“The mountains are calling and I must go”; one of the most famous and influential outdoor enthusiasts John Muir said these famous words in the 1800s and they have been etched in the annals of history forever. These words holds significant importance in the life of any Indian Motorcyclist and I am not any different. Infact, these words have been resonating in my ears since September 2010 because that was when I went for my last Motorcycle Ride to the Himalayas – The BoP Dalhousie Darogaas Ride, another of our memorable and crazy rides.
I moved to Kuwait in March 2010 and since then I have mostly visited Rajasthan for all my bike rides – Tijara, Chittorgarh, Bundi, Mandawa, Neemrana and the spectacular Rambunctious Rajasthan Ride in February 2015 to Udaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer.
Since then I have visited Poland, Holland, Czech Republic, Greece, Turkey and Egypt with my family but my yearning for India and especially the Himalayas never diminished even minutely! It is where I belong…
So you can very well understand my near desperation to go to The Himalayas for a bike ride. And what better circuit to cover than the grueling Lahaul Spiti Circuit which is often considered one of the toughest rides across India. I have done the Ladakh circuit way back in June 2008 so the LS circuit was more than delayed already. And that is what exactly was going on in my mind.
Initially this ride was supposed to have only 2 participants – my friend, philosopher & Guide – George Varghese and myself but soon I shared this idea with some of my comrades who in turn shared it with their friends and the number swelled to 7!
My Ladakh and West Coast Rides comrade, Sunder Sankararaman also signed up which made me further more excited as it is a great pleasure to ride with the most calm and collected person I know! Sadly, he had to cancel 2 weeks before the ride due to work commitments.
I started the route planning in March 2016 and took help of the legend Mr. Narender Kumar Gautam (fondly known as MasterJi across the travel fraternity), Dheeraj Sharma (experienced traveler and founder of the Devil on Wheels Travel community), my BoP comrade Diptinder Singh Chhabra (who did this circuit in 2007) and Shubham Mansingka (a very popular blogger who runs the Travelshoebum travel blog) to finalize the route and the night halts. The route we finalized was:
And then I started the hotel bookings which is an activity I love the most; checking out the reviews on Trip Advisor and interacting with the staff from various properties. These are our hotel booking details:
Soon more people joined the ride and we had a final count of seven – myself, George, Sunder, Adit, Adit’s former colleague at InShorts – Harsimran, George’s XISS junior – Rakshit and George’s riding comrade – Sanjay.
I collected the advance booking amount from each of them and confirmed all the bookings accordingly.
And then my personal preparation started which mainly involved a lot of shopping for Motorcycling Gear! I was doing such mass level gear shopping after 7 years and it was so much fun doing all my research and then ordering the stuff online ! I ended up buying the following gear across various brands:
- AlpineStars – Knee Guards and Motorcycling Gloves
- Wildcraft – Rain Jacket & Pants
- ViaTerra – Tank Bag and Tail Bag
- The North Face – Beanie Cap and Winter Gloves
- Reebok – Balaclava
I ordered my AlpineStars gear through an American website named Revzilla and got it delivered to a colleague’s PO Box Address and got the order delivered at my office through DHL. My gear also undertook quite a journey in reaching me! This was the first time I was using AlpineStars gear and was understandably very excited.
I also ordered some other stuff through Amazon and couple of other websites. I wanted to be fully prepared you see!
With the help of a friend, I sent my bike to Zaheer Bullet Point to get “The Mighty One” up & running for the ride on 20th August which ensured that I could collect my bike on Day 1 of my India Trip and ride it for some time before the ride and get it checked for any possible niggles.
Everything was in place and finally the list of confirmed participants came down to four!
George Varghese aka Paaaaaaaaaaaaai on his Forest Green Royal Enfield Standard 500
Adit Sharda aka Chhote on his Blue Yamaha R3
Harsimran Singh aka Harry/Hari on his Black Honda CBR 250
Nishant Jha aka Che on The Mighty One
I landed in India along with my wife and on 2nd September early morning, collected my bike straight after reaching home and then the anxious wait began!
I went to Amritsar with my family and as always ate like a mad man; came back on 8 September and on 9th September, a day before the ride, I fell sick with acute diarrhoea, went to the loo 10 times and became very weak and dehydrated. I was very determined for the ride but my body wasn’t feeling the same! My wife and parents were very worried too. Thanks to Adit who gave me a home remedy, I was absolutely normal in 6 hours and was raring to go! I just had to take diet precautions for the first 2 days of the ride but that was a very small price to pay for a successful ride! BIG THANKS TO ADIT! I would be forever indebted to him for all his help, motivation and encouragement before and during the ride!
The men were ready so were the machines! All we were longing for were the open roads now….and they were soon coming our way.
I knew that the roads were going to be tough and the weather was going to be crazy but I had no idea about how roads were going to be; I was pleasantly shocked when I reached there and the ride ended as the most difficult rides of my life!
The ride was 1,879 kms long for me, I had 3 minor falls, had a close shave with a horrifying accident and had 2 breakdowns but in the end, all the troubles were worth it and I had a wonderful time with my 3 fellow Leonines. I would be writing individual travelogues for day-to-day accounts of our ride and hope you would enjoy reading them as I go along.
Day by Day Travelogues of the Ride:
So till the time we meet again…
Cheers to life…
Till then ride safe and have safe sex…
Hasta la Victoria Siempre…