The 2016 riding season seems to have got off on a glorious note. Last month a group of four women riders belonging Pink City Bikernis took off on a long planned journey to connect West of India with East of India. This ride was riddled with challenges from day one. The rain gods were doing their best to play spoil sport. Their destination state Assam had a two day bandh. One rider had left behind a 5 year old son. Notwithstanding these road bumps, the group pressed on with steely determination and successfully completed their mission. Vaishali Bhagat a veteran rider and the most experienced one of the group, shared the ride experiences in this exclusive interview with solorider.in. Read on:
So how many of you went on this ride?
We were four female riders on this ride. Myself – Vaishali Master-46 yrs.
G. Meenakshi Rao-31
Me and Meenakshi are married having 23 and 5 yrs old son respectively. We started on 1st Oct and ended on 22nd Oct 2016.
What were the start and end points of your ride?
Our start point was Jaipur and end point was Tezu in Arunachal Pradesh. From Jaipur to Koteshwar – Kutch,Gujarat 1100 kms.
Koteshwar to Ahmedabad- Bhopal- Patna- Jalpaiguri- Guwahati- Dibrugarh- Tinsukia and Tezu in Arunachal Pradesh – that’s about 4000 kms.
The return was from Tezu to Jaipur about 2700 kms. But due to some SC-ST agitation in Assam there was two day Assam bandh. We had to curtail our journey at Guwahati, came by train to Delhi and back to Jaipur by bike – 270 kms.
What was the best part about the ride?
According to me best part were firstly- my father in law aged 85 was so enthusiastic and proud of me on our flag off day. Secondly in Bihar and West Bengal every city, town, villages that we were passing through had Durga Pooja celebration mood so we were lucky to enjoy that.
What was the biggest challenge of your ride?
Biggest challenge we faced from the very first day was unexpected- rain all the way from Jaipur-Ahmedabad- Bhopal- Bihar- West Bengal…all the way, which pushed our ride out of schedule.
How did technology devices help in your ride?
We had installed GPRS in our bikes so our families were able to track us every minute. This was the most important thing. Moreover, I was very much friendly with Google maps which used to show us directions, cities coming next, even if we take a wrong turn, we come to know immediately.
How should riders who are just beginning plan a trip so that night halts are smooth and safe?
For new riders planning a trip, first of all safety gears, riding jacket, long boots to prevent from heated engine and silencer, knee guards, both side luggage carrier with saddle bags, electric bungee rope and a full face helmet are necessary. Carriers and bags at first seem heavy but they are very convenient as they control the falling down of bikes. Also study maps thoroughly to know what are the towns and cities coming on the way. You can schedule your ride accordingly and find right places in case you fall short of your target.
Rest all, you should be cautious of stray animals and villagers walking blindly on highways.
Try to be friendly with people on the way, stopovers at small tea stalls, dhabas can also be good interactions with local people.
What particular care must women in middle age take to ensure a safe ride?
Taking a long ride at middle age has its own benefits in a way. First, you are seasoned rider so you can take decisions maturely, compared to youngsters, also the respect you get from bikers community is unmatchable. Only care needed is that you should be a bit techno-savvy.. mobiles, GPRS, Google maps, Go pro camera, all gadgets help a lot so you need to be friendly with them.
Rajasthan is noted for the largest number of child marriages in India? What kind of following does Pink City Bikerni have in Jaipur? Has it made any difference to the people’s attitudes?
Though Rajasthan culture is a bit rigid and orthodox, we have found many girls coming up with bike riding in their village areas but yes, it is not yet ready for long rides, over night rides, night rides. These will take time to change, in people’s mind.
Was your ride associated with a cause?
So yes, this ride was only to make women riders believe in themselves. Chase your dreams– age, marriage, gender does not matter. Two of us were married, having kids and family, but we found out our way to fulfill our dream.
Next coming up …1000 kms in a day!
People do ride 1620 kms in a day for iron butt, saddle sore … but it will be important for me to do at 47 age.
Someone has said,“If you are always trying to be normal, you’ll never know how amazing you can be!” Take a cue from this gang of girls and discover yourself.