Organizing some of the most thrilling motorcycle rides in the Himalaya and the sub-continent is a man with a passion for adventure.
A well-known face in the bikers’ community and among veterans, Rabi Thapa, is an enthusiastic adventure travel specialist, and also a great philanthropist. With more than 30 years of experience in the adventure travel industry under his belt, Thapa started Sacred Summits in 2003 to promote motorcycle adventures to Tibet through Lhasa and the Everest Base Camp. He was the first to operate motorcycle tours to Jomsom and Muktinath in 2008 and also initiated the famous Enfield Rendezvous & Poker Run.
Can you share with us your motorcycle experiences?
It’s been a long journey but it did not start out that way. From 2003, we began organizing the overland Ride to Tibet which included a visit to Lhasa and Everest Base camp (Tibetan side) against everyone’s better judgment. In 2012, we travelled around India doing the Buddha Circuit, a pilgrimage following the footsteps of Lord Buddha and attended the Kalachakra in Bodhgaya. I’m also a regular attendee of Rider Mania organized by the Royal Enfield Company which is held in Goa in the month of November.
What was the motorcycling field like in the earlier days?
In the past, I must say it was pretty quiet. Motorcycles were generally used as a means of transport to go to office, college, take the family around or sometimes to go on a ride with friends to Godavari or Nagarkot during the weekends. It was only the expat community and some local motorcycle enthusiasts that were interested and planned rides outside Kathmandu Valley which was of course on Royal Enfield Motorcycles or other classic bikes such as BMW’s, Indian Chief, Norton, BSA, etc.
How did the Enfield Rendezvous and Poker Run come about?
The event honors the life of late Binod Chettri Acharya, who was looking to replicate the Harley Rider Poker Run of Australia (an event he took part in) with Enfield riders in Nepal. Sadly, Acharya passed away in October 2008. So in order to fulfill his dreams, Stewie Mclean, a Harley rider and promoter of motorcycle adventures in the Himalayas, and I, who has organized motorcycle tours all over the subcontinent, decided to pay tribute to the fallen rider with the first Poker Run in April 2009. Since then many years have gone by and each year the Enfield Rendezvous & Poker Run family keeps growing which makes us so proud.
What do you think of the present motorcycling field and community?
It’s unbelievable. Over the last ten years, the motorcycling fraternity has just exploded. We now have over twenty Royal Enfield Motorcycle Clubs in Nepal and with the introduction of high end motorcycles the motorcycling family is getting bigger and better every day. They have now discovered the joys of riding. There are also many motorcycling events that are being held regularly by clubs and various organizations and I believe that it is going to be one of the biggest adventure travel activities in the coming years.
Any advice you would like to give to the present biking community and youngsters?
Always put safety first. Speed thrills, but it also kills. So I would say “Ride Safe”, wear a helmet, follow traffic rules and there is a whole new world to explore so, “Get on your Bikes and Ride”!