As the world slowly awakes from a forced suspended animation of months due to a virus, The Great Independence Ride of 5 friends across 5 countries covering 5,000km in 5 weeks will celebrate a road trip from Singapore to India that seeks to redefine the scope of freedom.
Some of the highlights during the road adventure, included riding on the Formula 1 Track in Singapore; on motorways with no speed Limits in Malaysia; on a 20 lane highway in Myanmar; crossing 69 bridges built by the Japanese during World War II; on the most expensive highway in the world; passing through the Tropic of Cancer; riding through 1,300 km long Asian Highway 1/2 (Tokyo to Afghanistan via Korea – China – Singapore – India – Pakistan).
Five travel enthusiasts, sharing their mutual love for roads and adventure decided to celebrate their nations’ freedom in their own way. This ride was born from an idea to redefine the scope of ‘freedom’ and to experience different cultures, languages, customs and traditions, the enthusiasts said.
The Great Independence Day Ride was flagged off last Independence day, from the Indian Embassy by the Indian High Commissioner in Singapore before Covid hit the world and culminated in India, journeying through Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar.
Nikhil Kashyap told IANS: “Roadtrip is now the new normal since pandemic has redefined how we used to travel. From avoiding public transport and airports to staying indoors with family and close friends, comfortable is the norm. While we all are stuck in our homes, the mini-series Great Independence Ride was conceptualised on the lines of Being Indian, Riding Indian and patriotism as the heart and soul of the trip that honours our great nation”.
“The mini-series offers tribute to the freedom of travel and will hopefully, encourage people to see that the ‘Highway is the New Way’ which goes beyond our borders. Occasionally, people wander from Kashmir to Kanyakumari or take a Road trip to Goa but, we are propelling them to look beyond the borders of our own country and experience the never seen before trip to the lands of Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar by road!”, Kashyap said.
Kashyap said: “The Great Independence Day Ride was an attempt to redefine perceptions across borders, to celebrate independence, savour food, and rejoice music. Road trips let you stop in every small town, learn the history and stories, feel the ground and capture the spirit of the place.”
While on the road, they met various biker groups and many travellers who showed them unexplored parts of their respective countries. Reminiscing the ride, Bhanu Pratap Singh, added, “The most memorable part of the trip was experiencing the feeling of fraternity and brotherhood within the biker communities that we met along the way. Their hospitality and warmth towards us, went beyond our common love for motorcycles.”
The pinnacle of this trip was Myanmar which for the longest time had been closed for tourism. LA based filmmaker Anshuvijay Rode said: “It was a pleasant surprise that while editing these videos, I felt part of the camaraderie of the group and as an added plus, I got to see untouched and uncovered parts of Myanmar.”
The Great Independence Day Ride was shot on mobile phones and has now been documented in its entirety in mini-episodes and will soon be launched as a web series. Each episode encapsulates the bikers’ exploration of exotic destinations, diverse cultures, local communities, updates of highways of all five countries along with food reviews, border formality intricacies and tips on different cultural etiquettes they experienced.
“Patriotism was the heart and soul of the trip. Everyone wanted to do something to honour the Independence Day of our great nation and hence this ride,” the road trip enthusiasts said.