Four bikernis set off on a mammoth expedition

The Paryatak Bhavan was once buzzing with process on Sunday morning as friends, family and fellow bikers gathered to hope 4 Hyderabadi girls bikers good luck as they prompt on their 16,992-km-long road commute. Titled 'Road to Mekong', the seven-week-long expedition will see Jai Bharathi, ASD Shanthi, Shilpa Balakrishnan and Piya Bahadur journey across seven South-East Asian countries thru the newly-laid India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway. "It's going to be an experience of a lifetime, an adventure to regale our grandchildren with. We'll ride through India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia," gushed Piya Bahadur, beaming with enthusiasm.

The 'bikernis', who have embarked on many journeys in India over time, say that the will "to push their limits and seek adventure in foreign lands" was once the driving force in the back of this expedition. "This highway was opened two years ago and very few people have taken up this journey. We have been planning this trip for the past eight months. We are a 12-member contingent so, a lot of paperwork had to be done as we'll be biking across seven countries. Getting all the required permissions itself took three months. And since it's a newly opened road, there are not many clear guidelines available as a data point. So, we had to plan everything very carefully," says Jai, who is main the expedition.

The bikernis are accompanied by means of a 4 member workforce who will file all of the journey, Naresh Bahadur, a veteran rider who rode from Mumbai to Paris in 1979 on his Yezdi and two backup vehicle workforce and one individual in charge of logistics. They will visit 19 UNESCO World Heritage sites in the seven countries and promote trade tourism to 35 UNESCO sites in India. "At selected UNESCO sites and tourist centres, we will promote adventure tourism in India, especially in the newly formed state of Telangana by screening travel videos and documentary films that showcase the rich legacy of the country. We will also stress on our shared historical and cultural roots as we interact with the youth wherever we go," explains Piya.

Jai Bharathi believes that India has the possible to emerge as an excellent destination for road journeys and attract numerous journey tourism. "Compared to many countries, it's very easy to travel in India. For starters, there is hardly any paperwork needed. I have seen so many foreigners hire a bike and go around the country for 3-4 months. at a stretch. That's the best way to see any country," she says.

Around a decade in the past India's roads had been declared the most unhealthy position to power on the planet. But that's not the case anymore and the women need to end up that with their journey. But most sensible on their priority checklist is to ship out the message that India is indeed protected for girls travellers. "There is a misconception that India is unsafe for women, but it isn't true. So many of us have travelled the country solo. I mean, look at JB and Shilpa! They have travelled solo. Yes, you need to take a few precautions but truth is that India is indeed a safe country for travellers, especially for women. We want to drive home this point," says Shanthi, a SHE Teams cop who is in-charge of protection of all of the staff on the expedition.

For Jai, Shanthi and Priya, this expedition is the longest journey they're embarking upon. Though Shilpa "went on a 27000-km all India ride in 2016-17", this journey remains to be special. "It is going to be my longest international ride," she says, grinning from ear-to-ear. Perhaps that's why she has been selected to be the Road Marshal of the gang. With her revel in of being an staying power rider, Shilpa will marshal the staff all the way through the adventure and motivate them when wanted, and make sure all road protection measures are being followed. Talking about the demanding situations she is expecting to come upon, Shilpa says, "We have two relatively less experienced riders on board. Initially they may have problems to adjust. Beyond that, I don't see any challenges that we can't or won't be able to overcome. We have worked on our fitness, and made sure we are all up for the ride both physically and mentally. But we never know what different environments have in store for us."

The good thing is that the terrain goes to be beautiful smooth the entire method. "We don't need to be worried about the road condition too much. But time is going to be a crucial factor. So we want to come back much before the monsoon starts in the North East," adds Jai.

An journey of this proportion always comes with its percentage of risks however the ladies seem to be neatly ready. "We have tried our best to mitigate risks. We got the necessary gear which alone cost close to `3,50,000. This is not a ride where we'll be taking too many selfies along the way. We have to be careful about everything. We will break only one rule though, talk to strangers," says Piya with a wink.


Four bikernis set off on a mammoth expedition Four bikernis set off on a mammoth expedition Reviewed by kailash soni on February 11, 2018 Rating: 5
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