Anam Hashim’s Journey As One Of The Few Women Stunt Bikers In India
It was with childlike curiosity that she first gripped the handlebar of her father’s bike at the age of five, but Anam Hashim was resolutely riding his LML Freedom DX all by herself five years later. Although she had to employ the assistance of a higher platform to mount and alight the motorcycle, all that trouble only seemed to motivate her further. What may have started out as a way of earning bragging rights as a lady biker soon turned into a passion when Hashim was introduced to stunt biking. Today, it is a way of life for the 22-year-old swashbuckler who is famous for two reasons — being the first woman to ride to Ladakh’s Khardung La on a TVS Scooty Zest as part of the Himalayan Highs initiative by TVS Motor Company and brushing off deep bruises like it’s nothing.
“I would be mesmerised when I would watch people performing stunts on the streets. Up until then, I only knew how to ride a bike but this opened me up to a completely new realm. My curiosity was piqued and research led me to teach myself how to perform stunts while riding. I attempted my first stunt on a Honda Activa when I was only 16 years old.”
“Being a woman in India is a challenge in itself and when you choose a sport like stunt riding, you have no backing. Initially, I faced some resistance. However, my commitment and talent took me places and people who once ridiculed me soon started patting me on the back.”
“My bike is fully customised for performing stunts — it has a straight handlebar, a dented fuel tank, a wheelie bar, a handbrake setup, a larger-than-usual sprocket and a crash guard to protect it. I’ve also given it a custom airbrushed purple paint job to up the badass quotient. Apart from that, as a rider, I am completely secured while performing stunts. I wear a helmet, an armoured jacket, riding pants with knee guards, gloves and ankle-length shoes.”
“I rode a TVS Scooty Zest to Ladakh’s mountainous Khardung La, a feat that no other girl had achieved before me. Apart from the physical obstacles, it was also a personal challenge for me because I found out many truths about myself during that journey. I was able to test the limits of my strength when I rode alone for over 2,150 kilometres — an accomplishment which was featured by the India Book of Records in 2015.”
“I nearly froze to death during the aforementioned solo trip to Khardung La three years ago. While climbing up to Keylong in Himachal Pradesh, I came upon a water crossing at around 8.30 at night and the ice-cold water infiltrated my riding boots. I thought I was surely going to lose a few toes to frostbite.”
“It feels great to represent my country at international events. I continue to learn and grow so that I am able to reach the zenith of my capabilities in the near future. I’ve come to realise that nothing is impossible once you make up your mind and so my advice to up-and-coming bikers is this — if someone else has done it, you can do it too. The important thing is to steel yourself against criticism because you’ve embarked on the road less travelled.”