READING AND WATCHING
India is a tough place to traverse by motorcycle today, so imagine what it must have been like in 1933! That’s when Max Reisch and pillion passenger Herbert Tichy, two young Austrian students, made the first overland crossing by motorcycle from Europe (beginning in Vienna) to India – a trek of 13,000km. The spirit of adventure ran in the family, because Reisch’s father had in 1905 managed a 2,000km trip through Italy to the Ligurian Sea on a gearless, clutchless Puch which he had convinced the factory to give to him. That machine is still in the family. For Reisch junior’s epic, he decided on the same tactic. Puch once again came good with a motorcycle (a 250cc split single), plus some cash, and several sponsors pitched in. Max and Herbert had to negotiate Iraq, Iran and Baluchistan (now part of Pakistan) en route to India. Along the way, the intrepid Max even had time to participate in a race on the fully-laden Puch, finishing second and winning a silver cigarette case! Fortunately, Reisch carried a Leica, a Rolleiflex and a Zeiss-Ikon camera which he used to record the journey – brilliant images that are still as remarkable today. On return to Austria, the ‘India Puch’ as it became known, spent the next 50 years displayed in museums and exhibitions, and is still part of the family. Max sat down and wrote the full story (in German) which was translated into English only in 2010 – a truly incredible tale from a wild and long-forgotten era.