Reshad, motorcycle guide turned travel expert
Age: 30 years old
Born in: Clermont-Ferrand, France
Origins from: India, with parents born in Madagascar
Rider since: 12 years
Lives in: Lyon, France
Vintage Rides favourite trip: Nepal or Mongolia... it's hard to choose!
Nickname in the team: The Chatterbox
Hey Reshad, how's it going? Where are you confined right now?
I'm confined in my apartment in Lyon. It's not very big, but I'm lucky I have a balcony so I can get some fresh air. I'm with my girlfriend, Amandine. We’re expecting a little girl in July, so this forced confinement is good for us to take the time to prepare for her arrival. I'm specializing in a whole new field: I now know what an angel's nest is and which stroller to choose!
I like cooking but I usually don't have much time in my everyday life. So I now continue to practice my culinary skills, trying to reproduce recipes I have tasted around the world.
Although essential, I must admit that this restriction is not simple every day: I’m used to going out, riding... We have to be patient. So I escape as much as I can: by watching reports on the different countries I'd like to go to, by reading books that transport me.
In spite of everything, I realize how lucky we are. Many of the countries I have visited are affected but do not have access to the same care as we do, so I put things into perspective and as I like to say: "travellers adapt in all circumstances".
" Travellers adapt in all circumstances. "
Tell us about your journey as an adventurer?
In 2016, I gave up a rather comfortable and stable life in France to go on a one-year trip around the world with my girlfriend. This decision represents my biggest risk to date: a dive into the unknown.
I didn't realize it at the time, but this choice to go on an adventure was going to change my life. It is notably thanks to this trip that I finally met the Vintage Rides team in India and became a motorcycle tour leader.
My Vintage Rides adventure on the road lasted two years and took me several times to Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Nepal, Mongolia and Peru. For the passionate motorcyclist that I am, what could be better than being able to ride around the world every day? You can't get tired of these incredible places, especially since our travels take us off the main tourist routes. So I was able to discover these countries differently than if I had gone there as a simple tourist.
I think that what I appreciated the most in this job as a motorcycle tour guide is to be able to share my passion with the riders: to exchange with them about our different trips and about what this common taste for adventure brings us.
Today, I'm back in France and continue to talk about travel with the riders, but this time behind the scenes of the agency: I'm now a motorcycle travel expert. This new cap of adviser offers me a new challenge: to succeed in sharing my experience to allow others to live great adventures!
What kind of rider are you?
I started with a scooter as a teenager, then I got on a motorcycle when I turned 18, never to leave it again. I'm a jack-of-all-trades: enduro, circuit, Sunday rides... As long as I'm on a two-wheeler, I'm happy!
At the moment, and it won't surprise anyone, I have a Bullet 500. Born in Auvergne, I have a great pleasure to ride in my region. For me, the Bullet is the perfect bike, the one that can take me to French regions as well as to the end of the world.
What is your definition of adventure?
When I go on a trip, the important thing for me is neither the departure time nor the arrival time: it's everything that happens in between. I like to take my time without planning too much, to leave room for the unexpected. Because it's when the unexpected happens that we have the most beautiful encounters.
Adventure also pairs in my opinion with escape. The greatest feeling of freedom I have ever felt was in the middle of the Mongolian steppes, without roads, signs or barriers. These endless expanses of land simply make you feel alive.
In the course of your adventures, have there been encounters that have marked you?
When I was a motorcycle guide, I used to spot different places on the road to make stops with the riders. When I found a great spot, I'd come back to it at each tour during the season. Inevitably, you create connections with the locals.
To contextualize: I'm on a Peru motorcycle trip, at more than 4400m of altitude, at the Abra Malaga pass. It's cold, it rains and there's even snow. We are in the fog. Here, in the middle of nothing stands a small house where two sisters live, one of whom is blind. Every time we pass by, I stop to greet them, and they welcome us by the fire, around a warm coca mate. During my last visit, the goodbyes were very moving.
Can you tell us an anecdote from one of your motorcycle trips?
One of the most memorable was in Nepal. During my first trip as a motorcycle guide, a bike "fell down" in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately, and despite all our efforts, our mechanic couldn't get the bike started again. It was really a baptism of fire, the bad luck of a beginner we can say, because it's the only time it happened to me! Impossible to leave the Bullet on the side of the road, in the heart of the Mustang valley. We had to find a way to get it back. Miraculously, a bus passes by. All the sympathy of the Nepalese people was shown in a burst of generosity to help us hoist the bike on the roof of the bus: driver, bus passengers, riders: a great teamwork!
What is your next motorcycle adventure goal?
I have always dreamt of a motorcycle trip that would make a lot of sense to me: to ride Delhi to France on a Royal Enfield...
Reshad is now based in Lyon as a travel advisor, why not meet him during a motorcycle trip in France?
Photo credits: Amandine Paugnat / Leo Fvy