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Six bikers from Visakhapatnam take a ride through North India for a cause

Riding with a cause The team of six bikers braved many a storm to make their mission successful Special Arrangement  

As if a flat tire in the middle of nowhere was not challenging enough, the terrain was mountainous and slushy, the temperature was minus ten degrees and there was hail and snow storm. But it was all worth it if that journey made the planet even a wee bit greener. That was the mission with which bikers G Pavan Kumar, K Ashok Varma, Amit Roy, KMS Ganesh, Vivek Kumar Singh and D Kamal set out on a 21-day trip to the ‘mecca’ of mountain biking in India – Ladakh.

The bikers covered over 8, 000 kilometres, from Visakhapatnam to Kashmir and back. On the way they distributed and tossed 3,000 seed balls of gulmohar, banyan, tamarind and papaya in the barren regions they rode through. “ We wanted to ride for a cause that connected with us. In our previous rides, we did notice how the green spaces were shrinking.Seed bombing sounded like the perfect idea to convey a green message to people we met ,” says Pavan Kumar, who rode a Bajaj Dominar 400 motorcycle. They spoke to as many people as they could on their pit-stops at petrol pumps, food and tea stalls, and encouraged them to throw seed bombs..

The first challenge came at Nubra Valley where they had to cross a stream. “The flow was very high. It took us three long hours to cross the small patch since we had to go slow to gauge the depth of water,” recollects Ganesh, who was riding the KTM RC 390. “We decided to take it slow, one step at a time.” The challenges kept coming. At Tanglang La (a mountain pass in Ladakh at an elevation of 17,480 ft), there was snowfall and rain . “The temperatures plummeted to -10 degree Celsius. Despite all protective gear we were frozen,” recollects Pavan.

Six bikers from Visakhapatnam take a ride through North India for a cause

But the most difficult bit was yet to come and that was at the Rohtang Pass in the Leh and Manali route. The terrain was slushy, thanks to incessant rains and landslides making it a nightmare to ride, they say. The Army had to divert the traffic.

“It took us over nine hours to complete the 110-kilometre patch which otherwise shouldn’t have taken more than five hours to cover,” says Vivek, on his maiden long-distance biking trip.

Being a sports bike, the rear suspension of Ganesh’s KTM RS 390 motorcycle broke. The anti-lock braking system (ABS) went off. As a result, he had to go at a dead slow speed, keeping both his feet down on the ground all through. “It was a very tough task for us to pull the group through from that region,” Pavan says with a shiver. His own motorcycle, the Dominar 400, also struggled with the ABS.

On long distance rides, bikers have to be prepared for every possible challenge. For instance, flat tyres can be an common issue and the team of six faced it at some of the most inopportune times. While riding on the Agra-Lucknow Expressway — a 300-kilometre stretch — Ashok who was riding a Himalayan Royal Enfield, had a puncture. “We were stranded on a deserted road at midnight. Luckily we found a mechanic shop where it took over an hour and a half to fix it,” he adds.

Pavan, who went on a solo 32-day journey across India, Bhutan and Nepal, clocking 17,500 kilometres, feels that going in a group is more challenging than a solo ride. “Each one rides at his own pace. Every motorcycle is of a different make and behaves differently in different conditions. When we travel as a group, we have to take into consideration the challenges of the entire group, and counter it together,” he says.

The bikers of course had a structured plan and were connected with bluetooth communication devices that worked within a kilometre radius. They also carried high-range safety gear and bike repair kits. To record their journey, they had cameras on their helmets. The bikers plan to release a video of their journey on YouTube.


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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 5:29:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/travel/six-bikers-from-visakhapatnam-take-a-ride-through-north-india-for-a-cause/article28796583.ece

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