Published: 04th October 2017
This duo wanted to tell the world that India is safe for women. So, they biked from Kanyakumari to Leh
Shubra Acharya and Amrutha Kashinath started their journey on September 5 from Kanyakumari and reached Leh on September 10. 130 hours and 29 minutes — that’s how long it took them to prove their point
“For something to go wrong, too many things have to happen at once. You have to be stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time and also be surrounded by bad people,” believes Shubra Acharya. Along with a friend, Amrutha Kashinath, the duo set out on a journey to prove to the world that India is safe for women travelling alone and that people are not as bad as they are made out to be. To substantiate their hypothesis, the two women made their journey from Kanyakumari to Leh on their bikes.
Right track: Shubra Acharya and Amrutha Kashinath had to prepare for nearly six months to be able to take the stress of the journey
The duo kick-started their journey on September 5 from Kanyakumari and reached their destination on September 10. 130 hours and 29 minutes — that’s how long it took them to make a statement. Ask Shubra what she learnt from the journey and she says that it reiterated the fact that it is not as unsafe for women to travel alone as it is made out to be. “We did not have any untoward incident throughout the journey. In fact, people have been nice to us,” beams Shubra.
Their families, of course, had several questions for them before they set off. “Is it safe for two women to travel alone?” “What if something goes wrong?” “Where will you find help in unknown places?” were a few of them. However, the two ladies had a point to prove. Amrutha too, had to face similar questions. “My parents were shocked. They were taken aback initially. Women safety is a huge concern. We later managed to convince them,” she says.
From the horse's mouth: Have a plan in place. If plan A didn’t work, we had a plan B and a plan C as well
Obviously, there were challenges too. “So far, we were riding with tyres meant for the road. But when we reached Manali, we had to have them changed as it was mostly going to be off road,” says Shubra. But changing tyres, fixing punctures or lubricating chains was no challenge for these women for they had learnt it with time. While Amrutha has been biking for over two years now, Shubra carries with her a good experience of going on bike tours for eight years. She is the founder of Travelling Circus, a company that organises bike tours. She and her husband organise short and long bike trips for those passionate about it. It was through this that Amrutha, who was also Shubra’s classmate in school, formed a bond with Shubra.
My parents were shocked. They were taken aback initially. Women safety is a huge concern. We later managed to convince them
Amrutha Kashinath, rider
The two women had to prepare for nearly six months to be able to take the stress of the journey. “We had to be on a special diet. It would involve minimal sleeping and
The two women had to prepare for nearly six months to be able to take the stress of the journey. “We had to be on a special diet. It would involve minimal sleeping and eating at different places and still be sure that our bodies could handle it. We had to stay light yet nutritious. We also did some endurance training,” adds Amrutha. The two friends started making plans for the trip and began hunting for sponsors a year ago.
The avid bikers has a piece of advice for those women wanting to travel alone. “Have a plan in place. If plan A didn’t work, we had a plan B and a plan C as well. We did a lot of research before we set off. We had a set map and calculated which place we would reach at what hour. We had on our list the details of places where we could get help in case something went wrong with our bikes. This amount of preparedness is essential,” explains Shubra.