The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Wheels turn for riot relief

‘Bikers’ — leather jackets, boots and all — may be known more as rebels without a cause. Try this on for size: 12 young men on motorcycles, zooming across the country on a 30-day, 10,116-km tour. It’s a Ride 4 Peace and Unity and the youngest of them all is a Class XII student from Calcutta.

Indrajeet Sen, of Calcutta International School, is revving up — along with 11 other biking enthusiasts from across the country — for the month-long trip that will touch most states in India. The members of the Delhi-based Out There Adventurers have come together for an adventure with a cause. Tying up with ActionAid India, the proceeds from the ride will go to those rendered homeless by the riots in Gujarat.

The commerce student is also the designated photographer for the trip. “For the most part, I will be riding pillion, taking pictures for the documentation of the journey,” explains Indrajeet, who has only a few camping trips as a child to show for prior experience of the adventurous kind.

Six Enfields and 12 riders, accompanied by a van with emergency supplies, will set off from Delhi on December 21. First, they will be off to Chandigarh and Shimla, on a 351-km leg. After Dehra Dun, there is a halt in Lucknow, followed by Patna, and then, Calcutta.

A day’s rest later, the city will flag them off to Bhubaneswar and Raipur, then to Nagpur, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Chennai, Tiruchirapalli, Thiruvananthapuram, Coimbatore, Bangalore, Panaji, Mumbai, Indore and Bhopal. Then, the biking dozen hits Gujarat, at Gandhinagar. Finally, after Jodhpur and Jaipur. They are back to Delhi on January 20.

Meets to spread the message are lined up at a few of the state capitals. But the team has already hit a roadblock in the form of lack of funds for the project. “We thought we would put up in hotels in the cities where we are pausing, but we will probably put up tents or stay at military camps,” says Indrajeet.

The boy, who also works with human rights bodies, stumbled across the cross-country project much by chance. “I had signed up as a member of the organisations ‘e-group’, and when I heard of the trip, I just had to go,” he recalls.

It wasn’t easy convincing his parents to let him go on what is the young man’s first trip alone away from home. “They were very apprehensive, because they felt it was dangerous. But then they agreed to let me go.”

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