Sonia Jain – an avid rider, a passionate traveler and a fitness enthusiast from Delhi, swears to be unconventional in her life. A motto she believes in so strongly- one can see her left arm inked affirming ‘Dare to be different’ in Japanese.
While all her peers are engaged with daily predictable routines, Sonia choses to be different especially in a country like ours where women are usually confined to certain boundaries.
With an innate desire to travel, she has covered the length and breadth of the country on two wheels. In September 2016, she completed a 21-day motorcycle ride from Shimla to Ooty – with MTV’s bike adventure reality show – ‘MTV Chase The Monsoon’. Post that, she set on to another adventure on the Lahaul Spiti trail for 30 days in the month of October 2016.
In her quest to explore the world on two wheels, Sonia shares some of her experiences of riding across Rajasthan and experiences which made this week long ride so special and memorable to her.
21st Nov 9:00 AM, New Delhi: Sonia sets on a 6-Day 6-City 1900 km ride across Rajasthan on a Triumph Tiger covering some of the most beautiful, scenic and historic places like Pushkar, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Longewala , Bikaner and Jaipur. Sonia shares “The very thought of experiencing the roads, people, culture, traditions, food, forts, landscapes, camels, deserts etc got me all excited from the first day I started to chalk down my route for this trip ”
The ride started from the Triumph Motorcycles Showroom in Delhi on a Triumph Speed Triple 1050 cc which she rode on till Jaipur. “Riding the street triple naked motorcycle for 250+ Kms distance was my first time on such a bike. The pick-up, torque and the overall performance of the bike was excellent. Maneuvering a 1050cc bike in the traffic was surprisingly smooth and the engine did not heat up too – which is a common thing with higher cc motorcycles” states Sonia.
Day 2 6:00 AM, Jaipur: Pit stop Jaipur, Sonia picks up the much awaited Triumph Tiger to continue her journey further. Setting forth towards Pushkar, Sonia was joined by the Triumph team to accompany her for a breakfast run “With fellow like-minded riders along with two Triumph Tigers- it was a perfect pack to cruise on the beautiful roads and with no traffic, the real limits of the motorcycles were put to test and were well enjoyed at the same time” says Sonia.
An early morning long ride, coupled with invigorating breeze, scenic landscapes and the very sound of Truimph Tiger was such bliss that she missed the sign boards leading to Pushkar – only to realize that Jodhpur was only 100 km ahead. “Having had a hectic ride on Day 1 and completing a 21-km Airtel Delhi Half Marathon a day before, I rather had a stiff start to this journey and then this happens!” shares Sonia “. But being the traveler that she is – instead of getting back to Pushkar, she decided to continue towards Jodhpur – which seemingly was not something that she had planned in her itinerary earlier. And as they say- “Unplanned journeys are always better than the planned ones” – Keeping this spirit in mind, Sonia sets forward to Jodhpur.
Day 3 Jodhpur, Mehrangarh fort: After a long ride, the experience of being at the largest forts in India – standing tall on a high cliff above the skyline of Jodhpur – was something else to experience. One must not miss the camel ride around the fort which in itself was fun. How often does one get to sit on a camel in Delhi after all.
After the camel rides and exploring the mesmerizing fort of Mehrangarh , Sonia set further to her journey to Jaisalmer. “I got my hands on to my most favorite Rajasathani food – Sangria Ki Sabzi with Dal Baati Churma – yum! My mouth still waters thinking about it” she gushes. “Interacting with the village kids and people whenever I’d park my bike and learning about their lives and daily routine are some good memories to cherish. I could see their faces beaming with amazement as to how a girl who looks Indian and speaks good Hindi, is happily chatting with the locals – rides such a big bike with no pillion rider. Especially the kids were overjoyed to see and meet me and kept asking me ‘ Didi humein bhi chalaney do , humko bhi ghoomna hai ’. I felt I did inspire a few of them to go beyond the conventions and to #LiveLife and #JustRide. Their smiles sure got me more kicked about what I was doing with my life and this journey “ expresses Sonia who feels that one can experience the real essence of Rajasthan and its true culture by interacting with the locals.
Talking about the challenges she faces being a woman who rides a motorcycle, Sonia says that it takes a lot of convincing and assurance to friends & family. “I have to work really hard on my endurance and riding skills as compared to my male counterparts. Being a woman rider in India, I need to be extremely conscious about safety at all times because I know for a fact that I will not be able to ride for long if I am not safe and that’s a scenario I would never want to put myself into” states Sonia.
Well, one can never stop a traveler from doing what they are supposed to do, right? Longewala was awaiting her.
Day 4 Jaisalmer and Longewala:
“I remember sitting next to the bike for almost two hours – just to see the sunrise in the clear blue skies of Jaisalmer. Recollecting the experiences that I had in the last 3 days and thinking about what the later part of this journey holds for me – I just could not stop smiling. At that time – I was quite content with the journey and how it shaped up so far” shares Sonia.
Longewala was a breath of fresh air. Riding through the city, one can spot colorful cafes, the orange tinted fort, traditional artwork on street walls, colorful dupattas and traditional Rajasthani attires of vibrant colors on people. This is when you realize that the state’s tourism tagline ‘The incredible state of Rajasthan’ holds true. It really was incredible” recollects Sonia.
Longewala was the farthest point of Sonia’s ride where the weather was heating up, dehydration setting in making her stop every 50 km. With the current tensions going on with our neighboring country, visitors were not allowed beyond the check post due to security issues. The closest point that one could reach is 20 km near till the border.
Day 5, Bikaner: “Having to ride 400 odd kms, I started early morning and covered good 200kms non stop through some of the best scenic roads cutting through the desert. At the pitstop, I came across this Fanta looking like local drink in a coke bottle. Some times on the road we need to take chances and I did try it. It was good but still I don’t know what it actually was. Reaching Bikaner in the evening I visited the oldest market near the kote gate, tried some Bajre ki roti desi ghee, ghud and churma desert. This was my last night in Rajasthan and being a little nostalgic I got reminded of dad who use to make me churma always whenever I didn’t like the food prepared at home”.
Day 6, Back to Delhi via Haryana: Sonia says many thoughts were running on her mind with the amazing time and experiences she had. “I realized that in our country, every 100 kms things are different and beautiful. The food, the language, people, perceptions and almost every other thing. When I entered Haryana, I found cucumber which I didn’t find in the entire state of Rajasthan. I didn’t see any flies in Rajasthan and 3km Haryana stretch was filled with flies.
Fitting luggage on the speed triple where my saddle bag was burnt a little, managing cash during this demonetization time, riding through some harsh weather conditions all only added to my experience of Rajasthan and with the names like pink city, golden city, blue city.. Yes! All of this made it a colorful ride indeed. I am back in the city and I am already planning my next travel plans and adventures. When you’re back home thinking about having lived a life you had always wanted, you say it to yourself- Yes I did #LiveLife
To other women of this country, Sonia says “There is a lot of perseverance, hard work, consistency and patience behind every picture or a video I captured on this journey. I had my own ups and downs to overcome and accomplish this road trip where I brought Rajasthan through my eyes riding a motorcycle. Working daily for hours and sometimes into the nights, sending mails or making calls it took a lot to ride my dream super bike for 6 days and I did it. If I could, anyone else could excel in their fields or go beyond conventions to live a life they always wanted to”.
Article submitted by Sonia Jain