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Sideburn Himalayas 2016-17

Flying High In the Sky


Finally, after three days of travel through five airports and one crazy, ten-hour taxi ride into the Himalayan foothills, I was on two wheels, comfortable with handlebars in my hands. As my motorcycle carried me  through tiny villages and zoomed along narrow roads, my nose was bombarded with new smells. I had to keep reminding myself which side of the road to be on to avoid becoming a hood ornament on one of the large, overly-decorated trucks. As I started to get a feel for the utilitarian Royal Enfield, the road began to leave the valley floor and I was soon twisting and rising on an endless road. We made our way through the valley’s fog and trees and as we reached the tree line, the exciting views and potential of the road let something loose inside me. I found myself trying to overtake my fellow riders. Just as my racing gear kicked in, we were parking our bikes for the first of many great tea stops.


We were lucky to have amazing camp hosts, all part of the Helmet Stories crew. Each night they magically set up our tents, cooked fresh chickens with tasty curry, and had big bottles of beer cooling in nearby brooks. The hosts serviced the fleet of Royal Enfields each day; the bikes were more ready than roaring, but a fast bike is not something you need to see the Pangi Valley on - especially when 75% percent of the road was exposed to drop-offs that made me wish I was wearing a parachute. 


Every day of the trip was more amazing than before and every campsite was more epic than the last. I was born in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and I thought I knew mountains, but these monsters knocked the breath out of me. The adventure turned out to be just as big. One morning, I woke up to a smelly yak plodding by my tent, and another day a gray langur, the local monkey, flew out of a tree and landed right in front of me. We entered ancient, sacred temples, shared street games with locals, and never had a moment that did not knock my socks off.


As our trip was nearing an end, I tried to squeeze every bit of enjoyment out of the tired Enfield. I came full throttle through a narrow village street, I caught a bit of air over a crest and was face-to-face with a policeman. He only smiled at me as I zipped by, a true example of the peaceful people of the Himalayans.

Words: Travis Newbold


The 2017 Sideburn x Helmet Stories Himalayan trip through the Pangi Valley is now taking bookings. The dates of the trip are 10-18 September (see details below. Email us for details before booking flights.) 

The price of the trip is Rupee 125,000.

This trip is run by the highly experienced Indian-owned company, Helmet Stories.

All payments to Helmet Stories.


50% deposit on booking.

25% three months before trip

25% one months before trip

The trips includes: Royal Enfield 500 Bullet bike rental; meals and drinks on the road; all accommodation (twin sharing in hotels, individual tents when camping); sleeping bag; guides; back-up truck; full support of mechanics and catering staff.

Not included: Personal insurance with repatriation cover (essential); Flights to and from New Delhi; any accommodation before the 11th or after the night of 18th; transfer to Delhi railway station on day 1; Internal flights if you choose those over the organised transfer; Riding kit (bring your own); Tourist visa; Damage to the motorcycles

You must be in New Delhi on Saturday 9 September 2017 to be able to catch a train at 7.40am on Sunday 10th*. Fly home on 18 September 2017**. Helmet Stories can suggest hotels if you wish to arrive before or leave later to have more time to acclimatise and relax.

TO BOOK Contact

* It is possible to get cheap internal flights, to avoid the train journey from Delhi to Chandigarh (though the train is a good experience) and the very long taxi journey back to Delhi (which is not such a good experience).
** Your flight home is dependent on choosing the road transfer (included in price) or booking your own internal flight back to Delhi. Vir at Helmet Stories can help advise internal flights.

Photos: Xxxxx xxxx

Photos: Helmet Stories

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