Mashugane’s love for speed began when she was 16, doing stunts on Soweto’s illegal drag-racing circuits.

When she was introduced to motorbikes nine years ago, she was immediately hooked on the freedom they gave her to travel, explore her environment and belong to a niche community. A fierce and fearless competitor, she won the hearts of many and earned herself the nickname “Biker Queen”.

As one of only three women riders at the time, she used the sport as a platform for doing good. “There were no specific activities for women when I started riding, so I decided to turn a hobby into something meaningful and founded 1 in 9, a campaign that championed women’s rights, for which I rode my bike across the country several times. I ensured that my dress code was very feminine and I always rode with my face open, so that black girls could see someone they could easily relate to.”

Her bravery not only inspired many other women to take up biking, but also caught the  attention of e.tv producers who were putting together Double-Up Mzansi Style, a travel show showcasing SA from a biker’s perspective.

“I didn’t anticipate the following I’ve received, but I’m always encouraged when women tell me I encouraged them to start riding,” says Mashugane whose favourite toys are a Honda VT1300 and a Ducati 1098S.

“Riding is way of reconnecting with the world. You take your mobility into your own hands. It’s my life and I’ll never stop riding. Sadly, people have become more reckless and get into many accidents. To counter this, while still encouraging more women to ride, my team and I started a training facility for novice female bikers. We go to them at work or home during lunchtime or on weekends, depending on their availability. Those who are interested can contact me via social media,” explains Mashugane. She’s also opened a biking shop in Soweto.

When she’s not cleaning up the image of biking, Mashugane still enjoys riding on long roads and discovering SA, as well as performing death-defying stunts on the track.

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