I was born in India and brought up in Bury St Edmunds, I’ve been living in Tooting for about ten years.
I have first degree in Philosophy and Psychology, a Masters in Neuroscience and a Ph.D. in Psychology. I’ve recently joined Surrey Constabulary as a new Police Officer also known as a Probationer. I’m really enjoying it so far, both in terms of helping people as well as the excitement of emergency calls.
I only began riding in September ’19, having taken the Direct Access option and have so far clocked up 25k miles. I took it up partly because my husband rides and also that in India a two-wheeler is seen as a practical transport option for women as well as men.
Having done my training on a Suzuki Gladius I managed to find a bargain SV650S on eBay – 2.5k miles for £2500 – and find that this suits me really well. I’m also insured on my husband’s Fazer but find that I’m able to make fuller use of the smaller bike’s performance.
I commute on the bike as well as using it for leisure and general purposes and will use the bike in all weather, other than icy conditions.
After passing my test I took up the Enhanced Rider Scheme – this gave me an initial introduction to some Advanced Riding principles, which planted a seed, and I was encouraged by Huw Pritchard to consider joining LAM.
I’ve found cornering the most difficult area to get to grips with but am getting more confident in taking the nearside on right-handers. I’ve been impressed at seeing Advanced Riders take a series of bends quickly and smoothly and would like to be able to get to this level. I try to make a conscious effort to apply the principles I’m learning every time I ride, and to gradually push my comfort zone.
Despite the interruptions brought about by lockdown I’ve tried to keep up my training and find it beneficial to have input from different Observers, all of whom can point out specific areas I need to work on. I did manage to get to the Kent weekend but unfortunately I dropped my bike due to misjudging the road’s camber, leading to a broken gear lever.
My favourite trip was one I did on my own to Wales. It was quite technically challenging and I was confronted by some difficult weather conditions, including very strong winds but the beauty of the scenery made up for this.
Because it gets such heavy use I tend to ‘baby’ it with regular cleaning and a full valet twice a year. I’m confident at doing basic adjustments and maintenance myself – I’m planning to change the chain and sprockets soon – and my husband will always help if I ask him.
I enjoy a coffee and a Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer, also the occasional ‘full English’. I like ‘Billy’s on the Road’, also the American diner on the A303.
My parents are both doctors, so did have some concern when I first started, however they’ve now accepted it and have bought me some useful presents for the bike including leathers and heated grips.
I’ve always felt welcome and have been more self-conscious about being new to motorcycling than because I’m a woman or because I’m from an Indian background. I feel that we’re all just riders who want to get better.
The image of IAM does conjure up ‘wheel shuffling’ which might put some people off. Perhaps if there were an equal emphasis in publicity on enjoyment as well as safety, a focus on helping riders to make progress as well as avoiding accidents.
Thanks Neha, hopefully we’ll be able to meet in person at some point. Top photos by the way.
John McNally BA (Hons)
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