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Exploration and Generosity Motorcycling in Nepal

I’m from rural Ontario, Canada, and I traveled a long, meandering way to get to even more remote areas. Along the way, I lived in a trailer for six months without any power, heat, or water, but I’m getting off topic.

I was raised around bikes as both my father and brother were avid riders. But I was raised to believe that females weren’t meant to ride. Looking now, it seems absurd, but when I was younger, I used to like being requested to ride pillion. I found myself divorced and desiring to be in the literal and figurative driver’s seat after multiple attempts to pursue what seemed like a distant dream of riding (practicalities like tuition payments, mortgage payments, car repairs, others’ opinions, and such mundane things seemed to get in the way).

Thus, I made the risky decision to purchase a Honda CB750 dubbed Betty and never looked back. I also persuaded a few pals who had let sexism, life, and logic to stand in their way to get their licenses. That was sixteen years ago. (Oh, and those half a year without running water or electricity? I was fortunate enough to have shower privileges included in my employment contract since I work in social work.

In Nepal, motorcycling



Traveling was something I liked doing, both by myself and with others, but I never really ventured off the paved path and into the unpaved, muddy, and rough road less traveled until I met my spouse. However, not always elegantly or joyfully!

Let us go back to Christmas 2015…My husband Oliver gave me airline tickets to Nepal. He had secretly made arrangements for a month-long vacation in March 2016 by calling my employers.

Buying two bikes, touring Cuba, and then donating them to a deserving person has always been my fantasy. Just now, this dream was transported to Nepal. After doing some basic study, we concluded that this was a workable strategy. We believed we were set because we had a great young ADV in Kathmandu who served as our personal “fixer.” Sadly, once we were there, we found that the tax system in Nepal made it impossible for us to purchase old bikes with our limited funds. Thus, for sheer romantic appeal, we leased the Enfields and embarked on a journey to reach the Himalayas aboard “Elizabeth and Philip.”


Riding motorcycles in Nepal


Kathmandu’s Chaos

The most nerve-racking experience I had was navigating Kathmandu traffic without a map, road signs, or knowledge of the nuances of the flow of traffic. It seemed like a crazy free-for-all to my western eyes, which defied logic. The night before I left the city, I lay awake dreaming about a thousand terrible scenarios that would all end in a hospital in Nepal. I won’t claim that at the end of the month, I was at ease with it, but I was definitely getting used to dodging between two buses, a vehicle, and a motorbike while I was on blind curves. and maybe a cow.


Sand presents the second obstacle for me. I detest the beach. I detest dirt beneath my tires the most, but I also detest it between my toes and on the beach. I got off a few times, especially in quite simple sections since I couldn’t get the notion of diminishing radius. Several times, I wished I had focused more in physics class in high school!

Like its people, Nepal’s landscape is astounding and very varied. At the base of the mountain pass, the weather would be tropical—hot, muggy, and home to palm palms. It would become drier, lusher with pine trees, and fifteen degrees colder the higher we ascended the mountain. A day of cycling might see many of these variations. The Mustang region’s moonlike desert landscape replaces the verdant splendor of the Kali Gandaki canyon.



The Himalaya’s Actual Beauty



The true beauty of Nepal lies not in its breathtaking environment but in its people. The nation was already severely damaged by the earthquake that occurred a year before, and the oil embargo enforced by India made matters worse. Lines of people waited for their five liters of petrol for days. When we arrived at a gas station, however, we would be pushed to the head of the line to fill up as much as our tanks would allow. When I questioned a guy whether or not people would be upset that we were skipping the line, he gave me a puzzled look and remarked, “Why would they be angry?” We have you as our guests.

People were really perplexed as to how it could be otherwise when questioned about the harmonious coexistence of Christians, Buddhists, and Hindus in this location. Everywhere we went, people greeted us with love and curiosity, even though we were never able to figure out the head bob’s response to directions. Everything was “five kilometers that way” for some reason. Realizing that “5 kilometers” is not a conventional measurement took some time!



Nevertheless, our last full day in Kathmandu was the BEST DAY EVER. We were worried about how much the repairs would cost after wrecking our motorcycles. It came out that the cost of both bikes—including the flat tire we rode in on—was $40!

We then began looking for bicycles with the money we had set aside for repairs. We eventually located a bicycle store after a day of following hazy instructions through narrow back alleyways and purchased ten bicycles of various sizes, some with training wheels and others without. Next, we made plans to go to The Butterfly House. Children whose moms are incarcerated reside in this house. The children go to prison with their moms if no family members are available to care for them; these facilities are not designed with children in mind. There’s no training, no education, not even milk for their developing bodies!


riding motorcycles in Nepal


The founder of the Butterfly House, Pushpa Basnet, started rescuing kids from jail and giving them access to education, a family environment, and a future. This was our next stop—a truck full of bikes—because they had included bicycles on their wish list. It was quite enjoyable! It was complete chaos since just two of the children knew how to ride bicycles. 25 children laughed, shared, and learnt. On my deathbed, I wish to recall that day as the apex of our vacation and as a day of unadulterated bliss.



Motorcycles and Women


Although relatively few women in Nepal ride motorbikes, I told the girls that this did not have to stop them from doing anything they wanted, exploring what and where they wanted to, and being who they wanted to be. Although the bikes were enjoyable, the greatest part for me was the short time to chat to the ladies. After all, these courageous ladies who have already conquered so much can definitely succeed if a middle-aged social worker like me can!

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