TO KASHMIR, MORE THAN 10,000 KM ASTRIDE SR 150

TO KASHMIR, MORE THAN 10,000 KM ASTRIDE SR 150

More than 10 thousand km in 40 days, crossing through 15 states of the great India with temperatures from 50°c to -10°c, even touching the Himalayas. The ride of a 24-year-old engineer with a taste for challenge.

Wide magazine received the first E-mail on 4 June 2019: “Hi, my name is Adithya Nagarajan from Chennai (Adyar, in the federal state of Tamil Nadu, in Southeast India); I (on a scooter) along with two of my friends (on motorbikes) have planned a trip on two wheels with a destination of Leh Ladakh (in the desert of the Himalaya mountain, in the federal state of Jammu and Kashmir, Northern India). I decided to take my Aprilia SR 150 on this scooter adventure, never before attempted in Southern India. My intention was to allow thousands and thousands of people to see this fantastic Aprilia on the road, thereby increasing awareness and visibility of the brand.” In his next E-mail in August, Nagarajan writes: “I have successfully completed the undertaking and I returned safe and sound to my native city on 13 July. I am sending you the story of the trip with the photos.”

THE REPORT. “This is a brief summary of my trip, from Chennai (Adyar) to Kashmir (Ladakh) on my Aprilia SR 150 scooter. A scooter is certainly not often seen on the rough terrain of the Kashmir and the Himalayas. During my ride, the motorbikes did not attract as much attention as my scooter, because they are a more commonly used means of transportation for road trips. I even received some criticism and sarcastic suggestions at the start: for example, I was told that I should take a rope so it would be easy for me to be towed (!). I did not need a rope! On the other hand, many people took photos with me and my scooter, perhaps thinking that I would not be able to make the return trip. Well, we did it! About 10,000 km on the road all across India in 40 days, to places where it was the first time they had ever seen this scooter.
I departed from Chennai (Tamil Nadu, India) on 4 June 2019 and returned on 13 July 2019. We travelled through about 15 states (Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Harayana, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir (now divided), Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andra Pradesh and Telangana. The drastic temperature changes - from 50°C in Rajasthan to -10°C in Ladakh - did not keep us from completing this undertaking. We had the opportunity to experience different foods, cultures and traditions as we travelled throughout India. An unforgettable experience.”

THE PROTAGONIST. “I am 24 years old and I live in Chennai (a city in Tamil Nadu, in the southern part of India). I am a mechanical engineer and I have worked in various sectors after my degree. I began my career at McKinsey and Company as Business Presentation Specialist and then I worked in a car workshop (precisely to learn about cars in detail) as Service Technician/Advisor. Then I worked at Amazon as a data associate. I purchased my Aprilia SR 150 scooter in February 2018, because it was the only scooter with a 150cc engine in India.

I also like to collect vintage scooters… Many people in Northern India have taken road trips using the Aprilia SR 150, but no one in Southern India (Northern and Southern India are about 2,500 km apart). I can proudly say that I am the only person to have travelled astride an APRILIA SR 150 from the south of India and to have reached Jammu and Kashmir, the northernmost point of India on the road. I could have hired a motorbike for my ride, but instead I wanted my daily travel companion... you know, vehicle owners develop some type of bond with their vehicles. And to think that all the bikes, even the ones specifically designed for rough terrain, had some problem during the trip, whereas my Aprilia scooter worked great and had no problems.

People looked on in wonder and stopped me to take a photo with my scooter, because it is impossible to see this type of vehicle on the snowy Himalaya and Kashmir mountains. And when they see my number plate, they realise that I have come from the far south of India, crossing about 3,000 km, and they are even more astonished. I had the opportunity to experience different cultures, foods, traditions and languages, going from one State to another. The best moment of the ride? Reaching the highest road in the world: Kardhung La (the alpine pass in the Ladakh mountain chain, 18,379 feet above sea level, equal to more than 5,600 metres). A true undertaking.”

And he concludes: “I would like my next trip to be international, because I think that it would be very exciting to cross a national border and it would give me a chance to experience even more different cultural changes. But for this, I will need a vehicle with a larger engine capacity. I would like to have an Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 or a Caponord, but it would take years for me to save up the money. I would very much like to collaborate with Aprilia and Piaggio to test the durability of their vehicles on the different terrain where I travelled. Not only the terrain: the drastic weather change from 50°C in Rajasthan to -10°C in Ladakh was also a challenge for me and for my scooter.” A challenge that was brilliantly faced and overcome!