Saturday, July 14, 2018, saw hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts on the streets of the capital in the early hours of the day. They were participating in the Heritage Ride, the start of Vatvatey Reunion 2018. The rally began from Kathmandu Durbar Square, went to Jawalakhel, passed through Patan Durbar Square, and then carried on to Godavari Village Resort, some even kilometers from Satdobato. There were many brands of motorcycles, and most of the riders were guys, as expected. That is not to say that the event was devoid of girl riders; there were perhaps a score or so.
I was somewhat disappointed at not seeing some of the better known girl riders that were at Vatvatey Reunion 2017, it seems that most of them had gone abroad, probably for studies. Anyway, a round of the crowded event arena brought me together with some faces that were a bit familiar from last year’s event, and some who were participating for the first time.
Victory Thapa, Priyanka Sitaula, and Swikriti Bishwakarma from the Bikeaholic Club were sitting in the shade, watching the proceedings. They told me that that they were present at last year’s event at Park Village, Budanilkantha, and that this year, the crowd was definitely larger. The Heritage Ride, they said, had been pretty enjoyable, and the breakfast at the Jawalakhel stop was good, too. Victory rides a Yamaha 2RB, Priyanka, an Apache 200, and Swikriti’s baby is a Duke.
Here’s how Victory explains how she was ensnared by the excitement of biking: “I used to go to my sister’s place up in Nakhipot, where riders came frequently riding their dirt bikes, Crossfire, and such, and I used to look at those roaring bikes and say to myself, ‘Oh wow!’” Priyanka echoes her words almost to the T. Swikriti proudly tells me that she is into modeling, and that she is also taking drama classes. Yes, biking is of course not that they all do. Versatile is the word. Yet, their love of biking takes precedence, and so they take frequent rides around the valley. “Even if it’s just the three of us, we go on regular rides on weekends,” says Priyanka.
I also met with Sushma Bhatt, Sushma Koirala, Samriddhi Sharma, and Merina Shrestha. Merina is the manager of Royal Riders, a club of Enfield riders, and she told me that although there were now some seventeen or so lady members, all couldn’t make it to Vatvatey Reunion 2018. The ladies seemed to be right at home at the event, this no doubt also because of the presence of quite a large number of their fellow club riders. Sushma said that this was a good event and well appreciated by all biking enthusiasts, including herself. She also disclosed that they are regular participants of the scheduled rides of their club throughout the year, Poker Run and such.
There were quite a few others of their tribe around the site who looked to me like riders, but the heat and the humidity made me too lazy to go around meeting all of them. Anyway, here’s a big ‘Cheers!’ for our lady riders, and hope their tribe grows and grows.