In Conversation with Ghazal Farooqi Bike Rider Riding The Unconventional Path

Strapping on her riding boots, with her helmet in gear, Ghazal takes in the fresh air as she steps out for a day of doing what she does best- taking on the scenic routes on her bike. Being adventurous would be an understatement for this young girl who has known ever since she was young to explore the beauty of Pakistan in a rather unconventional way. Perhaps it was her father’s commitment to giving her the same opportunities that he got, as he took her alongside his very own adventurous rides on the most scary, rocky and adrenaline-charged roads and routes. In her exclusive conversation with Social Diary, Ghazal shared how it all began, the setbacks along the way, why it’s essential for women to come out of their comfort zone and what more can we expect from this really cool, daredevil father-daughter duo. Read on!

 

 

 

SD: The first thing we need to know… when did you know you will become a biker?
Ghazal: I’ve always grown up seeing my father ride. Despite him having a car, he always chose a bike over it. I remember he gifted me an e-scooty on my 15th birthday and I really enjoyed riding it. But I never knew or dreamt of becoming a biker. Everything started when in 2012 a couple from the Netherlands visited us. They came to Pakistan on a bike which inspired me and my dad, and I remember soon after, my father got me a 49cc scooty to commute to my university and polish my road skills. That’s how the interest started building further to become a biker.
SD: Your father is also quite adventurous-did you used to join him for trips and adventures when you were young?
Ghazal: I remember travelling a-lot when I was young. My father is a travel enthusiast and made sure we travel with him wherever he goes. We’ve travelled to many different countries like England, America, Canada, Thailand and Bangladesh. I believe we have the best childhood memories. But I don’t have many memories of bike adventures because everything started after 2012. We went for short trips to Sakro, Thatta, Hyderabad, Tando Adam before but the first official bike trip I had with my dad as a pillion rider was back in 2020. And then after that the longest tour of 27 days we did was in the year 2021, where I rode my own bike along with him.
SD: What kind of training and preparation did you go through to become a pro biker?
Ghazal: I understood the dynamics of road sense and two wheel balance . Other than that I don’t remember taking any proper lessons. I believe this is something which a person learns from time to time. Also my philosophy was a bit opposite of what others do. I rode to learn, whereas many people learn to ride first. So in short I bought my bike in July 2021 and only rode it for like 4-5 days on Karachi roads and left for the biggest adventure of my life in September 2021. I was very much prepared for my ride before leaving for it, because I had experience of riding with my dad before too. So I knew the best things to carry were a sleeping bag, camp, torch, power bank, sunscreen, packed food, first aid, and a puncture kit. Also if I talk about gears one should have an appropriate bike wear such as jacket, trousers, riding boots, gloves, and helmet. Moreover the bike should be prepared for the worst, so it’s better to install extra led lights, fog lights, tubeless tyres, mobile holder, crash guard are some of the basics one should consider before leaving for the big adventure.


SD: You guys are touring the beauty of Pakistan on a whole new level, how did that begin and which place did you go together for the first time?
Ghazal: So like I said the first trip we did was back in 2020. That was our first ever Pakistan trip on a bike we did together and covered almost 5000km. The best part about our first trip was we started from Karachi to Khunjerab Pass and back to Karachi. And we got to explore many places along the way. So far we have explored the following places: Fairy meadows, Naltar, Hopar, Hunza, Misgar, China border, Shogran, Astore, Skardu, Phander, Shandur top, Kalash, Kumrat, Badgoi pass, Utror, Kalam, Swat etc.
SD: Do you have to face setbacks due to conventional frameworks that limit women to such adrenaline-charged activities?
Ghazal: There are no limits for a woman until and unless a woman herself defines a limit for herself. I believe women are capable of doing many things. I once read a quote somewhere which said “Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create” and since then I’ve been preaching this. A positive attitude, accepting constructive criticism and getting out of your comfort zone is what will save you from any such kind of setback.
SD: What remains the most epic journey that you’ve covered till date?
Ghazal: The most epic journey with my dad was Astore, Rama meadows. It was my first ever off road I did on my own bike so that was kinda scary for my dad as I was new to riding a manual transmission bike and had zero experience of off roading. I fell quite a couple of times but trust me the falls made me learn a lot, so all in all I got to learn the hard way. But if talking about my own travel so far, I’d say the most epic journey I did was to Shimshal Valley. It’s known as the second most dangerous road in the world and I’m probably the first Pakistani biker lady to cover that.


SD: Do you plan to take on road trips outside of Pakistan as well?
Ghazal: Absolutely. I’d love to travel around the world.
SD: You have become an icon for women in particular to pursue their passion and do it so confidently- does it overwhelm you to take on such a role?
Ghazal: I’m not sure about being an icon as for now but I surely want our women to step up, take chances, follow their passion, challenge and live the life which could bring a positive impact. I often get to hear how oppressed our women are but the truth is we have the most talented bunch of ladies in Pakistan. Yes, it gets overwhelming sometimes but I always feel happy even if somebody writes and lets me know I have inspired them somehow, this makes my day.
SD: What does 2022 hold for you?
Ghazal: I believe 2022 holds more adventure, more travel stories and more of my youtube content that i have to focus on.
SD: While taking on roadtrips, what’s the one thing that bothers you the most and you wish to change?
Ghazal: I wish to change the perspective of our people who always think negatively. There is so much out in the world that we forget to focus on the positive points. So I guess I can try changing that with my content and journey one day.

 



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