Women bikers out to break Limca record for longest North-South expedition

BENGALURU: Shubra Acharya and Amrutha Kashinath are on the longest North-South (Kanyakumari to Kashmir) expedition.

They plan to cover  4,000-and-odd kilometers on their bikes in five-and-a-half days, in an attempt to break the current Limca Book of Records of 156 hours. ‘The Long Highway’ expedition will begin from Kanyakumari on September 4 and on an average they will be covering 800 kilometres per day.
Speaking to City Express, Shubra says, “We will be starting our ride from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu,  and  taking  the  Central  India Route  via  Bengaluru,  Hyderabad,  Nagpur,  Jhansi,  Agra,  New  Delhi,  Chandigarh,  Manali  and reach  Leh”. The route takes them through 12 Indian States and two Union Territories in 4,051 kms.
“The aim of this expedition is to challenge the notion that India is unsafe for women travellers. We hope to drive home the point that India is  a  safe  place  to  travel,  for  men  and  women,  by  taking  some  basic  precautions.  We want to see more people, particularly women conquer their fears and  go  explore  more,” says Amrutha.
The concept was conceived in August 2016, but it took almost a year to hit the road. The duo is riding KTM Duke 390 Motorbikes for this expedition without a service team or a backup.
“We  are  riding  the  bikes  in  almost  stock  condition;  there  are  a  few  modifications  we  have made  to  improve  efficiency  and  to  increase  our  comfort  while  riding,” says Shubra.  
A few of  the  main modifications  include- Powerful  auxiliary  headlights  for  increased  visibility  during  dusk  and  dawn; changed  seat  cushioning  as  per  our  individual  comfort; fabrication  on  the  bikes  for  petrol  cans,  customised  luggage  and  spare  parts; fitment  of  separate  set  of  tyres  of  tarmac  and  separate  tyres  of  off-road  conditions beyond  Manali.

As it is monsoon, the duo is aware of the possible roadblocks. “We are prepared  with  rain  gear,  rain   proof luggage  and  brilliant  tyres  on  our  bikes  that  can  handle  such  situations. If we are  to  get  bad  weather  in  terms  of  landslides  or  earthquakes,  we  must only  surrender to  Mother  Nature,” says Amrutha.
The two believe that when other  women  see  and  hear  about  their  expedition  without  backup  or  support, people  will  realise  that  if  they can,  so  can anyone else.
Birds of the same feather
Love for bikes and passion for motorbike rides brought Amrutha and Shubra closer. Over the last few years, the duo has taken many such expeditions.
Shubra, a native of Mangaluru, is an MBA graduate. She has seven years of experience in adventure tourism. She launched her own motorcycle touring company Travelling Circus in 2015. She has led over 400 motorbikers through over 45 tours across India,  Bhutan  and  Sri  Lanka.
“I am a go-getter. Sky is the limit for my dreams,” she says. Amrutha Kashinath, an avid traveller, has riding experience of over  two  years,  and  has  covered around 30,000 km  across  18  states  on  various  motorbikes.  Her most commendable rides  have  been  to  the  Himalayas  –  Ladakh  and Spiti  Valley,  the  salt plains  in  Rann  of  Kutch,  Gujarat and  Bengaluru  to  Bhutan  on  ECR. 
Despite not owning  a motorbike  herself,  she  never  considered  it  a  setback.

Indian Express