The Himalayas on a Motorcycle
In Long Way Round and Long Way Down, Ewan McGregor adores his new BMW R 1200 GS motorcycles, motorcycle travel planning team, professional film crew, latest motorcycle gear, and his two support trucks equipped with crew. The team conquers two grueling journeys while nearly circumnavigating the globe. Interesting but practically impossible to replicate.
So, what if you stripped that all away and journeyed out with only a tattered Royal Enfield 350cc 4-stroke single with no plans, no back-up crew, no film crew, and limited spares? And, by the way, you decided to cross a land that is so remote and the passes so high, that only best friends or fiercest enemies would even dream of visiting the indigenous people there. Similar in function but the latter is closer to raw form two-wheeled adventure and conquest.
Riding Solo To The Top Of The World is about filmmaker Gaurav Jani’s solo motorcycle journey from Delhi to one of the most isolated places in the world–the Changthang Plateau in Ladakh. It is a place lost in the Himalayas in a wider area known as Jumma and Kasmir, near the border of India and Tibet. Consider the Base Camp on the south side of Everest in Nepal is at 17,700 feet and that Jani rides his loaded-down 350cc single at similar altitudes during his journey is simply astounding. Actually, living at near sea level, I get a headache at over 7000 feet.
With 11 film awards to its credit, Riding Solo is not just about the ride, but also about the beautiful cinematography and the enhancing nomadic people that Jani comes to know. Riding shots through sweeping vistas, towering peaks, scenic landscapes and past crystal clear lakes fills the camera lens. When you stop to imagine that Jani had to stop, frame the shot, start the camera, climb back on the motorcycle, ride for a couple of takes and then go get the camera, you intuitively know that this film was made from a pure labor of love.
What is more astonishing was Jani’s ability to build enough trust to get inside the lives of an ancient nomadic people. He witnesses the pain, generosity, hardship and love of a people devoid of modern luxuries, as he captures a way of life that dates back over 1000 years. For anyone trying to find religion, take a ride with Jani through the Himalayas and meet the some of the most spiritually driven people on earth. Truly inspiring.