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“The most important thing is to have a good relationship with the bike… you have to understand what she wants. I think of a motorcycle as a woman, and I know that sounds silly, but it’s true. “Valentino Rossi,  motorcycle road racer

The biking mantra goes “ride hard or stay home!” It’s hard, it’s lonely, it’s a tough path. So what is it about long distance motorcycling that makes it a complete addiction. Nine of India’s most incredible bikers share their mania.

By Zabeeh Afaque | 9 Photos

Riya yadav

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RIYA YADAV
Riya, who has riding since past 10 months, rides a bike that was gifted by her dad on her 19th birthday. “In June 2017 I left on my first ever bike trip to Ladakh. I actually set the record for being the youngest female rider to ride to Khardungla!”

Riya got to experience riding in the mountains, water crossings, handling landslides and more. “I got stuck in a huge landslide between Pang and Patso. The mountain was all jammed and people could do nothing. I was running a little late, so I too decided to take the risk. I could have been trapped in the middle, but I made it across. The feeling was exhilarating .”

TIP: Ride safe and don’t over speed. Practice it on the track not if you want speed. Long distance riding demands you believe in yourself. And, do not fear to fall. 

Sahil Anand

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SAHIL ANAND
Sahil, part of Road Survivors, the Chandigarh Bullet Club is an IT professional who has romanced the road for almost 15 years. His first solo trip to Manali from Chandigarh is his most memorable. His unforgettable moment of riding was “Standing on the LoC at Kaman Post in Uri.  A Major serving in the army was riding pillion with me. He showed me the first post of the Pakistani Army. I was the first civilian bike rider to reach the LOC. We signed the visitor book and what an incredible feeling it was!”

TIP: Always ask yourself why are you riding. Ride for yourself, but be careful. While riding is a very lonely and selfish activity, if anything were to happens to you it impacts a whole family. So enjoy the ride, but safety first. And yes, never forget to tell your parents where you are going.

Mandeep Kaur Merwa

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MANDEEP KAUR MERWA
A member of WIMA India (Women’s Inernationals Motorcycle Association) spearheads the Eagle Rider Academy and is interestingly, also a Behavioural Facilitator by profession. “An all Women’s trip to Jim Corbett when at one point all 8 of us were lost in different locations when we were headed to Corbett”.

TIP- Always kit up, wear a full face and not a half face helmet. Carry a contact number in case of emergency and, blood group on your person while riding. Last but not the least, respect the road and the machine.

Anita Krishnan

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ANITA KRISHNAN
A fitness instructor by profession, Anita’s first trip was to Leh. She fell in love with the terrain and treacherous roads. “Riding on the Baralacha-la pass in the Zanskar region in the night, blew my mind. It was very scary but the feeling of accomplishment after reaching the destination was like nothing I have ever experienced before.”

TIP- Adventure is great only if it’s done safely. So it’s always safety first. Speed does thrill but can be dangerous. So be alert while riding. Always wear a helmet and do not encourage a pillion without a helmet. Carry a sticker with emergency contact details.

JOSHUA KOODATHINAL JOHN

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JOSHUA KOODATHINAL JOHN
Founder of Delhi Bikers Breakfast Run, Joshua started to ride way back in 2002. “My most recent ride to Nagaland was spectacular. The people were amazing, the landscape incredible, the food unique, the roads dangerous…”. Joshua never forgets to carry his sketch pad, diary and his Bible on every journey.

TIP – Don’t rush. Pick a machine you can afford, the places you can visit and set off on a journey of a lifetime. Don’t compare. Just celebrate what or those you admire. Don’t take yourself too seriously.  Or else you’ll miss the funniest bits in life!

SADEEP GAJJAR

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SADEEP GAJJAR
A professional Motorcycle Journalist and photographer, his love for the road started almost 17 years back. Having covered 20,000 km around Australia on the world’s fastest production motorcycle – Ninja H2, Sandeep recalls, “riding in Japan when it started to snow. There was this hazy figure who came out of the snow, skiing in the middle of the road! She advised me against going ahead and disappeared into the curtain of falling snow. Till date, I consider her as an angel.”

TIP- You don’t need to buy the fastest bike. Skill and experience is most important. Always wear safety gears on the road. Even experienced riders face accidents. Record your rides in pictures and videos for later.

SHABNAM AKRAM

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SHABNAM AKRAM
She leads the Bikerni Group in North India is a Graphic and Communication Designer. Having an on road experience of 26+ years. “We were riding to Mukteshwar, Binsar. As I watched a Hero Honda being taken effortlessly up a slope, with a pillion, AND, lots of baggage, I was fascinated at the power of the machine. That changed my life.”

TIP- Learn what your bike can do and what it can’t. Pay attention to the road surface. Stop before fatigue sets in. To keep yourself hydrated and never forget to carry water along.

PALLAVI FAUZDAR

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PALLAVI FAUZDAR

An entrepreneur by profession Pallavi did an 18 day trip to Ladakh way back in 2015 covering more than 3500 km, riding across 16 Himalayan Pass out of which 8 were above 5000m in this single trip. With this Pallavi became the only rider to cover 8 Himalayan passes above 5000m in a single trip. She is also a rare person to ride to two passes for the first time on a motorcycle, namely Satothola 5602m and Kaksangla 5454m. Her rides are never complete without her family photo and her prayer book.

TIP- Its fun to ride in groups but to achieve something you have to learn to ride alone. Do not judge somebody’s journey. Courage and learning right skills is most important.
Special Advice: Never ever mock mother nature. Its the most potent force on earth.