Geoff may have ridden Royal Enfields in everything from 51C in the Baluchistan Desert to -40C on a frozen lake in Mongolia, but even that’s beaten by two heroes who’ve just ridden RE Himalayas to the bottom of the world
Santhosh Vijay Kumar and Dean Coxson, I salute you!
I’ve ridden Royal Enfields in everything from 51C on the way back from India with Paddy Minne to -40C on a frozen lake in Mongolia. Wearing a pair of sparkly tights from Tesco – naturally.
It’s a long story, but a former SAS Colonel told me they always wore tights on Arctic expeditions to keep their legs warm, so I brought the tights, left over from a fancy dress party (don’t ask) for a laugh.
Then when all my cold-weather kit spent the week at Moscow Airport, I rode around in -40C with nothing on my legs except the sparkly tights and a pair of thin cotton combat trousers. It was, er, refreshing.
Thank heavens, then, that Indian rider Santhosh and Brit Dean were more appropriately kitted out for 90° South, the official Royal Enfield expedition to the Pole to celebrate the company’s 120 th year in existence.
The two and their backup team arrived at Novo in Antarctica from Cape Town on December 16 for four days of acclimatisation, loading supplies, and checking equipment and the motorcycles.
From Novo, they rode 1,988 miles over the next nine days, braving temperatures between -30 to -25 degrees and winds of 37mph, towards the Ross Ice Shelf for the final 288-mile push towards the Pole.
After a blizzard forced a slight detour, they made it for a world first.
The Himalayan is a fabulous little bike anyway. I’ve ridden one from Delhi to Leh in the Himalayas, and it just pottered through everything – mud, snow, ice, water crossings, gravel, rocks and even the occasional bit of tarmac with built-in potholes – but for this, the chaps’ bikes did need a bit of tweaking.
They were modified in-house to cope with the extreme conditions, then for the last leg ridden on a compacted snow track to reduce drag and limit emissions to a minimum.
“Royal Enfield is consciously ensuring no footprint is left behind by the expedition team except wheel tracks that will quickly be lost to snow drift,” said an RE spokesman.
“The team ensured that all waste was brought back for appropriate disposal.”
Dean and Santhosh are now back home in the UK and India respectively after their epic adventure, tending to minor frostbite and having a nice hot cup of tea, that other thing apart from bureaucracy, driving on the left and very fine motorbikes that their two countries have in common.
I don’t know about you, but I keep my car tyres topped up with free air at Sainsbury’s, and my bike tyres with a footpump – both of which are apparently not particularly accurate.
Well, not any more – now my pressures are accurate to a gnat’s whisker after getting my hands on a nifty digital gauge from Two Tyres, twotyres.co.uk, which also supplies, er, tyres.
Chunky and easy to use, it’s the one Two Tyres uses in its own workshop, a piffling £19.95, including free delivery and a three-year guarantee, and highly recommended to get your pressures spot on.