The allure of the road and the whirr of engines

Sixty years after Jack Kerouac’s counter-culture masterpiece On the Road, the city’s free-spirited are more and more into discovering the sheer joy and pleasure the road can offer.

Biker Srinivasan Kasyap, who has done up to 690 km in a day, said that it is fun to ride when the road is good. “The destination need not be the end; the road itself is worth seeing. You get to meet a lot of people and it helps bond better with your fellow riders,” he said. His recent trip was to Coorg, as part of the Roaring Riders Yezdi Jawa Motorcycle Club, and his next one is to Kolli Hills that is a bikers paradise with 74 hair pin bends.

Long trips by car, even for official purposes, is something that businessman K. Suresh Kumar swears by. “The one thing that I usually do is to plan well ahead and make sure everything is in place. A planned visit will help you enjoy your vacation and when you drive, it is all the more pleasurable,” he said.

Though travel by road has its attendant problems, D. Padmaja said that seeing the countryside while driving is an amazing feeling altogether. “You can make stops wherever you want. I travel in a group since we need others who can drive on highways and also know how to change flat tyres, check oil, know why the car stopped and how to start it again,” she said. “Once in Jordan, we got caught in a fog and had to drive for about six hours to reach our destination, which we would have otherwise reached in two hours,” she recalled.

Vipul Kasera, founder of, a travel portal for weekends and short getaways, said that a majority of their clients went on road trips. “These include individuals, families as well as corporate teams,” he said. The ECR belt is popular among Chennaiites, he said, as well as destinations further away such as Thanjavur, the Ooty-Coonoor belt and Yercaud. Places in Karnataka, such as Bandipur and Kabini, are popular among wildlife enthusiasts and many like driving to Wayanad too, he said.

Mr. Kasera said that while many use their own cars, some clients hire cars from rental companies to drive from place to place. “This is becoming quite popular too, as people prefer to drive on their own — that’s also part of their holiday,” he said.

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