I’ve always been a “better safe than sorry” kind of girl. Taking risks in other unfamiliar places as a solo female traveller was always a no-go.
But somehow, the risks always found their way to me…
That’s why I still find it crazy how I befriended an entire bike gang on a trip to the Himalayas.
The month was December and my fellow intern/friend and I had finished the first half of our placement in an organization in Kerala. We had been planning a trip through India for weeks and the time had finally come.
We began our trip by making our way (by local trains!) through Goa, then Mumbai, then Delhi, then Agra (Taj Mahal stop!), and finally, the beautiful Himachal Pradesh.
How we afforded to backpack our way through 5 states on a $500 budget in 15 days still amazes me to this day.
We caught our first glance of the bikers on our way to the Kheerganga trek in the Himalayan mountains. We had arrived at the base camp when we noticed bright orange bags on the back of a few motorcycles and my friend pointed out that the bike’s license plates indicated they had also traveled from Kerala (on bikes!!!).
We approached them to ask for directions (Google maps who??) and introduced ourselves and they told us they had just returned from the trek we were about to embark on and gave us a few tips and tricks, and their contact information before heading off towards Delhi.
A few days after completing the trek, we headed back to Delhi and through Instagram stories, I realized the bikers we had met a few days prior were also there! We reached out to let them know we would be in Delhi as well and made plans to meet again.
Somehow, the term “biker gang” felt wrong to apply to these guys. The term indicates intimidation and leather jackets and spiky chains.
But the stereotype just didnt match the guy who gushed over photos of his pregnant wife (and made us promise to visit her when we returned to Kerala) or the guy who excitedly showed us his collection of pets back home (he even had a trained eagle!).
They quickly became good friends and after a night of wandering markets and indulging in very sketchy street food (our stomachs were miraculously fine the next day), we promised to meet again in kerala and went our own ways.
They were heading off for some more trips (just casually making their way through India on freaking motorcycles – no biggie) while we headed back to our hostel in Kerala with heavy hearts (Himachal was a pain to leave – so much beauty!).
Throughout the next few months, we made trips to their district in Kerala every once in a while.
We visited their motorcycle shop, watched them pull stunts on their bikes, and rotated through their houses to be fed by their mothers who treated us to delicious meals of biryani and curries.
While we had only met 6 of the bikers in Himachal, we met the remaining twenty-something members and even got to ride with some of them!
We met our friend’s many cool pets, and attended the baby shower party for our other friend’s wife.
We had somehow become part of their family, and while they were a gang of bikers, they were our gang of awesome friends.
I still smile when I see a post of the pet eagle on Instagram or when I receive adorable pictures of their newest family member (and future biker!) on WhatsApp.
Travelling is such a beautiful way to not only witness places and things, but also to be touched by people you never would have dreamed you would ever met.
They’re the biker gang I met in India.
And they’re also friends who took me in and gave me the opportunity to have experiences I never would have been able to have (high-speed motorcycle rides anyone?) .
And that’s the story of how I became friends with a motorcycle gang in India.
It’s easy to catch the travel bug when it leads you to have experiences and cherished memories like this one!