When I was in Pokhara I heard about something called The Poker Run. I had never heard of it before but I am glad that I did. It was just what I wanted to do – a ride in a large group of motorbikes for the day followed by a party in the evening. It just so happened that it fell on the Nepali New Year of April 13th 2014 which would be New Year’s eve of the year 2070!
The ride started in Kathmandu and made its way up to Pokhara, with some stops along the way. The name “Poker Run” is because at each stop you pick a playing card so by the end you have 5 cards and the that makes your poker hand. The best poker hand wins a prize. In total there were around 150 bikes on this ride so it was a massive group.
It was an early start because I needed to meet some of the guys at a place called Handle Bar which is the base of a company called Sacred Summits who were organizing the event. After meeting we made our way down to Zero Engineering Garage in the city to meet everyone else and have some breakfast. The local politician was there who governed the area, too, and made a speech along with the event organisers. We had a police escort to take us through the city and out to the highway so that we could stay together as a group as much as possible.
The Long Road
It was a relaxed ride with some people going slow and others going fast so the group tended to spread out quite a lot but then regrouped each time that we stopped for a break. It was fun to go between the different groups and ride with smaller groups for a while at a time. I met a guy called Sonam and his girlfriend who I rode with and they used the Go Pro that I had recently bought to do some filming while I was riding so that was fun.
A Loud Entrance
About 2km outside of Pokhara we all met up again and waited for a Police escort to take us into town, to Lakeside where we all grouped together. Night was falling by the time so it added to the atmosphere. We were greeted by someone important in Pokhara who gave us a scarf which is a Nepali tradition to bring good luck when worn.
The bikes were revving their engines and making a lot of noise as we entered and rode around a field that had been reserved for parking. People were doing wheelspins and all sorts on the grass! It was great fun.
New Year 2071
After that long ride I was feeling a little worse for wear so I was in bed by 11pm as I didn’t feel like drinking, but I made up for it the next night by having a late one with the people who had been on the ride and it was the awards ceremony that night so a lot of fun with everyone in good spirits.
I met a lot of people along the way on this ride who were all very welcoming and friendly, but the people I got to know the most were Sonam and his GF Suruchi, Saqil and his GF Anouw (I don’t know how to spell it but that’s how it sounded!), Manish, Hec Tor and Gatty – these guys were all associated with the Poker Run in some way and also the people that I went to Muktinath with afterwards, which is saved for another post.
I met a French guy called Theo and his girlfriend Liza and a guy called Johannes who was starting work in Kathmandu. I also met some Danish girls, called Tina, Laura and Helene but I can’t remember the name of the others as there were a lot of names to remember…Another couple that I met were called Mike and I’m not sure if his GF’s name!
You can see the video that I made of the trip here: