Anahita Sriprasad, a 21-year-old visual communication graduate from Manipal University Bengaluru campus, embarked on a solo cycling trip from Kashmir to Kanyaumari. Anahita is, in fact, the first woman cyclist to take the route of NH1 and cover a span of 4,528 km and over 10 states, reports Tripto. Through this journey, Anahita wants to bring to the fore the issue of women’s safety and advocate freedom for women.
“Last year after graduation I went on a solo backpacking trip across India. I did it for a month and after that I went to Kashmir to ski. I came across many people who asked me why I was travelling alone. I wanted to change this perception of women’s safety in India and my sole motive for this solo cycling trip was that if I were to successfully complete this, I might change such thoughts. Even my parents were apprehensive about me going alone as it hasn’t been done by a woman before, but as they saw the response I got, they changed their mind.”
“…I don’t travel at night. I stop cycling around twilight and plan my distances earlier. It’s risky in terms of traffic after sunset. There are many challenges like finding a decent place to stop on highways and there are tough terrains. Sometimes, I get delayed due to harsh traffic. Although I had planned initially, I changed my route halfway through the ride, so now I look at guest-houses and state tourism lodges or family and friends for a pit-stop…” said Anahita.
Recalling an incident on how she’s floored by the hospitality she encountered on her journey, she states, “I was in a small village in Sonmarg, where I had stopped to buy a rope and some people invited me home and introduced me to the women of their house. They were shocked to see a woman cycling alone in Kashmir and insisted I stay for lunch. The inspiration is egging me to go on. The more I explore the places, the more I fall in love with this country. I sometimes wish I could stay at some places and explore further, but I’m bound by time. The best part is that I’ve made a lot of new friends,” reports Deccan Chronicle.
Leading by example, she hopes to encourage more women to step out and fight their fears. It takes guts to take off on a solo cycling expedition across India. That Anahita Sriprasad has hit the pedal not for pleasure but to educate her fellow countrymen only shows that at 21 she’s wiser than her years. In a nation where rapes make headlines every day, it is heartening that the youngster is going the extra mile to change regressive mindsets, reports The Times Of India.
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