An adage has it that some of the best life lessons can be learnt through travelling and exploration. In one such expedition, a tutor from the apple town Sopore lately returned home from a 5,000 km trip and became the first Kashmiri solo biker to ride from Kashmir to Kanyakumari in eight days.
It was a feted homecoming for a travel-weary biker when he lately returned to his hometown Sopore on his roaring Enfield motorcycle. Just then, word spread: A Sopore tutor has become the first solo biker from the valley to complete the Kashmir-to-Kanyakumari trip.
Today as an adventure story, Sameer Ahmad frequently fares on the media, and inspires many with his travel experiences and explorations. He sits considerate amid the heaps of praises at his home. The newfound fame tailing his twisted trip doesn’t seem to have changed his attitude. Travel, it seems, does teach humility to a person.
But before he would become a biking star in the vale, Sameer had dusted miles, explored different terrains, interacted with varied cultures and experienced both humility and humanity during his expeditions.
When he left home on another biking expedition on July 7, 2018, the set destination and the feat was hardly in his mind. As an adventure rider for the last ten years, he has been constantly hitting the road on his two-wheelers.
But his love for long trips increased when a few years back he bought a Royal Enfield. With his Beast—that he bought by saving money from tuitions—he travelled the length and breadth of the Kashmir Valley, besides making a trip to Wagah.
As part of his passion, he saves a particular amount from his tuition income and spends it on his yearly road trips. Recently, he left home for the Nepal-Bhutan road expedition.
He contacted many of his biker friends and confirmed their participation. But after their eleventh-hour snub disheartened him, Sameer then faced his reluctant family, including his mother, wife and two kids.
But once getting the green signal from his family, he took a friend along and went for the trip. By sundown of July 7, his friend excused himself at Jammu, citing ‘sore tiredness’ and decided to return home.
Oblivious of the twists ahead, Sameer decided to go solo about it.
Many of his friends advised him to come back—fearing uncertain routes and events ahead. But given his meticulous planning, taking a U-turn meant to betray his year-long wanderlust.
Amid scorching sun, as Sameer rode through the plains of Punjab, he badly missed the weather back home. But he continued perspiring and moving ahead. “I wanted to push myself by exploring the road ahead and test my patience level by dealing with different situations,” he says.
By the time, he reached Jalandhar, he motivated some of his social media friends for the trip. But at Delhi, they made him wait for four days. He couldn’t take it anymore, and decided to go solo.
Before leaving Delhi, he learned about the complicated legal formalities needed for hitting Nepal and Bhutan routes. It was then he decided to go to Kanyakumari through the longest route via West coast. On the way to Kanyakumari, he rode through Rajasthan, Gujarat, Mumbai, Hubli and Bangalore.
But at Rajasthan, incessant showers almost pushed him back. He had no idea that rains wouldn’t stop till Hubli. “As I parked my bike along a tea stall in Rajasthan and started sipping tea,” he recalls, “I thought I would resume riding once it stops raining. But the tea-seller grinned and told me, ‘Don’t you know it’s monsoon season’.” Even as the incessant showers threatened to cut short his trip, Sameer continued biking in rain for three days.
The biker would stop at around 10 in the evening and take rest till 3 in the morning, before resuming by 4 in the morning. Except spending a day in Mumbai, he continued biking on his self-sponsored trip on which he happily spent around Rs 50,000. It took him around 8 days to complete the 5,000 km odd distance.
With that, Sameer says, he became the first person to do a K-to-K ride from Kashmir.
“Travelling solo taught me how to talk and deal with unknown people,” he says. “I brought back home thousands of memories.” He’s now planning to go for The Golden Quadrilateral Ride that connects Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai.
But the tutor seems to mainly live by his vocation. Through his social media account, he’s imparting tips and skills to the biking enthusiasts of the valley.
“I want to take people along to create a proper biking club and explore the potential in this field,” Sameer says, confidently. “Together we can do wonders.”
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