Common Tread

Meet Shruti Singh, Indian adventurer riding Route 66

Apr 11, 2018

Meet Shruti Singh, an accomplished Indian rider making her way across America on Route 66. Her journey started at RevZilla HQ for some gear and a quick interview with Common Tread. 

Singh's passion is experiencing the world on two wheels, especially on Royal Enfields. When presented with the opportunity to spend a few weeks in the United States for work, she jumped at the chance to extend her stay and ride the length of Route 66. Royal Enfield loaned her a Bullet 500, and after getting geared up here in Philly, she set off on April 7. 

As a diehard Royal Enfield fan, her enthusiasm for the Indian thumpers has taken her to some pretty incredible places… and altitudes. She is the first woman to take a motorcycle over the Marsimik-La, arguably the highest motorable pass in the world at 18,953 feet.

She made that ascent on a Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350, which she’s since converted for racing. It’s no surprise that an adventurous rider from the land of both incredible mountains and Royal Enfield would also have a Himalayan in the garage. In fact, she was the second person in India to get one. In light of our recent reader interest in the Himalayan, I asked her what she thought of the Indian ADV machine.

“It’s really an awesome bike,” she answered without hesitation. “I just got it for riding off-road,” she said. “The dynamics of the bike are so good that you just stand on the bike and go anywhere.”

Shruti's opinions are backed up by experience — experience most of us will never have. She took her Himalayan to the mountains of Nepal and Ladakh (literally, the “land of high passes”), and it didn’t let her down.

Along the way, Singh has learned her share of riding lessons. “One thing I have learned is how to fix my bike in any scenario. Anywhere… in any weather. In the cold, in the heat and sun, I have done it all. We have ridden through the landslides and the floods just to get out of the city. All those little things, they are little learnings. I have made little mistakes and fallen many times riding off-road, taking a motorcycle where it really shouldn’t go. But all these things come together. Every ride has a few little mistakes, but again, that’s the learning. I can go out anywhere now.”

Her Route 66 trip presents a different kind of challenge, but one she’s looking forward to. Singh’s wanted to make the trip since before she even started riding. “It was always in my book,” she said. “I saw, on Fox or something, Route 66 and some Harley guys doing the ride. Then I researched it a little bit. At that time, I didn’t even know how to ride a motorcycle. That was like a long wish, I was like, ‘Someday I’ll ride here!’”

Motorcycles soon became a huge part of her life, and when a work trip brought her to the United States, she realized she could extend her stay and make her dream trip happen. “I thought, ‘OK, this is the best time,’ she said. “I might as well do it!”

To prepare for the trip, Singh made very few changes to her Classic 500. “I got a wide handle[bar] from India. I really don’t want to do the trip with a small one, which becomes difficult to move. A wider handle will help me get adjusted to the bike with more confidence. I also got the mounts from here [RevZilla] to have GPS. The bike is all new and nice for long riding, so it should go pretty well... I have ridden almost 50,000 miles on my Thunderbird and on my Himalayan, almost 19,000. It’s a lot of riding experience. I’m sure I’ll be able to do it. If I have money in my wallet and my phone, I can ride anywhere in the world.”

If you’d like to follow Shruti Singh on her Route 66 trip, she’s documenting the trip on Instagram. She’s already earned the road name “Icey,” thanks to the endless winter we’re experiencing here, but her journey should lead to warmer travels soon. Safe travels, Icey, and thank you for sharing your adventurous spirit with us.