“Discover India” Train & Bike Adventure in Darjeeling – Travel India Alone


When residing images legend Dan Milner tells you about his subsequent venture, a motorbike journey in India, you do not suppose twice about leaping onboard.



German mountain bike rider Steffi Marth signed up instantly to affix Dan and Indian mountain bike rider Vinay Menon for a singular journey.

Within the following, the protagonists Dan Milner (photographer), Steffi Marth (skilled mountain bike rider), Vinay Menon (skilled mountain bike rider) and Thomas Hessmann (videographer) describe their thrilling impressions and the way they skilled the journey.


How did you provide you with the thought for a motorbike journey in India?

Dan Milner: I’m a sucker for a practice journey. Perhaps it’s the mix of a slower tempo and being at floor degree the place you get to glimpse life cross by the window, or maybe it’s the accessibility that trains imply for thus many individuals, particularly in locations like India. So once I heard a couple of 140-year previous practice that was nonetheless working by the foothills of the Indian Himalaya, I assumed, “hey, I’m wondering if we might use it as our uplift with the bikes?”

“Steffi, do you wish to go on a visit to India with Dan Milner?” What was your first response to this request from ABUS?

Steffi Marth: To be sincere, I briefly questioned if India was too excessive for me, however once I heard that Dan Milner was a part of the journey, I used to be bought instantly. I did not know Dan personally earlier than, however I knew his tales and he’s merely an icon in the case of adventurous MTB tales and he was undoubtedly one I at all times wished to work with.

You are from Pune, India and that’s fairly distant from Darjeeling area. Have you ever ever ridden there earlier than or within the space?

Vinay Menon: Darjeeling in West Bengal is approach on the market from my hometown of Pune in Maharashtra. I hadn’t ridden there earlier than, although I’ve a number of native using buddies from Darjeeling who at all times shared rad tales in regards to the trails there. The misty, forest trails are unreal. Having my good buddy Michael McLean from Mountain Bike Kerala as our lead on this journey, nice instances had been assured! 

Huge mountains, you do not conquer them, they merely mean you can play on them, so when a possibility aligned to go to, experience within the mountain maze of the decrease Himalayas in Darjeeling, it is the hills allowing me, us to benefit from the trails there.

What was it like trying over Dan’s shoulder?

Thomas Hessmann: Dan is among the most uncomplicated folks I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. He is aware of precisely what he desires, is totally skilled, and but at all times has that insanity in his eyes that you just in some way anticipate from a mountain biker in his class. The work itself by no means felt like work, as a result of he is completely dedicated to the panorama. For him, the main target was at all times on mountain biking and never the manufacturing itself.

Once you suppose again to the journey ­– which image or expertise do you consider first?

Steffi: The very first thing I consider is the spotlight we had on the final day: Biking within the solar in entrance of the snow-covered Himalayan mountains at about 3,500m. The air was so skinny, the panorama completely unreal and you may simply benefit from the expertise to the fullest. The dawn that day was additionally gigantic. It was bitterly chilly and I struggled a bit with the hygiene situations throughout the entire journey, but it surely was all value it for these moments. India is simply superior, you can not describe how unique this nation is.

You’ve been to quite a lot of completely different adventures all world wide. What made the distinction or was particular about this journey?

Dan: Placing the practice on the heart of this journey gave us an opportunity to see and immerse ourselves in one other facet of India that so not often will get documented in bike journeys; the gritty, on daily basis working lives of people that reside within the place you’re simply visiting and on this case, hold a railway working. The concept got here with its personal set of challenges although, particularly coping with practice guards who had by no means been confronted with the thought of taking a motorbike on their practice earlier than.

As a result of of Mountain Biking you’ve travelled and made buddies everywhere in the world. How does it really feel to host riders in your house nation?

Vinay: Being within the sport for over 25 years, I can say mountain biking is my life. The buddies I’ve, are all whom I bonded with due to mountain biking. India and our magnificent mountains are my dwelling, my playground. The awe and pleasure I see within the eyes of a number of the elites of the game, after they’re visiting, makes me understand how fortunate I’m to name India my dwelling. Having high tier riders and photographers having fun with India’s trails places a smile on my face! I grew up on bike movies and journal articles and at all times imagined having India’s unimaginable mountains being showcased to the mountain biking household world wide. It is taking place now! It evokes extra Indian riders to tread down their yard trails. When you go to India, you go dwelling a modified individual!

You took many nice footage, which is the image of the journey, that you just may not even have on a tough drive however is saved in your very personal reminiscence without end?

Dan: It’s most likely the psychological picture of the native porters, sherpas and guides having fun with themselves and letting their hair down over a bottle of brandy we gifted them, and watching them having a dance across the hearth within the chilly tea home excessive on the Singalila ridge nationwide park. Generally it’s important to go away the digicam within the bag and financial institution these pictures for your self — the moments that remind you that irrespective of the place you’re, irrespective of how distant or completely different a spot, everybody round you is human and we’ve that in widespread.

What was the largest problem from knowledgeable perspective as a filmmaker and what was the largest problem personally?

Thomas: As a one-man movie division, it’s important to do the whole lot by yourself, however you additionally do not wish to decelerate the movement or get in the best way of the photographer. So: run down the beautiful tough path in entrance of the bikers, discover a spot that is exterior Dan’s radius, discover a image, test the sound, hope that the main target is true and seize the experience correctly. Pack the whole lot up, run after it, and do it once more. And all at an altitude of three,600 metres after sleeping for 4 hours at -3 levels in a hut with out electrical energy or working water.

How was the precise mountain biking and would you suggest such a visit?

Steffi: As is commonly the case in such distant lands, you’re naturally looking out for cool trails and infrequently it feels as if no mountain biker has ever been on these trails earlier than. That is precisely what this journey was all about. We rode by dense bamboo forest, underneath prayer flags and throughout vast meadows and mystical forests with actually tall, imposing timber. On the final day we rode 2,000 vertical meter descent, which was an actual journey and took 5 hours.

When Steffi, Dan and Thomas discuss in regards to the journey it appeared like an actual journey. Is that this additionally the case for you and was it additionally particular or was it only a regular bike journey for you?

Vinay: Typically the hardest journeys lead us to epic summits. This journey is unquestionably a particular one for me! I am extraordinarily grateful to the workforce for having given me the chance to affix and experience with superior new buddies like Steffi, Thomas and with my previous bro Mike and the bossman photograph grasp Dan. Thanks a bunch!

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