January 11, 2002 GMT
South India

Despite their purgative effects on my stomach, The Ghats along the western coast are quite an experience: each climb and descent two thousand metres on Indian hairpins. They certainly focus the mind. Just the one near death, but my cornering is super sharp. The bike coughs a bit up there. Something about the altitude. Maybe I should re-jet or somesuch, but hell, I'll only be coming down again.

Otherwise, the machine seems to like mountains (itís in the name I guess), the gearing appears well judged. I have enjoyed keeping the revs high and experimenting with braking combinations. In Britain the advanced riding instructors tell you try to ride without using the brakes--all with the gears. I have found that this gives a much reassuring feel in the corner, as the bike is not pitching forwards onto the front, which puts more demands on the tyre and suspension. It also forces you to think ahead more. Thirdly, it means you are in the right gear for exit. Maybe Iíll never be Barry Sheen though.

Itís gorgeous up there over the plains, but white-knuckle and wide-open eyes are de rigueur. Even the various head-on wrecks en route donít seem to discourage the locals from the blind bend overtakes. Terror is riding pillion.

Stumble onto a dance display.

Conoor is fresh, high amid tea plantations. The women and carry huge loads on their heads. The distance keeps it unreal. Those baskets must weigh half their body weight. Picturesque poverty; the sort people like above their mantelpieces back home. I wonder do the locals here have porcelain figurettes of the dossers under Waterloo Bridge, with fine detailing of the cardboard boxes and loony brew tins.

The big squares and stone buildings of Mysore break the pattern of congested cramped public spaces. The place still stinks of diesel and petrol fumes though; like everywhere in India, days of jasmine and cardamom fragrance are long gone. Did they ever exist? Sometimes I feel that I am fifteen years too late for this country. Industrialisation and the spread of car ownership have robbed it of the charm the sixtiesí travellers loved.

Instead Bangalore poses as the India of the future. Feels like a budget western theme park. Arcades, coffee shops and hamburgers. The second-rate consumerism was fun as a change, starved of beef and escalators as I am, but what a dreadful model of development. I did enjoy the steak florentina though.

Bike problems drag me down a bit. When it suffers I suffer. Am trying not to form any emotional attachment to what is after all merely a combination of metals and liquids, but donít always succeed. Have successfully resisted giving it a name. I am proud of this, eve if I canít look after the bloody thing.

Posted by at 11:42 PM GMT

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events


HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!