Like every bike enthusiast in India, this was my dream to ride my bike from my home to Leh & return. Since I got my 1st bike it was in my to do list & I always use to read travelogues & videos of people who have been their & done that. I was very desperate to ride till that mighty mountain but being from a conservative middle class family & being an only child of my parents it was very difficult to convince my parents for this big ride. Each Year I use to delay the plan for some reason or the other, but was doing some short rides.
One fine evening I & my friend Rahul were chilling out at our Place. Suddenly he Said “Yaar chal next May mein ladhak Chalte hai”. My reaction was like I laughed & said ok let’s see & that time it was April 2015. I told let’s see still 1 year is there we can decide. In short I was trying to avoid since I know what was going to happen. But that night I gave it a thought after calculating finance & some idea for a holiday adjustments from office. Told wife about this plan & she was ok with it. Now the main Part was convincing parents. Though after so many years they had got an idea that I wanted to do this ride. But I had never directly asked them for one. So this was the year I needed to make them prepare mentally for this huge ride. After 2 3 days I confirmed Rahul that the plan is on. He left for his sailing as he in Merchant navy.
So the Days & months passed. After a huge fights & emotional dramas at my home my parents convinced. So I was very excited & was in continuous touch with Rahul. Started planning the routes, watching the videos & travelogues of the people who had been there on bike. Rough plans were jotted down discussing with Rahul. Made some lists for shopping & spare parts of Bikes etc.
After researching about that terrain & taking updates of the weather condition almost daily From BCM Touring dates were finalized. 15th May 2016 was the day when we were going to leave for our Dream ride. Rahul’s friend Vivek was also very Keen about this ride & he wanted to join us. But I dint knew him &offcourse was not seen him riding. So we decided to test his riding.
Had Mumbai-saputara-vapi-mumbai ride to test his riding endurance & skill & we both Rahul & me were satisfied with his skills. So he joined us.
As the Day approached our all shopping of spares & borrowing of saddle bags & tank bags were done. Bike services were done & the Day came.
14th May 2016 Evening, my friend Gautam & his girlfriend came to my Place to see me off. I prepared my bike 12hrs before leaving. Tied saddlebags, Tents & bag-pack to the bike & went to sleep.
Day 1 – Mumbai – Udaipur. 750kms.
Off course that was the sleepless night. 3.00am I was awake before the alarm. Called both the partners & made sure that are awake & won’t be late.
Quickly took shower had some breakfast, Some Prayers to god. Geared Up & was ready to zoom.
Rahul Already was waiting for me with his parents. Some friends were there to see us off. As per the Schedule we Left from the Place to Viveks place.
Vivek also was ready near his house so we left from there to the Fountain Hotel as my friends were there to see us off.
It was 4.30am we were at fountain hotel with friends chatted some time & the real time for the journey was started.
We 3 left from fountain hotel at 4.45am & it was still dark so less traffic. We reached the outskirts of the Mumbai in no time. We were as fresh as never before & excited a never been. As we were going far from the city our speed started accelerating as traffic was less.
I still dint believed I was on my dream ride. I pinched myself many times just to confirm that I am not dreaming.
Our 1sthault was few clicks after Surat. Relieved our self, had water & again we were on highways. NH8 is always bliss to ride on. We were comfortably cruising at around 100-110 kmph. We always use to check for our partners when we use to realize that 1 of us has left behind. As decided earlier we use to stick to each other.
2ndhault was at Ankleshwar as my one of my friend was going to meet us there. But due to bad coordination with him & lots of confusion we were not able to meet him & we left from there.
Now the sun started shining brighter & brighter and since it was month of May heat was tremendous. It was around 38 to 40 degrees. We started feeling the heat but we were fully covered so that was not an issue and were mentally prepared for this heat so it was not a surprise for us.
Few hours of triple digit cruising we reached Vadodara. Before Vadodara city we took a right turn to Halol. We stopped there for some refreshments. It was getting hotter & hotter. We left form there & decided to wait at Godhra for lunch.
Halol-Godhra road was in good shape but was opposite to NH8. Highway was quite busy with the commuters & our speed was fairly slow. We were in no hurry.
After some few hundreds of kilometers we started feeling hungry. Godhra was not far. So we stick to our Plan & decided to reach Godhra & eat.
In no time reach Godhra found shade for bikes in front of restaurant & we entered the restaurant. To our surprise all the public were staring at us. They must be thinking what is idiots are doing in such heat wearing all this jackets & helmets. We opted for the 1st floor of the restaurant where there were fewer crowds.
That day we literally drank 6 to 7 glasses of buttermilk per person. It was around 20glasses of buttermilk in 3people. Due to the heat we dint able to eat more. Just some sandwiches & informing parents about our whereabouts we were as refreshed as was in the morning & left to our destination of the day i.e is UDAIPUR .
Since the sun started setting the temperature became nice to ride & roads also were very nice. But we started getting bore from those straight type roads without much curves. After few odd 100 kms there was a big toll booth written on it WELCOME TO RAJASTHAN. We took a long halt here. Drank limbo pani, some pics & phone calls at home. We were again set to ride & to end our boredom from the plain roads, rajasthan welcomed us with some beautiful twisty smooth ghats. Thought that ghat had maximum of heavy vehicles we were enjoying each corner. We halted after some kms for pics.
Than we ride nonstop till Udaipur. Since we were new to that city, we asked locals for the directions of the hotel. After few mins we reached to that hotel. Unloaded the bike, took shower shower & chilled in the room. We calculated, we have almost rode 14 hours, 750kms in a day. It was 8.30pm by than & we had enough rest, so we decided to stroll in the city & have dinner at nearby restaurant.
We had a nice walk till the restaurant. Ordered food that was little spicy. After dinner we went to our beds, set ac for minimum temperature & dosed off.
We had planned to wake up at 5am & leave by 6am. But we got late. We left hotel at around 8.00am. Had our breakfast in the hotel itself, so that we don’t need to halt again for the same.
Day 2 – Udaipur – Hanumangarh – 700km
Loaded our bikes & were off for the highways. For our surprise Udaipur Ajmer road was 4Lane super smooth tarmac with some twists going under the tunnels. Not so boring like Gujrat roads.
We were in no mood for halting. But we did just to mount our go pro & record that beautiful road. As we were approaching Ajmer, the heat also was getting intense. Some patch was so smooth & less of traffic, we 3 were literally cruising at 130kmph.
After few 100s km we haulted for fueling up. Fueled up, drank gallons of of water & again started towards Hanumangarh which was our 2nd major stop.
Enroute we saw many Maharashtra registered tempo travelers which were filled with pilgrims who were going to Ajmer. Our plan was not ajmer & so we dint enter the city. From few kms ahead, we took left turn from kishangarh for sujangarh.
The highway was state highway & a single lane road but with the good condition. As we rode few kms on that stretch the scenery started changing. Both the side of the road we were having sand, & some bushes which grow in that sand. We were enjoying that scene & it was fun to ride. As it was around 42 degrees & the hot air which was blowing in our helmets started burning our eyes. Quickly we decided to halt.
Washed our face, drank water, relieved ourselves & was about to leave. We saw a man few yards ahead us was saying something to us. We thought he must be in influenced of alcohol so we neglected him & was getting to gear up & suddenly to our surprise we saw sand in the air. It was coming towards us. In no time we understood that guy which we thought was drunk was warning us about this. We quickly covered ourself. I put on my camera as I dint wanted to miss this footage which was my 1st stand storm. Few mins later everything was calmed & so we started our journey.
Rode few kms nonstop in a decent speed & we decided to halt for lunch. Parked our bikes in a good shade & relaxed on the typical “chaar pai” of the dhaba. Ordered the food & filled our tummies. We decided to have some nap & so we dosed off. After half & hour I woke. Hanged around the dhaba while other 2 were still sleeping. Again I saw flying sand sum were far which was approaching towards us. I quickly woke up both of them freshened up & left. Yes we succeed in dodging that storm, but we can clearly see some dark clouds ahead of us. That means it was going to rain few kms ahead. But we continue. It rained after 6 to 7kms &was forced to wait under a shade. The hot blow of air on the highway was changed in a nice fresh cool breeze. We would smell the fragrance of soil. It was awesome, but we were not prepared for this unexpected rain. We didn’t put on the rain-covers for our bags.
We waited there for almost 45mins which was very precious. Rain stopped & we were ready to start again. We felt very energetic after the rain because the climate got pleasant.
Few kms we rode & all the pleasant climate was gone & sun was throwing its heat at us. We were heading at descent speed crossed sujangarh&ratangarh. After ratangarh the roads were super smooth single lane highways with less traffic. Both sides were dense sand & when wind blowed sand use to come on the road & again blown away by our tyres that was quite a scene.
At one point we were cruising at around 90 to 95kmph. Rahul was far ahead of us, vivek was tailing me. We were going to enter a small village according to sign boards. There was a sharp turn which was almost blind turn. I entered the turn, leaned my bike was ready to lean more as turn got more deep. And than suddenly at the middle of the turn I saw a big peacock on the road. Quickly I managed to get my bike straight which was leaned for the turn, jammed my brakes & horned. My rare wheel skidded due to sudden & hard braking but I dint fell, I was in full control of my bike. That bird was looking at me as I was approaching her, but no sign of her movement. She was standing strong middle of the road staring at me. And then when I was few meters away from her, she open her huge wings & jumped off to the side of the road & I was what the f***k. She had ample of time to get away from me but in her mind she was doing stunt like Amir Khan does in Gulaam. Ha-ha. I got sigh of relief. While I was doing all those efforts for not killing that bird & at the same time not losing control over my bike, Vivek behind me was watching all the things & for some time he felt I will have a fall, but my luck.
We continued, taking less breaks as we had already wasted too much time because of rains & sun was about to set. Riding on those single lane highways is always a difficult task for every biker as all the cars & trucks on their high beam blinds us n makes very risky.
Though we were late & wanted to cover as much kms as we can, the beautiful desert didn’t let us to ride & we were force to stop & take some pictures of the deserts.
When we started after the break it was dark. So we decided to ride slow & in proper formation for safety. I was leading & vivek was tailing, Rahul was in middle. Well leading in those dark roads where there are no street lights & high-beam of opposite vehicles mercilessly making you blind is not a easy task. For the adding more trouble, there were those heavily over loaded trackers carrying something which was too difficult to major their breath which was increased due to those objects they carry. That was very annoying & dangerous to overtook those trackers as we need to judge their breath, if mistaken we would had collide to those object coming out of their carriers. But slowly patiently we covered good amount of kms.
Another major problem to ride at night on that stretch was hit wave. In day time our visors was down every time. But at the nights where high-beams make your vision almost less than 10% when you put down your visors, it was dam to challenging to us to keep up those visors because as soon as we turn our visor up the heat in the air use to literally burn our eyes. So we had to put down the visor half way down to protect our eyes from heat & other hand would see the road when there were beams on our faces.
We were tired too quickly & so decided to have dinner at the dhaba as it was close to 8.30pm. had our food quickly, called our family & off we were again on road. Very few kms had left for hanumangrah& after dinner we were little bit fresh. So safely covered that distance in no time.
After some bargain with hotel, we found a cheap hotel for a night stay. Had shower & dosed off.
Day 3. Hanumangarh – Amritsar 290kms
3rd day. Woke up at 7am & was ready to ride at 8am. Today we were riding till Amritsar which was not more than 300kms. So were relaxed & cruising slow & steadily. After riding few odd 50kms, we saw a sudden change in the scenery. Last night back we were riding besides sand dunes & today after 50kms we were riding besides rich fields, roads covered with trees which were boon as they were protecting us from the sun. Again it was single lane highway & let me tell you the commuters on that highway were highly certified idiots. No signals, no indications while changing lanes or just crossing the road. Any cyclist or any car if they want to turn left they would blindly turn left without even carrying the vehicles behind u. Off the most notorious highways users was in Punjab on our entire journey.
Positive thing about those highways were that on the left side of the road which I guess was meant for the bicyclers was great savior for overtaking huge vehicles like trucks, tractors& long trailers. Any biker can safely & comfortably overtake from left side which had a good amount of space. Another thing I noticed on that highway was some kind of small birds were flying from left to right of the road as there were good amount of plantation on the both side of road. We were cruising at around 50 to 60kmph & when I heard a thud sound on my bike n feeled something had crashed on my headlight. Stopped immediately & checked if any damage. Rahul was ahead &he continued who had no idea why I stopped. Vivek was at my back he stopped & ask the reason. I said him about the thud sound. And he guessed that it might be that small birds & that will be have crashed on to your bike. I was so sad hearing that I must have killed a small bird.
We continued for some kms & halted for breakfast at a dhaba. Gulped lot of water, as it was mandatory in this heat or we would end up in dehydrating our self’s.
Later after having breakfast we rode nonstop till Bhatinda. The city which had he’ll lot of speed-breakers & school going guys riding their actives so rashly that I had several close calls with few. We found a nice lake with very huge chimneys so we halted to check the place. Few pics, fun, rest n we left again.
In no time we reached a very small town moga where the narrow road was going between some busiest narrow market place. All Sardarji where staring at us as we were aliens in their territory. Soon we were greeted with 4 lane nice highways which after few kms ended in much diversion& heat was also taking toll on us. After riding 1500Kms is 2days in that tremendous heat with less sleep, our body started giving hp. We 3 were got tired in just 200kms n it was making us very difficult to ride. We quickly halted again for a sugarcane juice stall which was under a nice big tree. That stall had no benches or chairs. So we sat on the ground. The guy was making juice and we were throwing syringes at each other which was thrown on the ground & singing Udata punjab
Later after our ladhak trip when we saw the movie, we realized we had gone through those core drug affected areas moga & tarn-taran. And the syringes which we were playing with were the actually used for drugs.
We were there for good half an hour. Drank almost 3each glass of sugarcane juice. Left from there and where again on the highways. Crossed Tarn Taaran and again I was feeling so tired. I was literally