Ducati People

Episode 7
Parvin Afsar

Labels are superfluous. Experience is not... Even in the riding seat.
These are the words of Parvin Afsar, a businesswoman and Ducati enthusiast.
Here's her story.

You can be a lot of different things at once, if they are all conceived from the same concept, an authentic life story. This is Parvin Afsar: a lively and multifaceted patchwork of experience, sensitivity and different cultures.Businesswoman and Ducati enthusiast. Proud of all that is Italian with a Middle-East heart. In love with her Monster but attracted by the speed on the racing track. Fascinated by Ducati’s sound and by the music she creates with her “Monster Band”.
Lots of different passions held firmly together by two words, a sort of leitmotif seen in everything she does and how she does it: energy and curiosity. 
Let's discover together how this deep-rooted affection for Ducati has grown, along with her own Ducati fleet, and what it means to her every time she jumps onto the seat.

Parvin, where do all these different aspects of your history come from?

I am an industrial engineer, daughter of a mechanical engineer. Since I was very young I followed in my father's footsteps working in the family company, where I learned to appreciate Italian technical and mechanical excellence: something that is recognised at a global level and inbred in our DNA. My origins have a lot to do with my personality as I was born in another world, the Middle East. Managing to combine two different traditions and two different cultures is an exceptional resource: it’s like having two brains that allow you to see things from different perspectives.

Mechanics, engines, motorcycles... It makes one think that one interest led to another. Is that the case?
Yes and no. In our family there was a love for motorcycles but no motorcyclists. Motorcycles were a personal passion of mine, something that I managed to achieve thanks to my grit and determination. Like so many other adolescents, I begged to have a scooter as soon as I was old enough, and then naturally a motorcycle. But, as is often the case at that age, my parents were not enamoured with my pleas. When I was finally able to count on my own independence and freedom, my passion burst into life! I decided to give myself a special present for my 30th birthday, and given my passion for Italian mechanics it just had to be a Ducati: I walked into my local dealer's, dressed for the office with a skirt and high heels, not quite the right outfit for the occasion, and I simply said “I want that one!”. I signed up for motorcycle lessons the next day! It was my first motorcycle, a Scrambler Icon 800 which I then fully customised, before taking part in the Custom Rumble, the only official international competition dedicated to “special” Scramblers.

And from here your passion literally “exploded”...

Yes, I was determined to make up for lost time and experience, so I immediately joined my local Desmo Owners Club; I went very often and found out about a track day that gave me the opportunity to test ride the new Panigale 959 on the track. Although it was my very first go, I absolutely loved it... And I encountered a whole new world! I then attended a number of Ducati Riding Academy courses and during one of them - I remember it was a rainy day and the track was wet - I discovered the Monster 1200S. The instructor taught us how to use the Cornering ABS on a bend with a huge puddle. The motorcycle did not budge an inch! Love at first sight! It was the first motorcycle to fire the racing and adrenalin aspects of my character. 

But you didn't stop there...

Absolutely not, a short time after buying my Monster, I bought an 848 from a friend of mine. I kept the name “Morgana” and it became the motorcycle that I only use on the track, dedicating a lot of my time to searching for more sophisticated and technological setups. It was at this point that I really started “studying” to fully comprehend riding techniques and how to ride a motorcycle safely. I also encouraged a lot of friends to participate in the courses.

Well, I think we can truly say that your Ducati profile is pretty comprehensive. But it's not simply a matter of motorcycles, am I right?

Yes... in fact a few years ago I met a group of “monster” fans at the World Ducati Week who had a music group. As soon as I bought my Monster I joined the group too... and here you have the Monster Band: six friends and six motorcycles with whom I share my passion for bikes and music. We spend our Sundays riding our motorcycles and playing in the studio, the perfect way to enjoy ourselves. When I think about it, it often surprises me: where else can you find a group with so much in common? This is what I truly love about the Ducati world, this is what makes it truly unique: the possibility to try a vast range of different experiences, that represent so many diverse ways of being a motorcyclist. An aspect that has definitely been a “throttle trigger” as far as my passion is concerned.

You also mentioned how the track experience also had an impact on your professional life...

Yes, because I don't view my motorcycle as just enjoyment and freedom. I see it as a sort of mental training. And I find that there are many similarities between riding a motorcycle and running a business. When I took over the family business, I did so with courage and recklessness, without realising the extent of the responsibility or the difficulty of certain decision-making aspects, something I only learned later on. It is something very similar to when you climb on a motorcycle for the first time: at the beginning you are filled with fear, you don't know what to do, but it is only by facing the inevitable risks in life and eating up the kilometres that you learn how to ride it. All said and done, it is only if you decide not to do something that you don't make mistakes... that’s life: a series of decisions forming part of a flowing movement that cannot be stopped. And it is this actual movement that creates the balance. Just like when you're on the track. In my mind, there is a connection between trying to lower my knee on the track going round a bend and the decisions I have to make every day to run my business: on the one hand you have to maintain full control, but on the other you also have to know when to let things flow, trusting in the dynamism. It is something that helps you live better even when surrounded by “turbulence”: you are able to remain calm.

How would you summarise this rather zen-like concept?

I think I would summarise it like this: “Think slowly but act swiftly”. This is how I think when on the track. I believe that slowness and speed have more in common than we think. 

To what extent does riding a motorcycle impact the image you have of yourself?

It has a huge impact, definitely. When I think about how I race at full throttle along the straight of a track, I feel more confident also at the office. But I must be honest: it is riding a Ducati that gives you this inner sensation of strength, making you feel stylish and feminine, something that in my opinion Ducati enhances superbly.

Despite the many changes over recent years, women are still a minority among motorcycle enthusiasts. What are your thoughts on this?

I realise that seeing a woman on a motorcycle still generates curiosity even today, whether on the road or the racing track. Yet this shouldn't be the case. I also think that the differences in the motorcycle world are sources of cultural wealth. Each and everyone of us has his or her personal way of approaching and living the 2-wheel world. And I don’t see anything strange about a woman showing her determination, passion and even sensuality when riding her motorcycle. 
So, if I was to send a message to all women - even the very youngest - I would say: try this experience, try this incredible world, climb onto a motorcycle. With an open mind, always. You won't ever regret it.