Cycling is not yet seen as a sport or as an adventure-travel option in India, but the wheels of change are slowly turning. There is a new breed of adventure-loving, serious and non-serious cyclists who are spelling out change with action on two-wheels. Anahita Sriprasad, a 22-year old living in Bangalore, decided to cycle solo from Leh to Kanyakumari, on Montra Blues. To know more about this epic journey, we had a conversation with Anahita, and here’s what she shared with us.
The need to cycle solo
Anahita is not a professional cyclist, but her passion for adventure and curiosity led her to cycling. She says, “I started cycling because of the idea of this trip. It began as a part of training for the ride about five months prior to the ride. It was something that started out as a hazy idea which grew into a passion.”
Though the Leh-Kanyakumari trip was not the first time Anahita was travelling alone, this was definitely a unique experience for her. What set her on this trip though, was her encounter with the many people who questioned her about the risks of a woman travelling alone in India.
“A common recurring question I was asked mixed with reactions of shock was, ‘You’re traveling for so long,alone.. how? Why? Isn’t it unsafe?’ This made me realize that the general perception was that India is an unsafe place for a female solo traveler and I wanted to do something to change that perception. So, the idea of cycling from Leh to Kanyakumari struck me and I realised that this would spread awareness about women’s safety as well as challenge the perspective of India being unsafe for women travelling alone.”
Preparing for the ride
Anahita knew this was not an easy feat, and it required a lot of training. She set out with a goal, and worked hard to prepare for it. Rigour, focus and determination fueled her.
“In order to build my stamina and endurance, I took up various forms of exercises for about three months prior to my trip such as running, swimming, cycling longer distances than what I was used to, and I also joined a gym for strength training.
The ups and downs
Contrary to the popular belief, Anahita did not face the dangerous, unfriendly India everyone used to ask her about. Though she was prepared for any challenges on the way, her journey was great. In her own words, “apart from a few punctures, it was pretty smooth sailing.”
Riding Montra, riding with Montra
Anahita undertook her journey on Montra Blues, and received support from Montra and Track and Trail teams throughou
t her journey. She says, “Montra was extremely supportive throughout my ride. Right from the beginning to the end. My cycle and a couple of accessories were sponsored by Montra. Apart from that, I received constant help when it came to maintenance and checking of my cycle at cities where Montra had dealers or Track and Trail stores were present.
Message to female cyclists – Ride on!
Her passion and her determination to conquer not only her fears, but also those of others, paid off. Her achievement shows that if you are prepared to take the risks, there can be no stopping you, and she believes that all women out there need to step out and try to be and do whatever they wish to.
She believes that no route, no distance is too big or too hard if one can dream about riding it. “Cycling as a sport,as a passion, is something amazing that happened to me and the thrill and pleasure of riding any route is immense. True, there may be times that one may not be able to complete a distance or route they set out to, due to whatever reasons, but that shouldn’t be a cause for de-motivation, but be a learning experience and a chance to better yourself.
So, let nothing deter one’s spirit to keep pedaling on.”