The 9th edition of Royal Enfield Himalayan Odyssey reveals that biking is not just about physical endurance

It was a pleasurable summer morning on Saturday last when around 60 biking enthusiasts gathered at India Gate for a trip that most of them would later admit, “only comes once in a lifetime.” They would be covering a total distance of 2,560 kilometres to reach their destination – Khardung La, the world’s highest motorable road, and return to the Capital.

As summer thumps the Indian subcontinent, the Himalayan passes are cleared of snow and the roads are motorable, thus opening up for travellers bundling hopes of a great adventure in mind. And it is also the time for a bunch of Royal Enfield enthusiasts to ride on the legendary Manali-Leh highway to get to Khardung La in the form of “Himalayan Odyssey”.

This year marked the 9th edition of Royal Enfield Himalayan Odyssey 2012 in which a group of around 60 bikers from different parts of the country took up the journey from the Capital to touch the daring heights of 18,380 feet at Khardung La, to meet Leh and finally, return to Delhi on July 8.

“Not everyone is allowed to take part in this rally. I am glad that I had been registered and could finally see my dream come true. To go to Ladakh and come back is the ultimate biker’s dream and that is why so many people from various professions participate, not for their personal gain but for the sheer ecstasy and passion of biking,” said a 65-year-old G.R Krishnan, the eldest rider of the journey.

Approaching retirement, Krishnan, an Income Tax officer from Mumbai, oozed in abundance an ‘I-don’t-give-a-damn’ attitude. Krishnan always wanted to ride the ranges in Ladakh and was happy that he could manage to accomplish this. “I am intensely passionate and excited about the trip and we are all driven by the same craze. As for my age, I really don’t care,” he said.

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