Passion fuelled biker’s dream trail to Ladakh

Swetha informed her parents about her desire but they rejected it outright. But she convinced them and worked in Chennai to earn money to buy a motorcycle.
M Swetha Murthi during her solo road trip from Dharmapuri to Ladakh. She worked as a tailor for 2 years to earn money for the motorcycle
M Swetha Murthi during her solo road trip from Dharmapuri to Ladakh. She worked as a tailor for 2 years to earn money for the motorcycle (Photo | Express)

DHARMAPURI: Chasing a passion, M Swetha Murthi (23) embarked on a road trip from Palacode to Ladakh in the last week of May, covering nearly 4,000 km on a bike in thirteen days.

Swetha who returned home recently told TNIE that her male college mates did not allow her to join them on a cross country trip during her UG days and that made her to resolve to accomplish all that men could.

“Three years ago, during my UG days in Coimbatore, a group of guys planned a trip on their motorcycles. When I expressed my interest in joining them, they said ‘No woman allowed,’ because there was no safety for us on such trips. It kind of hit me, and I thought why can’t I pursue my interest on my own.”

Swetha informed her parents about her desire but they rejected it outright. But she convinced them and worked in Chennai to earn money to buy a motorcycle.

“Within two months, I realised it was not possible. So I moved back home and worked as tailor. In the last two years, I earned around `4 lakh. I bought a Yamaha MT 15 worth `2.5 lakh and other stuff required for a cross-country trip.”

Swetha started on her dream trip alone on May 31 and rode through Anantpur, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Sagar, Agra, Delhi, Manali, Sarchu to reach Ladakh, covering 150 to 250 km per day. Was the trip safe? Recalling her experience, Swetha said, “Anyone can make a cross-country trip, yes it is not 100% safe for women.”

“However proper planning could eliminate a large portion of the problem. I witnessed no less than 30 deaths, and fatalities caused by non-adherence to traffic rules. If possible, cook the food yourself,” she added.

Swetha said she stayed in reputed hotels enroute, and took short breaks in petrol bunks that had CCTV cameras. “At Sarchu, I suffered nosebleed due to the cold and dry weather. ‘The transition from hot to cold dry weather affected my health and caused me to panic a bit. However, I was prepared.”

Swetha said she wants to guide women bikers and also explore all of Tamil Nadu through road.

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