Freedom on Wheels

One would not be lying if he says that the wheels of his motorcycle which used to travel through the roads of cities, villages, mountains, and forests have been inactive for the past two years. As the whole world shut due to the pandemic, this was probably the first time we witnessed roads being locked, state borders being barricaded and travel being restricted to such a large scale. The beginning of the nationwide lockdown did give us doubts if road trips would be possible in the near future and slowly that became a reality as we had to take a long break from motorcycling for almost two years. Life took a new turn where we were forced to live, work and explore within the confined space of our homes. Staying indoors has frustrated all of us irrespective of what our work or lifestyle is and motorcyclists are no exception. Traveling on motorcycles is one of the greatest joys for a rideras it is associated with freedom, exploration, brotherhood, friendships and much more. Riders have sure missed throttling; vrooming their way across highways and the hairpin bends on hill stations. The sight of the changing landscapes such as the majestic mountains, range of valleys, flowing rivers and the dense forests as onecruises on a motorcycle is something every traveller missed during the lockdown.

Everyone would have countless stories to share- experiences, engagement with locals, challenging moments and rides. Right from the highway motels, tea stalls and mechanic shops, a rider comes in contact with these people through the journey. In fact, it is astonishing how one can form such memorable relationships with people we never knew within a short span. It is the bikers and road travellers who give hope for such people to earn their everyday bread. The pandemic did not spare this section of the society, as tourism was one of the worst affected industries globally.

Local businessmen, artisans, shopkeepers, hoteliers, vendors, and local tour guides that bikers meet during their journey form the unorganized sector of the tourism industry. The crisis they underwent reflected the impact motorcyclists have on the businesses and daily earnings of these people. With gradual return of normalcy, travel restrictions are being relaxed with an emphasis on safety precautions and people getting vaccinated. Borders are opening up, encouraging travellers to take their break which they have missed over two years. Unlike airplane, bus or a train, bikes are the safest way for travel since this would involve just two people and they do not come in contact with a larger crowd during the travel time.

Solo rides on a deserted road should not pose much threat to anyone and if it is in groups, a small team of four to five people should be ideal for being safe. The only hiccup would be to assess risk factors such as the rate of community spread in a certain locality and checking the current health mandates with the local public health authorities. Maintaining social distancing and the use of face masks would further strengthen the safety. With better discipline in life and a better health, let us together overcome the darker days, and help boost the tourism industry thereby keeping the passion alive for traveling. Get ready for Freedom 2.0!