Today I would like to take the opportunity to share one of my rides that are closest to my heart. Do take some time out to read about this amazing ride Neha Gupta and myself got a chance to be part of.
After the success of the 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 took up this mission to spread awareness and increase the participation of women in adventure biking activities.
With the primary focus of ‘Safe riding on highways’ and ‘woman empowerment’ by equal participation in adventure biking activities, I geared up for my next trip. Only that I wasn’t a solo this time but had the privilege of riding with 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 Solapur-Hyderabad-
The first stop we planned was at Hyderabad, of course, it had to be for the well-known biryani. I had visited Paradise House earlier also, so I couldn’t imagine exiting Hyderabad without having the delicious Chicken Biryani. It was so delicious that we ate more than our capacity. We instantly decided to stay back at Hyderabad for the night and start our journey again the next day.
On 1st November at 6 am we started from Hyderabad towards Vishakhapatnam. The roads were good. As we didn’t have any time limit to reach our destination, we were riding at a speed of 80 kmph to enjoy the route. Where ever we got a chance to click pictures we stopped. To cover the distance of 620 kms it took more than 14 hours.
Finally, we reached Vishakhapatnam. It was late evening. I was excited to meet Rider Bharadwaj Dayala Sir even more than visiting the city. This was my second visit to the city. The first time I had visited Vishakapatnam was during my Anti Tobacco ride with Vartika Pande and Team.
Bharadwaj Dayala Sir 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. His close friend Mr. Gopichand Dadithota was also there. He gifted us with a cool gadget, a small magnifying glass with touch.
It was around 10 PM when we started the ride again towards Kolkata. We were not in the mindset to stay back in Vishakhapatnam, so the night ride was the best option for us. I like to ride a bike at night. As the climate is cool and there is less traffic on the roads. After riding for approximately 900 kms we reached Kolkata on 2nd November at noon. I dropped Isha at her place and went to Pandua, in Hooghly district which is approximately 70 kms from there. It’s my native place. I stayed there for a week, some bike maintenance was required. So I went to the J.S.Auto workshop. Its a Hero Motocorp’s authorized service center.
On 7th November I went back to Kolkata. I stayed there at my family friend’s place, Suvo Palit Bhaiya, and Lopamudra Palit Bhabhi. I met them after almost 5-6 years. We used to stay together before in Jaipur when I was pursuing my graduation.
Our 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.
In Kolkata, we met veteran biker Rajiv Rai. The humble rider helped us with the route and shared his valuable experience with us. Cherishing moments they are!
I recall an incident which vanished our fatigue and motivated us. We halted outside Sambalpur railway station in Orissa for tea, we had gone there as it was past midnight and the city was closed. There was a young man there who recognized our bike and us as he was following updates on Dilipbam’s Facebook page. He was one of our well-wishers and it was a pleasant experience which made us forget our body aches and tiredness.
Riding on the highway is always a pleasure. When we plan for a long road trip we carry many useful things with us.
There is always some incident which we always remember. One such happened with us.
We planned to ride the whole night. As the return route was new for me I was slightly worried for Isha. During the night ride, I tend to keep the fuel tank full. Whenever it lowers to the half tank I refill it.
We were riding in the ghat areas in midnight, there was no traffic. Only our bike was visible in the dark. No one passing by, no restaurants, literally no sight of any human. We did not stop anywhere. The bike’s average was good so we did not need to refuel. At around morning at 7 am, we saw a small Dhaba, we stopped there for a long break and for breakfast. The owner of the Dhabha was surprised to see us at that time. He asked us about our ride and our route. He was shocked when we said we crossed the ghat during night time. Then we were shocked to know on what he had to say! The ghat was well known for dacoits and robbers at night. Then we realized the reason why the roads were empty. Our luck was really good that we didn’t encounter any such issue.
The lesson learned: Never travel to unknown places at night in remote areas.
National Highways are safe.
Another small incidence. This has happened to me several times.
At home, I am used to going to the western toilet, I was not habitual to the other one. But while on a road trip you have to be very flexible. So, on 10th November at around 4 am, we stopped at a small tea shop near the highway, there was a small field. I went with a bottle to the field to fresh up. There was no closed toilet nearby, so I didn’t have any option, we had even checked the petrol pump, but the toilet was closed.
We reached Pune on 10th November. It was time for us to take a long nap. We were very tired but it was all worth it as the road trip was excellent.
Our effort was very well received and appreciated by the bike lovers and people from all age groups.It motivated many women to come forward and express their interest in biking. They had now overcome their fear and cleared apprehensions regarding women biking. I do look forward to organizing more such rides in the 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.