Old Bike Australasia - - GOOD GEAR -

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.

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