Pokhara to Tansen
We hit the clubhouse early, checked over our steeds and geared up for the first leg of the journey which would take us south of Pokhara. It was a crystal clear morning and the 7,000 meter Machhapuchhre or the ‘Fishtail’ was reflecting the morning sun across Phewa Lake offering some splendid views.
In total there were seven riders made up of four Aussies, two Singaporeans, me the lone Pommy, and four Nepalese crew. A support jeep carried all of our gear, spare fuel, parts and medical supplies – we were going to need it.
The bikes were easy to handle with just enough power for local roads and their numerous obstacles. I rapidly realized that there would be virtually no flat or straight sections of road on this expedition.
Our first stop was a viewpoint overlooking the town and lake with a stunning backdrop of the Annapurnas. The first time you set eyes on the largest mountains in the world is a very humbling experience.
Moving on it was a couple of hours completely off-road through rustic villages, around steep hills with vertical drop offs, and deep mud filled trenches. Back on the ‘highway’ we found a coffee shop for a quick pit-stop before continuing around blind bends and a thousand switchbacks to another stunning viewpoint.
It was harder riding than I expected which demanded full attention on the road and very little on the surroundings. A lunch spot for some Dal Bhat, a local specialty of rice and vegetable and lentil dahl, provided more photo opportunities and a much needed break.
A lot of the land had been terraced for living and agriculture as there is virtually no flat land in Nepal, every home is on a hill of some description. Due to the lack of fuel stations we had to grab gas when and where we could which was a bit of a spectacle for the locals. It was also the Holy celebration in which the coloured powder is thrown about signifying good over evil, so there were plenty of street parties to ride through.
We rode through the tiny village of Tansen which is literally clinging to the side of a hilltop with some of the steepest streets I have ever seen. Finally, after what felt like a week on the bike, we made it to our first stop, the Srijana Farm. I felt like I’d been in the ring with Tyson Fury and we hadn’t even begun the tough bit yet – it was time for a cold beer, boots off and feet up to admire the view.
The owner of the farm was extremely proud of their achievements, produce and self-sufficiency, he showed us around the sprawling place which had everything from cauliflowers to coffee, goats, homebrew, bread and cheese all produced naturally on site. Needless to say the food was out of this world.