Wheels of power: Meet the Delhi woman breaking barriers with her motorbike

42-year-old Ambika Sharma, founder and managing director of a digital marketing agency, is breaking stereotypes and challenging existing norms surrounding biking

author_img Dyuti Roy Published :  17th November 2021 11:47 AM   |   Published :   |  17th November 2021 11:47 AM
Wheels of power:

A Harley Davidson

On hearing the word ‘biker’, a stereotypical image portrayed by most people includes a well-built man with tattoos on his arms, dressed in leather, straddling an adventure bike. While scooters have become a common mode of transport for women, motorbikes are yet to become mainstream even though a number of women have taken an interest in biking. Breaking the stereotype and challenging these existing norms is 42-year-old Ambika Sharma, founder and managing director of Pulp Strategy Communications, a digital marketing agency.

Just child’s play
Sharma’s first bike ride was on her father’s Royal Enfield when she was 12 years old. It was this ride that marked the beginning of a connection with bikes, something, she mentions, has been hard to break. “I feel that bikes are personal. All your senses are heightened and it challenges you physically and mentally while also being extremely rewarding,” she share. 

Ambika Sharma’s ride to Chitkul, the last
motorable village at Indo-Tibet border

One among the many bikes Sharma owns is a Harley-Davidson Road King, which she mentions is one of her favourite touring bikes. With an almost 1,800 cc engine, fully loaded and weighing more than 550kg, it reflects her passion for travelling and her zeal for adventure. “What you see from a motorcycle is not what you see from a car,” she says. 

With a travel count of almost a lakh kilometres on the Road King, Sharma was one of the first women to ride to Ladakh via one of the hardest routes—Manali to Leh all the way to Khardung La, the highest motorable road in the world. The trip that she took alone in 2018 was 12-days long. The most interesting part about the trip, Sharma shares, was crossing the waterways: “I had to cross entire rivers and there was one river, which had previously swept away two motorcycles. The locals there warned me against crossing it, but luckily, with a heavy bike, I was able to cross it. The water was up to my nails.”  

A freeing sport 
During the Independence Day weekend this year, Sharma rode to Chitkul in Himachal Pradesh, which is the last motorable village at the Indo-Tibetan border. While recounting the trip, she shares that the terrain was extremely rough, with huge potholes and rock slides at regular intervals. “Even with a sprained wrist, I am glad I went [ahead]; it is not a road that one can easily travel.” 

Speaking of being a woman biker, Sharma says, “It is really interesting to see people react to me riding a motorcycle. As a motorcyclist, I know what my capacity is and people, usually men, are always underestimating me. My fellow riders were always too concerned about my well-being. While everyone crashed a few times, I was given special treatment.” However, she also points out that these concerns were never patronising and while they were irksome at times, Sharma concluded that she never rides to prove a point. Her passion for riding comes from her love for adventure as well as the thrill and excitement that she derives from biking.