After the success of my first Ride to Promote Safety in September 2012 on Hero Karizma ZMR, I was looking for another opportunity to do something similar.
Biking in India is dominated by men. It is supposed to be a man’s sport. There are very few women who have broken the norms and created a niche for themselves. Dzone Group took up this mission to spread awareness and increase the participation of women in adventure biking activities.
With the primary focus on ‘Safe riding on highways’ and ‘women’s empowerment’ by equal participation in adventure biking activities, I geared up for my next trip. This time though, I wasn’t a solo rider, but had the company of gutsy Ms Neha Gupta from Bangalore.
My bike for the trip from Pune-Kolkata-Pune was Hero Karizma – ZMR. Our sponsors were Hero Moto Corp, Ralco Tyres and Vega Helmet.
We started on 31 October 2013 at 07.25 am from my mentor and bike guru Mr Dilip Bam’s house at Chandni Chowk in Pune. The route was through Solapur-Hyderabad-Visakhapatnam-Bhubaneswar-Kolkata and back via Keonjhar-Sambalpur-Raipur-Nagpur-Pune. We reached our destination Kolkata on 2 November.
Our mission and and the riding event was promoted on four Facebook pages. It was constantly updated by me and my team in Pune. More than a lakh Facebook users logged in to check our regular updates and messages on the pages - dilipbam.com, devjeetsaha.com, Puneinside.com and bikespecifications. It consisted of safety quotes, safety tips and precautions while riding a bike, thereby increasing awareness and motivating the women and youth. We used the social media platforms for our cause, but this event was also covered by many major newspapers and websites.
In Vishakhapatnam we met extreme biker Bharadwaj Dayala. He is the first Indian to complete a solo tour around the world. We had dinner together, and exchanged safety tips in between. He also helped us with the route.
I recall an incident which vanished our fatigue and motivated us. We had halted outside Sambalpur railway station in Orissa for tea. We went there as it was past midnight and the city was closed. There a young man recognized our bike and us as he was following updates on Dilipbam’s Facebook page. He was one of our well-wishers and a pleasant experience which made us forget our body aches and tiredness.
In Kolkata we met veteran biker Rajiv Rai. The humble rider helped us with the route and shared his invaluable experience with us. Precious moments they are!
The return ride began on 8 November. Kolkata was decked up as a bride as it was Durga Puja time and the entire state was in a festive mood. We started at 8 am from Salt Lake in Kolkata and reached Pune on November 11 at 11 in the morning.
Our effort was very well received and appreciated by the bike lovers and people from all age groups. Many women came forward and expressed their interest in biking. They had soothed their fear and cleared apprehensions regarding women biking. I do look forward to organize more such rides in future. It is also an opportunity for me to meet interesting people, get valuable insights about biking and share the gathered experience with everyone connected with us.
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