Women unable to ride motorcycles in India is a stereotype that has existed for a number of years. However, the first woman in India to purchase a Harley-Davidson was Sheeja Matthews, a Bengaluru based HR professional. The women of the country have come a long way since then and while they maintain a work-life balance, some of them also follow their passion of owning and riding a motorcycle. On the event of International Women's Day, American motorcycle manufacturer, Harley-Davidson has inaugurated Ladies of Harley as its 28th Chapter of the Harley Owners Group or H.O.G ride.
The exclusive chapter would include like-minded women riders who own a Harley-Davidson and want to ride over a weekend or a certain set of days. Organised by the company itself, the Ladies of Harley event will encourage women motorcycle enthusiasts where in the riders and pillion will get a special embroidered women's day patch that can be pinned to their riding gear. Pallavi Singh, Director, Marketing, Harley-Davidson India said, “In India, we have seen strong interest amongst women to join the sport of leisure motorcycling and ride their own motorcycles. This women’s day, inducting Ladies of Harley as a chapter is our way of celebrating the free spirit of women Harley-Davidson riders and we hope to inspire many more.”
Like other H.O.G events that are held throughout the year, in its 34th year will also have other events that will include the H.O.G rallies in Mumbai, Jaipur, Nagpur and Coimbatore. These larger rallies will happen alongside smaller events which would be a weekend ride or a short trip to a nearby location of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle owner. The group currently has more than one million members and over 1,400 chapters globally and is the largest factory-sponsored motorcycle organization in the world. However, there have been certain instances where the spirit of riding and in a recent incident, Anand Pawar, a Pune-based businessman was participating in the fifth edition of the H.O.G rally and was left by his group when he fell off the motorcycle, according to his wife, Saroj Pawar. Such instances bring big motorcycles and the brands in an unwanted spotlight that also beg the question of rider safety, particularly during convoy riding. Other incidents involving late medical aid have resulted in deaths of individuals in the country who could have been saved if attended to in time.