As the youngest female stunt rider in India, our student Tana has broken a lot of stereotypes in the field of stunt riding which is usually dominated by men. We met with Tana to talk about her achievements.
At our university we are conducting the series "Strong Women at SRH". In our eyes you are a strong woman, we would like to know from your point of view: What makes you a strong woman?
I am not sure if I consider myself a strong woman yet. But I always push myself out of the comfort zone to try new things when I want to achieve something. Starting stunt riding was not a comfortable place because in my country, it wasn’t common for women to even ride the bike. However, public speaking is more of challenge for me. When I got a little attention on social media, I had to do some public speaking and speaking in front of people is the scariest thing to me. It was still something I had to do and it was helpful to inspire others. I try to push myself out of the comfort zone for something that I want and I think maybe that’s why other people consider me a strong woman.
How did you discover your passion for stunt riding?
I have always wanted to try new things. I am very lucky to say that my parents were always supportive to whatever I wanted to do. When I got the license, I started riding a scooter first. But I wanted to be faster, so I wanted to learn to ride a bike. My father taught me to ride a motorcycle and after that, I followed and came across a lot of biking content on my Instagram feed. I discovered stunt riding and I was really interested in that. I looked for people in my area. I did not find any women, but I reached out to a few guys and I was really fortunate that one person wrote back and was willing to teach.
What difficulties were you confronted with when you first started riding?
The biggest difficulty I had was my physical fitness. I have always been a small person and I was very weak. I had to build my physical strength because otherwise it is too difficult to handle the bike. I felt like it was so much easier for the guys. A guy started around the same time and he learned so much faster because they are stronger. Other than that, it is really difficult to find places to practice. For most other sports there are places to do the sport like a field or a gym. But there were not really places to do stunt riding in India.
Do you still perform your sport here in Germany?
No, unfortunately, I haven’t performed for the last two or three years because of covid and because I didn’t find a place to practise. Now I’m here and I plan to start stunt riding again. But first, I have to get my license, get a bike, find a place and somebody to train with. I have already found someone and he told me that the place is an issue here as well. It will take some time, but I am definitely going back.
Do you feel like women in Germany are confronted with the same problems? Which differences or similarities do you see?
What is very different from Germany is that in India you don’t even see any women riding a bike at all. Generally, the number of bikes on the road is much lesser here compared to India, but still I’ve seen many women riding here. That’s a really big difference because at my place if I took out the bike everybody would stare at me, as if it was something you are not supposed to do. I haven't spoken to many people who are into riding yet, but I think the situation for women is definitely better here. However, motor sports are still men-dominated, even in Germany.
What do you want to give along to other women performing men-dominated sports?
I want to tell everyone that you should always try. You should always go for it. Give it a chance. Even if some fields are men-dominated, there are men who are more than happy to train and to help. Don’t ever be scared to ask for help. Maybe you have to ask many people in fields like these, but there are definitely people out there.