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Riding to the mecca of motorcyclists

Riding to the mecca of motorcyclists

Riding to Leh, especially if you're considering the route from Manali or Srinagar, is an adventure that requires thorough preparation due to its high altitude, challenging terrain and remote locations. Here's a comprehensive guide to preparing for a motorcycle ride to Leh:

 “I want to ride to Leh”, said one of my friends sitting on a couch, sipping on a piping hot cappuccino when we were chewing the fat on our riding bucket list. Well, this friend of mine called Mandy, hadn’t even clocked 10k on a single motorcycle and was talking about riding to Leh, from Mumbai.

Well, there is a reason you are reading this story today, where I will talk all about riding to the mecca of motorcyclists. So, let’s take it from the top.

Pre-trip Planning :-

Route Selection: Decide whether you'll take the Manali-Leh Highway or the Srinagar-Leh Highway. Both offer unique experiences and challenges.

Permits: Check if you need any permits for certain areas, especially if you're a foreign national or traveling to restricted regions.

Weather Check: Monitor weather forecasts for the region and plan your trip during the summer months (May to September) when the roads are open.

Accommodation: Plan your accommodation in advance, especially in remote areas where options might be limited.

Health Check-up: Consider a medical check-up, especially if you have any underlying health conditions, as altitude sickness can be a concern.

Tyres: Opt for tyres suitable for both on-road and off-road conditions like Reise trailR or Reise tourR. Check tyre pressure regularly during the trip

 

Motorcycle Preparation :-

Service and Maintenance: Ensure your motorcycle is in top condition. Service it thoroughly and fix any issues beforehand.

Spare Parts: Carry essential spare parts like clutch cables, spark plugs, fuses and tyre repair kits, considering the remote areas you'll be traveling through.

Luggage: Invest in good-quality saddlebag bags or panniers to carry your gear. Distribute weight evenly to maintain balance.

Fuel: Calculate the distance between fuel stations and carry extra fuel if necessary, especially on stretches where fuel stations are sparse.

Personal Gear :-

Riding Gear: Invest in proper riding gear & accessories including a helmet, jacket, pants, riding gloves and shoes for protection against cold weather and falls.

Clothing: Pack warm clothes and a riding jacket full set as temperatures can drop drastically, especially at night. Layering is key.

Rain Gear: Carry waterproof gear to protect against unexpected rainfall.

Medical Kit: Pack a medical kit with essential supplies including altitude sickness medication, pain relievers and any personal medications.

Tool Kit: Pack a basic toolkit including wrenches, screwdrivers and pliers for minor repairs as well as a bike riding kit.

Water and Snacks: Carry sufficient water and high-energy snacks to stay hydrated and fueled during the journey.

Safety :-

Riding Experience: Ensure you have sufficient riding experience and riding gear, especially in challenging terrains like mountain roads.

Travel Insurance: Consider purchasing travel insurance that covers adventure activities and medical emergencies.

Emergency Contacts: Carry a list of emergency contacts including local authorities, emergency services and contacts of fellow riders.

Communication: Carry a charged mobile phone with local network coverage or satellite phone for communication in case of emergencies.

Riding Etiquette: Respect local customs, traffic rules and environmental regulations. Drive cautiously, especially on narrow and winding mountain roads.

Miscellaneous :-

Navigation: Carry detailed maps or GPS devices with pre-downloaded maps of the region as cellular coverage might be limited.

Cash and Cards: Carry sufficient cash as ATMs might not be available in remote areas. Inform your bank about your travel plans to avoid card blocks.

Photography Gear: If you're into photography, don't forget to pack your camera gear in your riding bag along with extra batteries and memory cards.

Cultural Sensitivity: Respect local customs and traditions. Learn a few basic phrases in the local language to communicate with locals.

During the Trip :-

Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to prevent altitude sickness.

Take Breaks: Schedule regular breaks to rest and acclimatise.

Monitor Weather: Keep an eye on changing weather conditions and adjust your plans accordingly.

Stay Alert: Be vigilant while riding, especially on mountain roads with sharp turns and narrow passes. This is where your knee guard for bikers will come in handy.

Now, I didn't mean to intrude sharply with pessimism and compel you to cancel the trip out of fear of anxiety, but to simply have fun while you are at it safely. Hence, the list of precautions from someone who has done it more than 20 times now and still looks forward to doing it more than a million times, after all it's our mecca! But anyway, I hope this write up helps you as much as I wish you to enjoy the breathtaking landscapes and unique experiences that riding to Leh offers.

  

 

- Vishal Joshi , Expert Motorcyclist & Blogger

 

 

 

 Image Credit : https://pixabay.com/photos/bike-leh-india-ladakh-mountain-4838774/

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