XT660R Heaven

XT660R Heaven
Life on the road is fab...

Friday, 11 April 2014

Nepal 2009

Whilst working out in this little country with some of the biggest mountains in the world, I found myself with a spare week... so what else to do but to hire a bike & go for a ride... this turned out to be a bit of a test run for the planned overland from the UK to Asia, I tried out riding in Nepal, it tried me out for dealing with its vagaries & the realities of things like petrol shortages, heavy smoky traffic, foreign signs in a language I will never be able to read etc....

I have to say I loved it, the bike was small, a 175 little Pulsar, Indian or Chinese beastie I'm not really sure, that had the worst seat I have ever encountered, (All is forgiven Mr Suzuki for the shite RF600 razor blade that I rode for a few years as my first big bike), this seat was so uncomfortable & so knackered that I had to stop every 40 miles to let the blood circulate back through my legs to restore feeling!

Pulsar 175
The riding however was ace, I headed west from Katmandu to Pokhara, which was a lesson in fuel problems, once in Pokhara, I was be-friended in a bus stop by a local guy who offered to put me up for the night in his house with his family, he never mentioned the price was half the fuel in my tank, but was very friendly whilst I was there, he worked for an oil company in Iraq & was home for a short period of time before heading back for his next six week stint if I remember right... anyhow, the next day when I set off all refreshed I had to rethink my plans to go over the Baglung Pass & instead head back towards Katmandu in the hopes of finding petrol.

That year there was a petrol shortage in Nepal, this is fairly normal, but this year was even worse as the Maoists were struggling to control their new found power & the whole country was going to the dogs with the changes in government systems.

Classic Nepal - Prayer flags n all...

A little road I turned back on as the river was too deep!

The winding river valley on the way to India
I found fuel in a little place on the side of the road with a long queue of bikes & cars somewhere near Bandipur. Once I'd refilled the tank I reckoned I could get to the Indian Border then head back north towards Katmandu before I ran out again... (There were very few places in Katmandu to refuel & I would have run out of time before I had to join my next group for a trip to the Everest region. So off I headed south, enjoying the freedom of riding a bike on my own in such a foreign country, when the tarmac ran out & I was on a dirt road for a lot of miles, chewing dust from all the lorries, one thing about this road was that it is the major supply road from India to Katmandu, so lorry central really... hey ho... The road ran alongside a huge river that ran south into India, which provided a spectacular backdrop to the ride & provided a lot of hairy bends with wagons of all sizes driven by drug enhanced loonies on a mission to get to their destination & get paid or laid, whichever came first!!

I decided to get off this road & head back towards Katmandu as my fuel was looking like I would only just make it, so at Bharatpur I turned eastwards & headed up a lovely valley road towards Hetaudu & a final up & over to drop into Katmandu. This road was lovely, very little traffic, great valley views & some lovely little villages, I then turned northwards to head towards Daman, which turned out out be a proper hairpin ascent for a very long way, some 50 km or so, where in the dusk light I nearly came to grief meeting a truck on the wrong side of a hairpin with at least a 1000m drop on my side, I managed to swerve & clip my helmet against his wing mirror, then pull over & after the shakes had stopped, I drank some water & carried on.

Hairpin central!!

Several hours later & almost with a truck in my head...
I rode most of that night, not stopping as I couldn't find anywhere I liked the look of to just sleep beside the bike... whilst on the descent I could see the lights of Katmandu miles away in the bottom of the valley & I was very privileged to see a lightning storm track across the valley with some heavy rain in its wake as I was high & dry on my side of the valley... wow...

I reached Katmandu around 6am in the morning, riding straight through the quiet city to the lovely little Tibetan hotel I generally stay at called the Lhasa, hidden in the depths of Thamel. The owner there took one look at me, showed me where to stow the bike in a secure parking & showed me to a room, where I slept for a good 15-20 hours... oh yes I was totally knackered after all that concentration!!

I took the bike back to the hire shop & had to pay for a refill of the tank, (They don't actually refill it though until someone re hires the bike), I had a few photos, some great memories of one of my best rides ever & a truly sore arse from that shite seat!!

One thing I should mention is that this bike never missed a beat in all the miles, the steep uphills, the off road stuff, everything I threw at it it sailed through. It clearly hadn't been serviced in years, the brakes were worse than the ones on my Raleigh Chopper when I was 12 & the seat, well what can I say, it was shite. But this little bike started first time every time, it ran on filthy fuel, crap oil etc etc... it was a fab little thing & I can see why so many are sold over here... why aren't they in Britain I ask??? A great first bike for anybody.

After this trip, one thing I've thought about a few times is the old idea of buying a Royal Enfield Bullet 350 classic & riding back to the UK, there are loads here in Nepal being used daily, they sound fabulous in these little tiny streets surrounded by poxy car horns & little scooter motors.... my searches so far  have found out that it's pretty difficult to buy the bike in India & export it back to the UK without paying loads in shipping, taxes etc... however you can buy one in Nepal for roughly £2500 & then ride it back to the UK...mmm there is a possible trip!!!

Or I guess you could be conventional & just but one in the UK like all the normal folk do, in which case their new cafe racer looks ace!!

Beautiful little toy, only seen one in Britain so far!

mmm more toys to play with!!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.