Friday, May 18, 2012

Royal Enfield adventure puts writer on the high road

Writer and photographer Rachel Glueck on her Enfield Adventure in India.
Here she is on a road just east of Jammu on the way to Srinagar in India.
A "Want-to-Buy" ad for a Royal Enfield on CraigsList led me to the story of a young woman with big plans.

"Looking for a Royal Enfield in good, rideable condition. I just returned from India where I rode one through Jammu-Kashmir, and fell in loooooove! Looking to own one by the end of June. Contact Rachel."

Rachel Glueck blogged about her Enfield Adventure in India. Her entries include fantastic photos that show she has an eye for the details as well as the sweep of scenery. Her reflections are sharp as well, and not just the ones that pertain to riding a Royal Enfield.

The headline of her Day 2 entry will sound familiar, however: "The Breakdowns Begin."

Rachel's Enfield Adventure started on her birthday in 2011, riding with friend Matthew. She is a motorcyclist, but didn't have an Enfield of her own in India. Day 1 of the journey made for the "most uncomfortable" birthday of her life. Other insights, butt sore and not, came rapidly:

"We stopped frequently for chai – the single most important ritual of an Indian motorcycle adventure."

"Lesson learned? If you’re gonna ride a bike across the Asian subcontinent, know how to fix your bike."

And then there was this one, my favorite, which Rachel and Matthew experienced when they reentered an area popular with tourists:

"There is no possible way to convey the events and insights of one’s journey in a way that is relevant to the listener or satisfying to the storyteller. The best one can do is skim the surface and move on."

With that understanding, Rachel is a writer.

"I'm actually in the middle of writing my first book (about my adventures in Hawaii, Australia, Vietnam, New York City, sailing to Panama, and San Francisco)," she told me.

"I'm currently working on wrapping up a video and children's book for a cultural education project I started in Nepal ( I hope to be back in India by January at the latest to explore and study with the Buddhist masters."

I asked her why she wanted to ride a Royal Enfield motorcycle in the U.S.

"Part of the reason I really want an Enfield here (aside from the fact that they're so damn sexy!) is because I'd love to get intimate with one so I'm better prepared when I return to India and buy one!

Royal Enfield: Is there a better way to explore? (Rachel Glueck Photo)
"Is there a better way to explore India? I doubt it. Though I wouldn't miss out on the train rides either. It was challenging, but incredibly rewarding. One has the opportunity to stop, explore, and engage with the locals. Especially when your bike has a gear box leak and you're about to cross one of the highest passes in the world in a terrorist-prone region. Despite all the warnings, we rarely felt unsafe (excepting for the thousands of insane, often drunk, cargo truck drivers on the narrow, winding roads).

"As for riding an Enfield in the U.S., I've never done it. For those concerned about the ability to let 'er rip on the freeways, I ask, 'Are you really going to buy a motorcycle to ride on a wide, straight road lined with strip malls and billboards?'

"Personally, I feel motorcycles are made for back roads, hills and mountains.... If it's speed you want, Go Guzzi."

Check out her blog and be sure to take time to watch the slide show of fantastic pictures with each item.
Enfield Adventure. (Rachel Glueck Photo)
ADDED NOTE: Rachel Glueck is available to give informative, inspirational talks and slide show presentations on her global adventures. She can be contacted at or 513-305-2444.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5/18/2012

    Rachel is my cousin and her adventures never cease to amaze me. And, if I were traveling in India, I would be inclined to tour via an Enfield, as well. Have you seen the traffic and roadways in India!?!


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