Blog post: An introduction

Mumbai, India

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Hi! My name is Geert (or ‘G’, for everyone I meet who’s not Dutch and therefore cannot pronounce my name), stuck right in the middle of a healthy thirty-ers crisis and currently crossing India on my self-build 1979 Royal Enfield, trying to make my way home to Holland.

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After spending about 4,5 months in Nepal, of which I spent 3 months working as a mechanic at Raju’s Bullet Surgery in Pokhara to learn how to work on, and fix, Royal Enfields, I started driving home on the 5th of february, this year.

I find myself now, 35 days, 2518 km, 2 full engine rebuilds, 4 roadside wheel bearing replacements, 1 new rear wheel, 1 new battery, new front and rear shocks, several emotional (and bowel) highs and lows later, in the beautiful, hot and hectic metropolis of Mumbai!

This is the story of how I got to this point and, in future updates, how I move forward from here on the big trip.

After working as a project manager in online marketing for about 5 years, I got sick and tired of it. My perspective on the office-career life had changed over the years from wanting to climb the career (and financial) ladder as quick as possible, to a strong belief that the work I was doing was not fulfilling anymore. I found that I was putting in a lot of energy pursuing goals that lacked social importance and that I was spending the better amount of my time in an environment where a human being was not made for; the 40 hour workweek behind a computer screen in an office building.

I found that I had a difficult time figuring out what it was that I did want. A thought that scared me quite a bit. What if I’m stuck in this sector, unable to find the thing that does make me go?

I like to believe I’m the type of person that changes things that I’m not happy with, whenever in my power, but this call gave me difficulties. I experienced that conforming to western social expectations had nested deeper than I was ready to admit. The expectation of having a good job, financial security, being successful and self confident on so many levels got me struggling with taking the leap from normal working life to leaving that all behind and chase my dream; going on a bike trip in Asia.

After a lot of thinking and talking it over with friends and family, one thought was overruling all: Screw this, I’m gonna do it. All it took, in the end, was just deciding that you are going for it and set aside all uncertainties and risks. Everything would be fine.

It didn’t take much time after this revelation to give my boss the sack (ha!), start selling possessions that I didn’t really need anymore such as my car, some electronics and other stuff not worth mentioning, and to book a one way ticket to Nepal. I would be leaving on the 26th of september, 2014, and had little idea of what I’d do there, besides that I would try to get a bike and drive around Nepal and India. Things were changing!

Now, I won’t state that, at that time, I was the biggest motorcycle enthusiast to be found on the planet, but I had a healthy interest in recreational driving and was picking up on learning how to do basic maintenance work on my own bike. Something which gave me great satisfaction when I actually got things fixed instead of making it worse (broken threads, oh broken threads..)

I got my motorcycle license during the winter of 2012 after which I bought my first bike: a Honda CBR 600 from 1993. An inexpensive bike, easy to ride and it looked pretty sweet! People told me you only start learning what type of bike you like to drive best when you start getting up on different models. And they were right!

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I got tired of the CBR relatively quick and moved on to my current bike, a Honda CB 650 from 1980. It wasn’t running when I bought it, but in pretty good condition altogether, and I was looking forward to trying to fix it myself. And I’m proud to say that I did!

With the help of De Openbare Werkplaats <www.openbarewerkplaats.nl>, youtube, friends who were more knowledgable about bike fixing than me and my dad, who rebuild his own Laverda when he was young and was proud that I picked up my interest in bikes from him, I got it running not long after I bought it. That is the best feeling ever, the first time you get your own bike running and you’re able to ride it due to your own efforts!

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After that, I refurbished several parts myself, such as the brakes, carburetors, etc. Of course, there were plenty enough times that I screwed up and made things worse than when I started, but hey, that’s how you learn! 🙂

Unfortunately, I’m now at a point of my trip where I have to get to ask people at home to sell my CB in order to generate some money to keep moving forward… But I’ll get back to that later.

So, now you know a little bit about myself and why I took up on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. A lot of stuff happened since then until now. Most of them involving me, my friends and Royal Enfield bikes.

I’m currently sitting out the last days in Mumbai, waiting for my flight and Dolly’s (my bike) transport to Tehran, Iran. From there I will continue on my way to Turkey, Greece, then with the ferry to Italy and all the way up to Holland.

If you know anyone on the route, please let me know, I’d be very much helped with some support in the form of food/accommodation, as money’s tight on this trip 😉

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In the next blogpost I will tell you about the first adventure in Nepal; riding a Royal Enfield Bullet 350cc up to almost 4000m altitude in the Himalaya’s!

This article is provided by Classic Life Cycles, guest bloggers for CRU. Classic Life Cycles is a Dutch online Café Racer/Custom bike magazine. We interview Dutch custom bike builders, take some photos and share their story with you!

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