Merina Shrestha: What it means to be a lady rider in Nepal

By Esparsh Sarawagi

When it comes to shopping for biking gears it’s no big deal for men, but it’s not the same for women riders. It’s not easy for them to find the right gear at the right time and sometimes they may not even be aware of what the essentials are.

Merina Shrestha, team manager of Riders Unified NSC, event manager, emcee and freelancer who has been a part of Nepal Riders Meet 2017, 9th Enfield Rendzevous, Pokhara Run 2017 and many other biking events, shares her views on the gears and looks that would best suit a lady rider.

Tell us about your biking experiences and the awards that you have won?

I have travelled to Dhankuta in east Nepal for a short day ride event, and to Bardia in west Nepal for Nepal Riders Meet 2017, the first riding event in Nepal, then the 9th Enfield Rendzevous and the Pokhara Run 2017 which takes place annually on the Nepali New Year. Our team has received awards from Biking Queens India (Betibachaobetipadhao) and various other awards in multiple categories like slow race, tracking, etc.

How did you get into motorcycling and how old were you when you started?

I have loved motorcycles and automobiles since my childhood. I would play with cars and cycles rather than dolls. After my studies and work abroad, I am now continuing with my passion and working for the development of motorsports in Nepal.

What gives a lady rider confidence to rough it out on a bike ride? What is your secret?

First believing in oneself is crucial and gaining proper knowledge from a good trainer is a must. They say 50% of your learning depends upon your teacher. Good safety gears, well maintained motorbike and ample knowledge makes a lady badass with two wheelers.

My secret has been good quality gears, the best teacher and never taking passion as a fashion. I have always followed my passion, worked hard so that my confidence gets developed day by day.

When it comes to clothing and safety, what’s the difference between male and female riders?

When it comes to normal clothing, males and females are very different but as far as riding safety gears are concerned, it’s pretty much the same; there’s not a huge difference. However, it’s not easy for the ladies to find what they need, like shoes and gloves of the right size.

What is the basic clothing that can work for a lady rider, both as style and for safety?
A good quality full helmet, gloves, jacket, jeans or riding trousers with desired graphics and remember, colors add style. One can use good quality sports shoes or riding boots or touring boots which come in half ankle size or full size. For stunt riding: armors, knee guards and elbow guards should be included.

Motorcycle gear size doesn’t matter much to guys. However, for the ladies, size is often inconsistent. How can one cope with this?
Now there are lots of products in the market but it’s quite difficult for the ladies when it comes to size. Sometimes we go for a small size (gents products) when it’s urgent. So, pre-ordering is the best option.

What is your mantra for looking stylish, rough and tough while riding?

Dressing right from head to toe is the main thing.

Which shoes should one chose for a safe bike ride?

If you are racing, then racing boots are the choice, if touring then touring boots for roads and off roads; if stunt riding then good quality sneakers or flat boots would work and for city riding or roaming for on-roads then I go for little heel boots. Proper choice of gear makes one feel safe and stylish.

What other accessories does a biker need?

Besides safety gears, one must have a good quality saddle bag for touring.

Any safety tips?

Wearing safety gear doesn’t mean you are 100% safe as riding by nature is a risky sport. One must know the proper safety rules, safe bike handling, and also have adequate road knowledge.

What can make a lady biker stand out among other lady bikers?

A general lady rider look depends on the ride:

DIRT BIKE: dirt helmet, t-shirts with elbow pads, armor, trouser with knee guards, dirt boots and gloves

TOURING: Full face touring helmet, good quality jacket, jeans, full shoes and full gloves.

STUNT RIDING: Armor/ Jacket, full flat shoes, gloves, full helmet, elbow pads and knee pads.