The Jakarta Post
They are ordinary women, but their rides ' various models and brands of big motorcycles ' are extraordinary.
Meet the members of Women on Wheels Indonesia, a community of female riders popularly called lady bikers.
Women on Wheels was first set up in 1982 in California, the US, as a forum for lady bikers, which further developed and spread to Asia. In Southeast Asia, Indonesia is the fourth country to form Women on Wheels after Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam.
In Indonesia, the members comprise women from across the archipelago with diverse professions ' from doctors to executives, midwives, singers and housewives.
Secretary-general of Women on Wheels Indonesia, Meilana Laissegar, said the community, which is based in Tangerang, Banten, aims to become a second home for lady bikers from across the country since most members are already affiliated with regional communities.
'This community also serves as an area for female bikers to socialize in relation to their pastime without abandoning their main priorities, while helping in promoting road safety for big-engine motorcyclists with capacity starting from 250 cc,' said the mother of four.
Meilana said that originally, some of them rode together with their husbands, but later they started to ride on their own and frequently met up at biker community gatherings.
They finally set up the Lady Bikers Community in July 2012 but later changed it into Women on Wheels Indonesia in January 2013.
Currently, the community has 65 members from different provinces. The first chapter covers the Greater Jakarta area, while the second is in West Java and the third in Bali.
One of the bikers is Ade Desti. At the age of 18, she's the community's youngest member.
She said that her talent as a child singer had enabled her to save money to buy a big bike and her choice was a Honda CBR Sport 600 cc, which she took to ride at the Sentul Circuit in Bogor.
'I joined the community in 2012 when I was 15 but I prefer racing at the circuit to riding on main roads, which I think is dangerous,' said Ade, who became the Ducati Ambassador 2013 and won the One Make Race Ducati in Sentul in the same year.
Another community member, Ellea, is an off-road jeep driver turned moge (large motorcycle) rider.
'With moge, there's a particular sensation because it's not just anybody's hobby. I feel some sort of pride and satisfaction when touring with fellow bikers,' said the 41-year-old former model, who works with an event organizer.
Midwife Irfi Prasti Rosfianti, better known as Fury Irfie, has been fond of riding sports motorcycles since her teenage years. In 2008 she bought a Kawasaki Ninja 250 cc with her own savings.
Fury, who is the community's secretary-general for West Java, said that at first, her parents and brothers frowned at her biking pastime, which they found to be against women's feminine image.
'After my family started to show their acceptance, I changed my bike to a bigger capacity one, a 650 cc bike, in 2013,' said the 25-year-old at Melinda Hospital in Bandung.
Dina Zildea or Dhea started out by riding her father's motorcycle during her school years. She later saved money from work to buy a Kawasaki Ninja 250R. 'In 2014, my dream of owning a sports bike was realized when I bought a Ducati Monster 795 ABS.'
The community regularly holds social activities, from conducting fast-breaking gatherings with orphans during the Ramadhan fasting month, to helping victims of natural disasters.
And to celebrate Kartini Day, which falls on April 21, the community will organize the first Indonesian Women's Bike Week on May 15-16 in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara. It invites members and other moge bikers from other communities, including male partners, to join in.
Prior to the peak of the program, Tujuh Srikandi (seven ladies), who are the community's executives and members, will start a bike tour from Jakarta to Lombok from May 8-13. On their trip, they will be visiting several cities in Java and Bali before reaching Lombok, including the Museum of Kartini in Jepara, Central Java.
Apart from short- and long-distance tours, the community also takes part in a policewomen's big-bike riding safety program in Senayan, South Jakarta.
Meilana said moge riders needed to feel relaxed on their vehicles while maintaining high concentration and observing safety, while implementing biking ethics and conducting regular inspections of their bikes.
'Most female bikers feel happier, sexier and more confident, especially after riding the bikes they buy through hard work.'
' Photos by JP/P.J. Leo
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