For the last few days, I’ve been trying to articulate the experience we’ve just had.
It’s kinda one of those once in a lifetime things where ‘you just had to be there’ to appreciate the sheer feat of it all.
I’ve had this dream to ride a motorbike through the Himalayan mountains for the last 7 years and 6 months ago I bit the bullet, booked it and then figured out the how to ride a motorbike part.
Whilst I only ended up with about 600km of on road bike experience prior to setting off, nothing could have prepared me for the adventure that unfolded thanks to Nomadic Knights.
Trust me to not read the fine print. Turns out I’d signed Bob Mp and I up to an extreme off-road motorbike adventure (silly me thought ‘extreme’ was simply referring to the traffic in India – and I’ve been there done that so thought not much of it)
Day one mostly tarmac and some gravely bits: quite pleasant and I started to settle in.
But by day three, after a 10 hour day of full off-road, gravel, water crossings, hairpin bends, dodging trucks, riding on the cliff edge, I realised I’d made the best freaking mistake of my life.
For 14 days straight I had no idea what was coming around each corner (mostly a herd of goats… and definitely always a pothole that could swallow you whole) but with every kilometre I was physically and mentally challenged far and beyond my own capability and wouldn’t change a thing!
We were the complete novices amongst a group of highly experienced riders. I came in last each day, but I definitely wasn’t chasing a podium finish but I can say food tastes better, colours more vibrant after several ‘brushes with death’ on the road 🤣
Yes, I stacked it and ate dirt, 4-5 times that I can remember. I had brushes with traffic that ripped the panniers on my bike – I limped my trusty steed over the finish line on the last day (actually the support crew did – I rode their bike as mine had no brakes after a particularly intimate moment I shared with a concrete wall)
I used to think I loved adventure. But I realised early in this trip that it’s not really about the adventure, but about what being COMPLETELY out of your comfort zone does for your body and mind. It shows you, you are far more capable of what your comfortable life leads you to believe. It re-wires neurons in the brain that create new stories of self – belief and it helps you put into real perspective the things in life that are (or aren’t) worth your time and energy.
After trekking to Everest Base Camp, this was by far the hardest thing I have ever done in my life (and I paid for the pleasure??! Hahahah). The most physically demanding, requiring unshakeable mental focus for some days 14 hours on the road (remember those trucks, goats and potholes? you can’t switch your brain off for a second)
The hardest, but by far the most incredible thing I have done in life so far. Yes it hurt, yes it was cold (and then bloody hot) it was exhausting and most didn’t end with a nice hot shower and soft mattress… but if you asked me if I’d do it all again, I’m already trying to figure out the dates for another ride next year…
Of course the photos don’t do it justice, but I’ll share some of them here because I can’t wait for Facebook memes to remind me of the first time I rode with Alex Pirie, Vidhya and his exceptional team – in years to come!
If you don’t go to the nursing home having scared yourself to half death and bitten off more than you can chew… did you ever really live???
Thakur Ravi Banyal Lovely Sharma Ashraf Khan Ru Ben Andy Matthews Peter Hudec John Blenkin Russell Quilter and the rest of the June 2023 crew.
Roof Of India