WeNomads team met Roshini Sharma, the girl who went against all odds and travelled the length of this country from Kanyakumari to Kashmir on a bike, that too solo, and in process she ended up being the first Indian woman who dared to do so. Here is an excerpt from our chit chat with her.
[Update: 13th April 2015] Roshini is leading India first All Women Biking Trip in Northern Thailand this summer. This expedition is being run in association with Viktorianz, the renowned experts in this field. Viktorianz All Women Biking Trip is available exclusively on our platform.
WeNomads: Hi Roshini! First of all, Congrats on that unbelievable ride you took! What was your first-hand experience, doing so?
Roshini: I was just going on with normally my life when one day a friend of mine, Roshan, who is an avid biker himself, travelled from south India to north India on a bike, solo. He also gave me a trivia that there isn’t a woman who has taken such a journey ever in India! It just grabbed my attention and left me thinking, why not me? Why can’t I be the brave first lady ‘to bike-ride through the length of India’? So I ventured into it, from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, on a bike.
WeNomads: Biking Solo? That’s interesting!
Roshini: My dad taught me to ride bike when I was 16. Since then, I have always been fascinated with bikes. I travel on bike every day from my PG to office at Koramangala. But then traveling the length of India has been a life-changing experience actually!
WeNomads: Tell me about yourself a bit?
Roshini: I come from western Uttar Pradesh. And my parents’ house is there. They stay there. I stay in Bangalore at a PG and work at Wipro. I am a north Indian, and it’s been over 5 years that I have come to Bangalore.
WeNomads: Any specific preparations you took before the Kanyakumari – Kashmir trip?
Roshini: I had to know about the routes and weather. Those were the main information I needed. I learnt from my friend that only after summers does the Manali pass open. So I had to schedule my journey to after May. Also in June, many parts of Kerala get rain, so I had to push off Kerala from my itinerary completely. So basically in my entire journey, I never encountered rain! In fact, to know the routes, I just had to ask people around, talk to them for a better ideas and they were all very helpful!
WeNomads: You termed the journey as a ‘life-changing experience’ above, how life changing was it actually?
Roshini: In many ways. From identifying the routes, to mingling with people, to travelling over small bridges, it was novel experience every moment! As a woman in India, I am hounded around by society as to how it is unsafe to travel in India for a woman. And especially when she’s alone! Hemmed with an uncertain weather in this country, I expected many people to raise their eyebrows at my adventure. My experiences though contradicted my expectations.
All the people who I encountered and came across during my trip, went out of their ways to help me with helping me with route and clearing any of the doubts I had during the journey. I am cent percent sure that a woman can travel alone, for as long a she wants, if she is courageous, confident by herself in our own ways, wise, quick thinking and alert every time. It’s a myth that women cannot travel alone and it’s unsafe. You decide the safety by yourself.
WeNomads: How was the reaction from your parents when you revealed your travel plans to them?
Roshini: Typical though, but they had discouraged me in the beginning. Although they were supportive of my actions, they were genuinely concerned about my safety as well. They said that it was unsafe and unusual for women to travel solo on a bike. But since they also knew me pretty good, they were well aware that I’d never give up on my aims and dreams. And because of that one journey I took, their confidence in me has grown leaps and bounds; they’re fully supportive of my decisions as of now!
WeNomads: What plans are next in your kitty?
Roshini: Well, something really interesting is planned for this June. A thrilling 5 days All Women Biking Trip in Northern part of Thailand covering an approx. distance of 900 kms is on the cards. So, it is going to be a distance of 150-180 kilometers per day.
But there’s a lovely twist to this; it’s a group trip done in association with Viktorianz solely for women bikers and I am leading this trip. I have an appeal from my end to all the women bike enthusiasts here. It would be extremely encouraging and upbeat idea, if more women bikers join the magnificent voyage with me. It is totally worth taking this trip of a lifetime, paving way to meeting up with like-minded women, riding through unfamiliar paths of Thailand, discovering new and novel experiences that lay ahead, surprises that build lasting friendships, the rush of adrenaline that comes along, many crazy stories to carry forward for the generations ahead to be mesmerized!
Solely for the love of travel on bikes, this journey is going to be an added feather in our cap with womenfolk joining along. Apt for all those who strongly believe that the spirit of a vagabond women should never ever be tamed by any means. Break loose with that bike, is what I say ladies!