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Posted at: Sep 30, 2015, 12:37 AM; last updated: Sep 30, 2015, 12:35 AM (IST)

Defying death for the disadvantaged

Defying death for  the disadvantaged
GREAT INDIAN RIDE Four Australian men on motorcycles covering 6000 km, stop at the Australian High Commission in New Delhi on Tuesday. Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 29

Biking is about thrill and speed. Four Australians rode out of Srinagar to embark on their journey called the Great Indian Ride, covering 6000 km.

"There have been instances when death has stared at me in the face. I have had many narrow escapes. And this happens to me at almost every moment I ride a Royal Enfield motorcycle across the roads of Delhi and the hilly tracts of Leh," said Rhys Puddicombe, one of the quartet. 

Braving the rain, freezing wind and some of the darkest nights they have encountered in their lives, Rhys, his brother, Ian Puddicombe and two friends, Steven Thurecht and Simon Richardson, have embarked on an adventure, riding their Royal Enfields from North India to Cape Cormorin, India's Southern tip by October 14. The adventure has a cause, to raise money for Plan India, an NGO, to support disadvantaged children and education of young girls. 

The group consists of two guides, also riding Royal Enfields and a truck transporting provisions such as food and medical aid. They spent their first week travelling through the Himalayas on some of the highest roads in the world, including Kardung-la Pass at 5600 metres and Leh. 

"We felt breathless as we started driving up on the hills," said Rhys, now 59 years old, and who had worked as a diplomat in Papua New Guinea and Spain. They don't ride Royal Enfields back home in Australia. It is a pure muscle of a machine that they own there. "I have a Harley Davidson. I have not got it here, because it will just break apart. The roads in India are bad. We drive at 25 km per hour. There are rocks everywhere. One of our guides had fallen while riding on one such road. We found him with his bike over him. The Enfields are good. They are best suited for these roads," he laughed. 

The group started heading south and visited Dharamshala and Rishikesh, driving parallel to the Ganga River. The group has completed two weeks on its bike trip and reached Delhi today, where they will rest for a day.

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