Motorcycle Diaries


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News from India and beyond

Welcome to The Motorcycle Diaries - A blog of my journey around India and beyond. I will be sharing not only my experiences but also my global co-ordinates so you can literally 'ride along'. Simply copy the co-ordinates into the "fly to" line in Google Earth.

Blog Date Co-ordinates

I'm in Delhi, my final destination in India before I head to Honk Kong for a week to meet Jane. I dont think i have fully understood Delhi yet - it appears to be one lareg amalgamation of everything I have seen so far in all the other places. I am not used to being in such a large Indian city let alone a nations Capital. My trip to Delhi from Agra started off frantically after I realised at the train station that I had left my camera in my hotel room. I went all the way back to see if it was stil there. A cleaner had found it and handed it in. I was so relieved as it has so many memories stored on there. My relief soon turned to absolute gratitude to this guy who's honesty was amazing given that he could have fed his family for a year for what that camera was worth. It was a very humbling moment for me and a true sign of just how giving these people are even though many have nothing.

Delhi is an incredible place with real depth and character to it. I still cant get used to the hard sell all the time with teh constant 'Hello Friend' , "Rick shaw Rick Shaw" , "Buy Buy Buy" and people grabbing you. I dont take to it kindly in the UK so this I find hard to deal wityh and have admitadly lost my temper on a few occassions.

I have visited the usual sights - Red Fort (28 39.338 N , 077 14.525 E) and Humayans Tomb (28 35.663 N , 077 15.013 E) but to be honest I am pretty bored of this Mughal stuff which is essentially the glorification of warriers and rulers who died 400 years ago. I wish I could get to see something that is more modern which I can relate to. It was therefore a real pleasure to visit the Indria Gandhi memorial created at the very house she was assasinated at in 1984. (28 36.025 N , 072 12.371 E) It was a really moving display of the history and tragedy of this family who pratically invented modern day Indian politics. Seeing this museunm/memorial gave me a much better understanding of why India is as it is today. Amazingly presented - Slightly gruesome in displayng the blood stained Sari she was wearing that night and the shredded clothes that her son was wearing when he was also assasinated. Picture and co-ordinates are off the most amazing modern day temple I have seen. It is a Bahain temple constructed in 1986 to serve its global 6.3m followers It gets its inspiration from a Lotus flower.

24-03-2007 28 03.191 N , 077 15.550 E

Delhi by night


said in my blog of 18 March that I would get bored very quickly in Pushkar and true to my word the boredom set in very quickly. I just couldn’t see the point of me being there as it was so touristy that I felt more like I was in Tel Aviv than India. Far too many Israelis, wanna be hippies and shops with very little Indian culture on offer. My only problem was how do I get out of this place – there are only 2 trains a week to my next destination (Agra), the next one being 3 days away which would have driven me insane. I was so desperate that I booked a bus ticket instead which I vowed I would never do after my experience of the bus ride from Udaipur to Jodphur but this was a sign of how much I felt I had to get out of there.

The journey couldn’t have been any worse! With only 200km top cover you wonder why the journey takes 10hrs but you need to factor in Indian efficiency which leaves you sitting around at the roadside for 5 hrs and the roads (if you can call them that) that shake the buses to pieces. It was in lots of ‘bits in pieces’ that I arrived in Agra at 7am and was shocked by the poverty on the roads coming into the city. This is the city that houses one of the most symbolic icons of love (Taj Mahal) yet I could see no evidence of love for the people on the fringes of the city. Streets were lined with people ‘dropping their waste’ which created one big giant pool of effluent that these people were living in and getting their water from. Before I came to India I knew I had to prepare myself for the poverty but I have been affected dramatically by what I have seen. It makes you angry and you start to question humanity when you see the degree of absolute destitution that these people live in. this is a nation that boasts about its nuclear capability which probably costs billions of $ yet cant even provide real assistance to these people. The previous day in Pushkar I picked up and Indian business magazine and there were plenty of businessmen and politicians in there raving about India’s growth prospects and IT sectors but very little mention on the appalling state of welfare of many of its citizens. who live on an average of 4 pounds a week. Sorry to rant and rave but I think it is important that people realize just how bad it is out here. There are many beautiful things to see and the people are amazing and you must definitely come here. I truly hope that India puts in resurgence and prosperity back into its people otherwise I cant see the country lasting more than 20 years.

Ok – rant over and onto the topic you really want to hear about – the Taj Mahal. I’m going to controversial on this one. I have to admit to being slightly disappointed when seeing it for the first time. It could well have been a symptom of the tiredness and the anger of the bus journey but I could help feeling like I had been sold a PR story. Don’t get me wrong - The Taj is a technical masterpiece – completely flawless and an outstanding piece of engineering for a building constructed 400 years ago. However – I have had the pleasure of traveling to other places in India and from my perspective, I have seen sites that far exceed the Taj in their beauty – be it natural or man made. Take Jodphur for example and the blue blanket that the houses of the city creates (see 16-03-07 blog entry) – this effect was generated by a spontaneous action with a defined purpose and the outcome is something special. The Meharang Fort at Jodphur (16-03-07) is not as aesthetically as beautiful as the Taj but its sheer size and construction and the presence that it holds in the city is again something special. 400 years ago Porche’s, blonde bimbos , or certain Swedish devices were not readily available...... so instead they built the Taj. I am open to debate on this so feel free to chuck insults back - no fatwas please!

21-03-2007 27 10.469 N , 078 02.528 E

My plans were to head to Jaipur from Jodphur but after speaking to a few people they had nothing but bad things to say about the former so I head to Pushkar – a small spiritual village that surrounds a beautiful lake. This is the lake where Ghandis ashes were scattered and given its holy location PSA’s (public signs of affection) are banned along with certain dairy products.. Before I even set off for Puskar I have an unforgettable experience at the train station. I arrive at 6.45 am at Jodphur station and experience the Indian way of queuing for a train ticket – a mass riot with every man for himself pushing their way to the front screaming and shouting. Women, children and men are fighting with each other. I turn off the British personality switch which dictates that we wait for our turn patiently and jump into the sea of chaos with my large backpack and motorcycle helmet doubling up as a battering ram. When in Rome and all that……..I must confess that it was strangely enjoyable and suggest that us Brits adopt it at our major railway stations.

Pushkar is a quaint little place has not escaped the tourist trap especially the Israelis who outnumber even the locals. There are infinite Falafel stands with signs in Hebrew and even the staff speak Hebrew. Its very chilled here but I can see myself getting bored very easily so will see how long I can stick it out.

The photo is taken from the rooftop of the building I am staying in.

18-03-2007 26 29.351 N , 074 33.241 E

Today was what I would call a ‘nothing’ day. A combination of extreme heat and tiredness meant that sight seeing was kept to a minimum. I took a wasted trip out of the city to another palace which in fact just hosted the Liz Hurley wedding last week. (see photo) It is a now a top hotel but access to non guests was severely restricted. I was reminded just how wide the gap is between the rich and poor of India. You have this magnificent palace which the Meharagh of Jodphur resides in 2 minutes down the road a ‘tent city’ where his staff live. They revere this man as if he is god and therefore work for many months often not being paid. The conditions these people live in is awful. It’s a shame Liz and Arun didn’t donate a fraction of the reported $3m wedding to these people. I spent the rest of the day 8hrs in fact o the roof of my oasis with a great book I just got second hand ‘100 years of Solitude’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. A must read!


Arrived in Jodphur after a long and sleepless overnight journey. Purchased a ‘sleeper’ ticket on a coach in the belief that I would sleep right through. I was wrong. The sleeper section is essentially an arrangement of fish tanks connected to the walls of the bus which is great in principle but as the roads are s bumpy here you just get thrown around in the ‘tank’. Arrived at 4am and had the usual hassle with tuk tuk drivers who get paid good commission for taking you to certain hotels and so make every attempt to not take you to where you want to by telling you incorrect information about your intended destination. I is very frustrating especially at 4am. I end up finding my own place along with an Aussie guy. We were so desperate we crash at a havelli –a guest house which has been opened by a family. It is only the next day when I wake up that I realize what a dive this place is and at 300RP = 4 pounds its not cheap! I can smell pee on the sheets (not mine). I have a word with the owner (Anwar Nivas) and he breaks into some story about how nice his place is that Hollywood movie stars stay here! What I joke I’m thinking until he brings out a photo album with a picture of Oscar winner Adrian Brody and actor Owen Wilson sitting down at the very spot we are chatting at. Adrian and Owen –you might like staying in flea infested piss holes but I have standards so I pack up and fine a lovely place round the corner – thank god for the lonely planet guide book.

Jodphur is a fort city with houses coloured an amazing blue to keep the mosquitoes and heat at bay. The effect on the eye is amazing (see photo).


Jodphur is most famous for the Meharanghs fort which stands at the top of a hill which the city circles below. It was built in the 16th century and unlike Castles in Europe which are designed primarily with security in mind the Meharangh fort goes much beyond this. The result is a magnificent palace with incredible Rajastan designs on the interior and exterior. The structure itself is unbelievable in is size and beauty. (see photo)


By sheer luck I stumbled across a beautiful rooftop restaurant in the heart of the city at the foot of the fort and overlooking the city. It was like an oasis with beautiful lawn and water fountains. You could hear the hustle and bustle below and then the prayer calls across the city as the sun was going down. These sounds are enchanting and give you a real sense of the spirituality of India and its people. (see photo)


No content with planes, trains, motorbikes or feet, I took an amazing 4 hr horse ride experience in the mountain ranges that surround the city. I was picked up and taken from hotel to ranch by motorcycle which was interesting as these nutty drivers had been the scourge of my earlier motorbike trip and now I was stuck with one as he wizzed out of the city at high speed with no regard for blind corners or oncoming traffic. It was a unique psychological perspective into my old foe – basically they have no fear. What will be will be!

The horse ride was magical – In the true style of Indian Health and Safety regulations I was given a 20 second introduction to riding, was given a horse, and rode into moutnains with the guide leading. Ok so it wasnt fast riding but I was in full control of the horse which felt great. A truly memorable experience.


One of the many spectacular views on my horse ride.


My favourite view in Udaipur

15-03-2007 24 34.822 N , 073 40.952 E

Was awoken early today at 6am by something crawling across my face. After some energetic arm flapping and jumping up and down like a girl I see a big spider nonchalantly sitting on my bed ……albeit nonchalantly squashed. Guess who will be sleeping with the lights on this evening. Luckily I was saved by an unlikely source – Emilio Estevez in the form of Mighty Ducks the movie on TV – a great way to get over the emotion of having my worst nightmare come true.

Hired a tuk tuk driver to take me around town to see the new city which was verging on the boring parks, puppet museum etc until I heard of a classic car exhibition in town. The collection is owned by the King of Udaipur – a collection of 22 antique cars with the centre piece a Rolls Royce Phantom II (1934) – the very one used in the Octopussy movie (see photo). The rest of the day spent milling around the town and its lake.

In the evening, I retired to my favourite spot in the city (see co-ordinates)– a rooftop restaurant that I stumbled across which has a sunset balcony overlooking lake and city and which serves great food. I sit there for a few hours reading my book watching the sun go down and then over diner watch Octopussy on the roof. Its interesting watching the movie and recognizing all the sights I have seen over the past 2 days.

14-03-2007 24 34.822 N , 073 40.952 E

My favourite place in the city (Udaipur) - on the rooftop watching the sun go down over the city and mountains.

14-03-2007 24 34.822 N , 073 40.952 E

After a 21 hr jouney involving 2 cars, 2 planes and a train I am in Udaipur – a magical city set around a lake. This place is like the Morocco of India – lots of small winding streets witrh colourful buildings and rooftop terraces with mountain scenery. I visited the local grand palace inhabited by the Kind of Udaipur and took a rickshaw to Moonsooon Palace at teh top of the mountain to watch the sun setting. This derelict ‘palace’ was the location for the Bond Octopussy film with Roger Moore which explains why every hotel here shows it every night at 7pm! Tonight i went to a cultural event (yes I do that as well as sunbathing !) and saw a mixture of dance and puppetry. The highlight was woman dancing on broken glass with 8 pots balancing on her head (see photo). Whilst impressive it made me wonder whether she had dreamed of such a career when she was a child or whether its something you just drift into ? Maybe they run HND courses at the local college ? I may enrol. Co-ordinates are of city palace

13-03-2007 24 34.591 N , 073 41.036 E

3 days have passed and I cant get out of this place. Varkala is very addictive. A combination of sun, stunning scenery, great food, nice people and yoga make it hard to leave. The vibe is so relaxed – wake up- do yoga- have breakfast overlooking cliff, go to beach – read book and sunbath – eat pinapple on beach – have shower – do yoga - shower ‘alfresco style’, eat great food, meet amazing people from all over the world – go to sleep in Beach Hut listening to waves crash on the beach. But If i dont get out now, I never will !

At Trivardrium airport waiting for 1st flight to Mumbai where i will take a connection to Ahmadebad to catch an overnight train to Udaipur in the north. The cab driver nearly killed me several times and then had the cheek to ask for a tip which I obliged ‘ My tip is give up driving’ I said and stormed off into airport departures.

On second flight from Mumbai to Ahmadebad I got talking to a really interesting 70yr old lady (sanita). We talked about her kids – both in US doind Phd’s and her appeareance in the Supreme Court of India during a lawsuit she had against Lever Pharmaceuticals of the UK. Thats the thing about travelling on your own. AT times it can be lonely but you are more inclined to start up conversation with randoms to avoid your own insantity. Tonight on the flight it was a 70yr old woman and last night it was a Chilean and a Swede. No agenda- just opena dn honest easy chats.

I am really tired and am tempted to stay in Ahmadebad but the lady on my flight advises me otherwise – she is right. Ahmadebad is a vile place. It is my firts experience of a Northern city. The first thing you notice is that the weather is a lot cooler. Drivig standards are strangely calmer but poverty is rife. So i am gertting the overnight train (top bunk sleeper) to Udaipur. Picture is of me and my bed for teh night on the train. Am mixed in a room with a lovely Indian couple and their 2 month old daughter. Again a random person who I have a really interesting and long chat with – we have some time to kill. Co-rdinates are at Ahmadebad station

12-03-2007 23 01.545 N , 072 36.010 E

Woke up early for yoga – yes yoga ! Whilst hanging out with the hippies i thought I would give it a go and see what Madge (madonna) and Co make all the fuss about. It was actually very energetic. The best part was the teacher. He was a small Indian version of John Travolta in Saturday Night fever with slick back quiffed hair and tight pressed trousres with a vest top and moustache. Having said that, most Indian men look like this ! There was a mixture of breathing and strteching excercise’s but the group all started laughing upon being instructed to ‘pretend you are the greatest dancer and close your eyes and dance with a smile’. We all took a peep at the instructor who clearly had push play on the Beegees track. He knew we were laughing but just carried on dancing like a true pro.

Had an interesting chat with some Indian guys in our resort about relationships – the rules and regulations. Its mind boggling just how different western cultures are to theirs. In India by law in most regions it is illegal to book a room with a woman if it is not your wife or sister. When you want to marry a girl you has to ask your father who then asks the womans father – No means No!

Picture is of me chillimg outside my crib

11-03-2007 08 44.180N 076 42.149 E

I have made the 4.5hr train journey to Varkala - a hippie beach hang out in the south of Kerala – it has dramatic cliff top views from the accomodation and the beach is beautiful. Whilst I enjoy doing the sight seeing stuff iufelt I really needed to re-coup from the bike journey and this is the perfect place to do it. I would love to have seen what this place was like in its original hippie days in the 60’s and 70’s – any hippies out there ? With 30 minutes of arriving I bump into Fraser from the boat trip and am re-united with the boat gang plus a few other friends from the enduro. I have managed to blag a great beach hut on cliff top with a private ‘alfresco’ bathroom. It is slightly more than I was paying in Cochin but at 10 pounds a night I have little complaints. It is a special Ayurvedic huit with scents and a glow in the dark ceiling. Tonight I am partying with the gang after a fresh fish dinner whilst watching the sun go down from the cliff top. Someone has to do it and hell if its got to be me so be it !

10-03-2007 08 44.180 N , 076 42.149 E

Today I headed to the Jewish quarter where I discovered the most beautiful synangogue (09 57.441 N , 076 15.566 E) which was built in the 16th century and serves a community of 13 jews making it the oldest serving Synangogue in the Commonwealth. The lady at the front desk had a distinct fusion of Jewish and indian features which must have been passed down over hundreds of years. Photography wasn't allowed inside which is a shame although i did sneak a few cheeky photos in the courtyard. The floor tiles were imported from china and chandeliers from Belgium - just beautiful. It was heartening to see (as a jew) in front of me just how far reaching the diasporah of Jews has been.

All around you see the architectual influnce of foreign cultures but also the technological influences. The Chinse fishing nets were introduced to this region by the Portugese in the 17th century yet are still being used today - they work on a counterweight system and require four men to operate.Seeing them in action was a real spectacle. (see photos and co-ordinates)

08-03-2007 09 58.156 N , 076 14.604 E

Synagogue in Fort Cochin. The area is aptly named 'Jew Town'.

08-03-2007 09 57.441 N , 076 15.566 E

The colonial history is very evident in Fort Cochin. A red post box with kids playing cricket and football in the background. Yoy could almost be in any park in the UK......although the weather is slightly better!


I am missing riding the bike and get nostalgic every time I see a Royal Enfield. Thsi particular bike thinks that it is a BMW!


After 2 wonderful nights my boat journey has come to an end. After the previous nights bad sleep I requested to sleep outside on the deck underneath the stars with the elements. The crew arranged a huge mosquito net so that I wouldn be savaged and it was incredible falling and waking up in such awesome surroundings.

I arranged for the boat to drop of us at Allepey a good transit point so that we could make our way on. The 4 others are heading to Varkela but I have decided to go on my own - I am kinda looking forward to my own space and getting out there and exploring. I have decided to take the train as an experience although I have to wait 3 hrs for the next one. Just got back from train station toilet (hole in ground) and whilst i was doing teh biz managed to drop sunglasses down the hole. What would you do if your 200 quid Pradas did the same thing? I'll let you use your immagination.

Arrived in Fort Cochin and found somewhere to stay for 300 ruppees about 3 pounds 50. - It aint the Ritz but hey this is all part of teh fun of travelling.......I hope.

07-03-2007 09 29.076 N , 076 19.477 E

I heard that the Queen Mary II ship (the worlds largest cruise liner) had pulled into Fort Cohin so headed down to the dock. The local people are mesmerized by it and are all trying to get close. It was indicative that they were not allowed into the harbour area next to the ship and were being jostled by police yet I as a white man was allowed to wander around freely. It is very evident here that the white man commands respect from the authorities such as the police and the as if we are still ruling this place. Its quite an embarrasing situation although fascinating from a hostorical perspective which I will investigating tommorrow.


Cruising buddies - Me, Jenny, Racheal, Fraser and Steph


Kerala Backwaters


I didnt sleep to well - saw a cockroach just before i went to bed and it freaked me out - i have a real phobia about them -ZzzZZzzzzzzz. At least the scenery is good. The photo is of me in control of the ship doing the grand speed of 5 mph. What a speed freak.

06-03-2007 09 25.510 N , 076 22.505 E

After many requests - The Motorcycle Diaries is continuing its journey around India albeit on foot and public transport. I will try to keep it you as entertained as possible.

now the motorcycle trip is finally over i am on my own :( and making my way around India up to Delhi trying to absorb as much as possible in a relatively short time of 4 weeks.

After the ride we had one chill day before all the others head off back home. As we are in Kerala I thought i would take the opportunity to take a house boat trip for 2 days as a way of winding down after the euphoria of the bike ride. These boats travel up and down the Kerala backwaters and are a must do. I randomly got speaking to someone where we were staying who owned a boat but it was too expensive to hire on my own. I had spoken to a realy cool South African guy (Fraser) on the enduro trip who said that his wife was joining him after the trip and might be interested. After getting a yes form them we managed to get 2 other people on board and the boat picked us up from the jetty outside our hotel. The boat was beautiful and we are spening 2 nights and 3 wonderful days being treated like kings by three staff ( a ratio of 2:1 ) for as little as 25 pounds per night. We have just pulled up (see co-ordinates)to moor for the evening and are chilling with drinks on the sun lounger watching the sunset - perfect.

05-03-2007 09 32.872 N , 076 26.085 E

Now that I have finished this trip I want to thank the following people (in no particular order) who have helped me complete this challenge with their donations, use of the g-bay service, or advice:

Hannah B, Dave Goodhew Susannah Gomes, David Levy, Nancy Tenenbaum, Sarah Parry, Andy Naylor Amanda Maddox, Micheal Gois, Daniel Nahari, Helen Levy Dani Silvert, Dee Zand, Warren Young, James Greenfield, Ashley Blake, Mark Woolfson, Keith Martin, Tim Gore, Ortal Woolfson, Miles Terry, Stella Terry, Roselle (my haridresser), Amanda Gore, Ed & Paula Gois, Elka De Wit, Barbara (New Zealand), Scott Simmons, Ellie Pettit, Marielle Davis, Dan Lowen, Ben Curtis, Emma Viner, Matt Garcia, Raymond Walters,

An extra special thanks must be reserved for the following:
Andy McGarty: The G-bay site would not be up and running if it wasn’t for this man – a very talented programmer and good friend.
Jane Gois: Bitz numero um do mundo! I Wouldn’t have succeeded without you. Thank you for your support- it cannot be quantified.
Avril Conway (My Mum): Not only because she is my mum but because she is also a special friend. And lets face it – I wouldn’t be here without her!
Laura Conway: My sis – and inspiration since I was born – if you need proof of someone who has succeeded in the face of adversity then she is it.
Gerry Conway: (My Dad): Although no longer here with us, it is from him that I inherited a sense of adventure, individualism and stubborn determination.


Day 11 – Last Day
Well folks its finally over and what a day to end it. This was by no means a particular interesting ride (albeit the winding roads did cause a few casualties) but everyone was feeling really nervous and emotional about their last day on the bike. We drove 192 km from Thakkady to Koltayam. On any other day everyone goes at their own pace but because it was planned to meet up and ride the last 20km together the pace was set as very fast. I nearly had a very bad accident near in to the day – going round a left hand bend I was a bit wide and had a car heading towards me. I think I suffered a bit from fixation targeting when you just don’t react until I swerved and luckily he swerved in the opposite direction. I ended up down a ditched unscathed – I prayed that I would get to the end. It would be disastrous if I didn’t finish after everything I have gone through so far. Unfortunately one guy didn’t make it to the end on his bike. A few kilometers to go in town he hit someone and came off his bike and has broken a vertebrae meaning he is in hospital and confined to a bed for 3 weeks until they can airlift him out. This guy was an official photographer who rode with us and was very experienced rider so was a reminder of just how dangerous this trip has been. You may look at the beautiful scenery I have posted in my blog and think that we have been pottering about on a bike for 2 weeks but I can sincerely say that this is the most dangerous activity I have ever done. It is certainly the most challenging. Riding the bike is probably only 50% of the challenge – the rest is the battle with the heat, illness and exhaustion from getting up at 6am every day. Would I do it again? I really don’t know and probably wont do till I get home and am watching crap TV with the rain trapping me inside the flat. I really didn’t believe that it would be this difficult and that opinion is shared by others on this tour. So about 20km from the end we pull up at a Suzuki garage (09 36.553 N , 076 31.940 E)to regroup. It was quite emotional at this stage as there were wives and children here waiting to greet. I got to thank Paul’s (homeopathy) wife for her pills and we waited about 1hr for the rest of the group to arrive. Once 140 were in and counted we headed into town with a police escort. The noise and traffic chaos that 140 bikes produce is unbelievable and we bought the small town to a standstill. Riders had dressed up their bikes and everyone in town came out to see us and wave as we went by. It was emotional – this was our last 20km and so much had happened since we started. I couldn’t believe that this was the last 20km I was going to ride on my beloved Giselle. My group of guys (Ian, Kenny, Damian and Alan) rode together as we had done for the previous 2000km and pulled into our final destination where the bikes were jammed in together. Clutch in- neutral gear – ignition off – journey over L We were greeted by Indian music and refreshments and even two elephants (see photos) and everyone was congratulating each other and there were a few tears – not by me of course!

03-03-2007 09 37.662 N , 076 25.494 E

Me and The Gang at the end. from left to right ( Ian, Me, Kenny, Alan, Damian)


Giselle 2000km +


The final resting place


Day 10
Munnar - Thekkady. This was really a day not to remember as I was feeling really ill. I have had 'Delhi Belly' three times already even though i am eating 'safe'. This was 100km drive byt felt like 1000km. i couldnt wit to get to hotel and pass out in bed with my dehydration tablets and Immodium - yumee. As I have nothing to really say about the day I thought i would fill you in on the people on this trip and my thoughts. Although there are 140 riders we dont ride together - we are given directions and everyone goes at their own pace. I have teamed up with 5 other guys. Alan, Ian, Kenny, and Damian. Such nice guys - in their 40's and each characters in their own way. They have been great to me and after my accident I drive in number 2 so they can keep an eye on me. I spend most time socialising with these guys. I have met some other really nice people. On the day I was injured a guy (paul) offered me some homeopathy tablets which his wife had made him bring. I'm convinced that it reduced the swelling and infact his wife is meeting us at the end so I must say thanks to her. There is such a mixture of people here - its a shame that more people my age dont do this - i dont know why? My other disappointment is that so many of the guys out here seem only look forward to the drinks piss up at the next stop. As I am not a big drinker it excludes you from some of the social activity as it is all concentrated around drink. I'm not being a prude just wish that there was more on offer at evenings except a bar!

02-03-2007 09 34.823 N , 077 10.622 E

Day 9 Today I have experienced the most incredible journey on the planet. After yesterdays 3hr ride up the mountain we went in the opposite direction down the hill. It was spectacular seeing our journey yesterday from this new perspective. When you are riding up hill your main focus and sight is into the hill and you have to expend a lot more concentration and energy as you work the bike up. Downhill is so much easier and the bike glides you down so more time to look and enjoy the views. I am so surprised to find how cultivated and green India is. I often associated India with barren lands which of course it has but in many of the places we have been in and around there are vast swathes of green pastures despite strong heat. Our next stage of this 189km journey took us into the Chinnur Wildlife Sanctuary 10 18.856 N , 077 11.549 E and then into the Munnar hills which are India’s largest tea plantation 10 12.860 N , 077 07.939 E. This place is like heaven on earth. The colours and smells are like nothing I have ever experienced. Apart from the never ending lush tea leaf bushes that form a uniform sea of green there thousands of other plants wrapping the mountain side. It is something quite spectacular and although this is a short stage in the enduro it takes longer than the 300km sector the other day as people cant go longer than 50 yards without having to keep stopping for another photo as every corner reveals something special. There are many famous routes in the world that get thrown around as ‘must do’ trips but today’s route must most definitely be up there with the Gold Coast, Route 1, Pacific Highway etc. I’m privileged to have done this and whilst this India trip will always be remembered, today will be considered a special day. Unfortunately the computer I am at is so old it doesn’t have USB so cant load up photos L Will load them up at later date.

01-03-2007 10 05.215 N , 077 03.979 E

Me me me - enjoying the views. Wish you were here - no really i do! ;)


Going offraod through the national park.


Day 8
Today was a day of pure contrasts. We leave the beauty and chillness of our jungle retreat at 7am for a 300km trip – the longest segment in the trip and are on the road for 10hrs. The first 100km was incredible but bloody freezing as we wind through tea plantations that look like a beautiful perfect sea of green. There are 72 hairpin bends in just the first 20km which might convey the type of riding we are doing. Unfortunately Giselle decides that she cant handle this and packs up – the clutch is completely worn out – testament to the types of road we are riding. I leave her and jump on spare bike and immediately burn myself on exhaust pipe which is red hot – another injury. The next 100km is through desert – the heat is unbearable – we all are getting so dehydrated and drained by it and wonder is it worth it. Absolutely – what awaits us is 4hr trip into the mountains. I cannot describe the views - I have run out of superlatives. Just look at photos. Nuff said. You will be pleased to hear however that Giselle is well. A new clutch and she will be back on road tommorrow :) Picture is of my burn - yeeks

28-02-2007 10 16.225 N , 77 29.277 E

The amazing tea plantations


Check out these views - awesome especially when driving on a bike


Giselle broken down at roadside :9 Its ok - she was all fixed by the next day


Day 7
I have taken this rest day to do exactly that and just sit by the pool, stare into mountains and read a book. We needed the break because tomorrow we have a mammoth 300km ride. So chilled and have done nothing so nothing really to write except to say again how amazing our tree house is! Slept like a baby and was awoken by the birds and roar of an elephant and beautiful breeze. Oh yes – I almost forgot – connected to the resort we are on is a religious festival which we went to last night which happens only once a year. It is to worship one of the Hindu gods and is one massive carnival. Saw some of the strangest things I have ever seen. A guinea pig that was doing tarrrot card reading, a goat that walked up a vertical ladder. As we are the only white people amongst 250000 people we become part of the freak show and everyone wants to talk to us – they are so amazed by us and cameras – but in the most polite and non threatening way. Picture is of my tree house again – sorry to gloat!

27-02-2007 11 31.821 N , 076 38.497 E

Today is a short ride of 110km from Mysore to a jungle retreat that we are staying at for 2 nights for a break We hadn’t even gone 1km when Irish Al in our group hits a cow at 40km/h dead straight on. Cows are sacred animals in India so he literally had to be rescued from the mob crowd that were literally going to kick his arse. In the end the organizers after some pushing and shoving paid out 10000 Rupees about 120 pounds as compensation. This was then proceeded by the owner slitting the cows throat at the side of the road. You may not be laughing now but what if I told you Al is a dairy farmer. No joke – of all the people to hit the cow the dairy farmer does it. It has the whole group laughing for 110km. He now has a cow stuck to his bike as a reminder. We’re all still in hysterics about it and he is finding it quite embarrassing. What can I say about the accommodation!! We are staying in Bandipur National park and in true Conway luck I have been allocated to one of only 2 tree houses. It is amazing – 45 feet up with running water power shower and electrics and is fully made of bamboo and supported by tree. – we even have a gate! The backdrop is mountains and I can hear elephants and see deer running outside – we even have a swimming pool. Out of 140 people only 6 got allocated these tree huts so we are very lucky – the pictures don’t do it justice. Check them out at

26-02-2007 11 31.794 N , 076 38.430 E

Day 5
Today has to be the funniest day so far. Didn’t sleep last night cos we were sharing a room with ‘Big Al’ the 25st Northern Irishmen who I cant understand a word he says. His snoring is so loud I thought Pakistan had hit the nuclear button. It was like nothing I have ever heard. We headed out at 8pm up the mountains and through the fog. The morning ride is always the best because the air is so clean and we have the roads to ourselves before the chaos ensues. The ride today was 250km but most was spent on the motorway at speeds averaging 100km/h which is pretty scary. What is incredible is passing a family of 4 at 70km/h who are on one motorbike. Mother with her legs of the side with baby in her hands and son on handlebars. We finally get to Mysore a city with colonial history – its strange because its the first time we have seen traffic lights in 1200 kilometers. Took a tuk-tuk into the town palace – every Sunday between 8pm and 9pm they light up the palace with 94,000 lights – see photo which is something spectacular.

25-02-2007 12 18.713 N , 076 38.604 E

End Day 4
This has to of been the hardest day of the ride so far. Not so much the distance but a lot of it was off road and in very difficult conditions where roads are practically non existent. We even had one rider go off the cliff – he is fine! We are in the mountains in Kelasa around 2600 ft – the air is so clean and beautiful. I’m so tired though I’m going to go to bed at 7.30pm. Although we have ridden a lot in the mountain ranges every experience has been different. The diversity of the land is such that you can be driving 10km up a hill then flat for 5km and then down for 30km the colors are also always changing all the time so you never got bored. The picture is off a beautiful lake we jumped into on the way – when you have been driving for 8hrs the temptation to jump in is too much – luckily no crocs here. On the way through some of the small towns you always get interest from the locals particularly the children who run out and wave and hold there hand out so when you go past you give them a hi 5 – its v cool! Have also been handing out pens – a simple gift back home but they go crazy for them as they are not readily available. Many speak amazing English and always come and shale your hand. They are so intelligent – whilst the UK is producing a nation of chavs this country with its pitiful resources manages to educate kids to such an amazing standard. They work 6 days a week and even go to night school. I asked one kid what he wanted to be when he grew up – he said a Western fashion designer. I was so embarrassed when he asked how much my Prada sunglasses were. Enough to feed a family out here for months. Nevertheless what these people lack in material items they make up for with their special quality. Not sure quite what it is yet – a mixture of unlimited positive energy and hard work ethos.

24-02-2007 13 12.678 N , 075 20.709 E

Day 4 More spectacular views


The beautiful Giselle - admiring the views


Day 3 This has to be the best ride so far – simply incredible. Just close your eyes and imagine the most beautiful mountain ranges with a windy empty road with just me and my bike cruising along with sun beaming down – simply awesome. As a biker this is a real treat as you don’t get anything like this in London. Primrose hill just doesn’t cut it. I was a bit nervous today going out on bike after yesterdays accident and had quite a few flashbacks but am putting them to the back of my mind as an experience. The scenery is spectacular. Stopped off at magnificent waterfall setting 14 13.528 N , 74 48.507 E after driving through a small local town called Sager in the Shimogga District 14 10.064 N , 075 01.339 E whilst finally ending up at Ayanar 222km later a beautiful secret cove looking out onto the Arabian sea. You may be intrigued to know about the people on this trip. I am definitely the youngest (average age 40) which is surprising and one of the least experienced out of 140 riders. I have teamed up with an unlikely crew who I ride with. One Northern Irishmen (Alan) who I cant understand a word he says, a Geordie (Kenny) who I cant understand a word he says, and Ian a Londoner who does the translation! They have been looking after me after accident and have been great. The medics all mother me which is nice as well! You get to know literally everyone on this trip because you stop off and have a chat and in the evenings we are all together – there are some real characters here – even one bloke who has one leg and a bike specially adapted for him! P.s Giselle has been fixed and mended and is doing great.

23-02-2007 13 56.138 N , 075 34.109 E

Chaos at the petrol station


Mountain Ranges - Unbelievable


Day 2 I’m pretty down at the moment as I had a nasty accident today. Today we headed onto the Indian National Highway mainly used for trucks and lorries. As I mentioned in my first blog there are no rules on the road and these guys are nutters! Was driving at around 60km when a truck just pulled out in the opposite lane and it was either hit him or head onto the side road. The high speed ruptured my front tyre and sent me flying off the bike. I got straight up but then sank to my knees as shock came in. paramedics were on hand and because I was dizzy they put me in a neck brace, saline drip and stretcher as precaution and went to hospital but after re-assessment I was fine albeit shaken up. My armor saved me bar my face particularly by mouth which is badly bruised and needed gluing. I’m determined not to let this stop me. There is a saying in motorcycle speak ‘There are 2 types of riders – ones who have fallen off and those who are going to fall off’. I’m pleased therefore that I have got that one out of the way. P.s wanna hear the joke about the cow in the restaurant? (see photo). They literally will wander anywhere!!

22-02-2007 14 32.741 N , 074 19.656 E

For you morbid pepole out there here is the damage!

22-02-2007 14 32.741 N , 074 19.656 E

Bikers on the beach


The start of the ride

21-02-2007 15 10.227 N , 073 56.515 E

Hi everyone! Welcome to my first blog there is so much to tell. India is such a fascinating place. The people are the most friendliest people I have met. Everyone smiles at you and wants to talk to you – admittedly there are some who want to sell you something but the majority are just very innocent and friendly.
Today we have had our first day on the road in a warm up session – you can see in the picture my bike ‘Giselle’ who is beautiful (the bike that is ;) ) The bike is amazing to drive as it so authentic compared to modern Japanese bikes.
I am the youngest person on this tour and as a result am being featured in the documentary being made to appear on Sky TV. Who needs Ewan McGregor!
We did about 50km to get everyone used to the rules are the road and bike There are infact no rules on the road – the biggest thing has right of way and lanes are non existent which makes riding pretty scary. In a strange way this chaos seems to work really well and you start to realize just how wrapped up in cotton wool we are in the UK.
Tomorrow is our first big day on the road and we will be doing about 160km before a night spent on the beach. I was on a beach (15 10.227 N, 073 56.515 E)today after the ride and it was breathtaking. Sunset, beautiful waters with my headphones in watching the sun go down.
I almost missed you miserable lot – NOT! Off to bed now – 6am start tomorrow.

21-02-2007 15 10.374 N, 073 56.645 E
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