Since there is no mass rapid transit in Dhaka yet and the number of women-only buses is limited. Female riders, to some extent, can make changing the way our society views women.
How does it feel to ride bikes on the road as a woman? Riding a bike in a city like Dhaka can be intimidating as a woman. But for many women, riding their bikes has become a solution to save time by avoiding the hassles of public transport and heavy traffic.
A small but growing number of female riders are making a great example of women empowerment as well as making a living.
On behalf of Turbine, we have asked a few questions to three female riders, those who are working at Bombay Sweets & Co. Ltd.
Most female riders have chosen their two-wheeler for the lack of women-only public transport. That is why they prefer personal scooty.
“I am not habituated with public transports. I always prefer rickshaw. But it is always difficult to move everywhere without public transport,” said Tuhin Akter, senior executive, Bombay Sweets Bangladesh.
Already the number of female riders has started to increase in the road. So, more people are decided to take a bike.
Despite all odds and social taboo, they are riding their bikes not just in Dhaka, but all over the country, a trend which has seen a rise in the last year-and-a-half.
Anzuman Ara Jhuma, HR Manager, Bombay Sweets & Co. Ltd said, “The number of female riders is on the rise. Then I decided to take a bike. When I shared my desire to my friends, she also encouraged me a lot.”
Shamsun Nahar Liza Chaitrow, Information Executive at the same organisation, said, “I am a pro cyclist. If you test my DNA, you will get a cycle in my DNA result. I love cycling and running. As a rider, you will always have a passion for any kind of bike.”
She added “It is because of my office. There is not always a facility to change the dress. As a corporate culture, there is a set of rules of dress and other formalities. Then I have to go for my bike.”
According to the Bangladesh Woman Riders Club (BWRC), over 2,000 women ride motorcycles in the country, of which 80% are working women. Being a forward woman in this male ride world are quite different.
“Once I found a lady biker is riding her bike keeping her child behind her. Another day, I addressed an aged woman is riding smoothly on a rainy day. Another day I noticed someone riding a bike wearing Burqa. I got my inspiration from those incidents to be a biker,” said Tuhin
Chaitrow shared “I am a pro cyclist. If you test my DNA, you will get a cycle in my DNA result. I love cycling and running. As a rider, you will always have a passion for any kind of bike.”
Females are always choosy. They know their purposes very well. They also did so while choosing their scooty.
“Two of my ridings were significant, one is from my home to Dhaka University. I roamed about the entire university area by one and a half hours. Another riding was truly amazing which was from Mirpur to my permanent campus at Vatara. The condition of the road was not good. I was feared about the accident. When I reached there, I felt very happy. I found it as an achievement. My confidence level grew up.”-Tuhin Akter
“I didn’t go for the special ride. But a ride to 100 ft road of Dhaka is remembering. It was an open road with a natural view. It was risky to reach a high pick on the road. There was the possibility to slip down. I thought it would be difficult to ride on that mount. But I succeeded.”-Anzuman Ara
“My first preference was TVS Wego 110cc. But because of its weight issue, I decided to take Hero Pleasure 102cc. I found its weight is lighter than other scooters. Some of my friends advised me to go for Hero Pleasure as its parts are available,” said Tuhin.
Anzuman has visited a lot of showrooms to find the best option. She chose TVS Wego because of its iron body. To me, other plastic bodies are not strong enough.
Chaitrow said, “The bike I am using now is TVS Wego 110cc. I chose it has a sporty look, also unlike a regular scooty. Particularly to say, I thought about safety first. It has an iron body. It may keep aside largely if any accident occurred.”
To the women riders getting too much mileage is not important rather its performance.
Regarding the mileage, Tuhin said, “To me, the mileage couldn’t be an only key factor to review a bike, I think the smooth driving is a key,”
Chaitrow is not always thinking about the mileages as she looks for the average speed always.
About the mileage, Anzuman said, “I must say it is very good. I usually get it 50-55 km speed. Many of my friends have complained about its performance. But I didn’t face any problem yet with its performance.”
Upon their driving experience, they shared their opinion with us too.
Tuhin said, “I would recommend Hero Pleasure first. Those who have the ability they may take TVS Wego too.”
Anzuman said, “Those who are fashionable they can take TVS Wego. I think it would be a great choice if you want to use it for rough and tough use.”
Maintenance is always a key for the bike. And they are more careful than the male rider we found.
Tuhin said he cares about my bike a lot. She always checks the break, mileages, backlights. Every three months, she takes it for the repair shop for major maintenance.
As a part of a regular check-up, Anzuman tries to take my bike every 3 months for regular servicing. She also keeps it clean.
“My bike is like a child to me. After every 800 km riding, I used to change the engine and air filter too. I have to rely on the service centre for overall servicing, said Chaitrow.
About the safety issues in the road, she said, “I use helmet always. I prompted helmet too among the cyclist community at my early age of cycling.”
Anzuman said, “I always use helmet but I am not comfortable with hand gloves.”
In the end, Chaitrow said, “I have a suggestion for those who are deciding to take their scooty. I will advise them to get the license first, and then to go for a bike. When I bought my bike, I didn’t receive my driving license then. So, I had to keep it my garage for three months.”