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Meet India's first WOMAN to own a Harley Davidson

Last updated on: July 11, 2011 14:21 IST

Meet India's first WOMAN to own a Harley Davidson

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BS Reporter

The first woman to buy a Harley Davidson in the country talks about her love for bikes.

If you think that Harley Davidson is a male icon, think again. Women are not impervious to the mystique of the heavyweight super bikes. Look at Sheeja Mathews of Bangalore who has recently acquired one, becoming the first woman owner of a Harley Davidson in India.

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Image: Sheeja Thomas with her Iron 883
Photographs: Busines Standard
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The 34-year-old HR professional has been interested in bikes since childhood. Her husband is an avid biker too, and before getting the Harley, Mathews would ride a Yamaha 350, a bike which didn't do very well commercially but enjoys cult status among bikers.

"I have always wanted a superbike for myself and as soon as Harley came to the country, I decided to buy it," she says. Her seven-year-old son, says Mathews, is even more excited. "He is keen to show it off to his friends in school!"

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Image: Harley Davidson Iron 883
Photographs: Harley Davidson
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The Harley that Mathews chose is the Iron 883, which costs about Rs 6.5 lakh (ex-showroom with taxes and all, it came to around Rs 8 lakh on road).

Mathews doesn't intend to use her Harley for daily commute as she finds the traffic in Bangalore quite "crazy". But on weekends she plans to take her bike around the city as well as take it on short biking trips nearby.

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Harley Davidson came to India last year, opening its first outlet in Hyderabad in July. Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore (February this year) followed. It now has a unit in Bawal, Haryana, where the bikes are assembled.

Mathews says she had no clue that she was the first woman to own a Harley in India. "The company informed me when I went to take delivery," she says.

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Mathews now intends to join the Harley Owners' Group in Bangalore. She says she doesn't feel awkward riding a bike about the city.

"I have been doing it since I was a teenager so I am quite used to the stares," she says. Besides, although biking remains male-dominated, Mathews can see more women taking to it of late.

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Why Harley?" is a question Mathews says she is frequently asked, to which she replies -- "Why not the Harley? Just because it looks macho and has a macho perception, should I not buy it?"

Mathews says she is strong enough to handle 250-odd kgs the machine weighs.

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Mathews had already collected Harley accessories from an earlier trip to the US. She has the trademark leather jacket, and the helmet, boots and gloves. Her next dream buy is again a Harley, but the iconic Fatboy, a 1,500-cc monster.

"Another five years and maybe, I will have the Fatboy," Mathews says. For now, the Iron 883 will do.

And quite a few heads will turn on Bangalore roads when she zips across on it.


Image: Harley Davidson Fatboy

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