Her Story. A series of blog posts telling the stories of 'women who ride' from all corners of the globe. We hope that by sharing these stories we can help encourage other women to build their confidence, learn from others and inspire others.
This month we have a story from Félicité Leduc of Champagne, France. Félicité is only 26 years old and has already conquered some of the most challenging roads in India solo.
We hope you enjoy her story.
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"Hello my name is Félicité and I am 26 years old.
I am living in the north of France, in Champagne-Ardenne area. This place is well known for the famous drink Champagne and I am working in the Champagne vineyard.
I love drawing, photography and obviously travelling, in particular in India!
I started to ride because I completely fell in love with a special type of motorbike that I discovered in India during my trip. At the beginning I did not care so much about motorbike but after seeing that one, it completely changed! At this moment I told myself, I want to ride this beautiful and mystical motorbike which is, Royal Enfield.
(My Royal Enfield in France)
I ride my own black Royal Enfield Classic 500cc, since 2015, in France and when I am travelling in India I also rent a bike for my road trip.
I used to travel in India; I travelled twice on Royal Enfield. Always on my own, I plan my trip by myself, manage everything, my route, the renting of the bike in Delhi…
The first solo trip in Uttarakhand
Only 10 months after obtaining my driving licence, I went to India for my solo trip on Enfield.
I rented the bike and started riding in Delhi. This time nothing was really planned. I didn't really know where to go for this trip, I only knew that my first step was Rishikesh in Uttarakhand. Therefore, I bought a map of this area, took the road towards this beautiful sacred city, however, I did not think much about the next stop yet.
I rode during 15 days and travelled 1700kms.
I discovered how the roads in India were and the way people are driving over there! It was my first experience on the Indian road and it was incredibly crazy. I love it so much! You have to look around and beep all the time, permanently be careful because many things may occur; trucks, cars, bikes, cows, people, coming from everywhere!
I saw amazing landscapes, mountain sides, slept in beautiful small houses, met lovely people living there and spent time with them. They introduced me to their culture, their way of life, their religion, and among other made me discover temples.
This trip was not only about the road, it was also about spirituality and vibration, good energy and good feeling, with those people who shared good times with me.
And I am thankful for that!
The second solo trip: Let’s go to Ladakh - Himalaya
This time I decided to discover Ladakh, and wanted so much to ride one of the most difficult and popular road for bikers in India: Manali - Leh.
I started from Delhi and travelled 500kms in 2 days. The second day, I spent 8 hours under the rain (it was monsoon time), and then from Manali to Leh I travelled 480kms in 3 days. This road is known for its bad conditions, altitude sickness (for high passes), holes, off road, water crossings and so on. This road also include 4 Passes:
Rothang La: 3800m
Baralacha La: 4800m
Lachung La: 5000m
Tanglang La: 5300m
Kardung La: 5600m (the highest motorable road in the world and the purpose of this trip)
This road was really difficult but I managed to do it by myself, of course sometimes people helped me, when I asked my way, when I fall down because it was too heavy to carry my bike up with all my stuff... I had 10 litres of petrol because there were no petrol station along the way between Manali to Leh; my luggage, tool box on the side in case I break something on the bike.
Sometimes I was completely alone on the road, and I felt so small being on my own surrounded by such big mountains like that! You just have to stop a few minutes on this incredible road and look at the view, landscape, the beauty of nature, realising you are there right now and that you are doing what you love to do in this astonishing place! I told myself that I am so glad to be there, enjoying and living one of my dream!
This feeling is just amazing, made all myself vibrating with love and joy and appreciation. I was truly alive!
I also slept one night at 4600m, in a campsite called Pang, I had a headache in the middle of the night, but I had no choice to stay at this altitude because I wanted to avoid riding at night on this kind of road. 6am and I can ride on! However, when I decided to start my bike; nothing happened.
We tried, with one guy who came helping me, to start it. After almost one hour kicking and kicking, it finally started! It was a problem with the carburetor which was stuck cause of dusty roads.
I had to go fast in low altitude because I did not feel good. After 3 days on the road without any shower, sleeping in a tent, riding 8-10hours each day I was so tired but really happy to finally reach Leh!
On my way, I also met good and helpful people, and they were very surprised to see a girl alone on bike! Some of them told me that it was dangerous for a lonely girl, some others gave me lots of respect, even boys told me that I was a good rider. I am proud of this compliment because I love to ride!
The next step was Kardhung La, the highest motorable road in the world. From Leh at 3500m to 5600m in 40 kms only, the last 10kms were so bad that I had to ride in first gear until the top! It was too long! I even lost one of my petrol tanks!
But when I arrived to Kardhung La, it was so amazing the feeling I have felt was very strong, I was proud to reach the pass! I thought about people who are important for me, and appreciated this good moment. I did it !!!
Then, I keep going, the beautiful Nubra Valley and Pangong Lake. I discovered a beautiful turquoise blue stretch of water. This lake is about 134kms which is half in India and half in China. I rode Leh to Pangong Lake in almost 7 hours for only 130kms, the road was really bad and part of it was completely under water.
I slept in a campsite over there to really appreciate this wonderful place, and next day I was back to Leh. Now it’s time to go back to Delhi.
A wonderful solo trip, during 2700 kms, an adventure where I have to excel, get things by myself, and discovered that I am able to do things that I did not know I could do!
This worthwhile road is a dream for the bikers, who need adventure, total escape and discovery! Especially on Royal Enfield!
I have met fantastic and respectful people, who were surprise to see a girl travelling that way, on this road full of obstacles, people passionate about route, bike, travel, with who I shared beautiful moments! All of this made this travel unforgettable!
An exceptional trip!!!
I just want to tell women that you have always staying strong, keep believing in yourself to follow your dream! Riding motorcycles make you feel free and for me it is the best way to travel.
Thank you for reading my story.
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Thank you to Félicité for sharing her story and if you would like to share your story with us simply go to the Contact Page of the website and fill in the form and we will gladly be in touch.
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From Lisbon, Portugal Célia is s proud member of the Litas Portugal and avid offroader.
"Face your fears in your own