Wednesday, 26 November 2014


It was Nice sunny day in Reckong Peo. At approximately 7500 ft, its something that I could get used to.  Oh boy were the women pretty there ! Drop Dead Gorgeous, simple, comprehensive yet concise. I was drool mongering like Jim Carrey from 'The Mask'. No kidding..

I was talking to myself, telling me to concentrate on the narrow spirally roads rather than gaping at strange pretty women in awe! Yep, I think thats about time when I realised that my chain slider washer had fallen off from the previous day and the chain was in contact with the swingarm making an unpleasant noise. Wallah ! Double wammy time ... I found this little guy in my rear tyre.

Nailed it ! 
I was fortunate to find a puncture shop right next to the little mechanic who helped me with the washer and a bolt to fix the chain slider. 

We had some spare time to catch up on breakfast, and guess what. I encountered the bestest aloo paratha's in the world. True story.

It was a laid back day as 'early' did'nt happen, thanks to a flat tyre. But, Better now than tomorrow or dayafter or the day after that... In hindsight, I am glad that it happened where there was help. I was carrying spare tubes, puncture kits, A Mini air compressor, tyre irons, etc. However, I am no expert in changing tyres. So, It can be a little scary or lets call it 'adventurous' if it happens in the wilderness.

We rode many precarious wooden bridges and I had to stop and take a photo of at least one of them !

Believe it or not,  We were asked to pull over as road maintenance folks had planted Dynamite a little further ahead ? Yes, Dynamite. We even heard it go off. It was a blast !

More himalayan wildlife
Waiting for the road to clear, I decided to pose for a (cliche'd) profile picture that can used in social media. I was such a stereotype.

There's something about Spiti. I am definitely going back. I am not sure if it was the quaint villages, the amazing people we met, The raw untouched beauty of the valley or the himalayas starring right at you from places and angles that you've not seen her. The terrain is nothing like the leh-manali highway. Surprise after surprise. Even the moon was out in broad day light.

When you're here on your motorcycle, the first thing that strikes you is the fact that the perceived "I am totally incharge" is lost. You are anything but in control.

"the natural forces are so great that human endeavours to tame them barely register"

And then, you reach Nako .. Or i'd like to remember it as the quaintest place I've visited, and l'll always remember it as "Shang-ri-la" in my head.


Lets throw in some 'moon land' in spiti, shall we ?
With the day coming to an end, we decided to stop at Tabo for the night. The sun was setting and the light was spreading beyond the horizon. It was all a little delusional. The sight was utterly unreal. Dispersion of light is a beautiful thing, whats even more extraordinary is Spiti valley itself. Gnarly roads, great people and the ever fascinating himalayas are going to make any mortal keep coming back !

I am no photographer, its just Spiti is that beautiful!

So remember this, Spiti's gonna keep you guessing and thats how awesome it is. It was a pity that we leave Spiti to enter the lahul valley soon.

What keeps you guessing ? - SPITI

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Glory days begin

No Guts, No Glory ...

Every day from today will be glorious and nothing short of Epic. Paved roads, No roads, Single lane tracks & trails is pretty much what it is, A Side of India few travelers know Exists...

We started our day with shallow rocky shoulders stretches and slowly finding your way through small villages to the eastern side of Kunzum Pass. It would take us 3 days to reach Kaza khus and we would begin our ascent towards Kunzum which was open for tourists only a day before our departure from Delhi. We wanted to halt at Parwarnoo on Day 1, however with lots of mile munching we were closer to Narkanda, which was our halt for Day 2.  So we gunned to reached Kalpa.

Thats #bluesbaby re-bungy'ing his luggage..
Apparently, what we were riding was the NH22. The roads were rather dusty and glory just began. From what I recall, everyday the condition of the roads kept deteriorating, bringing more glory. It took us a decent 3 days to get used to packing our luggage and reaching the state of "fall free". In Hindsight, Fall free is such an illusion !

All day on that eventful day, we were riding beside a tributary of the Great Sutlej. All I can say is, she was alive ! Its more than just background sound as she eventually paves the way slicing through the valley. It was quite sad to see dams being constructed. Dams block free flowing water, and that sucks. Soon, there will be no white waters here after the hydro projects begin in full swing.

Last fuel station enroute to Kalpa

The roads are non existant. Its just mud and dirt all the way till you reach the little town of Rekong Peo, and then ascent to Kalpa, a little village uptop.

Road work and clearing rubble in progress

Fire roads all the way

How epic is epic ?

Why would people build a dam and get rid of all this awesomeness ? I just didn't get it. China and India are already in a geopolitical cold war like situation with the rivers of the himalayas. Oh yes, I am talking about the Bhramhaputra. The Zangmu Dam is under construction now in tibet. Whats more alarming is so called "Tibet's largest hydropower station", The Zangmu was partly operational this Sunday (Yes, Yesterday ..The 23rd of November 2014).  This is bad news. Remember the flash floods in Uttarkashi last year ? Well, we can expect many more in this region of northern eastern India, and the Zangmu is solely to be blamed. Sometimes civilisation as a term is abused quite much. To generate an estimated 2.5 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, the indigenous people (mostly tribes) are going to get displaced. Remember James Cameron's Avatar ? Yep, Same story. The truth is none of these tribal people need the 2.5 billion whatever and have been living in peace and harmony. All of a sudden we just want to screw with their livelihoods and go bat shit on them. 

If you want to help the cause, you can sign the petition here

Back to gnarly roads!

It was a glorious day indeed. The next morning was epic'er .. I saw a Moth, The Kinnaur Kailash from little Kalpa and even ate some stolen apples from the previous day..

A moth...

...The Snow capped Kinnaur Kailash

The little kalpa !

..And Stolen Apples..

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Plains to Mountains - II

It was an early morning and a very hot day in Delhi. All packed and ready to munch some miles, we left the sweaty hot city hoping for better weather as we intended to reach Shimla that very day, and enter blissful Himachal pradesh.

The road out from NCR can leave you a little confused, and we had some assistance with GPS from our smart phones. Sooner than we thought, we had escaped from the noisy busy city to the calmer country side and halted for some much needed food.  Little did I know that I will have to settle for aloo parathas for every meal, every day, the next few days. But meh..It was hardly boring..

 Man! the butter was just....damn

Twisties start !

Shimla is roughly 400 km from Delhi and we managed to reach there a little after lunchish time. Not bad at all considering the roads were terrific and full of tarmac. Piece of cake day.

We stumbled upon this tiny weeny place that served maggi with the best view in Shimla. A small break became a big one and we were beginning to really enjoy the better weather too !

We took a poll amongst us and decided that we will spend the night elsewere and not in Shimla. We took a detour thro some amazing twisties to "koti", a near by village in the district. The road to koti were  narrow single lane curvies heading downhill. Koti was nothing short of pretty in spite of the fact that we reached there when it was a little dark.

Silhouettes at its best ! 

We were really excited about the gnarly roads and terrain that we would encounter the next day, on our way to Kalpa, a tiny village off the little town of Rekong peo in the Kinnaur district, entering the pristine Spiti valley.

Friday, 14 November 2014

The Truth about "Adventure" bikes in India

Hello There !

This post is kinda not related to the Himalayas nor is part of my great epic story.. Its just something I always want to write about,  "My perspective".

Over the last couple of years there are a lot of "talks" and mumbling happening over this topic. The Buzz Off late,  or let me call it the most abused word in the motorcycle industry - "Adventure Motorcycles". I was left shattered when they burst the news that the "KTM Adventure 390" and all its renderings were nothing more than "rumours" and an internet hoax. I was willing to sell my soul to the devil for a lightweight "go anywhere" dual purpose motorcycle. Intermot and EICMA 2014 saw some big launches (KTM SuperAdventure 1290 which is actually a chruch-on-wheels? & the India bound KTM 1050 Adventure which is a smaller church-on-wheels).  Not to mention that India already has the V Storm 1000 and the Triumph 800XC selling here. Obviously they come at the premium because they are indeed "premium" motorcycles. So will be the KTMs once they touchdown.

When the SX Enduro, BMW F650 and Hero Impulse were being sold, no one wanted them. They were either cheap, very expensive or underpowered. Oh, BTW..Notice the "were" for Hero Impulse ?  Because my friend, Hero NO LONGER MAKES THEM. TRUE STORY. I urge you to grab one when you can.

I feel that people are over emphasising on the "un necessary" a wee bit too much in 2014. All of a sudden everyone wants a Harley ? Everyone wants to own a Hefty big dirt bike that you cannot lift when you drop it and Never actually go on a "real" adventure but just pose and cage their life away ?

Another whole new topic is "upgrading". WTH is upgrading ? I see a lot of Fat guys on big adventure bikes because they are sold here and they can afford it. Very obviously those bikes are far more comfortable than the previous bike(s) they owned, but that doesn't mean squat and You, Fatman, can never ride trails or have "dirt bike fun" & PS: What is you ride is not "dirt worthy", BTW.

I am sorry, but thats the truth - No pre load adjustment or damping or rebound adjustment is going to compensate for all that excess fat. On the contrary, I wish I was bigger. I am tiny guy at 5' 9" weighing a little over 65 kgs.

Enough ranting !

Here's some snow photos to cool things down a little...

The Road or the absence of it after Batal towards Keylong from Kunzum la

15ft of snow atop Baralach la !

I am sure some people are going to get offended by this post and some might even agree with me. But the real truth is this:

You can adventure ride anything if you wanted. I know a guy who rode his Bajaj m80 "milkman" bike across India to the Himalayas and back, and others who strap jerry cans to the back of their (very) old two stroke bikes and disappear for a few weeks and months together...and womygawd, did I mention 2T oil ? 

Having said that, I really wish the Ducati Scrambler rendering shown had seen light instead of the actual one..

Conclusion (My Opinion) : Large Adventure Bikes are "All fart - No shit", Stop buying them and write a petition to the motorcycle industry to start making fun small adventure bikes that can lead to divorces :)

James Gordon Jr : Why's are small adventure bikes better Dad? 

Lt. James Gordon: Because we can drop them and pick them up.. 

James Gordon Jr.: KTM and BMW didn't do anything wrong ?

Lt. James Gordon: They are not wrong, but they are not the motorcycles you deserve, and we certainly dont need one right now. So we'll make small adventure bikes ourselfs, because they can take it. Because they are not going to be a BMW tomorrow. They're a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A Dark knight !

And, you get to do all of this ....Cheers