We live in a world where posting your opinion online, about the way things function in todayÛªs society has become a very normal thing. We fail to realize that the majority of us stop with just that and rarely proceed to actually deal with the issue by taking action. Meet Anahita, an avid cyclist and outdoor enthusiast with an interesting take on the state of womenÛªs safety in India. What she decides to do about this will blow your mind.
Read our interview with the girl who has decided to cycle the whole length of India, alone to promote womenÛªs safety.
Q.åÊTell us a little bit about yourself and your interests and passions.åÊ
IÛªm Anahita Sriprasad, a 21 year old, basically from Bangalore, based in Chennai. I am a Visual Communication graduate from Manipal University, specializing in film making and editing. I am passionate about traveling, which led me to my first solo backpacking trip across parts of India, last November. This in turn sparked a few more outdoor interests ÛÒ I went to Kashmir in JanuaryåÊåÊto learn how to ski, and ended up doing an outdoor adventure course, due to the snowfall being delayed this year. Eventually, I went on to complete two levels of Skiing by March. I am a keen Û÷outdoorÛª person I and enjoy walking, trekking and swimming. Being passionate about cycling, I make it a point to cycle whenever and wherever I can.
Q. How did you get into cycling and how has your journey been so far?åÊAs a travel enthusiast what are some of the interesting rides you have been on?
Cycling started as something I did when I wanted to go around the corner, say to the shop. But over time I realized that I really enjoyed cycling and began to use the cycle a lot more often, for more than just Û÷a ride to the local grocery storeÛª. So I started using my cycle more often and on longer rides, just... to cycle! Ever since then, cycling has been my most favourite activity and sport.
On weekends when my sister is in town we tend to cycle down to Mahabalipuram. There is one ride in particular that I remember quite well. It was our second ride to Mahabs and we ended up leaving later than weÛªd planned so on our way there, we got all the Sun possible, accompanied with pretty strong head wind... so it took us a while (and lot of water and electoral) to get there.
We decided to have a bite there and head back after chilling for a bit. As we were finishing up, the sky went grey and the horizon was covered in rain clouds being blown to the land and as we put on our helmets and started pedalling out of Mahabs, down came rain. We decided to get on with our ride and cycle back to Chennai, this time with rain and... Tail wind! åÊI remember this ride vividly due to the weather being at two extremes, in the span of a single ride.
Q.åÊAs an avid cyclist, tell us about the upcoming ride you are doing to promote women's safety while travelling? Why did you choose cycling as a means to contribute to this cause?
During my backpacking trip and my trip to Kashmir (I went solo both times), one thing I heard a lot was, ÛÏyouÛªre a girl, traveling alone? It is very unsafe!Û It was around this time that the idea to cycle from Leh to Kanyakumari struck my brain. What I plan to do is to cycle solo from Leh to Kanyakumari while documenting it (using a mounted sports action camera), and make a short video/film (that promotes womenÛªs safety) from the clips I get while cycling as well as interacting with people along the way.åÊCycling is something that is close to my heart, and so is womenÛªs safety and promoting cycling among Indian women, so I think this is the best way I can put them all together.åÊåÊAlso, the idea (and execution, IÛªm sure) of cycling from Leh to Kanyakumari is extremely challenging and it motivates me to put my best foot forward and put my hardest efforts in successfully completing it.
Q.åÊWhat cycle do you currently ride? And will you be using the same for the ride as well?
I currently own a Hercules terminator v. 2 (non-geared) which I use frequently for intercity cycling and I use a Schwinn lent to me by my cousin, to train on for the trip. However, I will need to buy a cycle for the upcoming trip, and I am looking for one for the same.
Q.åÊWhat message would you have for the Indian cyclists and those who are looking to get into the habit of cycling?
The cycling community in India is rapidly growing. With many more bikes visible on the roads, not just in the morning, but during the day as well... with the rise in people cycling to work, school and college as well and I think that it is an amazing thing to see!
To people who are looking to get into the habit of cycling IÛªd like to say that they should close their eyes, and just get on a cycle, for cycling is a habit one will never regret starting. Start out slow and steady, and cycling grows on you, it really does!
Q.åÊHow can people contribute to this ride to show their love and support?åÊ
I am trying to crowd fund the trip by raising funds via a crowd funding platform. To support the ride and cause, I have a fund raising campaign on Indiegogo, where one can contribute anything they'd like to.åÊ
To follow the ride and progress, I have a Facebook page too.
åÊÛÏKeep riding, dream big and achieve bigger! ÛÏ