“Drinking Life to the Lees” – Ulysses, a modernist novel by James Joyce
I would only seek to interpret this famous quote as “living life to the fullest”. This quote keeps me going as it is explained in the novel, “I too cannot rest from travel”. And travelling on a motorbike entices the magic of life in me, and makes me live life to the fullest.
My name is Rahul Chawla, a common lad from the city of joy, Kolkata. Yes, yes, everyone here is passionate about motorbikes, and I am no different. From playing with motorbike toys to racing the real ones on the streets, I grew up with the dream to tour my country on one.
I have completed the national highway network named The Golden Quadrilateral as well as the K2K (Kanyakumari to Kashmir), solo on my superbike Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R in just 54 days. I covered 10,343kms, to be precise I had to cover 700-900kms maximum in a day. Adapting to the extreme climatic conditions, I completed this dream ride and cherished every bit of it.
This idea of the Pan India tour on a motorbike struck me only after I watched the vlogs of my idol, Mr Sundeep Gajjar aka the MotoGrapher, the CEO of xBhp & Editor of xBhp magazine, completing the Pan India tour on his bike for the 9th time now. I knew I had to get on with it. Desperate to make my dreams a reality, is how I kicked off this journey with flying colours. But was it easy to even think about it? NO!
I asked a lot of moto vloggers and bikers to join me on this grand tour but to no avail. Nobody bought the idea of touring the entire nation on a motorcycle. I was laughed at and ridiculed for even dreaming of attempting such a tour. In the end, all the mockery I endured is what acted as fuel for me to make my dreams a reality.
But then we don’t just have mockers in our life, right? Some people believed in me and supported me by any means possible. I would love to add a few words for my parents Mr Kamal Chawla and Mrs Aparna Chawla, without whom I wouldn’t be the man I am today. They raised me well and taught me to chase my dreams and stand alone if I have to.
My wife Priyanka Chawla, who not only was my biggest support system but, was as crazily dreaming about this ride as I was. Rushali Tandon, my loved one, was a firm believer in my dream, a huge thanks to her for believing in me. I owe this to my family, they stood by my side when nobody did.
Especially thanks to people like Mr Prabhat Singh, and Ms Nija Shastri who showed their support to me during the entire journey in my good and bad times.
I was partially sponsored and funded by Castrol Power1 Ultimate, Joy’s Bike Point, and Awadesh Motor Bike Garage for my ride.
To begin this journey of the Pan India tour I reached out to Mr Shankar Murakka who is the admin of the xBhp Bengal Chapter, he believed in my dream and supported me in connecting to the xBhp, the largest motorcycling platform in India.
Covering the GQ & K2K was the ultimate objective for me as I went on solo on a super sports bike which wasn’t an easy task, to begin with. I was determined to set a record to be the first Indian to do a Pan India Tour on a sports segment motorcycle. Well, the itinerary was as followed:
KOLKATA > BHUBANESWAR > VIJAYAWADA > CHENNAI > BANGALORE > DHANUSHKODI > KANYAKUMARI > TRIVANDRUM > ALLEPPEY > KOCHI > COIMBATORE > OOTY > BANGALORE > GOA > PUNE > MUMBAI > VADODARA > AHMEDABAD > UDAIPUR > JAIPUR > DELHI > CHANDIGARH > JAMMU > KASHMIR > AGRA > LUCKNOW > VARANASI > ASANSOL > KOLKATA
I was motivated to create this amazing itinerary for this ride by following the many vlogs of the tours by Mr Sundeep Gajjar. Although I did make some changes during the tour, mostly I followed the tracks mentioned on the xBhp vlogs.
Beginning of the Grand Tour
My journey started in my city Kolkata where I experienced a great flag-off from one of the groups of bikers of West Bengal, the Tornado Riders. The admins of the Tornado Riders Mr Tushar Chowdhury and Mr Rishav Yadav organized the flag-off in their event called Revolution, which is commenced every year in Kolkata. With the cheering crowd showering love and courage on me, I knew there wasn’t any stopping this journey.
I felt like a free bird soaring high in the sky. I was lost in the essence of the wide array of nature that my country India has been blessed with. Although adapting to the climatic changes was a little harder, the warmth I received from the people all across my country left me awestruck. The magnificent beauty of nature, the beautiful different cultures, the food, I loved every bit of what my country gave me on this ride. I would call myself to be a proud Indian.
But was it all merry and nice? hah, no!
Despite being lured by the diverse cultural beauty of India, there were moments I felt like giving up.
It was the 29th of January 2022, the day I covered 900 km in 19 hours of travelling from Ahmedabad to Delhi. I had to cover this long hour’s journey in a day because I was thrilled to be invited by the MotoGrapher Mr Sundeep Gajjar for the xBhp event of TVS CYBER APACHE.
But an unfortunate incident took place. I was riding at a speed of around 150km/hr when I happened to notice zero weight of my luggage; stopping to see only the most dreadful sight, my luggage was in flames. It was almost in the middle of nowhere. I managed to scrape out a little of what was left of my luggage and was helped by a villager who gave me a sack to put back what I was able to save.
But I was determined to reach my destination. So I rode to Delhi and reached by 10:00 pm. Traumatized by the incident, and the long hours of bike ride my body was torn inside out.
Unable to even drive to a hotel and make reservations, I ended up requesting a café owner to let me a place to crash for the night as I had to attend the event the next morning. And upon attending the event and meeting my idol Mr Sundeep Gajjar in person washed away all the grimness of that unfortunate incident. I am so grateful to have spent an entire day with him.
After reaching Gurgaon, the wiring of my bike needed to be changed. It cost me a heavy sum to service the breakdown of my bike. And also lost a few days of my journey. Then, upon reaching the top of India in Jammu, the oil seals failed. Nonetheless, I am grateful to have completed this ride gracefully.
I always prefer the methods and measures of safety when it comes to riding. And I did the same for this journey. I was clothed in an Alpinestars jacket, pants, shoes, and gloves. I wore the HJC RPHA 11 Helmet. I would suggest the same to you riders, safety on the road is of utmost importance.
And The Journey Ends
Lost in my contemplation of the adventures of this journey I was nothing but grateful for accomplishing my dream. And this I realised on my way back to where it all started, my Amaar Bangla (My Bengal).
Upon entering West Bengal, I was surprised by the celebrations of my journey in the presence of Mr Shankar Murakka in Burdwan. The celebrations continued upon reaching Dankuni, and then with my family and friends. I am blessed to have received an abundance of love from so many people.
There were many incidents on the road where I felt like giving up but talking to myself gave me hope again. And here I am today. My passion served me well, rest is just a myth. Follow your passion.
I would love to say one thing which I learned on this journey, and adapt to my life; “Life is full of problems, we just need to believe in ourselves and sort it”
Chase your dream!
This article was published in the Apr-May’22 Issue of the xBhp Print Magazine.