This time, our destination was Mandawa, in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan, approximately 300km away from our headquarters in Delhi. On the menu, 22 Royal Enfield bikes for a total of 29 Vintage Riders.... Click below to read more... The entire team meets at the office at 0630hrs on Sunday morning. Everybody is equally tired and excited. After charging the bags and drinks in the back up vehicle, we have a briefing about the ride; 22 bikes is a big group, so we all need to make sure the ride goes as smoothly as possible. We hit the road shortly after and the fun begins. The sky is blue, the sun is shining and we’re quickly out of Delhi. This is where it starts to get interesting; now that we’re out of the city, we go off the beaten track, through sand and stone, through bumps and cracks. Everybody’s got a huge smile on their face, despite the couple of bee stings 5 riders had to put up with while riding. A clutch cable breaks, a tire gets punctured, as it just so happens on a tour, but we don’t experience any major mechanical problem on our way. The only thing is, we’ve had a pretty long lunch break and have to finish the road by night. In India, this usually isn’t such a great idea. But then again, we’re used to it and it’s not like we have a choice anyways. We’re now on a small, curvy, broken asphalt road, it’s as dark as dark can be and we still have one hour to go. This is where the magic happens: we have a clear night sky above our heads, but there are lightnings everywhere at the horizon. Literally every other second, as far as we can see from east to west. And I’m not talking about these “flash” lightnings. No no no! I’m talking about these clear, intense lightnings that draw themselves along the sky and rip it apart. It’s a surreal atmosphere and I can’t help but repeat the song “Riders on the Storm”, by The Doors, in my head. We finally arrive safe and sound at our hotel: a beautiful Haveli from the 19th century, built in 1890 by a Marwari jeweler, and which has been transformed into a charming hotel. We enjoy our evening, food and drinks and get a good night rest.
The next day, everybody relaxes and enjoys the surroundings. Visit of the village and its magnificent Havelis, a small ride to another nearby village, an improvised game of soccer and cricket in a nearby field, a small nap… everybody goes as they please and we have a great time. Tomorrow, the potential future Tour Leaders will alternatively take the lead of the group for a first test. A beautiful gift, leading the experienced tour leaders and getting valuable advice and feedback from them. The team goes to bed early, because the departure is scheduled at 0530hrs tomorrow. Rise and shine! We leave before the sun rises, it’s a little chilly and there’s nobody on the road. Perfect. The day continues as the 4 “newbie-tour-leaders” give it all they got. And it’s pretty good! Not perfect, of course, but fairly good for a first experience. After another long days ride and the hectic of entering Delhi, we’re finally back and reach the office by 1615hrs, where we unload everything and enjoy a last cold beer all together.
The entire Vintage Rides team goes back home with a huge smile on their face after another epic trip on our beloved Royal Enfields. And we can’t wait for the next one! You can take a look at the entire photo album here, or have a look at our tours on the Vintage Rides website.