Charley Boorman travels across Asia in a new bike series, Freedom Riders Asia on Star Sports. The 6 part series sees Boorman be part of biking cultures in India, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. Astride a Royal Enfield Bullet 350, Charley rode through Coorg and Ooty to finally reach Munnar before concluding filming at Kochi with a press conference.
The Shell sponsored show puts into play motor oils for two stroke and four stroke vehicles, and their contribution in bike maintenance through a vast array of biking conditions and terrains. The show highlights a connection that bikers form on the road, and offers an insight into biking cultures across Asia. For the Indian leg, Charley Boorman was accompanied by Sundeep Gajjar (aka MotoGrapher). Sundeep Gajjar rode a Ducati Multistrada ending the road trip at Kochi where Gul Panag and Kar Tai Koh, global brand manager of Shell Advance joined him for a press conference.
Charley’s bike, a Royal Enfield Bullet 350 obviously was one from it’s time, and that made his ride all the more interesting. Not a new design that comes replete with newer features, here was ride that simply follows the as good as it gets mantra. India’s love story with older gen Bullets is inimitable with enthusiasts wiling to wait, source around, acquire parts and restructure bikes. In fact, many aficionados take the task upon themselves, and are directly involved in the makeover process.
So, it comes as no surprise that when Charley’s bike ran into some trouble, the ride schedule wasn’t disturbed as he found a Coorgi gentleman who stepped right in, and fixed the bike. Older gen India swore by the vehicle, and yes they know there stuff, so, this one marks, one for the Coorgis, who know all about the chain.
With a bike ride that explores culture, there’s always some rural locale in focus. This set up saw Boorman milk a cow, and yes coming from the from the horse’s mouth, in this case the cow, milking her is a difficult job. Boorman agrees, but yes, he got through the task, and even did a bit of milk delivery. This isn’t the biker’s first trip to India, having previously toured North India. That of course brings curious minds to Khardung La, the highest motorable road, but that’s not the one Charley rode. Asked if he wants to, he’s all up for it. Brace yourself India, next time around he is probably going to tell us all about Leh.
He does agree that biking culture in India while growing is still in nascent stages in some quarters. His take on the scenario is that such commitments revolve around passion. It’s not easy to be a biker for life, and it doesn’t boil down to money. Another aspect the biker doesn’t forget to emphasize on is safety, and the use of helmets, and riding gear. There’s no pride is racing on the road, with the latest big bike buy, without the correct gear. After his brief stay in India at the start of April, Charley moved on to destination next. Wile we wait for the tv series, here’s greetings from India.