Praveen Selvam is geared for greater adventure after winning the True Wanderer contest

Actor and MTV Roadies' star Rannvijay Singh admitted to a pang of envy as he handed Praveen Selvam the keys of a Hyosung ST7. The 26-year-old software engineer from Chennai received the 678.2 cc cruiser for winning Wrangler's “True Wanderer” contest, which required 10 finalists to ride through scenic places for seven days on the trot and simultaneously blog on about their experiences.

Biking experts from XBHP that evaluated the travel accounts of the 10 were greatly impressed with Selvam's narrative style and the pretty pictures he had clicked along the way. The weight of readers' votes also tipped the scales in Selvam's favour.

Over the seven days, Praveen covered roughly 3,000 km on his Kawasaki Ninja 250R on a route of his choice: Chennai-Yelagiri-Avalanche (Ooty)-Munnar-Hogenakkal-Gingee-Puducherry-Chennai. While planning the trip, he went partly by the book and partly by intuition. He followed the rules of touring to the letter and carried all the safety gear. He was equally diligent in matters of technology. His gadgetry included the tracker Garmin GPS 76CSx, a Canon 550D camera that was supported by a variety of lenses (a Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, a Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM and a Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II VC), a GoPro Sports camera and a Joby Gorillapod. He processed his thoughts with a Dell Inspiron N5010 and a Dell Tablet.

Led by his intuition, he first chose places high on greenery (Yelagiri, Avalanche and Munnar) and later places (such as Gingee) that contrasted sharply with them. “The result is a fascicle of images that offer great variety,” says Praveen. As someone who has ridden in various parts of the country and blogged extensively about these trips — a fact that comes to light in his travel-blogging site, — he knew just what to expect from this solo ride and what would make it memorable, not for himself but also for readers. Praveen says he challenged himself to do things that would make for engrossing narration and arresting visuals — such as pitching in the middle of nowhere for a siesta, while on the Yelagiri-Krishnangiri-Ooty route. Besides significantly adding to his stable of bikes, True Wanderers has strengthened Praveen's resolve to start an online community that would encourage other long-distance riders to share their experiences on the road. As the latest poster-boy of touring adventure, he must be able to rally other bikers around him.


MetroplusJune 28, 2012