MC Tested: Riding Solo to the Top of the World DVD

By Brian Catterson, Photography by Gaurav Jani

Strip away the speed, horsepower and expensive support from The Long Way Down and you get Gaurav Jani, riding an 18-horsepower Enfield Bullet from Mumbai to the Changthang Plateau. That's "northern plateau" in Tibetan, 3100 miles north of the border-roughly comparable to riding from Los Angeles to Boston on a Honda Trail 90, only harder. Roads are rarely recognizable as such, and the average altitude is 15,000 feet. All this on a modern reproduction of a British classic packing 220 pounds of gear and 9 gallons of fuel-enough to cover 560 miles at a crack, except when there's not enough oxygen for internal combustion, and Jani has to push. Next time the Sunday-morning ride gets a little tough, remember: Tough is a relative term.

Touring India's northernmost state is tough by any standard. Especially for a one-man film unit: Set up the shot, roll the film, ride the bike, go back for the camera and head on down the road again. Despite a total lack of experience behind a professional digital video camera, Jani's honest eye gives us a look at 11,000 square miles of astringent, high-desert beauty between the Karakoram Range and the Himalayas

Though it's not as flashy as watching Ewan and Charlie take the long way, Riding Solo makes up for its stripped-down production values with 94 minutes of honesty and pure heart. The 31-year-old Jani is no Spielberg, but if you'd like to see what it takes to ride motorcycling's answer to a black-powder musket to places most people don't have the grit to reach at all-much less to film-this one is well worth the price of admission.

Riding Solo To The Top Of The World DVD
Price: $21.95

Contact: Dirt Track Productions

Verdict 4 stars out of 5
One man's breathtakingly beautiful, 3100-mile ride of a lifetime.

By Brian Catterson
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