Swells – Splitting with the team in India.
After splitting with the team, the days were a blur of roads, people, sore guts and goats.
I swallowed a hard lump which formed while saying goodbye, I got on my bike, my hands shook as I throttled away from my mates into a busy street, a mist formed in my vision, a feeling of complete and utter failure twisted in my guts…
I always knew I was not riding into Pakistan, it was a deal I cut with my lady friend. At the time it was made, it seemed small, an insignificant detail, a minor concession against the almighty goal to ride across the world. But now, after the absolute pure stoke of riding with my bro’s thus far, I was crushed.
Stopped at traffic lights in the oppressive Indian heat, the claustrophobic push of traffic against my bike began to overwhelm me. Green light, I throttled hard, bumping into scooters - I burst from the crowd, visa up, wind in my face, smashing gears, leaning into speed, with nowhere to go. I had no direction. I had no plan.
Personally -Failure was always an option, a bravado of trip finishing confidence covered the surface but a bit deeper I didn’t really care. I thought I could ghosty my bike of the closest cliff, jump on a plane and go home. But in the last few days, with the reality of not riding into Pakistan setting in and then watching my mates ride off. I realised how much I needed to finish this trip.
A while later I had calmed down. I only had one option - send my bike to Turkey. I had not been able to get an Iranian visa, we had been trying to get this Visa since leaving Australia. The team where hopping to secure their own in Lahore, Pakistan. I however, by default of not going to Pakistan, was now unable to go to Iran. The next country on the map was Turkey, and therefore, besides going home, it was my only option.
I caught some Wi-Fi and sent emails at a mall surrounded by a slum city workers camp. Train, truck, boat or plane every option was searched for and a copy and pasted email sent. Later, amongst the random replies, I found an option.
Send my bike via container ship to Turkey. The only problem being it takes four weeks to arrive. My mates plan to be long gone by then. A solo ride through Europe wouldn’t be bad, it would be awesome. But, for me, it had been a team event, I would have never left Australia riding a motorbike if it wasn’t for the Team. I had only learnt how to use a clutch 5 weeks before riding out. I had never ridden on gravel, never lane split, never ridden faster than 90km/hr. Never achieved a bunch of seemingly critical riding skills.
I had only thought the ride possible while drunk, when Johnny Bang would talk about some wild ride across the world, we would hi five and romanticizes the surly death inducing hardship. The next morning, I would wake up and shake it off, only Johnny Bang organised the impossible. Dan got on board being a rad crazy cat. I only soberly committed to the trip in the last 6 months of trip prep.
Now the possibility of riding solo seemed as if it were a different mission. I was keen. But an alternative presented itself. The lady babe wanted to come. I had sent her an E-mail with my plan, she immediately responded that she want to get on the back and ride through Europe together.
We had both been on the bike a couple of times now, in Jakarta and Thailand. We had only ridden in the cities, hadn’t done more than 40 k’s straight. Could the Sherpa take us both through Europe together? Probably, I guessed. We made the deal. I was now going to complete the ride with my lady babe on the back.
I rode the 1500 k trip to Mumbai in a day and a half, the most notable thing I saw was a bus stuck in a comical position with its rear axle ripped off and jammed under its belly.
On the way I ate a pizza from a fancy hotel which made me sick for days. Stomach cramps and toilets were my new travel companions.
The shipping agent I had found was above board and did all he could do to help me get my bike on a boat to Turkey. Although the stair case leading to his office was crooked his business ethics were not.
Creating the super Sherpa was done in an afternoon. I was glad that I could be present to both pack the bike and pat the friendly goats.
I left the Sherpa in the industrial area and got on a plane.