All-women motorcycle clubs booming in Singapore
In 2002, there was only one all-women motorcycle club in Singapore. Now there are six. SEOW YUN RONG (email@example.com) talks to three of them
Think of them as Belles Angels.
The 150 riders of Sheriders Chapter include young, adventurous women, biker brides and cooing mums.
For the uninitiated, it is pronounced "She-riders".
They ride their mean machines to each other's birthday parties, weddings, baby showers and celebrate festivities such as Chinese New Year, Christmas and Hari Raya together.
The group grew from six members in 2002. Over the years, some of the young riders got hitched and became mothers.
Little surprise their gatherings are not just about exhaust fumes.
They are so close, Madam Kelly Ho organises reunion dinners every year for Chinese New Year.
PIONEERS: Founders of first all-women motorbike club, Sheriders Chapter, Madam Kelly Ho (white helmet) and Ms Joelin Yeo. TNP PHOTOS: ARIFFIN JAMAR
The 39-year-old co-founder of the group says: "It is like one big family because our members take their family members too."
"We not only celebrate together but we also go cycling on weekends."
Madam Ho says the older riders' mothering instincts extend to riding, through giving advice to the younger riders.
She says: "As more women take up motorcycling, they can pass on the knowledge of how to ride safely to their children."
That is why Sheriders emphasises safe riding.
"Some girls like to wear shorts or skirts but when they don't cover themselves fully, it gets very dangerous because it will result in abrasions and serious injury if there is an accident."
The experienced riders also guide the younger ones and help them graduate to bigger bikes safely and ensure that they pass on the knowledge to their friends.
Ms Cheryl Chan, 30, joined the group in 2009 and said she enjoys the camaraderie.
Ms Chan says: "They make me feel safe when I ride especially since I have a horrible sense of direction."
The Sheriders also often meet for charity events, tour rides to neighbouring countries and late-night meals.
Ms Joelin Yeo, 37, co-founder of Sheriders, recently became a mother.
She took a break from riding in 2013 to nurse her newborn, but she is now back in the saddle. She plans to eventually take her daughter on a road trip.
Madam Yeo adds: "My daughter will most likely learn to ride in the future and be a rider like me."
Singapore Female Riders
Singapore Female Riders (SFR) is the newest group with 107 riders in their 20s to 30s.
The group was formed only two months ago.
Founder Kcarol Liew, 23, says it is the loudest and most cheerful group.
The primary school teacher says: "We don't have cliques in our group, and everyone partakes in our chatting session during meet-ups."
CAMARADERIE: Singapore Female Riders having a quick get-together and photo-taking session. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE FEMALE RIDERS TEACHER: Singapore Female Riders founder Kcarol Liew and her Kawasaki Z1000XS.
Spontaneous meet-ups are common for the group.
Ms Liew says: "We'll just ask in the (WhatsApp) group chat who wants to go out for a late-night snack and even if there are only five people, we'll still meet and chat until early morning."
Ms Charlene Ng, 23, joined SFR three weeks ago and says the people are the ones who sparked her passion for riding.
After meeting the group for the first time last Saturday, the journalist says: "After seeing all the cool and friendly girls get together to share their passion, it gave me more motivation and passion to become a better rider."
The need for speed binds the Road Angels together.
Formed in November last year, the group changed its name from Speed Devils because it was "too dark", says founder Isliani Mohammad Ishak, 32, a public relations manager.
Why Road Angels?
Ms Isliani says it is because angels have wings and can fly free and fast.
She says the 16 members enjoy the thrill of going faster at corners (without crossing the limit). It also requires a lot of skill.
EXPERIENCED: Road Angels founder Isliani Mohammad Ishak, who has been riding for over 12 years, with her Honda CB400 Super 4 Revo. -- PHOTO: ISLIANI MOHAMMAD ISHAK
Ms Isliani says members are taught to relax their arms and upper body.
This is to prevent them from clinging tightly to the handlebar as it will restrict the front of the vehicle and result in jerky movements when turning.
She says: "We use our lower body to anchor ourselves onto the bike, to free up our arms and to ensure our bikes turn smoothly without crashing."
She says they have to get into this position before doing their turns.
"By anchoring our lower body into position early, we need to concentrate only on relaxing our upper body," says Ms Isliani.
SAFETY FIRST: Road Angels gearing up. PHOTO: ISLIANI MOHAMMAD ISHAK
However, she says her members do not speed while doing the turns as it is dangerous and is also an offence.
During road trips, Ms Nurhidayah Aslahuddin, 31, leads the group while Ms Isliani takes the rear.
Ms Nurhidayah, who helps to plan the trips, says: "I always worry about the girls at the back because if one falls, the rest will get affected too."
"Safety always comes first, after that it's all about confidence and having a great time."
For more pictures, click here.