With a name like King Richard, it is perhaps fitting that this 44-year-old Bengaluru-based businessman should be traversing the world on his royal steed of choice: a Triumph Tiger XCX motorcycle.
It was about five years ago that Richard got hooked on to riding motorcycles.After meeting some European riders who had done world rides, Richard came to the conclusion that he too could be part of that club. “I checked and found that very few Indians had done a world ride and so I decided to be one of them.”
In 2018, Richard with his friend Manjunath, did their first world ride visiting 21 countries from Bengaluru to London in 72 days.
The second world ride (that Richard is currently in the middle of) started on August 7, 2019 in New York. The countries he has covered so far are USA, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina. Richard plans to return to India from Perth in the first week of March after riding through Australia.
With so many months of travel and meeting so many people, it must be hard to pick a few as the most memorable, but Richard counts completing his ride in South America at Ushuaia as one of them.
The End of the World
“Ushuaia, called the End of the World, is located in the southernmost tip of South America. The roads to Ushuaia go across Patagonia and they are dangerous due to strong winds. When I was riding, the motorcycle was pushed about two to three kilometres away from the intended route. Nothing can compare with my pride on unfolding the national flag (for photos) in the presence of many people who were waving at me and cheering.”
Another memory that he cherishes is being taken in by strangers. “There is one person who was exceptional. We met our Facebook friend Don in person for the first time in Ecuador. Don helped us get our visas and when we got to his house, we were given a warm welcome by his entire family. He even arranged for my stay with his cousin and his family in Peru for New Year’s.”
But with the good times there were also many challenges, starting with difficulty in getting custom clearance for the motorcycles on day one itself. Other experiences that have left a mark include getting caught in the protests at Ecuador against austerity measures.
“On entering Ecuador, we were at the scene of a protest. People were throwing stones, burning tyres and had blocked the roads with huge rocks and trees. We didn’t know Spanish and they didn’t know English. We had to signal our request to allow us to go. This meant clearing the road, crossing with our motorcycles and recreating the blockades. Then we continued into Peru and on the second day, my friend and co-rider, Vijay, had a fall and badly injured his ankle. I had to bring him back to India for treatment. After his treatment was done, I returned to Peru and restarted my ride.
Stating that he has felt like giving up during challenging times, Richard says, “But then I have gathered myself and started thinking of alternative ways to move on.” He adds, “My family has been immensely supportive of my passion and encouraged me. Without their support, it would have not have been possible for me to do this kind of a ride.”
As for advice that he can pass on, he says, “My trip is self-financed; there are no sponsors. What I would tell others who are interested in doing this is that great planning (includes checking visa requirements for each country, climatic conditions, knowing basic bike repairs) makes for a great ride. It doesn’t take a lot of money but you need good planning. When you do a ride, you feel rejuvenated. And don’t let the hurdles stop you. Never give up.”