Themilemuncher – Biker diaries of a solo traveller
Here’s our latest feature on a businessman who loves to explore the world on his own terms on his motorcycle. The Lifestyle Portal caught up with Rakshit Makkar, a 25-year-old solo traveller from Chandigarh, who after having worked at Mphasis (an HP company) for two years has joined his family business. He firmly believes in the motto “You were not born just to pay bills and die” that prompts him to travel far and wide on his favourite motorcycle.
The Lifestyle Portal lives for travel and likes to seek inspiration from people who love to travel. We had a chat with Rakshit about his love for going solo in his biking expeditions and about his life, read on to know more…
How did it all begin?
Even though he learned to ride at the age of 11, Rakshit’s first Sunday ride happened during the first year of college when he was 18. He joined the CHANDIGARH RIDERS BREAKFAST RUN (CRBR), formed by a group of friends who started riding together. The group regularly organises Sunday rides via Facebook. Usually, the group strength is around 15-25 motorcycles, where anyone can join in at their own expense. It all started with those usual Sunday rides with a group of 15-20 people, where one breakdown meant everyone had to stop, which bothered him a lot. That’s when Rakshit realised that, “Solo travelling for me is all about freedom where I can stop anywhere I want and admire the views at my own pace and leisure.”
His prized possession
“My first motorcycle was gifted to me by my parents on my 18th birthday when I got a driving license, although my second motorcycle was something I bought on my own. The reason I bought a motorcycle was that from my childhood itself, motorcycles have always excited me more than anything else, and of course my riding tales started from my college days,” smiles Rakshit.
His initial investment was for Rs 30,000 approx. which includes: A riding jacket from Cramster: Rs 6500, Riding pants from Rjays: Rs 5500, Gloves from Crasmter: Rs 2700, Helmet from MT Helmets: Rs 6500, Shoes from RE: Rs 6500 etc. “I currently own a Bajaj Pulsar 180 and recently in November 2015 I got myself a KTM Duke 390. KTM is believed to be a poor man’s superbike which is undoubtedly the best motorcycle in this segment with 44bhp of power and very pocket-friendly in terms of maintenance as well,” adds Rakshit.
The most important challenge that he faced while travelling solo was during a breakdown and the second one is getting a cheap accommodation. “Few websites like MakeMyTrip and goibibo can get your rooms at cheaper prices else you have to hunt them on your own. In the case of minor breakdowns I always carry puncture kit, extra clutch and throttle wires along with a tool and puncture kit,” explains Rakshit.
“On my first trip to Mumbai, while coming back I was suffering from severe fungal infection so I had to take a break at Bharuch (GJ). I was short of money, and the cheapest room I could find was for Rs 1,500 and it was already 10 pm at night so I bought one. The worst breakdown I witnessed was during my second road trip to Mumbai where my bike keys got stolen from a dhaba in Gandhinagar. I had to get a new lock set made and on the very next day, front rim of my motorcycle broke at 4 am in the morning just 70kms from Surat. Although I was lucky that one of my friend Sonu Joshi was riding with me, so he helped me financially at that point of time.
What makes solo biking so unique?
Rakshit loves to explore places less travelled and he makes sure he gets some good pictures and yes interacting with local people helps him to get good content for stories to share. He also documents his travels on his Instagram and Facebook accounts as well. He’s been to Mumbai, Leh-Ladakh, Nepal and Spiti twice on my motorcycle. Been there to Jaipur, Udaipur, Ajmer, Pushkar and Bikaner in Rajasthan. Since Himachal Pradesh is very close from my place, I visit it frequently, I’ve been to Shimla, Narkanda (18 times), Chanshal Pass, Manali, Dalhousie, Chamba, Trithan valley, Rampur, Chhitkul, Kinnaur and like almost 90% of Himachal. Kashmir has to be the most beautiful place ever; rest I’m yet to explore South and East India,” adds Rakshit. Although Lahaul-Spiti Valley remains the most favourite destination of mine.
Lessons learned from solo travelling
“I’ve learnt to be patient very patient indeed and the best thing travelling has done to me is how not to be materialistic. From last three years, I’ve reduced my expenses on new clothes, shoes etc. I now save money and travel or invest money in collecting helmets” smiles Rakshit.
According to him, solo travelling is growing very fast in India; and you can see the rise of solo travellers and backpackers on Instagram. “There’s a lot of difference here in India and other countries, here we still have some family and job restrictions. What I’ve seen among travellers from other countries is, that they generally work for 2-2.5 years and then leave their job, travel to their favourite country for few months and then get back to work again,” adds Rakshit.
He’s a huge big fan of @abhiandnow (Abhinav Chandel), he lives in Mcleodganj and his writings are a total bliss. Another account I follow is @bruisedpassports, Savi & Vaid a beautiful couple who are currently on a world tour.
Where to next?
Does he have plans to explore a new region soon? Rakshit tells us, “I seriously don’t make plans to travel, it happens within 2-3 days; I just pack my stuff, start my motorcycle and leave. My next target is to cover Bhutan and Sikkim, whenever I’ll get a chance I’ll travel these two destinations first.”
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