Vaishali Kulkarni More hopes to visit old temples and monuments along the east coast during her trip.

Vizags first woman biker gears up for a heritage ride from Chennai to Kolkata
news Bike Ride Monday, October 10, 2016 - 16:35

Forty-nine-year-old Vaishali Kulkarni More is never alone when she’s on the road.  “I have my best friend, Ellie with me,” says the retired teacher, referring to her 220-CC Bajaj Avenger Cruiser motorbike. Calling ‘Ellie’ an extension of herself, Vaishali became the first woman bike rider from Vishakhapatnam to complete a solo ride, a 1700km journey from Vizag to Shirdi in July this year.  Now, weeks after her first ride, Vaishali plans to hit the road once more, gearing up for her next adventurous bike journey from Chennai to Kolkata in January next year.

Consumed by her wanderlust, Vaishali says the idea behind the 1600km “heritage ride” is for her to explore as many places as she can. The retired geography teacher hopes to visit old temples and monuments along the east coast during her trip. “I am still planning on where all I want to go but for now I want to cover the eastern part of India, because I have not really explored that part,” she explains.

Recounting tales from her first solo ride, Vaishali admits she was hesitant about the 1700km journey initially.  “I was amazed that I drove almost 350km a day. It’s a lot,” Vaishali notes. While the Vizag-Shirdi trip had always been on her bucket list, the solo ride was more than anything a challenge she set for herself to see if she could manage to stay calm during difficult situations.

“I learnt that I shouldn’t just depend on the GPS, and I should carry a map. On the way to Sholapur, I got lost. Shockingly there were no sign boards and also people don’t understand Hindi or English there. I started panicking, it was a scary experience but soon I found a way out,” she narrates.

Her love for riding motorbikes, she says, began during her college days in Pune, when she would get on her friend’s bike without the knowledge of her parents. “I used to bunk my college and go for bike rides to Lonawala, Mahabaleshwar and all nearby areas of Pune. I would then come back and return my friend’s bike and go home in a cycle, so that my parents assume that I went to college,” she says cheekily.

But her days on the road came to a halt just before she got married. “After becoming a mother my passion for biking was lost somewhere. But now that my son has motivated me to go back to my passion, I can pursue my dreams,” Vaishali says.

The 49-year-old has many more road trips planned for 2017 including an all-India ride to promote healthy living. Under the Gyan Lakshmi project of Rohit Memorial Trust, an NGO in Vishakhapatnam, the biker will spread awareness amongst women on genital hygiene and cervical cancer.  

“The route map for all-India tour has not been prepared yet. But this time I won’t be alone, the support team will be with me during the journey,” she says.

In this trip scheduled for June next year, Vaishali will cover around 10 Smart cities in three to four months. She explains that the ‘heritage ride’ is a warm-up before she goes for the all-India trip.

 “Now I don’t fear anything. I can feel the energy and positivity inside me,” she concludes.

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