Jeremy Sykes – NMMT Friends Member
As with so many other events, Covid restrictions meant that Steph was unfortunately unable to be with us in person, but by the wonders of modern technology she was able to provide us with a superb evening from her highly personalised home office.
Those who met Steph when she last came to a Friends evening will know that appearances can be deceptive, with the delicate exterior hiding a tough interior. The story of her experiences taking Rhonda the Honda around the world clearly demonstrated her ability to overcome whatever the trip threw at her.
Clearly not a woman to sit back and watch the world go by the desire to travel again soon came back. This started with 1000Km fund raising walk around the highest peaks in the UK with various companions and through some terrible weather conditions.
Whilst walking provided a wonderful means to take in the amazing scenery so near home, the opportunity of motorised transport came next in the form of a trip across Africa in a Unimog, covering 10,000 miles through 10 countries in 10 weeks.
This was followed by a trip to India in a Tata Nano, which was sadly curtailed due to the Covid outbreak, but did give an opportunity to test the volumetric capacity by seeing how many of the locals could fit inside. You will have to watch the video to see the result!
Whist these things were going on, another trip was being worked out, this time with more people rather than the previous solo or limited number trips. The plan was to take an all-female group and ride to the base camp of Mount Everest. It turns out that there are 2 base camps, one in Nepal and the other in Tibet, the Tibetan option having the benefit for a motorcycling trip is that apart from the very last part there are roads all the way up. Of course, when I say roads, they are not quite what we are used to here……..
The bikes chosen for the trip were somewhat more substantial than Rhonda, being the Royal Enfield Himalayan. These were not only appropriate in name, but also the style, simplicity and ruggedness, plus the low centre of gravity, made them an ideal machine for the riders and terrain.
A trip of this nature naturally has a significant number of dangers and risks. The local traffic, the weather, the altitude, the terrain, the unfamiliar surroundings and many more all added to the hazards, which unfortunately created a high rate of attrition among the team and not all the 23 starters made it to the finish.
It doesn’t seem appropriate to steal Steph’s thunder and re-tell the story of the trip when the complete presentation is available on the National Motor Museum YouTube channel so you will have to go there to get the full story, something I would advise for anyone who couldn’t make the original presentation, and for those who did, as there are so many things which can be missed on the first viewing.
A big “thank you” goes out to Steph for an excellent and informative evening telling the tales of things most of us would only ever dream of doing. I can’t imagine that she will be sitting back taking it easy, so I’m already waiting for her next visit to tell us about the latest adventure, whatever that may be. Watch this space …