Defying societal norms, backed by her family, pursuing her dreams beyond limits, the story of the youngest lady biker from Uttarakhand!
“Doing things beyond my limit, is my motto in life”, says 20-year old Sucheta Sati, a rider by passion, who loves adventure, travelling and mountaineering. Born in a Garhwali family in Joshimath, Chamoli district, Uttarakhand, Sucheta lives with her parents and younger sister, in Dehdradun. A student pursuing her last year of graduation in commerce, she can’t wait to complete her studies and get full-time into mountaineering and adventure. Having recently completed her course from the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, she excitedly shares – “I have always wanted to do things differently from others. My parents have been my biggest support and motivation. They have always told me that I can do anything that I put my heart to, and have encouraged me to do things that other kids don’t do”.
Both, Sucheta and her younger sister Sakshi, have always been supported by their parents. The small town she hails from is beauty personified with snow-capped mountains. However, the people of the region are very orthodox and traditionally priests who are very religious and god-fearing. “They are not very receptive to girls doing things like biking which has always been treated as a man’s sport.” Sucheta’s parents encouraged her right from childhood, to play sports like cricket, badminton etc. Sucheta is also a State level cricket champion. “My mother has been working with the Uttarakhand Power Corporation and my father is a businessman into wholesaling of medicines.”
“I was first introduced to biking by my friends. I got my riding license at 18 and my sister pushed me to pursue my passion for riding and take it up as a sport. My parents gifted me my first bike, a Bajaj Avenger 150cc, on my 19th birthday. They always believe that – why should only boys do all such adventurous things? Girls are capable of doing all this and much more, so don’t stop yourself. If you want to do it, do it!”
Sucheta has ridden many bikes like the Royal Enfield but her longest ride so far has been from Dehradun to Ladakh on her Bajaj Avenger. The youngest female rider from Uttarakhand to have completed the Dehradun-Ladakh route on bike at the age of 19 years, Sucheta recounts this trip, where she had gone along with a group of 11 men, as part of a Delhi-based group called ‘Wonder on Wheels’. Jackson Lochan heads this group of avid bikers and seeing her passion for riding, he partially sponsored her trip.
“We started out for Ladakh on 10th June, 2018. This ride of 3000 kms was accomplished over 12-days from Dehradun via Kargil to Ladakh, and then we returned via Manali. We went to Pangong Lake, Khardungla, and Nubra Valley.” Enroute, their bikes got spoilt so they had to repair them. Sucheta was taught how to mend her own bike, thanks to Lochan. The time lost in repairing the bikes, was made up by riding at night. “It was freezing cold and not the safest option, but we rode as a group and it was truly an unforgettable experience”, shares Sucheta with excitement in her voice. She recounts how on one occasion, the team had also stayed overnight at the army camps.
“Riding as a sport isn’t easy for a girl to pursue. Sadly, in our country, people tend to judge girls riding bikes – How will you manage with such a heavy bike? You are so frail and delicate! – these are such common taunts that one has to just ignore and move on”, shares Sucheta. Defying societal norms of biking being a ‘man’s sport’ and ignoring the monthly woes of menstrual cycles, Sucheta’s bike trip has been one memorable milestone ticked off from her list of adventure. She has only positive and good things to share about her bike trip. “Pangong Lake is heavenly. One can get easily mesmerised by the beauty of the Lake and sit in front of it for hours together, just letting the day pass by. The experience is surreal.”
Adventurous, Dreamer and Believer, is best what sums up this young and dynamic girl. “I am an emotional person so there have been meltdowns during my bike rides. There have been long stretches where there has been no telephone network while riding, and I haven’t been able to talk to my parents. That definitely upset me and I realised how vulnerable I am to family ties”, shares Sucheta.
Her dream is to ride from Kashmir to Kanyakumari (K2K) which she hopes to pursue and achieve next year after she completes her graduation. Revealing her plans for the future, Sucheta shares that she wishes to become a racer pursuing International riding. Her dream bike is the Ducati Panigale, which she wants to buy for herself in future.
“Biking teaches you many lessons – to be patient and humble. Riding can be strenuous but the goals are not far of. One has to go beyond one’s limits and push yourself to achieving dreams that seem impossible.”
Truly an inspiration for many young girls from smaller towns, Sucheta shares her mantra – “Do what you dream! Dream. Believe. Do!”