A super popular activity while on a tour of Himachal Pradesh that fascinates the bikers from all over the world is the bike trip to Leh. With rocky and uneven terrains, extremes of weather and the pictorial views – this trip has it all. So if you are planning a bike trip solo or in a group here are a few tips that will go a long way:
Mental preparedness includes knowing of things that can go wrong or make you vulnerable. Make sure you make suitable arrangements to deal with such situations. Physical preparedness is equally important as riding a bike as the driver or the pillion rider for hours together is not an easy task, in addition you have extreme weather conditions on the road and chances for AMS i.e. Acute Mountain Sickness are high which occurs due to the low level of oxygen present in high terrains. AMS can lead to headache, nausea, vomiting, breathlessness, nose bleeding, etc. Thereby, before you undertake this trip try to build your physical stamina through physical exercises and workout.
Usually, bikers or travelers travel to Leh via Manali and people coming from Delhi travel to Manali via Chandigarh and then further to Leh. The Leh-Manali route is suitable when you have a shorter trip however AMS is a huge factor that affects many bikers once they get beyond Manali. For some it takes an entire day to recover from the effects of the AMS. To avoid the AMS, some people also choose the alternative route which is via Punjab (Pathankot or Amritsar), Srinagar, Kargil, Leh and the return journey is via the other route i.e. Leh – Manali- Chandigarh- Delhi. The Leh-Manali route is shorter and takes about 2 days whereas the Srinagar-Leh route is longer but it helps bikers get used to the altitude and more or less prevents the occurrence of AMS.
Nowadays we find everything on Google, be it the nearest ATM or places to traverse abroad, so before planning your trip go through the terrain, temperature throughout the route, accommodation arrangements, experiences of other travelers etc. online.
4. Biking Gear
Pack the biking gear and apparel that is sturdy and comfortable. You’d need a sturdy helmet, balaclava, jacket, gloves, knee guards, extra thermals to protect you from the cold, rain covers for your bags and yourself, toiletries, and an extra pair of shoes. Also, pack and keep a medical or first aid kit that contains basic medication like cotton swabs, dettol, antiseptic ointment, headache meds and any other medication.
5. Servicing & Repair
Servicing is a must before you embark on the Leh-Manali highway in addition try to carry your own fuel as availability is an issue in Leh. Also, pack the following things – a pipe to drain petrol, funnel, cutter, battery torches, extra pair of bungee cords, fuel container and some bike spare parts like tubes, toolkit, spark plugs, accelerator cables, clutch cables, and a portable charger or bike chargers.
Keep extra batteries for your camera/cellphone or keep a good high capacity fully charged power bank along, memory cards, pen drive with connector. Also carry a mobile mount in case you intend to depend on GPS during your journey.
Lastly, keep all the requisite documents like your valid driving license, registration certificate (RC) of your bike, insurance papers as well as a valid identity proof.