Nepal 2018

Rain, rain go away

Today was about assessing the groups training skills, for them to be able to pass on information and advice to others in the future. We only had the morning as Lt Col Steve Whitlock was coming in to do the closing address in the afternoon.

Plan A was to ride to the river bed and watch the guys working in pairs to explain and demonstrate to their colleagues the various techniques they had learned such as front and rear wheel skids, river crossing, hill ascents etc. Unfortunately the two team leaders informed us that rain was forecast so we would wait and see but in all likelihood would not be going out. Not because they don’t ride in rain, but in mountainous regions rain has a habit of turning river beds into raging torrents. The kit they have is also very basic (generally they provide their own) so getting wet would lead to getting quite cold very quickly. Improvise, adapt and overcome…

Plan B was to use the same method, but use the small car park and get them to explain and demonstrate suitable techniques; getting on and off the machine, safe starting and stopping, picking up a dropped bike etc. Then the rain hit. I have never seen such heavy rain, and I live in Northumberland. I work there, as well as Cumbria and Scotland so I know quite a bit about rain. This was an absolute torrent that just did not stop. Within seconds the guttering could not cope, car parks and lawns were flooded and the storm drains were working hard. A brief jog of about 12 feet between buildings and the rain was dripping off you, hair was soaked (in my case, scalp was wet). I have tried to photograph it but it just doesn’t do it justice. Improvise, adapt and overcome…

Plan C was to use the classroom and get them to take us through the various theory inputs required. We had designed a PowerPoint presentation for this course so we set the computer up about 3 minutes before the power cut. They are common here, especially in the rain and storms, and there are various back-ups but they can take a while to switch in and this took a while. Improvise, adapt and overcome…So it was we ended up in a dim classroom with no power (but dry) using a whiteboard and markers.

It worked well and everyone engaged with the session; they asked questions from the floor and generally did an excellent job. In the end, 9 of the 12 satisfied us and their leaders that they had sufficient understanding and depth of knowledge to be able to pass on the techniques and explain why they worked to someone who was asking challenging questions. The remaining three were to have their future development managed locally.

Lt Col Steve Whitlock then addresses the group. He was extremely pleased with his guys and it brought it home to us when he stated they are the ONLY trained motorcyclists in Nepal. No training is required before test, and there is no post-test training at all. That is something both Pete and I are extremely proud to have been part of. It really has been an honour and a pleasure…


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