After I spent a good couple of months learning everything I could about flying into Delhi and renting a Royal Enfield to make the journey on the Leh-Manali highway, I decided to post on a Facebook group to make some further enquiries about thing I was not sure of.
I got a mixed bag of replies, but one I got was from a guy called Ben Deechakkaboo (Ben Deechakkaboo BEN RDRX Team), he was an Indian motorcycle rider with what he said was prior experience in the region. He also mentioned as it happened that he and a group of riders were doing the ride I wanted to do.
We ended up becoming friends on FB as you do, and spoke on Skype a few times. He ended up inserting himself into the dates that I was planning to ride, which I thought would be fine enough, having a local along on “my ride” would be of some benefit.
From the day I arrived in Delhi, Ben met me at the airport, and I had a strange feeling about him from then on. His personality was extremely full on, very forceful, very dominating. You could not have a conversation with him without him interrupting or over talking you. Watching him talk to Tuktuk drivers, shop keepers and such, you could see these people taking great offense with the way he was talking to them.
We went and picked up the rental bikes, which went smooth enough, despite his interjections into the whole process un-necessarily. Like why after me counting the money to hand over to the rental guy, would he need to snatch it out of my hands before I give it to him and count it himself? Don’t worry Ben, I got it all on video you weird little prick.
After talking to Lalli the guy we were renting the bikes from, Ben told them we would be leaving Delhi at 3am. Lalli suggested, given his long experience with this, that after our long plane flights and delays that we would be better off resting and trying to recuperate before taking the journey and maybe leaving later and not riding 14 hours the first day might be a better idea. I agreed but Ben, who had now decided for himself that he was in charge of everything said NO and that was that.
Without going into every single minute details, suffice to say, someone who will not stop and rest when a fellow rider if suffering day after day from acute mountain sickness (AMS), will not take a rest day, lies about why there is a route change simply because his bike was not allowed on my original planned route, and then while you in hospital trying to talk to a doctor about the AMS, he keeps interrupting asking about why his leg is sore.
Let alone the constant berating everytime I went to use an oxygen canister, when I was the only one being affected and actually needed it. It’s not like I was using it for no reason, with no symptons and to just look cool.
This guy argued with me until the very end, ended up stealing money, fuel, jerry can, spare oil supplies and more. All of these things don’t magically disappear. It was not until I got back to Delhi solo that I came to a realisation that so much had been taken from me and my bike.
Ben, you didn’t have enough money to complete this journey, you changed the route to suit your own ends, which meant that everyone did not have adequate time to acclimatize to the altitude, which as you nominated yourself as a the ‘leader’ it would have been your responsibility to ensure everyone’s wellbeing and safety, but no you were too busy racing off ahead, leaving me to feel lost and isolated.
If I had actually done this ride solo, I would have had my GPS and a full understanding of where I was going. But unfortunately trust was put in this false profit, and I truly hope no other foreign riders visiting India have the misfortune of meeting this wanker.
The final parting words from this gentlemen who wanted to ensure my safety and well being as I left solo to come down off the heights of the Himalayan mountains while suffering from AMS was “I can fuck you up, I know people in the army and police and I’m going to fuck you up”. This made me feel extremely confident riding away.
All of that for what? Because I got sick and became a hinderance to him. Come to Thailand mate, let’s see who gets square then!
I guess as retrospect is 20/20, I should have taken note that this guy had very few friends on Facebook, that nobody had much in the way of comments to pass regarding him, and that when you are dealing with someone from an extremly poor area in India, they will do whatever they can to rip you off and take what is yours to meet their own needs.
Nothing exposes character more than the way you treat people you think you don’t need to.
The nice gent, Ben was even happy enough to reply to all of this. This is unedited, I removed it from the Facebook feed below because I was concerned it may get deleted so here it is in it complete form. Make you own decission.
Ben Deechakkaboo · Ladakh, India
Sunday 16th July 2017 2:53am
All of this negativity aside, if you would like to watch the 7 part series on this adventure, here is part 1 for you on Youtube.
Arriving in Dehli on a flight from Bangkok, we head off without much sleep to Lalli Singh’s Royal Enfield shop to pick up our bikes to start the “Escaping the Indian Himalayas” ride which will see us reach heights of over 4800mtrs, and watch my body fail in the process as we ride through north eastern India.
Many backpackers decide to rent motorcycles in Dehli or Manali to go to the Leh or Spitti Valley. What they do not usually know is that Spiti Valley and Ladakh is very beautiful, but it is not a walk in the park even for an experienced rider. Without a minimal experience it can get quite rough. Mountains have their own rules and there isn’t someone to come and rescue you close by when things go wrong.