On our recent Ketchup Talks Live on Instagram, we spoke to ridergirl Vishakha Fulsunge about her journey of becoming India’s first female moto vlogger and onwards.
From being an MBA graduate working as promoter and emcee to owning the first bike and finally opting to be a moto vlogger; Vishakha Fulsunge or the ‘ridergirl’ as we all know her has come a long way.
Vishakha holds two India Book of Records including the title of being the first female rider to cross Bay of Bengal and ride across the Andaman Islands. With her YouTube channel, this ridergirl is rewriting the standards of content creation as a moto vlogger with her unique take on solo female travelling across the subcontinent.
In a candid conversation with her, we spoke about her quarantine phase, her journey and her future plans.
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Tell me how are you dealing with your self-isolation phase?
“I think I’m having a lot of fun, I’m trying to experiment with my content, I’m connecting with my family and friends and just enjoying myself. I’m also eating a lot. Usually what happens is, in a month I’ll be out for 20-25 days travelling and I do not have enough time for my family. So this is a time where my mom, my brother, my dad, my dog everybody is so happy, especially my dog Shadow to see me everywhere around the place.
For them actually, I’m a guest. Normally, they take appointments from me for calling or maybe getting some work done. So for now, I’m easily available. So it’s very new and quite shocking to get treated like a guest in your own house.”
Tell me how your bike ride journey started? When did you decide you want to be a moto vlogger?
“There are multiple stories connected to this but the shortest one I would say is since my childhood I had a keen interest in two-wheelers. I started with a bicycle and I started competing with my colony guys also. Then they started having bikes and I told my dad to buy me one. If they can ride it, so can I. I was the only girl in the colony surrounded by so many guys. I used to play cricket, football, badminton together. I’ve had an interest in two-wheelers and I thought I have to do something along the same lines. Even in college when I made friends and we used to ride then as well. Then I got a bike and I was obsessed with it. Also, I used to feel very free. The feeling of freedom was great. So I just continued the journey. I did my MBA in International Marketing and Finance, 11-12 standard I studied science.”
How has been the journey from being a studious person to a motor blogger?
“Yeah, during my school times also, I was very studious, topper of my batch, scored good in 10th, 11-12 also was smooth, president of my school and then I anchored as well. I was a promoter earlier in a mall, giving out pamphlets and organizing shows. This is how I gained my experience in this industry. Then I was promoted to hostess wherein I used to get 4000 around a day. Then I just contacted a client who was absent that day. She was panicking a lot so I asked to let me to her job because I had hosted events in school. So I gave it a try and they liked it. Before I used to take 800 rupees a day home and that day I took 4000. Bit by bit I collected money. I shifted a lot of jobs in between. The longest job was for a month, I guess. So I understood that I’m not fit for this job. During the job in MNCs on weekends, I used to go for rides. Few weekends I used to host shows as well. I used to hate Mondays, the thought of getting back to work used to scary. Then I finally figured out that I wanted to something which is related to bikes and gives me freedom. I also didn’t want to work under anybody and I do not like getting dominated. That’s how I figured out “Motovlogging”. I used to see people’s video about bikes and their blog. I searched a lot and found out there’s no female into motor blogging. Though I found 2, they weren’t from India. They just rode bikes while the music played in the background. So I couldn’t find any pure motor blogger. Initially, it wasn’t a career. I struggled a lot and took things seriously and turned it into a profession.”
Which was the first bike you purchased from your own savings?
“The first bike that I bought from my savings was KTM Duke 390 in 2015 and I call her Kash. I was so proud of myself. That bike cost me 2 lacs 80 thousand and with the loan, it went up to 3 lacs.”
Why did you choose KTM Duke and not Pulsar MS?
“The reason I took Ktm was that I already had Pulsar 220 which was a second hand. Pulsar 220 is also my personal favourite. Talking about choosing Ktm over pulsar is because of the power, stability, looks and handling is quite short comparatively. Also, Ktm was a new brand that was launched and of a little high grade so I choose it.”
When did you start your motovlog? How did you financed for the same?
“I started working pretty early for it. After my 10th standard, I was a cashier where I used to get 2000 rupees a month for evening shift from 6-12. I didn’t really want it because I was good in academics but I had to do it. I was also chased by a middle-aged person who used to follow me wherever I went so mom used to pick and drop me. I left that job after a month and got into college where I realized that there are event jobs where you get paid and it’s on weekends. So I started off as a promoter, then a hostess, data entry, anchoring, live corporate events, press conferences, weddings. I started getting paid and I had a good name in the market. My mom also helped me, she had to sell her jewellery which she got back again. That’s how I bought a bike. I never had a plan B in my life because I was very focused and I always knew I wanted to do something in riding which is related to bikes. After my MBA, I realized that corporate jobs are not for me because I don’t like scheduled 9-5 jobs. It is not the same case in riding. I ride whenever I want to and however I want to. I want to be the boss of my life.”
Do you remember the first time you were recognized in public?
“This was initially when I was not even a motor vlogger. It was one of my longest ride then which is now the shortest. I just went from here to Kalyan. It was rainy season and the video is still on my Facebook. There is a place in between called Mumbra. I just stopped by there, the view was amazing with waterfall and a temple on top of the mountain. It is a road full of trucks and I happen to take that road by mistake. There were three people walking towards me and I was quite scared because it was my first visit to Kalyan. The guy in the middle calls me out saying, “Rider girl Vishakha. Aap wahi ho na jo Facebook pe ho”. I wasn’t quite used to all this but I was happy. He told me that he follows my page and loves my work. I felt so happy about being recognized. That was my first memory of being recognized publicly.”
Also Read: MotoVlogger Vishakha Fulsunge is taking a Parikrama to protect the Narmada river
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Tell us about some of your recent projects?
“I recently did a solo ride for Sampoorna Narmada Parikrama which was a cause ride. I just thought there was a need to save our rivers. None of the vloggers have done it yet. It falls under a banner of “Save Narmada, Save the Nation”. It is basically a journey where you have to take Parikrama rounds of Narmada river without crossing the river. It was 9 days ride covering 44600 kms. Usually, this is done by Senior Citizens and I wanted to reach out to the youth because they dirty the river more. It was also one of my best rides. Some people worship Goddess Narmada where they offer flowers and light incense stick that pollute the river. I’m not telling them to stop worshiping but to consider environmental factors and do it accordingly. I faced some difficulties but it was a successful project. Because of the ongoing pandemic, our rivers are keeping clean because humans are staying in. So I think it’s successful.”
You have two India Book of records, can you tell us something about it?
“The first one that I created was, “First women to go to Andaman and Nicobar Islands on a bike”. Nobody would’ve thought of going to Andaman and Nicobar on a bike and also it is a pretty tough journey. It requires a lot of permission to get into the ship and you also have to stay in it for around 3-4 days. It was one of the best yet worst experience. The second one was, “India’s First Female Motovlogger” and the third one is on its way (winks).”
How do you plan and prepare for your rides?
“To be frank, I’ve never planned my rides. I decide on the place that I want to see a day before and take off the next day. I just keep in mind the budget for the trip and when it’s sorted I’m all set. Except for Andaman Trip that I planned for a bit because of the permission and to catch the ship basically. I’m spontaneous with this regard and do not see the need for planning my trips.”
The automobile industry is male dominating, do you face any challenges with regard to the same?
“That is how radical Vishakha enters, breaking all stereotypes” that’s my tagline and I’m here to do that. Initially, it was very difficult since it also depended upon the number of social media followers, the brands needed the reach of the vloggers. But in the current world, the scenario has changed. Now if a girl is doing something, it’s new and different. Boys always had the privilege over it. During my initial days, none of the people from my own community helped me out. It is a very male-dominated world and surviving as a female rider is tough but you will get through it.”
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Here’s how 25 Questions with Vishakha went:
1. What is the one thing that you do when you enter home?
“Wash my hands and meet Shadow (my dog)”
2. What not-work-related thing do you like the most?
3. Your favourite ride to date?
4. Your favourite bike?
“KTM Duke 390”
5. Your favourite moto-vlogger?
6. Riding on terrain or off terrain?
7. Your most memorable collaboration to date?
8. Your comfortable biking outfit?
“A riding jacket and a riding pant”
9. Your favourite pass-time?
10. What are you watching these days?
“Money Heist (Thanks to the peer pressure)”
11. Solo rides or Group rides?
12. What is the strangest DM that you’ve received?
“Kya aap ek rider ho?”
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13. Three things about you that no one knows?
“I love makeup, I don’t work out and I know every work at home from jhaadu pocha to cooking.”
14. One outfit you could live in?
“Track pants and a loose T-shirt.”
15. What’s your Instagram guilty pleasure?
“I think I stalk a lot.”
16. Who is more likely to be on your mobile wallpaper?
“Me or my bike”
17. One thing you hate about travelling?
“Not getting accommodation to stay as a solo female traveler.”
18. Clubbing or Netflix and chill?
19. Three things that are must in your backpack?
“My camera, compact and power bank”.
20. Weirdest Comment on your post?
“Haye aap ladki jaisi bhi dikh sakti ho. (Oh! you can look like a girl too.)”
21. First solo trip?
“Leh and Ladakh”
22. One place you want to go after lockdown ends?
“I can go anywhere. I just want to ride.”
23. One thing you miss when you’re on your journey?
“I don’t miss anybody. Roads are my first home.”
24. What’s your dream touring bike?
“Two bikes. One is. Tiger obviously. Second is Kawasaki 650 because it is under the budget.”
25. Your end goal?
“I want to take moto-vlogging very strictly and teach females about it. I also want to cover the world on my two-wheelers. There are multiple goals but there is no end goal.”
You can follow moto vlogger, Vishaka Fulsunge and stay up-to-date with all her adventures, here!