A weekend of camp life, wheels, slushy mud tracks and inspiring stories from the road unfolded in the first ever Motorcycle Travellers Meet off Bangalore on the 27 and 28 July. This was not your usual raucous testosterone heavy, beer and bravado fest. Instead, likeminded serious motorcycling enthusiasts came together for an authentic interaction with those who have straddled boundaries of different countries, followed the hallowed ‘Che Guevara’ trails, negotiated even more daunting visa entries and pitched tents in the middle of nowhere.
Three key speakers, Bharadwaj Dayala, Jay Kannaiyan and Avinash Thadani led the coterie of five others who have broken from the shackles of merely adding kilometres to their rides. Bharadwaj’s story of his solo round the world travel on a customized Indie bike was just as inspiring as the young nineteen year old Ashish’s effort to raise awareness about tigers on his ride through Indian Tiger Reserves. On the other hand, Navroze Contractor’s ride from Ahmedabad to London in 1977 put some things in perspective; you could well land up in a bizarre negotiation with an Afghanistan overlord who would be willing to part with a handsome white stallion in exchange for your wife! With anecdotes interjecting rich experiences, here are few of the takeaways from the meet. We are sure that our biking enthusiasts will find this helpful:
Bike swapping: Aircraft designer and a complete outdoors enthusiast, Prajwal Shivaprakash managed to ride to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, across two time zones on a borrowed motorcycle – and this was not due to sheer will. Having chanced upon a bike swapping community of just 32 around the world, it made one of his long imagined dreams come true. Bikers around the world can sign up here to list their bike for others to use if they are visiting, and make use of other such listed wheels on their own travels. Prajwal is the only Indian, and 33rd on the list!
Throttle Wide Open: Newbies or those who want to whet their motorcycling skills further, can join workshops at India’s first motorcycle track day and riding school by IndiMotard. Unlearn and learn the art of riding in a safe environment, on your own bike with experts. The idea is to graduate as a safer and better rider, in tune with your bike and its potential. Click here for more details.
All About the Carnet: First of the many series of documentaries by Horizon Limited was particularly helpful for aspiring motorcyclists who are yet to hit the long miles. Of all the points of planning and safety, riders were introduced to the world of ‘carnets’, a passport of sort for the bike. This is an international customs document that simplifies procedures for the temporary importation of various types of goods. People planning a trip across boundaries should have a look at the ATA Carnet website.
Of many discussions on women bikers, safety, planning, budgeting and more there was one message that summed up all the seemingly impossible travels: Anyone on any bike can do this!
Click here for more on Motorcycle Travellers Meet.
With a penchant for travelling ‘ungoogled’, Supriya has willingly got lost a number of times in the most obscure places of India for the last 8 years. She lives on a healthy diet of anecdotes and tea with auto drivers, co-passengers and locals! Supriya currently runs a Bangalore based travel-photography outfit called Photography Onthemove and writes regular features for India and International travel publications. More on www.supriyasehgal.com.