Guide to Solo Motorcycle Riding

Getting used to your inner silence as you embrace the totality of the world expressed starkly in being exposed and singular; just two eyes, just two ears, one man (or woman) and a set of two wheels cutting across a landscape in its nakedness. The epitome of independence as an expression, a meditation, a penance, a risk, an expedition, an escapade however you name it, matters naught but little since deep down it still is something you’d almost involuntarily do, something more resembling a need and less a mere desire.

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This post serves the purpose of sharing a few personal tips about solo motorcycle riding in India, assuming that you’ve done a bit of group rides and know the basics of riding out of town, here goes :                         if notclick link Loading up for your Ride…

  • Reliability of your machine is paramount when it comes to solo riding, all those normal bike niggles become the source of irritation and worry when alone. So try to eliminate any issues with your bike that you were accustomed to living with.
    • Avoid leaky or smokey old bikes.
    • Make sure engine oil is topped and fresh.
    • Spare clutch and throttle cables are a must.
    • Toolkit is essential.
    • Spare tyre tubes or Puncture repair kit and DIY experience.
    • Spare length of nylon rope and bunjee chords.
    • Med kit with bandage patches and medical tape.
  • Self tested rain wear for you and your luggage, especially if you’re travelling in the mountains.
  • Carry a spare BSNL sim card if you’re heading to desolate or off road locations, could help in emergencies.
  • If you are undertaking an expeditionary ride, it would be very wise to assign someone at home as your non-riding partner and report your movement to him/her.
  • Get yourself insured for accidents and emergencies, keep photocopies of it with your non-riding partner as well.
  • Research and keep a list of nearest authorized service centers for your bike in your travel zone.
  • Carry an offline or paper map of your travel zone.
  • Keep some emergency cash somewhere safe and not so accessible, you don’t want to get stuck in a place because the one functioning ATM in that town isn’t anymore.

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Some dangers that need be mentioned :

  • National Parks / Wildlife sanctuaries are home to a tremendous amount of fauna many of which are built for the hunt, riding through solo on a motorcycle on a desolate jungle road is dangerous enough not to be stopping to casually take a selfie. Keep your senses sharp and don’t become a professional hunter’s man snack.
  • Small time thievery is common sometimes in India, especially on the fringes of a developing metropolis so its wise not to leave anything unfastened, unguarded or flick-able. I’ve lost 3 good pairs of gloves to petty thieves till date, they love gloves!
  • Going to a public toilet when soloing in India means leaving your fancy bags on your fancy bike alone for a snazzy length of time. In a way its similar to shutting down your computer firewall and go click waltzing into dark-net, carry toilet paper or spare water and learn to use nature …deal with it!
  • Anger… yes anger is one of the biggest dangers while soloing, anger can piss off anyone; you don’t want to piss off hotel caretakers, fellow road users, village punks, waiters, mechanics etc especially if you’re traveling alone. Drop the anger in exchange for mirth, this will turn these very bunch of people into very helpful albeit overly forthcoming souls.

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They say the key to happiness is freedom and the key to freedom is bravery. This holds especially true for a solo rider, being calm and able to process your mind even in difficult situations is possibly one of the best things your mind can be equipped with while solo motorcycle riding.

Happy travelling.

Pip #5 | KAZA

Places in Pictures

Kaza, Himachal Pradesh, India

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Getting to Kaza involves riding through one of the most dangerous roads on the planet. Constant landslides lay waste to any attempt at feeble human infrastructure, after driving through what feels like two thousand kilometers on a rocky un-paved surface one reaches this place smack in the center of Spiti valley. The town is situated on the higher banks of River Spiti, an area where only a couple of hardy crops have the ability to grow during summer months.

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The floor of the valley still perched at a dizzy height of almost twelve thousand feet above sea level is as marvelous as the trouble you took to get here. The delicate designs that centuries of natural forces like water and wind create are in no small regard, masterpieces.

Kaza exists amidst these pieces of natural art, a central town to a dozen satellite settlements around with population pockets barely reaching three digits. Equipped with a fuel station and more than half a dozen hitherto hotels, it proves to be a good base for further exploration whilst serving you with whatever a little town like this can muster from around.

In Kaza it also never rains for more than a day, after hours of constant rain, temperatures drop enough to make it pelt ice and snow for the rest of the cloud withering duration. So be doubly warned and planned for any winters you plan to spend here.

People here are very kind and hardworking, it’ll surprise the hats off your head to witness the amount of work done by local women. Like I said, hats off!

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Hotels are well positioned to offer you a basic rooms with lots of caring warm food delivered in their tastefully decorated common room. Expect to see plenty of expedition stickers on room doors, mementos left behind by travelers to remind you of the many folk who’ve ‘been ere and donnit’.

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Beside Kaza flows one of the valley’s principal water givers, River Spiti, this clear, bubbling, pretty river splits herself into a dozen streams capturing a broad valley surrounded by towering peaks of brown and white.

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The town still retains that old world charm as most old architecture is still being actively used by locals. Walking into small pathways around town are rather educating as they provide a glimpse at their ways of life in this harsh landscape, apart from being a visual extravaganza that this town already is.

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Kaza is an ideal place to stay over if you intend to check the numerous monasteries in and around which have been expertly crafted into this dangerous yet beautiful landscapes by masons of old. The history that these monasteries encompass is breath taking and dates back to almost the 12th century, even such a hard and unforgiving landscape has been fought for since longer than anyone today can even imagine.

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That about sums up this expression of a post about Kaza, a pip that I just couldn’t stop myself from doing.

Cheers to all my fellow travel bugged souls and happy exploring indeed. 

Pip #4 | World’s Highest Post Office

Places in Pictures

Hikkim, Himachal Pradesh, India

                                 Hikkim a small settlement nestled deep inside eastern Himachal Pradesh in Spiti Valley, situated at the height of over four thousand four hundred meters above sea level this has to be one of my posted pips. Forget internet, this place has no mobile network coverage or for that matter doesn’t even have a traditional telephone line anywhere in town or around…

… Which is exactly why I like it, where one gets to taste a concentrated shot of life preserved in the past with experiences such as meeting the postmaster over a cup of hot local tea whilst posting the ‘oh so important postcard’ back home as memento. The world’s highest post office ladies and gentlemen :

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But its not just this little settlement that captures one’s imagination; the views get exponentially engaging as you leave the river valley below to start ascending towards much rarer air. The road in many places would make you bet your arm that it wont hold up from crumbling down, but apparently it does, albeit barely.

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Every turn of this dangerous road however, greets you with grand canyon like views of this massive mountain dessert, landscapes I have never experienced anywhere else in India. Funnily its also the only place in the country where one finds signboards indicating town populations as low as ‘thirty’.

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There’s also a brilliant campsite for folks willing to brave this unforgiving yet utterly beautiful mountain-dessert scape. Walking up a gradual slope here can get you gasping for air, so I suggest acclimatization before heading up here in a hurry.

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Overall, its an experience to be had in life as far as i’m concerned, hence this pip.

Happy travels guys like always and deep gratitude for people reading, liking and following the blog.

Cheers.

Pip #3 | Kalpa, Himachal Pradesh

                                       Have any of you avid / ardent travelers happen to bypass ‘Kalpa’ on the road to Spiti, whilst passing through Kinnaur on one of the world’s most dangerous roads? Maybe you were on a tight schedule, or happened to miss that little road going off the beaten path or maybe just not in the mood to take that detour. Whatever the case, i’m here to pop an update (read as rub it in) as to what you missed as the sun went down on Kalpa.

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Yeah, sat there having a warm cup of tea while nature played its own eloquent orchestra right in front of my very stunned eyes.

This is a place where you’d want to pull up an armchair and rest your legs on the balcony parapet; as you gaze the crimson orange hues of sunset while soaking in the diverse cacophony of myriad birds tweeting around.

Until next time…

Cheers and happy traveling people

Places in Pictures | Pip #2 | Jalori Pass

Jalori Pass, Himachal Pradesh

This little known pass used to be something that people trekked to before, having inadequate access it hardly constituted to a decision of taking your vehicle to it, but things have changed and there seems to be a road now, albeit barely. Perched atop the ranges north of Shimla, the way to access it is either through Narkanda or via Shoja ( Map ).

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The road to Jalori is what this thing is all about, especially if you happen to take the Shoja route. After Pandoh whilst heading onward to Aut and Manali, don’t enter the Aut tunnel with all its traffic, instead take the quieter road going straight to Shoja…

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Bumpy as all hell, riders with adventure bikes will undoubtedly have the broadest smile among others along the way. However, whether you’re on a Hero Impulse or a Yamaha R3, the views are going to drive you mad regardless whilst assassinating the like button in your brain.

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For staying options, I’d recommend Shoja nearby, a really quaint little town with just about a couple of basic accommodations. Don’t underestimate it though, it has this air of a typical pahadi* village and is utterly soul gratifying to say the least.

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A reliable bike and an open mind are the solo riders two best friends among others. Happy travels ladies and gents, cheers and ride safe.

* Pahadi : is a wide term applied to social groups of Pahari speaking Indo-Aryan people of the Himalayas.

 

 

Places in Pictures | Pip #1 | Nako Village

Nako, Himachal Pradesh

When you step inside the zone of this little jewel of a town, you’ll instantly be swept off to a pre industrial era. Its as if the place is quarantined in the past, its rugged interface forms a particularly raw foreground to the magnificent and lofty Himalayas in the back. It would actually be an understatement to say that this place invokes the photographer in you, as I  was personally spellbound and completely shutterbugged.

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Situated at a height of 12014 ft above sea level, it hardly has much vegetation going for it hence the starkness. It serves as a perfect prelude if you happen to be travelling on to Spiti Valley, a beautiful place to camp or spend a spare just relaxing. You can either camp beside the lake like some mountain bikers do or stay at a hotel with a room and restaurant.

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Keep in mind this place isn’t for people trying to get piss drunk and party, that is what city pubs and discos are meant for. This is a place for tranquility though, where birdsong and livestock wake you up to the uniquely stark yet beautiful landscape of a mountain desert at 12000 ft.

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Happy travels people!

PhotoLog – Bangalore to New Delhi Solo Ride.

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This gallery contains 59 photos.

Different places, different tales. My intention here is to keep the post concise, just have an elaborate caption explaining moments of this photoLog experienced during my solo ride from Bangalore to New Delhi. The idea of the trip started with a feeling of … Continue reading