By Fatima Shaheen Niazi
Travelling around Pakistan in a car is amazing, but have you ever imagined what it would be like to travel the country on a heavy bike? Envision the wind blowing through your hair as you zoom by the majestic mountains of the north – wouldn’t it be a blissful experience?
Well, while many of us dream of this adventure, a group called ‘The Iron Brotherhood’ has already embarked on several such journeys. This motorcycle club is a society where the members are not only proud owners of Harley Davidson bikes, but are also flag bearers of road travel around Pakistan. The group that was founded in 2017, has around 35-40 members and has several women travelling with them too!
Though there are other motorcycle clubs in Pakistan, The Iron Brotherhood was the first to embark upon the journey from Karachi to Khunjerab on Harley’s.
FindMyAdventure speaks to Badar Rais, one of the members of the club to find out how they plan on changing the way people experience Pakistan.
FMA: How and when did you decide to travel Pakistan on a bike?
Badar Rais: Riding even in Karachi was a very alien concept to me when I came back in 2014. In 2016 I met Anwar Hashim, a 64-year-old who was very passionate about travelling. He had done a few tours on his jeep and bike but wanted to travel to the Khunjerab pass. In 2017, he and I bought two new bikes – Suzuki GS150 – and we went on a 10 day trip from Islamabad to Khunjerab pass.
After this journey was completed, I realised my passion for travelling.
FMA: How was the motorcycle club, ‘The Iron Brotherhood’ formed?
Badar Rais: After I completed my first tour, I craved to ride a Harley Davidson for a true heavy bike experience. Luckily, in 2017, a store opened in Karachi and I bought my first Harley Davidson 883 there. But a bike is not the only thing the store gave me – it also helped me connect with like-minded riders who also possessed the want to explore Pakistan on a bike. In 2018, The Iron Brotherhood was founded by a few of these individuals. That very year, they road from Karachi to Kashmir.
FMA: How many places has The Iron Brotherhood travelled?
Badar Rais: We have travelled pretty much everywhere except Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Other than that we have toured from Karachi to Gwadar, covered almost the entire Sindh and Punjab, and we have also ridden from Karachi to Gilgit Baltistan.
Personally, I have travelled to Skardu and Deosai on my motorbike.
FMA: How did the journey from Karachi to Hunza happen? Were any issues encountered?
Badar Rais: This was a ten day long trip that started from Karachi. Our stops included Rahim Yar Khan, Lahore, Islamabad, Naran, and then finally Gilgit! Believe it or not, but the exquisitely beautiful part of Pakistan starts after the Babusar top. Once you enter Gilgit Baltistan, you have the majestic Nanga Parbat that make you realise how small you are – and then there is Hunza with its culture and history.
Though the beauty of the northern regions left us baffled, the hardships we encountered as a group included the bikes breaking down on the road during travel. And of course fatigue will surely hit you when you are travelling on a motorbike for long.
FMA: What is the purpose of this group?
Badar Rias: We want to promote riding locally, safe riding and riding in proper formation. We also focus on riding with helmets, proper knee gear and gloves, jackets.
FMA: Can women be a part of this club?
Badar Rais: Yes, our wives ride with us regularly and they have even travelled to interior Sindh with us. One of the wives of our rider’s has also done a Karachi to Khunjerab tour. She rode at the back seat with her husband. In fact, I am training my wife to ride a bike and soon she will be joining the club too!
FMA: The Iron Brotherhood often partners up with NGO’s. Are there more of such ventures the group will take part in the near future?
Badar Rais: The club has its set of rules and one of the rules is that we engage in public and social service. We are open to working with NGO’s and marketing their cause without charging them anything. It’s our duty to be a part of something good and the club will continue to partake in social services.
FMA: What are the future plans for The Iron Brotherhood?
Badar Rais: The future plan is to travel to the northern region of Balochistan as well as KPK. One of the bigger goals includes embarking on a motorbike journey around Thailand.