Since long, I’ve been wanting to go to some hill station by bike and spend some time with nature. The freedom that comes going on a bike (as opposed to public transport), and the ease with which a bike makes places accessible is amazing. Not to mention that riding bike on a national highway, as fast as you can, with wind sweeping across you like you’re flying, is an experience of its own kind!
Luckily having some of the bikers (who have gone to places like Laddakh!) around to inspire you helps (thank you Amit and Javed!). So, now it was only about where to go. I threw the question on Quora and got a suggestion to go to Kasauli which made great sense for us.
Funnily, before the trip, I was even calculating the chances of successfully coming back home (in one piece!). Eventually, had to let these thoughts go, and all I could do from my side was prepare myself and the bike. I own a 100cc Passion Pro which hardly anyone would suggest to take to the mountains. But since this is all I had, I decided to go ahead. My friend went on his Avenger. So, we were two, starting from Gurgaon and going to Kasauli via Chandigarh (approx. 700 kms return journey). First trip of its kind for both of us.
Here are some ideas which helped us successfully completing this journey:
1. Getting bike serviced.
Can’t emphasize the importance of this point enough. On a long trip, it’s just you and your bike and the better both are ready, the more enjoyable your trip will be.
2. Have rest before starting.
Some people prefer leaving in the evening so as to enjoy the next morning at the destination, but I didn’t think I could have done well enough if I left during the evening and rode in the night. Bike journey is tiring. Having slept overnight back home and leaving early in the morning helped us remain fresh and ride for over 300kms mostly nonstop (We stopped only at Murthal to have breakfast while going, and return journey was non-stop. The only breaks we took were stopping 2-3 times for few seconds to check Google Maps whether we were going in right direction or not). Moreover, you can enjoy the journey itself a lot more when traveling in light. Riding on a sunny day in Winters is delight.
3. Avoid doubling.
Two persons on 1 bike on such a long trip is tiring for both persons and so avoid it as much as possible. Going in a group of n+1 people, where n is the number of bikes should help as you can switch when one gets tired, but I haven’t tried this myself and planning to go this approach in my next trip.
4. Careful on mountain roads
As much as those hilly roads are fun to ride, it’s equally risky as every now and then you’re taking a turn and you’ve no idea what is suddenly coming in front. Plus, on many turns you’d see dust and gravel which could easily make the bike slip. Being extra careful, especially when you’re doing it first time, on these roads helps. Follow traffic signs on mountain roads without failing.
For me, places with serene natural unspoilt beauty are great to sit and relax, and being at such places really refreshes the mind. The Gilbert trail trek (in image at the top of this post, which is a 360 degree panorama taken from Nexus 4) was the place I liked the most in Kasauli. Here are some photos, taken during the trip. Nexus 4 camera isn’t good enough to capture the breathtaking views at their best, but oh well you try to make the best use of what you got.
Having successfully done this trip, we plan to go somewhere once every month and hopefully make it to Leh, Laddakh on bike this summer itself!