling Conference. She’s 75, still racing vintage and plans to ride for another 30 years. She’s my role model.

What do you do when you’re not riding? My work has evolved from riding. All of my activities are designed to create the environment for others (men and women) to recognize their own greatness – through riding or using symbolism from motorcycling. I do that through writing, speaking, organizing events, workshops and retreats.

My book Women, Motorcycles and the Road to Empowerment* uses stories and symbolism from motorcycling to illustrate the transformation that occurs in all areas of life when we push our limits and discover how much we’re capable of.

I’ve had the privilege of being on the Executive Council for two of AMA’s International Women and Motorcycling Conferences and was the Project Manager for Canada’s first similar event. I’m also on the Board of the Motorcyclist Confederation of Canada – a national advocacy organization, looking out for the rights and safety of all riders.

Aside from that, I love to hike, camp, spend time in nature and with friends and family. I also volunteer with local charities.

*I recently purchased Liz’s book for my Nook. Very encouraging read. I highly recommend it!

New Series: Profile of a Female Motorcyclist

Last May I put the call out for photos of women motorcyclists to show the world what we look like. The response was great both in the photos I received and the number of people who viewed that post.

This got me thinking that female riders are still somewhat of a novelty — not to us, but to the majority of the people out there — so I’d like to begin to feature female motorcyclists! I’ve sent a few emails with questions to ladies that responded last year and I’ll begin with those that respond. I’m thinking at least once a week I’ll post the profile with any pictures that are submitted.

If you are interested in being featured in my series Profile of a Female Motorcyclist please leave a comment. I’ll grab your email address and send you the questions! Let’s show the world who we are!

I’m so excited to be able to highlight in depth who we are and thank you in advance for participating! Ride Safe.

P.S. I need to get new pictures on my new bike and in my new girly jacket!!

Ladies, Let’s Get the Word Out!

Have you heard? May 4, 2012 is International Female Ride Day: Just Ride! For detailed information, including sweet looking t-shirts for sale supporting the cause, check out Motoress.com.

International Female Ride Day

Join me in supporting Motoress and International Female Ride Day by getting the word out!

Follow @Motoress on Twitter! Facebook too!

Passion for Motorcycles

Handmade Portraits: Liberty Vintage Motorcycles from Etsy on Vimeo.