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Posted at: Mar 11, 2018, 1:18 AM; last updated: Mar 11, 2018, 1:18 AM (IST)

The journey of a solo rider

Shahira Naim
The journey  of a solo rider
Gaurav Siddharth, 25, was adjudged the ''Traveller of the Year'' by Wrangler India. He was also awarded a street twin bike worth Rs 8.3 lakh.

Shahira Naim in Lucknow

Inspired by Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, a 23-year-old Lucknow boy Gaurav Siddharth set out on a challenging solo motorcycle journey, with the message of 'swadeshi'. After travelling 1.2 lakh km — a distance roughly three times the earth's circumference — in a year and eight months and a rigorous verification period of nine months, he has made it to the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest motorcycle journey in a single country.

Spreading his message, Gaurav rode a Hero Impulse (UP32GM3367) which had been named Bawri 2.0 with all Indian accessories, equipment, riding gears, GPS, camera, navigation apps and helmet.

When he started his journey from Lucknow on September 17, 2015, he aimed at beating the world record of 80,467 km. While he was in the middle of his journey, US woman Danell Lynn set a new record by riding solo for 85,295 km, covering all US states and three Canadian provinces, on August 29, 2015.

“Lynn’s record made me rethink to chase it or go back home. I called my father, who inspired me to carry on. He also overcamed my worries about resources,” said Gaurav, who covered 29 states, five union territories during his journey.

The entire journey was self-financed despite several offers from corporates as well as Infosys’s founder Narayan Murthy. This was to keep in tune with the idea of active exploration without any commercial goals and learning to survive within limited means,” said Gaurav.

Riding at an average speed of 50-70 kmph for around 7-8 hours a day, Gaurav covered around 200 to 500 km a day subject to the various rules and regulations set by the Guinness authority for the ride.  These included daily GPS logs from a professional GPS device, a video footage of at least 2 minutes every hour, photographic evidence, witness statements, daily and hourly logbooks, bills and receipts of services and goods paid for etc.

As per rules, Gaurav was not allowed to halt at any given place for more than two days and had to maintain zero-route repetition — he was not allowed to take the same road twice.

Gaurav ranked Kashmir as the most picturesque among the places he rode through. He rued that he could not go back to admire some of these beautiful places as he was bounded by rules. 

“First, we refused his desire to embark on such journey, terming it risky. But we gave in to his idea of doing something extraordinary,” says KS Bisht, Gaurav's father and a bank manager. He said, “Gaurav sold the bike and returned the money which I lent him for the journey.”

“For me, the biggest takeaway of the journey is to be grateful for the countless good things and blessings in your life. It is about learning about the country, its citizens and their problems and their spirit to live and help,” said Gaurav, who is now preparing for the civil services.


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