Australia to India on a GSXR – A short story

It’s October 2021 as I write this and almost 2 years ago now, I fulfilled a decade-long dream to ride my GSXR from Australia to India.

Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything on my blog but in my (poor) defense, it’s been a crazy few years. From the highs of preparing for this ride-of-a-lifetime in 2016, to canning it at short notice 2 weeks before departure in 2017, finally setting off in 2019 and then returning home in the midst of a pandemic.

I’m not going to go into the details about what happened before the ride, during the ride or after the ride nor am I going to regale with stories of adventures in far-flung lands; that’ll just have to remain to be seen & heard if I manage to keep up with my story-telling & media sharing beyond this post.

No, this will be plain & simple laying out what I did from June 2019 till December 2019. And hey, if you like the sound of it and want to see more, maybe bookmark this site, follow my Facebook or Insta and there could be a slow trickle of writing to follow…

The journey starts with removing the battery and running the fuel tank dry of my 2007 Suzuki GSXR600 in a shipping company yard in Mascot, Sydney; all set for the it’s first overseas trip as air-freight in a BMW box (does this count as irony if I’d always wanted to stay away from the BMW GS associations?)

With the bike in a plane ahead of me, I was on not long behind on a flight to South Korea, from where we both took the ferry together into Vladivostok, Russia.

It came out of the box onto Russia soil and we rode through the ‘taiga’ of far-East Siberia and enjoyed Russian biker hospitality along the way

I then nervously made my way into Mongolia and crossed it with an unlikely companion;; a Honda Monkey piloted by my crazy Japanese friend, Yosuke, who intended to ride all the way to South Africa

Having decided two inappropriate bikes may somehow fare better than one, we crossed back into the Russian Altai, down through Kazakhstan and into Kyrgyzstan to get our first taste of the start of the infamous M41 Pamir Highway

And just in case adventure of riding the M41 wasn’t enough, we turned off into the Wakhan Corridor which breaks some of the toughest riders with its harsh terrain skirting Afghanistan but also brings great joy to our hearts straight from those of the beautiful people of the Wakhan.

Having paddled my way through the sand and rocks of the Wakhan, I doubled back across the M41 ready to cross Xinjiang, China to enter Pakistan across the highest border crossing in the world, Khunjerab Pass (oh and I also crossed the 3rd highest border crossing at the Tajik/Kyrgyz border but not sure what the 2nd was, no biggie.)

As a person of Indian origin, I hesitantly made my way across the beautiful mountains of Northern Pakistan and deep into conservative territory once held by the Taliban. In return for my hesitance, I was gifted with kindness from the people everywhere I went and a LOT of grilled meat (with a side of stomach infection)

Having overcome breakdowns and illness, I visited the India/Pakistan border the evening before I was due to cross to watch the border ceremony. There in front of me, I could see and hear what I’d spent months riding for, months putting my body through pain for, months struggling on alone for. The country of my birth, my final destination, the phrase I had learnt to say in multiple languages to explain my madness – ‘I am Australian, I am riding to India’

But as any story goes, there’s always a final hurdle before a happy ending. I was overwhelmed by Indian traffic, I had an accident, I had breakdowns, I was scammed by mechanics of my ‘home country’ and I was left without a bike less than 200kms from the town where I was born and my grandparents home.

With days to spare, calls were made, friendships were formed, (a lot of money was thrown) and I rode through the gates of my grandparents house to spend a night in front of the TV in the living room I’d spent my summer holidays in ever since I could remember.

And out in the yard was MY 2007 Suzuki GSXR600, registered in NSW, Sydney, Australia – SOA34.

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I take GSXRs to inappropriate places