Three biking enthusiasts from Bangalore document their travels from Kanyakumari to Kashmir
With the intention of understanding the spirit of freedom and exploring their motherland, three boys—Krishna Vasudeva Rao, Ashvin Gururaj and Krishna Chaudari—rode across the nation. Documenting their travels is Odyssey India 2012, a video journal giving a glimpse of it all—from city to rural life and dessert storm to icy mountains—inspiring you to hop on a Trek 6,000 bicycle too and make your way from Kanyakumari to Khardung La. They let us in on their secrets of taking on the rugged outdoors.
For a total of 111 days, the adventurists, who started from Kanyakumari and headed north on National Highway 7, cycled through places like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Nagpur and Khardung La and made their way back via Srinagar, Jaipur and Mumbai to Bangalore. “This trip was far from destination oriented; it was journey oriented. With 50 kg of baggage that included things like sleeping bags, tents, a jacket and two pairs of clothes each, a survival kit and cycle spares, we set off,” Gururaj starts off, adding that the whole trip cost them Rs. 1.8 lakh including three air tickets from Leh to Jaipur because their parents didn’t want them cycling through Kargil.
Thick and thin
As expected, there were a few rough patches. They were hit by bad weather in Ladakh. It was nightfall and they were yet to pitch their tents. However, they found a kind-hearted soul in Paramjeet Singh, a local dhaba owner who made them warm parathas and potato stew while they waited for the storm to pass. “It was hard for the first three weeks, but after that it became a part of us. We didn’t feel tired even after doing 60 km a day,” recalls Gururaj, adding that “it’s all about building your strength gradually. Before undertake something like this, build up your strength by cycling locally and taking on smaller projects.”
Their bikes too needed TLC, starting with Hyderabad in a cycle store called Yellow Jersey. “Owner Shilpa Shah fine tuned everything and didn’t charge us,” shares Gururaj, explaining that other minor problems were fixed at roadside ‘puncture’ shops. “The route from Mandi in Himachal and beyond is simply breathtaking. Parvathi Valley is a stunner too, as is Kheer Ganga,” says Gururaj, adding, “After slippery slopes and bad weather we finally made it to the highest point in India.” While on the road, the boys found bananas were really helpful to boost energy. “Yogurt is extremely good in warm weather as it cools you down,” Gururaj tells us before stressing on hydration. “We would consume about seven to eight litres of water a day. ”
They also advise you to be on-guard at all times. “While camping, always be alert as getting robbed is a possibility. Also, pitch your tent away from areas where you can be easily spotted,” signs off Gururaj.
They are off on another adventure on July 30, The Tour 2014 – Earth Time Adventure Machine, on the Manali- Leh highway. Registrations open. Details: lifepsycle.wordpress.com
-Aakanksha Devi & Rashmi Rajagopal