Meet India’s first female motovlogger Vishakha Fulsunge

In conversation with Mumbai’s ‘Rider Girl’ who has already bagged three India Book of Records titles at 28!

Be it riding from Mumbai to Vishakhapatnam in a single stretch, being the first woman to ride to the Andamans or becoming the fastest woman rider to complete the Narmada parikrama, Vishakha Fulsunge has done it all! Today, with over 9,33,000 people following her journey on YouTube and 4,46,000 followers (and counting) on Instagram, India’s first female motovlogger recently took part in cause-driven reality show, World Vlog Challenge, hosted by Nikhil Chinappa, representing India on the global platform.

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Vishakha Fulsunge with her third India Book of Record! Image: Courtesy Vishakha Fulsunge.

You are India’s first female motovlogger and have found mention in India Book of Records three times. How does it feel to be breaking stereotypes every day?
The journey towards the my first title, India’s first female motovlogger, took over 10 years of struggle and continuous hard work. Even when I finally received the title, it came to me as a surprise for there were a lot of obstacles along the way. People trolled me and claimed that I wasn’t the first woman in the Indian motovlogging industry. But many didn’t know that I had been sharing videos of my biking trips on Facebook long before I started out on YouTube. I claimed it proving them wrong. But for me, it was just the beginning. I immediately started aiming for my next title and got one soon after when I rode solo to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The third one arrived after I took a ride to the Lakshadweep on my bike. I wish to break all the stereotypes around being a female bike rider, one adventure at a time.

You have created your own space in a male-dominated industry. Tell us about the challenges you had to face in your journey so far.
I think the struggles started the day I decided that this is what I want to do with my life. When I posted my first vlog, people had all sorts of comments to make, on right from my clothes to my biking skills. I didn’t feel welcome in the industry. But then, there were also people who wanted to see something different and motivated me for doing what I was doing and that’s what kept me going.

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Mumbai’s Rider Girl is the first females motovlogger in India. Image: Courtesy Vishakha Fulsunge.

The biggest challenge, however, was to convince my parents. My dad took me out to ride his bike for the first time, but he thought it was just for fun. For me, though, there was no stopping after that. Since he wouldn’t have approved, my mom used to help me sneak out of the house with the key so I could ride his bike. When I finally disclosed that I wanted to take it up as a full-time profession, they obviously got concerned about how I’d earn my living and how I’d manage to keep myself safe. I took my mom in confidence when I took her on a short monsoon ride to Lonavala as a pillion! She understood I could take care of myself, and slowly, dad came around as well.

How was your experience of participating in the World Vlog Challenge?
Representing India on the global platform of the World Vlog Challenge is an experience I still can’t put into words. I dream about a lot of things that I want to do (and achieve them!) but I had never imagined of going to the Mt Everest Base Camp! The cause it promoted was ‘to save the Himalayas and the melting glaciers’. It was something I could relate myself with, as I have been spreading the same message on my rides for years now. We were expected to perform various tasks and trek to the Base Camp, all while vlogging the entire experience. For me, parting from my bike for an adventure was another challenge. But now that I have done it, I feel powerful and confident in myself, with or without my bike. That, I feel, was my biggest take-away from the thrilling experience.

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Riding her way up and how! Image: Courtesy Vishakha Fulsunge.

What has been the most challenging ride for you so far?
I would say my impromptu ride to Kedarnath and beyond in Uttarakhand! It was an emotional and challenging journey for me because the ride was tough and there were many inter-state travel restrictions due to the pandemic. I even almost missed my helicopter ride! But once I completed my ride to Kedarnath, I decided to go farther. The journey ahead to Badrinath was horrifying — I had a lot of luggage with me, and the tire of my bike got punctured. I had to drag my bike for kilometres, before I got a mechanic to get it fixed. But then again, I decided to continue my ride to see Gangotri and Yamunotri, which are on the other part of Uttarakhand and have extreme climates. The entire trip took me a month and I was exhausted by the end of it. But that’s definitely one trip that I would remember for life!

What’s next? What adventures are you headed to in 2022?
I think next I am going to get my international paragliding license. I have always wanted to fly and that seems to be the only option to make my dream come true. Also, I want to learn how to ski. One day, I wish to reach the top of a mountain and ski through its slope, finally jumping off into the valley below paragliding my way down.

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Fulsunge has recently represented India on World Vlog Challenge. Image: Courtesy Vishakha Fulsunge.

Your bucket list destinations you’d like to cover in India and abroad on your bike Kashish?
I want to cover the adventures of Northeast India. I also wish to take Kashish out of the country to Myanmar and Europe, and later, on a world tour. I also wish to spend the new year’s eve of 2023 in New York with my KTM Duke 390.

Three tips you’d like to give to aspiring female bikers who ride solo.
First things first, don’t be scared of riding solo. Trust yourself the most. Once you start showing confidence in yourself, you can achieve anything and everything. Focus on your Plan A, and never rely on backups.

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