Overland To India

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The Rider

The Rider - Gordon G. May

In 1988, I had one of the most memorable experiences of my life: I travelled around India and Nepal for five months on a stunning all-red and chrome Royal Enfield 350 Bullet. That was 20 years ago so it now seems like an auspicious time to add to those memories!

My love affair with Royal Enfield motorcycles began in 1986 when I bought a 1963 250cc Crusader Sports. The 5 month journey I took through India and Nepal in 1988 just added to my passion for these bikes.

In fact, Royal Enfields have dominated the last few years of my life. In 2001 I founded and edited The Bullet-In, a monthly magazine dedicated to Bullet motorcycles, which had a loyal following among people from across the globe. I travelled across the UK (and sometimes further) interviewing and photographing Royal Enfields and their owners.

I soon discovered that very little had been written on the Royal Enfield company, so I took the plunge writing the books Made In India (2001); Made In Redditch (2003); By Miles The Best (2004) and The Legend Rides On (2005).

I was very lucky to be a member of the team that recreated the famous 1964 John O’ Groats to Lands End launch of the Royal Enfield Continental GT on a Hitchcock’s Bullet in 2004, and was the organiser of The Royal Enfield Big Day Out held in Redditch in 2007. In 2008 I made a 105 minute documentary released on DVD called The Johnny Brittain Story.

I have travelled extensively in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas. My travels are not always motorcycle related, though. From 1991 to 1999 I visited South East Asia three times a year buying textiles for my New Zealand clothing business. In 2004, I journeyed from Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam, to Manchester, England, wholly by rail, including crossing China, Mongolia and Russia. In 2007, I travelled overland from Canada to Tierra Del Fuego in southern Argentina, again mostly by train.

The bike I am undertaking this latest journey on - my 1953 Bullet - is one I bought in New Plymouth, New Zealand in 1995. The bike resided in my office there for over two years and made an intriguing talking point for visitors.

Its restoration nearly cost me my home - I had to smuggle it piece by piece into a London flat and was caught red-handed by my landlord staggering up the steps with a wheel. The frame lived in a camper van for 18 months and it has been completely assembled in my present second floor flat. It's a small miracle nothing major has been lost along the way!

I will be writing a book about the journey due for release late in 2008. The book will include my visits to projects run by the charities JBF and Wateraid. These organisations do inspiring work helping some of the poorest people and animals in the world. Please have a look at their websites - they really need more support.

My journey will end at the Royal Enfield factory in Chennai, formerly known as Madras. Once there, the bike will be crated up and returned to the UK by sea.

I have every confidence my old Enfield will do me proud and make the journey to India without any major problems. After that, I have dreams of another epic journey - a trans-Africa adventure - on the same bike ... but that's another story!

Books by Gordon G. May

Made In India (2002)
Made In Redditch (2003)
By Miles The Best (2004)
The Legend Rides On (2005)
Overland To India (2008)
Overland To Egypt (2010)

The Johnny Brittain Story (2008)

© 2015 Gordon G. May. All Rights reserved. | info@overlandtoindia.co.uk

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