The next day we started early for the great ride up to 3800 meters altitude, to Muktinath. The road conditions got worse, challenging us with very coarse rocky bits, river crossings, waterfalls and the continuous task of picking the most ideal path through all the obstacles on the road. I remember at one point that one of us proudly shouted ‘I’m in third gear!’, something not regularly occurring on the mountain. Soon followed by a disappointed ‘Ah never mind..’ when the single flat piece of road ended just a couple of meters ahead.
The biggest challenge was a crossing of where a huge waterfall hit the road and continued roaring down after flowing over it.
The current was so strong that we had to wait for more people to gather before the crossing, so they could form a human wall on the downhill side of the crossing, preventing our bikes to get dragged down by the current. One guy showed us how to do it, and there we went; eyes closed, calling out for our mom and going for it full throttle until you reach safely across. It was the coolest thing we ever did!
Us, pondering over the waterfall crossing
After having crossed the waterfall and the waterfall having crossed our gore-tex protected shoes, we kept on moving up. The scenery was breathtaking and the ride more challenging than ever.
A couple of hours outside of Muktinath, near Jomsom, and just after Stein lost his exhaust pipe, I hit a rock hidden in a muddy track with my leg guard which made my bike flip over and launching me off.
Stein, looking for his exhaust pipe in the distance
Luckily, besides some scratches, breath-taken-away-knee-grabbing and some nasty words I won’t repeat here, again nothing serious, but it got the bike jammed in second gear. I probably do not have to elaborate on the fact that trying to conquer a mountain on a bike stuck in a specific gear is not very convenient. We had to leave my bike in Jomsom for repairs and continue on our way with 2 bikes. I was on the back of Steins bike for the second time in one week.
There we fixed it
We continued on our way and found ourselves soon in an environment which felt like we were driving on the surface of the moon! We passed the altitude border where no trees or vegetation would grow, views were as endless as they were amazing and we got, literally due to the lack of oxygen, breathless by the whole high up the mountain experience!
‘Moon’ walking at 3500m
We made it to Muktinath that day, just before sunset and on the last thumps of our bikes, struggling with the lack of oxygen at high altitude. It was the greatest accomplishment of our 2 week bike experience, and possibly of our riding careers so far!
I’ll round things up from here as it’s already become quite the long story. After spending some time in Muktinath, having a lot of trouble sleeping and dealing with major headaches because we covered too much altitude too quick (we had no clue!) we made our way down the mountain the days after. We picked up my bike on the way down and ended up having to tow it the last kilometers off the mountain because I managed to get the gears jammed again. Resulting in a 3rd broken bike in 2 weeks time and me getting the nickname ‘The Enfield Killer’. It was a fair nickname and I wore it with pride, but now it was time to start learning how to fix ‘m, instead of breaking them.
The proud owner of my 3rd rental bullet in 3 weeks as ‘The Enfield Killer’
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!