It was 28th January 2010, on my first trip to India riding the ‘Bullet’ from Goa, some 2,000kms, south to Cochin in God’s Country and we were on our way from the incredulous beach huts of Palolem to the splendid RNS Residency Hotel in Murdeshwar some 243kms and a lot of chai down the road.
I will never forget that day for two very good reasons. Firstly, it was my birthday and the first time I had not been at home with family close by. Instead I was on day two of the ride and along with new acquaintances, now firm friends, I was still acclimatising my brain to the continuous onslaught of the wondrous sights, sounds and smells of the most dramatically diverse landscape with idyllic scenery and charming welcomes that I had ever experienced.
It must have been mid-afternoon on a beautifully meandering stretch of tarmac, up in the hills of the Western Ghats after leaving Devanahalli Fort for Kumta, with unimpeded views in every direction and our four-man pod was eagerly snaking along our mapped route around another long sweeping bend when I happened upon an elderly gentleman, with a stick for support, just reaching the middle of the now very narrow road and the other reason I remember that day so vividly. Such was his evident horror and apparent determination in his face to remain upright that I deferred to the wizened figure in my path, veered left so as to avoid injuring him, or worse and the front wheel of my solidly built, 19.8bhp, 350 single cylindered bundle of true joy descended into the storm ditch by the roadside and ejected almost all of me into the ditch retaining only my right foot, at a very uncomfortable angle, under its full weight.
The resulting pain and twisted ankle felt brief thanks to the very swift response of my comrades who, showing real concern
for my welfare, tenderly separated me from my steed. After about twenty minutes of readjusting bike components and reassurances from me that I was truly fit enough to continue we did just that and so it transpired it was one of many similar moments for a few of us during those long, sometimes arduous but tremendously gratifying rides. After we left Kumta the race was, literally, on to get to our refuel point and on to the hotel before dark. So Alex and Rhys started off first, as was the way of things and Martin Cummings and I were on their tail and we set off, soon realising we would have to get our heads down if we had any chance of keeping up with two very experienced riders. For 50kms we put those magnificent Bullets and our lives through the most exhilarating ride I have had to this day. At the fuel stop ahead of everyone else by some 30 minutes the four of us hung around, in the heat, just chatting and joking like a group of kids enjoying themselves, which we were. Just older.
In all the excitement I had completely forgotten about my spill and injury, until we pulled up outside the hotel and I finally got off the bike and put weight on my foot. I nearly exploded in pain. The adrenalin had dried up and my ankle had swollen considerably. I ended up being helped down to see the inimitable ‘Doc’ at his regular evening clinic who dispensed me back to my room with an ice pack and some strong tablets with orders to keep my foot up and stay put. Good advice on any normal day. Just not on my birthday in a hotel with no alcohol and with everyone else crossing the bay to a monumental outdoor feast in a restaurant with plenty of beer!
DAVID’S ADVENTURE TIP
Enjoy every experience to the full whilst applying caution along the way. Trust your friends to watch your back as you would watch theirs and be ready to help if called upon. It said on the tin that India would throw everything at you in all guises and it does right through the spectrum of senses. Through pleasure and pain it beats anything you have seen before but definitely should not be taken with your feet up alone. It’s a tablet I would dispense to anyone.
ABOUT ‘ADVENTURER’S TALES’
A compilation of recollections in celebration of 10 years of Adventure Ashram, ‘Adventurer’s Tales’ is a true celebration of a decade of purposeful adventure by our charity partner Adventure Ashram, a small but mighty charity.
Complete with some great adventure tips, it not only provides handy pointers for when out ‘on the road’, but also some thought-provoking insights into the heart and spirit of adventure. Written with humour, passion and integrity, this wonderful book is a fine tribute to 10 years of Adventure Ashram. Click here to buy a copy.
If you are planning an adventure with Nomadic Knights, please consider raising funds for one of Adventure Ashram’s projects and help to make a difference to the people and places you explore. Anyone planning an adventure can choose to support Adventure Ashram.