BENGALURU: 30,000 kilometres, 28 states and eight union territories, and 18 world heritage sites in India — Kolhapur resident and seasoned motorcycle rider Gayatri Patel is on a mission — One Dream One Ride. The 31-year-old, who was in Bengaluru a few days back, has already travelled 23,000 km so far, starting from her native place Kolhapur on December 5, 2020. “The idea is to encourage more women to take up biking and sporting adventures. Many still believe that women are not capable of biking. But I am here to drive away that misconception,” says Patel, who is yet to cover another 7,000 km as part of her mission.
Taking a leaf from her adventure, women from across the country have been writing to her, seeking advice on the first steps of biking. “I feel my journey has indeed made some difference among some women,” she remarks. Supported by corporate endeavours, Patel’s riding journey came with its own set of challenges and turbulence. But that did not stop her from manoeuvring further.
“The North East and Himachal Pradesh were the most difficult terrains to ride on. I had crashed my motorbike and suffered bruises due to the treacherous path on the mountains. Due to the pandemic, not many people were around to help me with the mechanics,” recalls Patel.
Besides, keeping track of the interstate travel restrictions due to COVID-19 was a challenge and she had to undergo RT-PCR tests at many checkpoints. Yet, riding on the Asian highway network, stretching along the Indo-Mayanmar border and travelling through the state of Madhya Pradesh were her favourite experiences in her journey so far.
“I met a lot of fellow riders and villagers along the way. I believed that people would not socialise much due to the ongoing health crisis. But I was shocked when many people from different states hosted me for lunch and dinner,” says Patel.
Speaking about her love for Bengaluru, the rider says, “I have always loved the city because of its vast culture. The local cuisines of Bengaluru like masala dosa, idli and vada are my favourites. Although I was planning to follow a strict diet for this journey, I couldn’t help myself but relish whatever came my way,” says Patel, who is now headed to Coimbatore, Kochi, Lakshadweep and finally complete her ride up in the north of India.