My interest in biking began when I was very young. I sat on a bike for the first time even before my legs could touch the ground. My father would take me on rides on his bike and I always went for the handlebar. It was he who first figured that I have an inclination towards bikes,” says 24-year-old Anam Hashim. Hashim was recently part of the sixth edition of Asia’s largest biking festival, India Bike Week, in Goa.
“My first time at India Bike Week was in 2014. It was an eye-opening experience. I met so many people from the biking world. The India Bike Week this year was bigger and better by all means. I was on a panel about ‘Career in Motosports’ and many people approached me for guidance and information on biking after the session. It was really heartwarming to see so many people out there present for just one thing — the love for biking,” she says.
Hashim is known to be one of the first women who rode to Khardung La (over 2,150 km) on a TVS Scooty during the Himalayan Highs, an accomplishment which was later featured by the India Book of Records in 2015. She is also the only Indian stunt athlete to participate and win an international stunt competition in 2017. “Desert Storm is a racing event which is India’s toughest racing competition and no one has been able to complete it in one attempt. However, I finished it in one go even though I am a stunt performer, and racing is a different area altogether. This is one of the achievements really close to my heart,” she says.
Talking about the challenges she faces as a professional biker and stuntwoman, Hashim says, “In India, we do not take it as a sport and I am doing my best to promote stunt riding. There has to be a community and an organisation to provide the support which my sport is lacking. What saddens me is the state of affairs for stunts. People do not consider it a sport, rather they see it as some form of entertainment.”
Hashim also notes that while women engaging in biking is a good thing, the numbers of female bikers is still minimal. “I feel the number can be much high. I believe that there is a lack of awareness regarding biking and stunts in India, especially among women and that needs to be fixed,” she says.
Hashim says that when it comes to her future prospects, her goal is to go riding internationally. “I have not stopped doing stunts because that is what has made me what I am today. I have moved to cross-country valley racing. This is an international competition, where I aim to go and make a mark at the world cup level.”