Raju is our head honcho in India. He organises all of our cycling and trekking trips and we wouldn’t trust it to anyone else! We asked him a few quick questions so you can get to know him as well as we do. Here goes…
1. How did you start working as a guide?
When I was 19, the Tourism Department offered a trekking guide course in Manali. I loved the walking and camping and being out in nature. I also saw it as a good opportunity to do something other than farming, which is what my family did. I never looked back!
2. How long have you been working as a guide?
I have been working as a trekking guide for 23 years and cycling guide for 15 years. I’m showing my age!
3. What is your favourite thing about working as a guide?
I think I’m incredibly lucky because I get to work outdoors in amazingly beautiful and peaceful places. The bonus is I meet new people from different cultures almost every day and I am able to share and learn from them, too.
4. What do you love about cycling?
Apart from keeping fit and strong, cycling is a great way to travel, to see new places and meet new people. Cycling also has a good community – people like to talk bicycles and cycling and make friends and keep way any worries.
5. How many times have you ridden the Manali to Leh road?
I first rode it alone in 1994, when I was 21 years old. Since then I’ve done it more than 20 times – I’ve lost count!.
6. What’s your favourite thing to show people when you’re on tour?
I love to show people the Indian culture. My favourite night on tour is when we sing traditional songs and Nanack, my friend, and I play the drums. (My childhood wish was to become a musician!)
7. What is your wish for the future?
I want to keep riding my bike – I want to be fit even in my old age, and use cycling to see the world. If I can continue to show people the beauty of the Himalaya by bicycle, I will be a happy man.
Thanks Raju, we can’t wait to see you again in July for our Manali to Leh ride. If you wan’t to meet Shabu – check out our Indian Himalayan adventures and come play!