Bitten by the travel bug and with a message in his bag, a Jamshedpur boy will embark on an adventurous solo bike trip on Saturday to the cool and calamitous climes of Leh.
Akash Das (24), a systems engineer with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in Sakchi, will ride 7,000km on his 150cc Hero Hunk to reach the Jammu and Kashmir district, which is the second largest in the country, to promote road safety as well as the potential of adventure tourism.
The Sonari resident will vroom to Ranchi early morning on Saturday, criss-cross Barhi, Varanasi, Agra, New Delhi, Ludhiana, Pathankot and Srinagar to reach his destination. He is all geared up for the adrenaline rush through possible rain and landslides, slippery-as-hell roads, sub-zero Celsius and huffing for oxygen at 11,562ft.
“I am confident that my burly companion (the 150cc bike) will withstand the rigours of the trip. I have packed in all safety gear — protective jacket with spine, elbow, shoulder and knee guards and my riding gloves. I know it will be an arduous journey, but the cause of promoting safety on roads compensates for all the trouble,” Akash told The Telegraph in Jamshedpur on Friday.
The alumnus of Jamshedpur Public School will halt at various places en route to meet people and tell them how important it is to ride safe. “Most people in our country and in my city ignore traffic laws. They put their own lives and that of others at risk. Accidents happen every day (see box). I cannot sit idle and watch blood spill. I want to tell people how one can have an adventure even while staying safe,” the youth said, pointing out that the Indian tourism industry’s potential also lay in thrills and spills.
According to Akash, the approximate distance between Jamshedpur and Leh is 7,000km. “I am aware of the hardships on the way and will take them on my stride,” said the thrill junkie who has made several solo bike trips, including Calcutta-Sikkim, Calcutta-Varanasi, Jamshedpur-Visakhapatnam, Vellakovil-Ooty and Vellakovil-Madurai.
Akash, who had his bike rechecked at an auto shop on Friday, said he expected to reach Leh on June 14 or 15. “It all depends on the weather. The temperature will be around minus 6°C in Dras (a town in Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir often called the gateway to Ladakh). I will be based in Leh and then also travel to nearby places with my message,” he said. The return trip via Rohtang Pass, Manali and New Delhi will bring the boy home to Jamshedpur on June 30.
Barring his luggage — a saddle bag at the rear of the two-wheeler and a tank bag in front — that are sponsored by ViaTerra Gear, Akash is paying from his own pocket for fuel, food and lodging. “I think my budget will be around Rs 70,000 for the trip. But the cause of road safety will be worth it,” Akash added.