Rider with semi-paralyzed left hand, completes Leh-Kanyakumari in 100 hours
My maiden attempt of K2K ride a year ago ended pre-maturely at Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, due to an accident which left my left hand paralyzed due to Brachial Plexus injury. I had Nerve Transfer surgery and has been recovering slowly. But all the while, I could only think of taking care of the unfinished business of traversing the country’s entire length.
I got back on the bike for the first time after 8 months of accident on July 1st, 2016. My biking instincts were still intact but i had to use my right hand to place my left hand on the handlebar (muscles in my left hand were in wasting condition & just started to recover).
So, I went to Leh again with 3 other riders – R. Govindarajan, Sudeep NS and Ashwin Ram NP. We reached Leh a day before (14-09-2016) on flight (except Ashwin, who rode all the way to Leh from Coimbatore). Our Mahindra Mojo’s were already waiting there for the adventurous trip.
We took rest till afternoon to get ourselves acquainted to the cold weather and spent the rest of the day inspecting the bikes thoroughly. We are all set and fully charged for the Kashmir to Kanyakumari trip.
Having learnt a massive lesson from the previous attempt, we were a bit more cautious this time. My arm hasn’t recovered fully and riding continuous under gruelling circumstances is a tall task. Shoulder arm support band was helping me to ride the bike. Nevertheless, I was mentally prepared to oversee the pain and get the job done.
I have been riding the Mojo between Leh to Manali for the last 3 years (we tested the bike extensively in Kashmir) and I love to ride the Mojo in the Himalayan region.
The Mojo’s large fuel tank helped us reduce the number of fuel stops. The dual headlamps, in addition to the additional foglights, greatly helped us navigate through darkness. We fitted our bikes with GPS tracker to keep a log of our trip.
We started early on 15th September from Leh Police Station, Jammu & kashmir. The inspector knew us from the first attempt and hence the formalities were a breeze. We set off towards the southern tip (Kanyakumari) of the nation from the Himalayas at 5:17 am. It was a big day for us. We are all set to ride from an altitude of 18,000 feet to sea level with temperature throughout the journey varying from 0 to 40 degree Celsius. It’s a true test to our mental and physical strengths. It’s a true test for my Mojo as well but the musculine bike is always ready for the task.
We encountered our first rain as we crossed Upshi. Road was good so we had no issues in maintaining a brisk pace. The first problem we encountered was while crossing Tanglang La. Ashwin’s Mojo suffered a puncture in rear tyre. Despite our weather proof riding gear, trying to work on the tyre freezed us. We managed to inflate the tyre with our hand pump which was no easy task in the chilling weather. Our Iron man Sudeep helped fix the puncture but by the time were are ready to roll, there was a noticeable dip in our energy levels.
The good road ended at Pang and the path towards Sarchu was treacherous. We had to remind ourselves not to relax and focus on negotiation the off-road sections. We took a short nap soon after crossing the famous Zing Zing Bar, Himachal pradesh. We did manage to reach Tandi by 6 pm but due to harsh weather conditions, we were unable to ride hard. We endured thick fog and cold through Rohtang and reached Manali by 10:20 PM with frozen fingers. We packed up the bike and caught much needed sleep for few hours at a road side hotel.
Day 2 started at 5:00 am and we set off towards Delhi. The road till Kullu was pretty decent but after that, it was littered with pot holes all the way Bilaspur. We hit good roads again at Kiratpur on the Chandigarh highway. Govindrajan & Sudeep were riding ahead. I was with Ashwin following them.
We crossed Chandigarh quickly and decided to take a short nap at a Dhaba at 4 pm, some 120 km before Delhi. We started again after an hour and rode through Delhi and reached Noida Express Way. The scorching heat through the day made us dehydrate quickly. So we were riding at moderate speed, reached Agra at 9:30 pm and took a break to refuel and adjust our chains for slack. Ashwin front rim got damage when he landed in a pothole in the city of Agra. Also, he was exhausted completely. So informed him not to take chances and asked him to retire for the day and start again next day early morning. From that point on, I commenced my solo ride at around 11:20 pm and was welcomed by atrocious collection of potholes towards Jhansi. By this time, Govindarajan and Sudeep were already 3 hours ahead of us.
As I closed in Jhansi, I had to battle hard with brain, which wanted to switch-off and rest. I reduced the speed and fought my way to Jhansi at 3:30 am and decided to sleep for an hour at a roadside Dhaba.
Day 3 also started at 5 am for me and fortunately the Jhansi to Sagar highway was good and I was able to cover good distance at a brisk pace. By 1:30, I reached Nagpur which is roughly the mid-point of our journey.
The freezing climate was left behind and now the heat was torturous. I entered Nagpur city mistakenly instead of taking the Hyderabad highway bypass. It turned out to be a big problem and I lost about 1.5 hours while my waterproof riding gear made mey completely dehydrated.
I exited Nagpur with very low energy, but contined to ride towards Adilabad. This seemed to be what caused a heat stroke, so i had to stop at a Dhaba to refresh myself after 50 km of ride. At 7:30 pm, I entered Nirmal, Telangana, with heavy rain. At 10 pm, I found myself in Kamareddy and I was unable to control my sleep. Without pushing my luck, I started sleeping at a bus stop.
I woke up at 1:30 am (day 4) and started riding towards Hyderabad. I wasted huge time in crossing Hyderabad during last attempt so this time, I wanted to cross the city during non-rush hours and by 3:30 am, I had crossed the city & entered the Kurnool highway.
Early morning weather made me shiver, because of heavy rain forcing me to take a break. By 6 am, i was riding towards Kurnool, the place where i met with an accident last time and hence was naturally more cautious. Kurnool came and went by 9 am and I rolled into the city of Bangalore by 2 pm.
The heat was unrelenting and it was challenging to cross Bengaluru. By 4 pm, I made another pit stop at A2B on Hosur road. As usual, Vengpongal and Vadai were delicious. In not time, curious on lookers started enquiring about my K2K ride. Selfies were taken by fans with me and my bike!
Road down south was pretty smooth and fast. I crossed Salem at 7 pm & my chain jump out of the sprocket. I missed to adjust my chain in Bangalore, which created the jump. So an hour was gone. Once I was back on the road ride was smooth as I entered Madurai by 10:40 PM, where I felt the same chain issue& again an hour gone. At 11:50 pm on road moving towards the destination. Fatigue was getting to me and it was a struggle to keep riding but finally, I managed to roll into Kanyakumari at 3:40 am on 19.6.2016.
I was warmly welcomed by Mr. Kathiravan, our Terroiry Service Manager. Govindarajan and Sudeep managed to reach Kanyakumari on 18th afternoon itself. The youngest rider of our lot, Ashwin, also encountered issues with his rear tyres and worn out chain, managed to complete the K2K ride on the evening of 19th.
Here is a summary of our time
1. R Govindarajan – 79.5 hours
2. Sudeep NS – 79.5 hours
3. N. Bhoopathi Raja – 94.5 hours (with left brachial plexus surgery shoulder still not fully recovered).
4. Ashwin Ram N P – 132 hours
My sincere thanks to all my family members, friends and relatives who stood by me when I was trudging the road to recovery. My heartfelt thanks to my soulmate ????? ?.for her everlasting support.
I would like to thank my boss Mr.Govinda Rajan (One of my K2K ride mate) who had supported me a lot in the road to recovery and also encouraged to complete the ride.
At this juncture I would like to thank the efforts of my uncle Dr. V Lenin Babu who provided me with special care and assisted in post-accident surgery and recovery process.
My special thanks to Dr. S. Raja Sabapathy & team, Ganga hospital who provided me with the best medical services and successfully transplanted my nerves in Brachial plexus.
Also my thanks to K2K ride mates Sudeep N Shankarappachar & Ashwin Ram who had same inspiration of transversing #mahindramojo north to south.
Last but not the least all my Mahindra technicians, rider Siva, Nilesh and Nithyanandh Karuppaswamy who had supported me during the trip.