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ADV NewsWatch: A Himalayan Adventure in America’s Last Frontier

Watch: A Himalayan Adventure in America’s Last Frontier

What happens when total strangers embark on a ride of a lifetime in Alaska.

Published on 11.05.2021

Camaraderie can be a powerful component of adventure riding, something Royal Enfield has confirmed by inviting six complete strangers, all different ages, with different backgrounds and levels of riding skill to travel on Himalayans through Alaska for 11 days. The resulting adventure was captured in the new film ‘Epic Rides: Alaska‘.

The ride was dreamed up by Bree Poland, marketing lead for Royal Enfield North America, to showcase the Himalayan’s versatility. How the rugged bike is an enjoyable, adventure-minded choice for beginners and experts alike, whether they are running errands in a big city or trekking across the wilds of Africa.

Royal Enfield Himalayan epic rides Alaska

She nailed it on the diversity of riders. There’s a professional skateboarder, a general contractor and a military pilot who races gliders in her spare time. One typically rides a Shovelhead chopper while another has a garage full of dirt and adventure bikes. California, Utah, Alabama and Wisconsin are some of the hometowns.


“We could not have been more different,” says the route planner Jesse Kimball of the group, whose one common thread was a love of riding motorcycles. “You can spend 40 hours per week in an office with other people and never really form a bond. Take a group of complete strangers, throw them into an unknown and challenging environment with a Royal Enfield Himalayan and you seem to have a recipe for lifelong friendship.” 

Mud, Mountains and Mosquitos 

Few of the riders had been to Alaska before, and only Jesse had experience riding in the state. One participant had never ridden for more than a few minutes in the rain. Most did own Himalayans, though they used them back home in very different ways. All were blown away by the state’s majestic mountains, ancient glaciers and dramatic coastlines, though being eaten alive by Alaska’s infamous mosquitos was a common grievance. 

Anyone who’s ridden in Alaska knows the weather, even midsummer, changes constantly, with rain being inevitable and muddy tracks the norm. The group’s Day One, which kicked off this the quintessential breakfast planning session, was no different. From Anchorage the crew takes small highways and dirt roads to Homer, arriving chilled and excited to enjoy well-earned apres at a classic dive bar, the Salty Dawg Saloon.  

Royal Enfield Himalayan epic rides Alaska

As the journey continues it hits all the marks expected on an Adventure ride in Alaska. There are bald eagle and moose sightings, laid back locals, glacier walks, snowball fights, campfires and real maps. Every backdrop is gorgeous. By the end of the film the happy batch have all officially become Alaska land owners, though you’ll need to watch for yourself to see how that purchase went down. 

“It’s hard to describe in words what a profound experience this was,” says rider, Sanna Boman. “We’d ride through an area so insanely beautiful that I’d be absolutely certain that nothing would ever top it, and then we’d turn a corner and the next view would be even more epic.”

Royal Enfield Himalayan epic rides Alaska

On the flip side it was often very cold and there were some horrendously muddy roads and trails that required teamwork, further deepening the group’s bond. Pro skateboarder Corey Duffel had no off-road experience and showed up in jeans and a leather jacket. “I had never been on dirt in my life except to go camping on my Harleys. Huge difference. Riding 80 miles through dirt is wild! The weather was wet which is fine, but not when you’re soaked and at 6000 feet elevation in a pair of jeans, leather jacket and boots full of water!” 

An Accessible Machine

But even for someone just starting out off-road riding – and in advanced situations – the Himalayan was rock solid and the best kind of teacher. “It’s a tractor,” says Sanna, who often rides her own Himalayan off road back in California. “It’s obviously not the fastest or most high-tech motorcycle on the market, but it will go anywhere.”

Chris Steele, a Royal Enfield ambassador who was one of the more advanced riders in the group, uses his Himalayan daily, and once, during car-short period, used it as his year-round commuter. In Milwaukee! He says he not only tours on this bike, he rides his stock Himalayan on snow and ice regularly, even out ice riding with buddies on specially prepared machines. “It’s a great, sturdy, capable machine.”

Royal Enfield Himalayan epic rides Alaska

Chris also says it’s not true their group was made up of complete strangers…because there are no strangers in the motorcycle community. We’re already family. 

Which brings us back to Bree Poland’s vision for the ride and film. “We started the Epic Ride Series to not only showcase the beautiful landscapes our world has to offer but to show how motorcycling itself builds communities, friendships and memories to last a lifetime.” 

Royal Enfield Himalayan epic rides Alaska

Our one complaint about the ‘Epic Rides: Alaska‘ film was that it felt short, making it welcome news there are more episodes on the way. In fact, there will be an ‘Epic Rides’ series for each of the Royal Enfield models, featuring new insta-friends exploring destinations around the world. 

“We hope this film, and more to come in the series, inspires people everywhere to get out and ride, meet new people, have adventures, twist a throttle and live your best life. This is absolutely what Royal Enfield is all about.”

Author: Jamie Elvidge

Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.

Author: Jamie Elvidge

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Paul Jensen
Paul Jensen
November 5, 2021 7:08 pm

How do I get in on the next ride? I’m a 71 yr old retired college professor.

Jamie Elvidge
Jamie Elvidge
November 9, 2021 4:24 pm
Reply to  Paul Jensen

Hey Paul. Sounds like fun, right? I was told all the people invited on the ride are Royal Enfield Himalayan owners and/or ambassadors for the brand. Most also appear to be strong on social media, which makes sense from the marketing perspective. All were asked out of the blue. There are some great tour companies up there if you’re looking for a surefire way to knock Alaska off the bucket list. I’ve ridden on multiple occasions with MotoQuest, a tour provider with its roots in Alaska, and loved my experience.


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