GNR presents Rider Diaries Part 8

In this edition of Rider Diaries, we have Sonali Mukherji whose love for motorcycles is on another level. Adventurous heart and a fearless attitude have brought her to where she is today. She shares her journey and what it means for her to keep this passion going.

How would you describe yourself?

Always looking for adventure but also making sure to keep safety in mind

When and how did you start motorcycling?

The passion for two wheels was ignited when I was a toddler. Right from the first year. I actively started riding motorcycles from 2013 onwards. 

I always wanted to ride a bike since high school but was held down by society norms of what a girl should do and should not do. I was anchored by ‘log kya kahenge’ attitude. However,  after a few years of staying alone, realized they are anyway gonna talk so let me give them a good reason. Even today I ensure to do what I feel is right but I excuse myself from convincing people about the same.

How many motorbikes have you owned/ridden and what is your longest ride?

I own 2 motorcycles. R15v2 which I call Dhruv and R3 named Adhara. I had also named the bike I rented for a week in North Sikkim – Iskara.

The longest ride was on my R15v2 from Bangalore to Daman. I stopped at many places including Nashik, Lavasa on the way back. This was a 3000 km ride which I completed in a week.

However, the toughest one was North Sikkim for 8 days. It was a mixture of tough offroads, freezing weather, no cellphone reception, and I did not see many people around most of the time. 

How do you plan for a ride? What things do you always pack in your luggage?

I pack my things depending on the season and terrain of the ride. I also take into account the time of sunset and sunrise and other weather conditions.

I always carry cards, cash, a charger, basic medical kit, and essential toiletries. Mosquito repellant spray is a must. A hydration kit and few packets of electral during the ride. Few extra bungee cords for those unexpected moments. Chain cleaner and lube is a must. I also carry extra balaclavas and rain gear.

How do you plan the route? What are your criteria for a good stay?

I have a rough idea of the terrain and weather. The rest is on the go. But I ensure to reach the destination before Sundown especially when Solo. I choose a homestay with good parking for overnight. They are usually managed by the family, so as a female I feel safer and I get to experience the local cuisine and life and learn about the place. For a change, I sometimes stay at Zostels (Relive the college days with music, board games, conversations, books)

What is so empowering about riding a motorcycle?

You got to feel it. If you don’t own it, well you won’t get it.  The satisfaction that you get after a difficult and challenging route is so worth to look back on… In fact, I have passed my lockdown times looking at old ride pictures.

Any takeaways from your motorbike riding experience?

Life is short to brood over mistakes. Take it as a learning and carry on. The world is so vast and so many things to look forward to and enjoy and experience…This realization came in the Ladakh hospital when I was admitted for the day due to low oxygen levels.

Motorbiking is considered a dangerous hobby. What to look out for on the road? How to stay protected?

Look out for median on roads, wrong side folks, drivers going zigzag, stray animals, people behaving like animals… In short, be attentive and keep a margin for other’s mistakes too. Invest in good riding gear to stay protected. Better to buy good gear before than to pay the doctor later. The right safety gears always give you the confidence to give that 100 % and push yourself.

Connect with Sonali here:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sonali.mukherji
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ridewithsonali/

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