Riding solo across country in a motorcycle was always in my bucket list.
India is a vast country, the 7th largest in the world. To ride from the tip of the subcontinent to the edge of the Tibetan Plateau was no easy task. With roads ranging from some of the best you can get in the continent to complete off-road trials, with vast diverse cultures, so many different languages, extreme and harsh whether conditions, a ride of this magnitude can never be pre-planned.
Witnessed more than a few raised eyebrows whenever I discussed about my dream to someone. Most doubted that I might not be able to endure such a long and rough ride. They had their reasons, my lean physique and back injuries due to previous falls, topping their lists. Had to turn a blind eye on all those.
There were many obstacles to be cleared before setting out on my expedition.
Convincing mom and dad was the first one. But that turned out to be pretty easy in the end. They were in fact really happy in letting me go. They had their worries and anxieties. Still they were the first who believed that I can do this.
Being a guy with zero savings, getting financial for the trip was the next major hurdle. Another issue was getting leaves for such a long period. But all thanks to such generous help from both the Owner and my Manager in Owler ( company I am working in ), even those two issues were sorted out in quick time. They were more than happy to provide me with an advance salary and approving leaves to go chase my dream.
Getting the motorcycle ready was the next challenge. Honda service manager near to my place was really excited about the plan and extended all his help. He monitored the service himself in person and got the CBR ready for the long ride.
Once everything was cleared, it was all set to embark on my epic adventure. The ride started on 21st August, 2015 from my home in Kerala. In the next 24 days, the journey took me across 14 different states and a Union territory, travelling close to 7000 kms.
Most of the times, states were crossed at a rate of 1 per day. Kashmir is an exception where close to 10 days were spent, out of which 7 were in Ladakh.
The route travelled was :
Kerala - TamilNadu - Karnataka - Andhra - Telangana - Maharashtra - Madhya Pradesh - Rajasthan - Uttar Pradesh - Delhi - Punjab - Jammu and Kashmir - Himachal Pradesh - Chandigarh - Delhi
There can be a lot written about the odyssey. About the adventures faced, the people met, the stories heard, the roads traversed, places camped, foods tasted, the experiences acquired, dangers escaped from, the chances taken, the bliss of riding, the landscapes witnessed, the weathers battled, the history seen, hospitality offered, and lastly but mainly, about my changed outlooks towards life and about people.
Maybe I will restrain from writing and keep all those to myself for now.
The diversities of India is so enchanting, that you can see the cultures and landscape changing, literally in front of your eyes.
During the journey, the ride took me through :
- Roads from sea level ( Kanyakumari ) to the highest motorable road in the World ( Khardhung La )
- The rainy south, the cool atmosphere in mid-South, through the harsh and dusty climates of central India, through some hottest cities in the world, to the second coldest inhabited place on Earth ( Drass, Kashmir )
- Some best roads in India ( Yamuna Express Way ) to the most dangerous roads in the World ( Mighty Himalaya passes )
- Staying in Hotels, dhabas, home-stays and tents at places with temperatures from 46 degrees ( Nagpur ) to sub-zero temperatures ( -10 degrees at Sarchu )
- Heavy traffic cities of Bangalore, Delhi and Hyderabad to some the most most deserted highways on Earth ( between Leh-Manali )
- Oceans in the south, through greeneries of paddy fields, to the deserts of Central India, to the Mountains of North
Looking back, I feel this was one of the best things I have done in my entire life till now.
The wind blowing against face, the bike vibrating under weight, the noise filling up ears, the world dark through shades, the sun upon skin, the rebel in me howling – freedom from everything, that I believed tied me down.
This definitely is a journey to reminisce, an adventure to cherish, and an experience that will be enshrined in my heart forever.
If there is one decision that I took after this ride, it is to be back travelling as soon as I could, in the very next chance I get.
“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
― Ernest Hemingway