Bulletwalla Vishal Sabharwal’s spirit of Royal Enfield and hunger to explore is as vivacious and unique as his passion for solo rides. He believes that solo rides aren’t really solo as, along the way, one almost always meets like-minded people. It’s one’s personal choice whether to open up in conversation or not; not surprisingly, one generally does.
He has been an avid Bulletwalla since the dawn of the travellers’ spirit in him and has undertaken many solo rides till date. He would like to continue with this in future as well.
To his credit, he has owned four Royal Enfields till date namely RE STD350 in 2003 (sold), RE Machismo 500 4 speed 2004 (sold) and a RE Thunderbird 350 AVL-CDI 2005 along with a RE TBTS 350 UCE, both of which he is currently using. Vishal affirms that his interest in longer rides started when he realized there was so much more to explore enroute to planned destinations; hence most of his destinations have been unplanned over the past few years.
His passion for capturing all that comes along the way resulted in him becoming a professional photographer since 2005, the year when one of his images was first published in a magazine. He decided to become a full-time professional photographer from 2009 onwards, with a deep inclination towards Nature/Wildlife, Portraits & Travel photography.
Prior to being a full-time photographer, he was employed for 7 years in event management & human resource development.
“As for now, I focus on doing travel photography for some of the leading travel magazines. I’m also photographing the tribals of the North East for a coffee-table book that I’m working on independently. I work with several hotels & resort chains for their F&B + Interior photography. Along with this, I’m also involved in product photography,” explains Vishal.
In December 2011, Vishal joined hands with the TravelXP team—an HD travel channel—on India’s first motorbike show. The first destination was Nagaland (on a show called ‘Xplore India’). In the show, Vishal set about exploring the towns and remote districts of Nagaland.
The ones covered (spread over 4 episodes of 30 minutes each) were: Kohima, Khonoma, Wokha, Mokokchung & Mon.
Vishal is popularly known as the ‘Photoryder’ (a nickname that combines his passions for biking and photography). He’s also known by this moniker on Twitter.
Nevertheless, the actions of the man speak of his achievements more than any number of words can. His rides say it all…here’s a comprehensive list:
• Solo ride – Leh, Ladakh: Delhi via Himachal: Shimla, Sangla, Kapla, Kinnaur, Kaza/Spiti, Sarchu/Lahaul into J&K: Ladakh, Zanskar, Kargil, Drass, Sonmarg, Srinagar, Pehalgam, Jammu, Amritsar, Delhi. Total distance Delhi-Delhi 4,300 kms, 5 weeks. July-Aug, 2011
• Group ride – Mechuka, Arunachal: for its challenging riding conditions that demanded utmost concentration. Total distance: Shillong to Shillong. 2,700 kms. 2 weeks. Nov 2010.
• Solo ride - Uttrakhand: Delhi, Haldwani, Mukteshwar, Binsar, Kausani, Rudraprayag, Corbett, Delhi. Total distance: 1,400kms. 12 days. Dec 2008-Jan 2009.
Rain, storms, thunder, avalanches: nothing has been able to stop this solo rider from crossing the roads which anyone else would have given up on. Ages pass and so do bikes, but men remain and their passion ignites them to do something worthwhile and beyond the ordinary. Vishal Sabharwal is an exemplary Bulletwalla who has managed to keep the spirit of Bulletwalla alive. I’m sure he will soldier on in the same vein.
Article by: Sahil Sharma and Rupin Chopra
Pictures by: Vishal Sabharwal