Cheers to Soumita Roy Choudhury who ventured out on her own to do what many seasoned riders haven’t attempted, as yet. She got on her Vespa, and rode to Bhutan. Not a ride to be taken lightly, and certainly not on a scooter. Well, think again.
Curious about her choice of vehicle we asked why did you choose a Vespa? In Soumita Roy Choudhury’s words, “Two wheelers give me a feel of speed and freedom, which I cherish the most. I used to ride my friends’ bikes whenever I got a chance. But I wanted to ride something less complicated, and which matches my style too. So after much research, I decided to buy Vespa. It comes with a hardy structure, excellent quality, powerful engine, and great, stylish built. I have come across stories of people who are doing extensive travelling with their Vespa. This inspired me much for my roadtrip with Vespa.
The main difficulties she endured while on the ride to Bhutan was the bad road condition in some stretches of Bengal owing to recent floods. She says travelling is her ultimate motivation for taking up this trip. She has always want to travel to different places, and meet people of different culture. So, she did the best thing. Added her love for travel with her passion for riding, and decided to embark on an adventure.
For those planning to head out, there’s no refueling issues along the route. Fuel stations can be found within distances of 80-100 kms. Nothing seemed difficult, and the group of riders/friends asked locals about the route and nearby fuel stations when without guidance. Group riders rode on four bikes. Bhutan is safe for travelling, even during the nights. People are very helpful, crime rates are low. On the flipside, she advises not to travel solo at night because it was difficult to find people on road after 8pm. In case you lose your way, you won’t be able to ask anyone.
She had been told by many that this trip was impossible on a scooter, and moreover being a girl. That didn’t bother her a bit. Having seen other riders including girls going to extreme places like Khardung La, and doing unimaginable stuff with their Vespa/scooter was all she needed to inspire her. She spoke to fellow scooterists, and learnt that a rider’s mentality can win over any technical limitations.
At first, Soumita’s parents were non-enthusiastic about her long distance riding plans. She says, ‘My mother worries a lot’. But, here is a determined woman. She had her friends for company, which gave her very little cause to worry. And, she’s done it with elan, conviction, and her winning nature shines through. Ladies and gentlemen, Soumita Roy Choudhury is the first Indian woman to ride to Bhutan on a Vespa.
She says, “No matter who you are, a guy or a girl, no matter what you ride, superbike or a scooter, your will, determination and strength can take you anywhere in the world. Believe in yourself. Ride on.”
She Definitely plans to ride to different parts of India, and may be abroad. Her dream ride would be to go to Ladakh and Spiti. Prior to the 1980+ km trip to Bhutan, she rode from Calcutta to Mandarmani, and back, riding a total of 360 kms.
Soumita Roy Choudhury’s route outline and ride dates are as follows. She began her ride at 7:00 am on 1st September, 2017, and returned at 12.30 am on 12th September, 2017.
1st Sep – Kolkata – Raiganj
2nd Sep – Raiganj – Siliguri
3rd Sep – Siliguri – Phuntsholing
4th Sep – Phuntsholing – Tsimasham
5th Sep – Tsimasham – Punakha
6th Sep – Punakha – Paro
8th Sep – Paro Taktsang Trek
9th Sep – Paro – Mendabari
10th Sep – Mendabari – Raiganj
11th Sep – Raiganj – Kolkata
Vespa said it’s against company policy to sponsor such trips. Soumita was on a self funded adventure.
Photo and story credit: Soumita Roy Choudhury. Story source credit: Sourish Meryson.