India on a motorbike

The riders with their back-up team PHOTO: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The riders with their back-up team PHOTO: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT  


Four Aussies undertook the Great Indian Ride, from Srinagar to Kanyakumari, and savoured the country's diversity along the way. It concluded in Kochi this week

The first edition of The Great Indian Ride concluded in Kochi this week. For the four Australian riders who undertook the adventure it was a “feast for the senses.” An initiative by Stuart Ball, a rider who has conducted rides in Australia, the Great Indian Ride is to support the programme Plan India that works to avoid child mortality.

The 30 day ride, from Srinagar to Kanyakumari, covering roughly a distance of 60,000 km took the riders, “from top to bottom,” of the country. “It is about starting a relationship with India,” said Rhys Puddicombe, a former diplomat and rider.

For the riders in the age group of 55- 62 it was gruelling effort but they enjoyed every bit of the journey. Though they had heard about poverty in India, they were surprised to see hardly any. The Himalayan stretch, that took them through the spectacular Khardung La Pass in Leh and down to Rishikesh, enthralled them with some amazing sights.

Agra, New Delhi, Khajuraho, Hampi and Kanyakumari were some of the places that the riders broke journey at. “Actually no one place was the highlight. The entire ride has been one,” said Rhys excited on seeing the diversity of India, its colours, cuisine and culture.

Though they were warned of Delhi Belly, they experienced none of it and savoured different cuisines of India all along. The roads varied throughout the journey. From incredibly tough terrain and crowded, narrow roads they were surprised to find themselves on big freeways where they could rev up their Indian made Royal Enfield bikes.

A back-up vehicle, with two mechanics, followed them. They encountered animals on the road, herds and single ones, and also saw many head-on crashes. But this did not dampen their spirits as the rest of the scenery and the friendliness of the people all along was something to cherish.

“People were amazingly friendly,” said Ian Puddicombe. The riders had two boat experiences, one at the Dal Lake in Srinagar and the other, a houseboat on the Vembanad lake. Both were different but very enjoyable, the riders said.

Summing up what they saw on this ‘top to bottom India ride’ was they felt the South was evidently richer than North of India. “People stared at us everywhere we went and wanted to take photographs with us. We were in our riding suits, all padded up and looked strange,” said Rhys.

Their riding distances differed on days but on an average they did 200-300 kms, finishing at Kochi this week.

Prod the group about a special moment and they all unanimously say it was the Taj Mahal. Ä swim in the Ganges at Rishikesh too was a high point.

The other members of the group were Steve Thurecht and Simon Richardson. So satisfied and thrilled are the riders by this maiden trip that they wish to come back again next year, with their families.

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2018 8:07:15 AM |

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