Ladies in Ladakh - The Reconnaisance

I've been back to Asia, to the Himalayan region of India to be precise and I'm leading an all-female group of riders through Ladakh. Beforehand though, I had the opportunity to do a thorough recce and familiarise myself with the route..read on

Let me introduce Enid, a Royal Enfield Bullet - 500cc, fuel injection, gears on the correct side (unlike the older models of Enfield) and she's a great bike.

the streets in India are chaotic with most traffic being of the two-wheeled variety, usually with at least one or more pillion riders and also saris flapping around perilously close to the rear wheel

My first ride out was to the garage to get some fuel, considering how anarchy seems to reign on the roads, I was most relieved by the orderly queue that forms to get petrol at the garage

Here I am with the Enfield ready to set off - the guy I've got it from told me has never heard the comment
"ooh what a great colour, it matches my toenails!"

I'm using soft luggage from Giant Loop once more, and as usual, I've got all my camping gear with me.
One of my favourite breakfasts - dosa

The roads are not too bad at this stage, curious monkeys watch me ride past, and if I stop for long enough some of them even throw stuff at me.

The foothills of the Himalayas where everything is green and the hills are still rounded

The driving is a little bit crazy at times, I saw several accidents like this one

Everyone was pretty good-natured about it and allowed me to squeeze through between the car and the truck.


I'm finding it strange that I can reach the ground with flat feet!

A gratuitous shot of the Enfield, all geared up, I'm travelling light and this time including my extra warm Everest down-filled sleeping bag- it ain't small but it keeps me warm and I know things are going to get extremely cold up in the mountains.

Football pitches are a rarity over here - I liked the way that this one has been taken over for a game of cricket.

Cricket is THE sporting passion in India, in every town and village that I pass through there are children playing it, usually with a makeshift bat and ball.

I was allowed to gatecrash a wedding at the hotel, I arrived while the many and multiple photos were being taken, a queue of people had formed just to click of a few shots.

Whoops! - A puncture

I've started this journey in Dehradun, Uttarakand, India. A northern town nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas.
I've got 11 days until my group arrives so I'm soloing the route we'll be covering to familiarise myself with it, then dashing back down to Delhi to meet the group as they arrive. I'm not sure what to expect, except that the food will be great - the last time I travelled in India, I actually put weight on as I was eating so much. I love travelling over here, the friendliness and curiosity of the people I come across, the noise, chaos and life in general - it's a fantastic place to explore.

The Enfield is working well, I'm getting used to being so low to the ground, its revs can be very low as it chugs along, allowing me to be a bit lazy with the gear changes, usually when I'm also trying to take photos.

Motorbikes are everywhere and they're usually Enfields.
I made it to Manali, a town at 2200m, which happens to have a great new hostel that has just opened It's called Ride Inn, and I managed to find it quite easily, just following the signs through town.

My Enfield has a twin sister already resident here, and in the other direction, several bikes being worked on.

My hosts - Sneh and Godwin who hail from Mumbai, incredibly friendly and nice people.

All the furniture and fixtures in the bar café are made from motorbike bits, and there's a handy Ladakh guide painted on the wall.

And on another wall, a collection of the roadside signs with their Accident Avoidance tongue in cheek sayings - these are all genuine road signs seen in Ladakh.

the view from my bedroom window in the morning is amazing - snow-capped mountains stretching off into the distance

The Himalayas at their best.

Enfields

I'm so happy for you that you have discovered the delights of an Enfield. Enid suits her perfectly.

Have a fantastic trip Tiffany!

 

Jacqui Furneaux x

Enfield Fan Club

Great to hear from you Jacqui, and yes, you're right about what fantastic bikes they are. I had a lot of fun riding Enid and I'm looking forward to getting back on one next year for Ladies in Ladakh - The Return! If anyone is interested in joining me for this tour, get in touch, we'll be travelling in August 2015. And I'm hoping to have Enid again.

Tiffany