2 bikers, 10 days and 2400 km. Ladakh Bike Trip Experience !!

The Plan

Year 2009, so far hasn’t been very good for the economy but turned out to be exciting for us. Our company, in order to cut down expenses, forced 5 compulsory leaves per quarter on every employee. It was the 3rd last week of May and i had no idea of how to utilize my leaves. One day, I was having dinner with my room mate while watching a movie on Set Max. My room mate and i both are bike lovers. He owns a ‘Bullet’ and i have a ‘Pulsar 220’. We were enjoying the movie and trying to plan a bike trip to some colder place, away from the heat of Delhi. Either it was the movie effect or a fantasy, he said ‘Ladakh’. While recalling, that one of my friend had the time of his life during a similar trip, i said ‘Yes’. Some say that don’t take decisions when you are emotionally high or low. But this was going to be an exception. We were very excited and started to plan the trip.

Next day, i shared the idea with my friends in office and within minutes 3 more people joined our group. Everyone started to research about the route, stuff to carry, bike repair, etc. The name of the mail thread was ‘Leh Trip’. For first 2-3 days every hour a reply would come. Some non-bikers were simply kept in cc to calm their curiosity. Our plan was to go in the last week of May and extend till 1st week of June. Everything was going fine till i had a minor bike accident, good enough to cancel my trip. Next day, i went to office only to inform that i wouldn’t be able to recover till the planned dates. I was surprised that i was not the only one saying ‘No’. Out of five, one was overloaded with work, one had told his parents and the answer was an obvious ‘No’, and the third one was me. The two members who were left, also lost the enthusiasm and the trip was cancelled in a day. The mail thread was down. Everyone was again involved in the routine life.

June came, and my last quarter leaves were wasted thinking about the cancelled trip. By 2nd week of June, i had almost recovered from my injuries and started to think about ways to expense this quarter’s leaves. The answer was pretty easy. This time, the group consisted of only 3 people and the period was 2nd week of July. The mail thread was alive again but with fewer members. Three of us started preparing for the trip, but how could we forget “Murphy’s Law”. Bad luck strikes when you don’t want it to. With only one week remaining to the trip, my room mate had to cancel his trip because of personal reasons. Initially, we started with two and now we were again left with two members. This time we didn’t cancel the trip and decided to go as per the plan. So, it was my friend ‘Nikhil’ and I who were finally going to the trip, which was going to be etched in our memories forever.


We were concerned with 3 things – detailed itinerary, items to carry and bike repair. We had 10 days and wanted to make most out of it. It was decided that we will transport our bikes back to Delhi from Jammu by courier. To save more time we were thinking to start our journey from Manali and transport the bikes till there. But the idea didn’t workout because the courier service didn’t have an office in Manali and it would take a long time for them to arrange through a 3rd party.

In this 10 days of period we wanted to include all possible places such as Sonmarg, Srinagar and Gulmarg. When we started planning the itinerary, we realized soon that everything is not possible in 10 days, especially when i hadn’t driven bike continuously for more than 2 hours and the number of unknown factors were many – bad roads, bad weather, mountain sickness and bike breakdown. Moreover, we won’t be able to enjoy much if we keep on driving. So, we dropped the idea of visiting places in Jammu and Kashmir regions, although we would be crossing them. Including J&K might have also diluted the Ladakh experience.

We made a long list of items to carry and started collecting them 3-4 days before the trip. I bought Adidas shoes thinking that i would be able to use them for jogging after the trip. It was a very bad idea to buy those shoes for a trip like this. We also bought saddle bags to carry all the stuff. I got my bike serviced and essential parts replaced. Nikhil had converted his Apache’s tyres to tubeless. We were ready for the trip in all sense.

Courtesy : Nitin, the post taken from his blog @ http://escape-to-himalayas.blogspot.com/ . The active speech is by Nitin and I wanted to keep the travelogue in his own words.
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