Thiruvananthapuram: What comes to your mind when you hear the ticking noise of a Bullet motorcycle? A hefty man with moustache riding the bike, as portrayed in movies? But here is Shyni Rajkumar, the ‘Bullet Woman’, who breaks all the stereotypes. The founder of Kerala’s first all-women biker’s club, Dauntless Royal Explorers, Shyni is also the first person in the State and first woman in India to own the Himalayan edition of the Royal Enfield.
Founder of Kerala’s first all-women biker’s club, Dauntless Royal Explorers, she is also India’s first woman owner of Royal Enfield Himalayan edition
Bullet was not an overnight passion for Shyni. She fell in love with this ‘masculine’ vehicle back in her nursery class when her uncle used to visit her house on a Bullet. When she was aged around 20, she became an active Bullet rider in North India, where she worked as a physical education teacher after her graduation from All Saints’ College in Thiruvananthapuram. An athlete from her school days, the Thiruvananthapuram native was also part of the All-Kerala women’s cricket team. She was recruited to the Delhi Police in 2003 but quit the job in a few months to return to Kerala.
Unfortunately, in Kerala, criticism and challenges greeted Shyni. “People used to look at me with suspicion whenever I rode my Bullet. Even people close to me discouraged me, thinking that I was not going on the ‘right’ path,” recalls Shyni.
There have been instances where people deliberately collided their vehicles with mine. These incidents have never deterred me from pursuing my passion and, in fact, the negativity thrown at me by such people helped me grow stronger in my life,” says Shyni.
“People who had once ridiculed have rode pillion on my bike. I offer them a ride and consider this as my sweet revenge,” beams Shyni. It was her parents and husband who were the strong pillars of support.
Her passion for Bullet and travel led her to set out on ‘Azaadi’, a 42-day ride from Kanyakumari to Ladakh and back. She had two people to accompany her during the trip. Shyni always insists on being accompanied by like-minded people during long trips.
“Some people come for a trip for the sake of it and for flaunting their pictures on social media platforms. They will not have total dedication to the trip. One should not have any ego or complex while travelling,” says Shyni.
The trip was aimed at spreading social awareness on preventing violence against women. At each venue she chose, she spread awareness on harmful effects of drug abuse. She has also taken up issues related to women empowerment and spread awareness against drugs, by organising talks in schools and colleges.
Dauntless Royal Explorers has as its members more than 30 people aged between 18-50 years from different parts of Kerala. She reveals the initial reluctance she faced in training women for Bullet riding. It was her husband Rajkumar P who encouraged her to teach women. She also felt that it would be helpful for women to spread their ‘wings of freedom.’ She, along with her husband, train women to ride the Bullet at their home in Sasthamangalam, where the couple live with their son, Lenin Joshua.
Shyni had recently completed the BaPuBa (Bengaluru-Pune-Bengaluru) challenge – the Indian version of the Iron Butt challenge, organised by Indian Endurance Riders Association. The challenge demanded her to ride 1610 km in 24 hours from Bengaluru to Pune and back. She took up the challenge and completed 1700 km in 23 hours. She says how BaPuBa challenge was thrown at her by someone on Facebook. The man asked her if she could ride 1000 km without sleep. This triggered curiosity and determination in her and she was one of two women who were part of the 42 riders who successfully completed the trip.
Shyni also stresses on the helping and caring nature of the rider community. She is planning a trip to the North East and also intends to take up rides in foreign countries provided she gets sponsorship. Shyni was honoured with the Eastern Bhoomika Award 2018 on March 8, International Women’s Day. On the same day, she inaugurated the Kochi Chapter of Dauntless Royal Explorers. Her journey continues dauntlessly.
Shyni can be contacted at +91 90482 02083