BENGALURU: Meet Venu Sethumadhavan Nair, Shashidhar Patil, S Appachu and Shridhar Maney. Four bikers from Bengaluru who are willing to go to great extents to promote India as a biking destination. Come December, the group will embark on a cross-country journey, clocking in 10,000 km across Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand. But the riders didn’t just want this to be an adventurous ride of a lifetime. “Many Indians travel to Myanmar, Bhutan, Cambodia and Thailand but we never see anyone from there coming here. India also has a lot to offer to bikers, like Ladakh, Kutch, Western Ghats, the Southern temple trail, etc,” says Patil, a 38-year-old businessman.
Agrees Appachu, who says there is good reason behind the name of their initiative. He explains, “We called it ‘Celebrating India’ because every 100 or 150 km in the country, the dialect, food and culture changes.” The group begins their trip from Guwahati on December 2, with Appachu, Patil and Maney returning to Bengaluru around December 23 or 25, and Nair carrying on with a solo trip to Malaysia and Singapore thereon.
Through their journey –where the bikers will ride for an average of 8-9 hours to cover 500-700 km a day – they plan to interact with many motorcycle riding clubs and adventure tour operators to spread work about the country’s biking offerings. The trip has every member shelling out an average of `4 lakh for the journey. According to Nair, a carnet document (which will allow them to bring their motorcycles back into the country) alone costs `1 lakh. But none of the riders seem to mind the expense. “It’s the first time I’m taking my bike across so many countries!” says Nair, adding, “Malaysia has a Muslim majority. Thaliand is Buddhist, Cambodia has a Hindu population. All of them might have similar terrains but different cultures to experience.”
While Maney, Patil and Appachu have been friends for four years, Nair was recently acquainted with them. They all agree that a solo ride has its charm but there’s something fun about riding with a group as well. “You’re less likely to get bored. Yes, you might cover longer distances if you are alone, but you enjoy riding with someone more,” says Patil.