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Friday May 9, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Monday May 12, 2014 MYT 3:43:44 PM
by gayathri nair
A girl’s best friend: Susan Lim on her BMW F800r superbike.
Women On Wheels Asia is made up of a group of women who are united by their love for huge bikes.
The question most often thrown at businesswoman Susan Lim is why does she ride a motorbike twice her size.
“They ask me if I am out of my mind because ‘that thing looks dangerous’.
“Initially, that very same thought crossed my mind too,” says Lim who has had her share of double takes and well-meaning warnings about her penchant for superbikes.
Lim recalls seeing other petite women riding superbikes, and was intrigued by their boldness.
Since she has been riding a regular motorcycle from young, she knows full well how to handle a two-wheeled vehicle. She couldn’t help but wonder if she could handle a bigger machine. And then she actually went out and tried riding a superbike, and has been hooked on the machine since.
“I think it was the first time I ever felt such an adrenaline rush,” she recalls, of her first superbike ride.
Having always been a daredevil at heart, Lim set out to find a bike that would suit her, and found it in a BMW F800r superbike.
“Honestly, it was love at first sight when I found my BMW. The F800r’s 798cc, 2-cylinder engine didn’t just look good, it sounded good too,” recounts Lim who took awhile to find a superbike she is comfortable with and that met her needs.
She also adds that after a few encounters with other bikers she realised that it wasn’t the power the bike offered that mattered, but the ability to take control of that power.
That purchase got the superbiker in Lim revved up and thus began her adventures.
“When I first mounted my bike, it sent shivers down my spine. But they were good shivers, mixed with some fear and excitement,” she shares.
Although she has only been riding her superbike since last October, she feels truly connected to her mean machine and has since gone on many exciting adventures with other women bikers.
“I have been riding a regular motorbike all my life. It was nothing compared to my superbike.
“When I hear the sound of the engine starting, it ignites a real sense of thrill and joy. It’s music to my ears, hearing the engine roar and come to life. And as I clasp my hands over the two handles, before taking off, it awakens all of my senses,” shares Lim, with a twinkle in her eye.
But the power the superbike offers comes with great responsibility, says the thrill seeker.
For starters, riding a motorbike with an engine that’s over 250cc requires a different category of licence.
Lim had to sit for an exam to convert her B2 licence into a B4 licence.
“I obtained my B4 licence over six months ago. Soon after I also enrolled myself in a safety course, where I learned to protect myself on the road and picked up other safety tips.
“Taking corners on the busy streets of Kuala Lumpur isn’t only dangerous, but to do so on a bike that is more than twice my size requires a special technique and an incredible amount of balance. Riding a superbike is different from riding a regular bike, especially when you hit the highway. I learned as much as I could before I went on the open road,” explains Lim.
Joining the safety class also introduced Lim to other women who soon became her friends. United by their love for huge bikes is an all-women biking group called Women on Wheels Asia (WOW). The group consists of over 80 members.
“It’s an all-women’s group, as the name says. We are known as the Women on Wheels Asia and have several ‘chapters’ around Asia, including Indonesia, Brunei and Singapore,” shares Lim.
Lim was introduced to the WOW group by fellow rider and its president Maznah Zolkifli.
“It was Maznah who sold me my bike and encouraged me to join the safety classes and later the group,” says Lim. “One of the aims is to create a ‘sisterhood’ amongst us ladies. We also want to promote a positive image and to empower women in the many aspects of their lives, biking being one of them, of course,” adds Maznah.
Lim has been on many exciting excursions led by Maznah. The ladies recently took a trip to Jambatan Gantung Hutan Lipur Lentang in Bentong, Pahang, for a Sunday retreat. The group of 17 met in Gombak and convoyed their way to the site for breakfast. Some women superbikers came from Kedah, Perak and Malacca to take part in the excursion. Their biking adventures often lead to food trails and short retreats such as picnics at waterfalls.
“We find any reason to get on the bike and just ride. Our group includes women from all walks of life and ages,” says Lim, adding that WOW also organises activities that include members’ families.
“We were brought together because of our passion for large motorbikes but along the way we have also become friends,” says Lim.
> Superbiker Susan Lim is one of the women featured in Star2’s I Am Woman photography project which we started in conjunction with International Women’s Day on March 8.
Visit the pictorial celebration of women at www.thestar.com.my/Lifestyle/Women/.
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Women, BMW Bikes, Women bikers
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