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.