Watch: Hijab but no helmet for this Indonesian Wall of Death stunt rider

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By Euronews  with Reuters
Apriliyani stages up to 300 shows a month at the carnival
Apriliyani stages up to 300 shows a month at the carnival   -   Copyright  Reuters

Wearing a hijab but no helmet, 20-year-old stunt rider Devi Apriliyani has mastered the Wall of Death, speeding around a ring on a pink motorcycle to a height of 10 metres (33 ft), and turning heads when the carnival she works with comes to town.

She wants to show women in conservative Indonesia that they can do anything men can do.

Apriliyani stages up to 300 shows a month, as her family's income depends on audience numbers.

"I want to show that women, though usually considered weak, are capable of doing dangerous things," she said before a show in Takengon, a highland town in Indonesia's conservative Aceh province.

Inspired by her step-brother who is also a stunt rider, Apriliyani started stunt-riding three years ago.

Now she lets go of her handlebars while speeding around the Wall of Death at more than 100 kmh (62 mph) and does not wear a helmet – although she does wear her hijab.

She explains: "I always maintain my appearance while I am working. As some people still have negative opinions about women doing my line of work, so I hope [by wearing my hijab] there will be less negative thinking."

Performing around the country's archipelago with her husband — Ahmad Herdiansyah Daulay, who also works in the travelling amusement park — and their 18-month-old daughter, Apriliyani said she is paid 300,000 Indonesian rupiah (€19) a day, and can perform up to 300 shows a month.

The family's income depends largely on the number of visitors to the carnival, she said, but while it can be difficult to make ends meet, she loves her job. And audiences seem to love her show.

"This is the first time I've seen a woman who dares to be a stunt rider. Typically, people would think only a man would dare to do that," said spectator Nurul Khaesani. "She's so brave, I'm excited to see her in action. It shows women can also do things that men usually do, it's cool."