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ROMANCING RAJASTHAN – “ THE RAJPUT TRAIL”

Our good friend Andy Myers was looking for a motorcycle adventure tour in Rajasthan and we built a custom tour for him which was from the 17th to 21st February 2016. The ride was carefully crafted keeping in mind the saddle time each day and also keeping enough time for showing Andy the true colours of Rajasthan!

I got two of our Ducati Scramblers ready for our almost 2000 km ride covering some epic motorcycling roads and varied cultures. Andy is a keen motorcyclist and has ridden thousands of miles in his hometown in Arizona, United States of America. He has also ridden in Mongolia as well as Thailand, Cambodia etc.

Day 1 (17th February) : I reached Andy’s hotel at 07:00 sharp and we thought it would be lovely to start our day with a great breakfast. Post that we packed up our luggage and strapped them with “ROK Straps” the best there is in luggage strapping solutions and a product which we at Motoziel trust and sell as well.

We fuelled up and started riding towards the NH8 and getting out of Gurgaon was a bit of a pain as it was a weekday full of office goers trying to jostle for space. Eventually we left the city limits and stopped for breakfast at a Subway while Andy was busy clicking pictures of the big Hero Motocorp facility bang opposite the highway. We made steady progress and took the road from Shahpura and settled in to a rhythm which both of us were enjoying. The traffic had reduced by now and all we had were few cows crossing the farms or the occasional tractor here and there. The road is mainly single lane with lush green farms on both sides but the emptiness made Andy really happy and the Scramblers were singing literally!!!

We reached the small town of Reengus and had another 200 odd kms before we had a night halt at Bikaner. The village road eventually joins the newly built Agra-Bikaner Highway and is a delight for any motorcycle tourer. Guarded with rails on both sides we upped our pace and covered the twisty sections before entering the town of Bikaner. It was a great ride on day 1 and had started raining heavily when we entered Bikaner. We had a much needed dinner and called it a night.

Day 2 (18th February) : We woke up fresh and today Andy decided to take it slow to Jaisalmer and soak in the feeling of being in Rajasthan. Jaisamer is roughly 340 kms from Bikaner and the ride takes you through some brilliant empty stretches which gives you a sense of adventure and freedom. It was a cloudy day but we didn’t complain at all. Infact we were really getting into the scheme of things. We stopped for lunch at what looked like the only restaurant in Pokhran! We were hungry and the lunch was simply outstanding with the spicy Rajasthan spices. After talking to the locals we both headed out to Jaisalmer. The final section of tarmac is really lonely and there are deserts on both sides with loads of camel sightings. We decided to test the Scramblers off road ability and went slightly off tarmac and had a great time taking pictures and videos. A crowd of curious onlookers gathered and giggled at our antics before walking off doing their daily chores.

We reached “Hotel Mahadev” around 19:00 hours and had a great evening discussing the days events.

Day 3 (19th February): Today our agenda was to walk around Jaisalmer Fort and get a feel for this region. Andy a keen photographer wanted the maximum out of this ride so we rode our motorcycles into the small bylanes and riding through the maze of shops, temples etc. Rajasthan folks are really cheerful and were amazed to see two yellow bumblebees going up and down for hours! We then rode to “Kudi” dunes without any luggage. This dune section is around 40kms away from Jaisalmer and is very arid with sharp rocks and scrubs but makes for some brilliant trail riding. Met local kids en route who clapped and cheered for us like we were on some crazy off road motorcycling event! Great stuff.

The famed “Desert Festival” was about to start bringing in a whole lot of rich colours and cultures together. A must visit for any photographer. Today we decided to enjoy true luxury and checked in to the luxurious “Rang Mahal”.This is a heritage property and the service was just fantastic.

In the meanwhile the motorcycles needed attention as the chains were pretty dry from all the dust and sand that we had been riding on.So I decided to scout for some cans of Motul oil while Andy took a tuk tuk and went off enjoying Jaisalmer city. We spent the evening deciding our desert adventure and enjoyed a gala dinner at the resort.

Day 4 (20th February): The idea was to just relax today and enjoy the desert festival one final time before we head out to the dunes of Sam. Post lunch we packed our bags and rode towards Sam. It was again a blissful ride from the hotel. Sam is about 45 kms from Jaisalmer and the roads wind their way through the deep desert sand and windmills which look imposing from a distance. I have always had a fascination for windmills and could not resist stopping multiple times to click pictures.

We finally reached the Desert Camps in the evening. The sun was setting down casting its bright hues all across the desert. People’s faces and outfits are very different here as we were just 50 odd kms from the Indo-Pakistan border. We were welcomed with garlands at the camp and Andy went off for a short Camel Safari. The evening was spent sitting on cane chairs and enjoying some Rajasthani folk music and tasty snacks prepared by the camps chefs.

Day 5 (21st February): It was a long ride back home today of around 900 kms and we woke up early and left after a quick breakfast and photo op. It was lovely riding behind Andy for some time through the desert road as his years of riding experience showed by the way he tamed the Bumblebee. We did steady speeds but took fewer stops today as Andy had to reach back to his hotel by nightfall. We managed to cover the Jaisalmer-Bikaner stretch by 14:00 hours. By the time we got back on to the final 200kms to New Delhi it had got dark and was very windy. Me and Andy rode closely stacked to avoid any road kill etc. Finally after a superb 16 hours and 980 odd kms both man and machine reached safely back to New Delhi and it was around 12:00 at night when we gave a solid hug and decided to call it a day.

Fond memories of taking our first Rajput Trail ride with none other than Andy Myers, founder of Schampa Racing (makers of quality off road riding gear and their patented face mask for riders).

Looking forward to the next ride to Rajasthan then!!!

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