The Royal Enfield Himalayan Has Arrived
After spending a frustrating 2 weeks trying to buy a Himalayan with no luck (unless you are a resident or have a good Indian friend to put their name on the bikes paperwork) I decided to look at renting instead. It is not something I really wanted to do as I was looking on the internet and trying to get an idea of prices. The rent for 5 months would be the same as buying one! So I went with my bargaining head on and went back to Karol Bagh market. This is the unofficial motorbike market for buying, renting, selling and for spare parts. I went to the first shop and the model I wanted was not available, second shop was wanting to much money (nearly £1500) and the 3rd shop had one but is was an older model and looked like it wouldn't get me to the end of the street, yet alone trying to get me around India. I decided to try one last place which had good reviews and went in. There was a French guy waiting for his deposit as he had just returned form a 2 week trip. His English was good enough to tell me that he was happy with the bike (it was a Himalayan) and the service had been good. I found the man who was running the shop and told him what I wanted. He rang his boss and I explained to him how long I was travelling for. He offered a 1 year old Himalayan for a good rate and I agreed, only catch it would be a one week wait.
So the week dragged on and I started to make my plans for places to visit and routes to travel etc until Monday arrived. I jumped in a cab and headed over, still not sure if the bike would be there or ready. As I pulled up I could see 3 himalayans there, Phew! I saw the guy again and we did some paperwork (He took copies of my passport, drivers license and international drivers license as identification), then the test ride with the mechanic. So let me honest here, I've not been riding for a long time (I passed my test about a year ago), I've not ridden with a passenger, I've not ridden or driven in Delhi and as soon as we left the shop it started to rain heavy. Went around the block to make sure I was happy with the bike but to be honest I was concentrating so hard not to hit anything or anyone. We got back and I asked the mechanic to put some electronic parts on for me (sat nav, mounting bar and a phone holder) which he did, then I rode off back to my hotel.
The ride back proved to be very interesting. I had my phone and google maps, so getting back wasn't a problem. When you are in India. and a passenger in a car. the traffic just looks like chaos, which it is. I soon realised that everything I'd learnt in 30 years of driving went out the window and I had to start t think like an Indian rider. I started to follow them and watched what they did and how they moved through the traffic and soon began to pick up the method, all be it clipping a few cars with my luggage rack. My nerves eased a bit and I started to really enjoy the ride. I nipped back to the hotel, got showered and went straight back out on it again as I needed the experience before I left on Thursday.I spent the next few days riding and making some homemade luggage holders out of flour tins to hold my tools and bungee cables etc.