The makeup artist, the rider
Growing up, Roxanne Sylvia Ramasamy was surrounded by motorcycles. Her dad and three brothers were riders. At one time, her dad owned three bikes. One of her brothers was part of Harley Davidson club and would bring her along on their outings. “I’ve developed an eye for fast cars and speedy bikes from an early age,” says the 23-year old professional hair and makeup artist. “I felt ‘cool’ and definitely wanted to be a biker chick myself.”
Naturally, she never had any resistance from her family when she got her first bike, a Megelli 125R. Roxanne describes it as love at first sight, especially since the bike model is not easy to get in Singapore, and it was going at a good price.
But it was a love affair that quickly turned sour. “I’ve had the bike for about a year, yet it only worked for about two weeks out of the entire year!” she says. Like a tumultuous relationship, her Magelli gave her a few good scares on the road.
“The very first one was when I was a probation rider and had my license for only two weeks. I was riding on the PIE in the rain when I started smelling something funny. At first, I couldn’t figure out why the smell was following me. Then I looked down and saw my entire engine fuming up with smoke all around! I had to ride off to the road shoulder. Apparently, my engine has overheated.”
Unfortunately for Roxanne, the next mishap happened just two weeks after. “My clutch snapped while I was riding along Bukit Timah Road. This time, luckily it was not raining. I panicked and somehow managed to get my bike to a remote area. I had to leave it there and later got it delivered to a workshop.”
She dumped the bike for a Bajaj Pulsar NS200, which she has been riding for half a year and still very much in love with. When riding, Roxanne never forgets to stay safe. She checks her blind spot religiously. “I always make sure that I stay out of the blind spots of other vehicles, especially the big ones. I’ve seen far too many videos of riders getting smashed by another vehicle because they are in the blind spots. I really do not want that to happen to me.”
Being an avid rider has also affected her image as a makeup artist. Unlike most artists who drag a trolley case to clients’ places, Roxanne carries a backpack because she rides for all her makeup gigs. Some clients have wondered if she is professional at her job. “You should see some of their faces when I turn up at their door carrying a backpack until they learn that I ride a motorbike to my appointments. Pretty hilarious sometimes!” she quips.
Many have tried to discourage her from riding. One question she gets asked most often is, Aren’t you scared? But Roxanne has learnt to shrug it off. “Honestly, I was nervous to ride at first, but once I got the hang of it, I overcame that fear. I don’t see male riders getting the same questions, possibly because people think woman are naturally too timid to be able to ride a bike.” She also thinks that many people have the misconception that women are not strong enough to handle a motorbike and are clumsy when riding. She believes that given time women can be just as capable handling a bike as any man. The biggest difference could be that women riders will be affected by “helmet hair” more than their male counterparts. “Say goodbye to good hair days and forget about even dressing up feminine!” says Roxanne.
Despite that, she advises ladies to go ahead and ride a motorbike. “You are going to drop the bike at least once. You will be nervous at first but don’t let that stop you from overcoming your fear. Being able to ride a bike has been a remarkable experience for me, and I’m sure you will feel that way too!” Roxanne says confidently.
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