Meet Antara Pal. She’s one of the most unique travellers Ease India Travel has had the opportunity to interact with. “I was always surrounded by bikes. Both my dad and brother were hardcore bikers, and so it got me the chance to try my hand at it as well. I first started riding when I was about 13.” The trial soon turned into a passion which Antara has stuck to for life. Stealing her brother’s bike and riding off became a regular affair!
Antara is currently fixated on one facet of biking that few people actually consider but then toss aside: completing whole trips on gearless scooters or mopeds!
“Scooters are highly underrated machines. They’re gearless, which means commuting in the city is a breeze. A lot of people underestimate the kind of riding that can be done on scooters. I’ve personally done trips along the west coast, a lot of highway riding, that sort of thing.”
In 2016, Antara was part of a team of women-only riders that rode on TVS scooters to Khardung-La. The journey is one that changed her life, she says. Beginning their journey from the town of Mandi, they had to climb an elevation of nearly 19,000ft to get to Khardung-La. The feat earned the gang a place in the India Book Of Records (for being the first women-only team to ride to Khardung-La).
“People don’t take the time to sit down and get to know their vehicle. Big, expensive bikes aren’t always the answer. I’ve ridden on a scooter the whole day without stopping because I know it can be done. We rode at least 150km a day in Khardung-La’s terrain.”
She mentions how it was never easy being the only female person in a largely male-dominated platform. “I used to work with a lot of dudes back then, and let me tell you, the ego clashes among them were way too many. Some of them couldn’t handle a female biker in the room there! The biking industry is, in that regard, picking up, albeit rather slowly. We need more women picking up this passion for sure!”
She mentions that there’s definitely traction. “Motorbiking brands, for instance, realise this stigma and are constantly pushing for change through campaigns and marketing.” The Khardung-La ride was a prime example of that.
Antara’s obsession for the road ahead hasn’t diminished despite her work. At the moment, she’s been juggling three lifestyles! “I work on weekdays, freelance as a DJ and then there’s obviously the riding.” Her current plans? Waiting to conquer Bangalore-Gokarna on a new, yet-to-arrive 125cc scooter.
Ease India Travel salutes Antara for her amazing accomplishments, and wishes her many more happy and safe miles of riding!