Leh, Ladakh, Spiti… the Himalayan ranges. Gives goosebumps to just think of riding among those mountains, capturing breathtaking vistas on your cameras, living your dream ride! Months, and sometimes years go by while planning for this ride 🙂 And yet, if one is not prepared for this ride properly, the very journey can become a stressful ordeal, dealing with everything from health issues to motorcycle breakdowns.
Here are some simple details to keep in mind while preparing oneself and one’s ride which can possibly see you through most of the situations.
Keep yourself fit through daily exercising. This cannot be stressed enough! Strengthen your core muscles. Hit the gym, do yoga, whichever you are comfortable with. And it needs to be developed into a routine. This will help you not only in enhancing your riding stamina, but also help in your daily life!
Since this faithful buddy will take you, your luggage (maybe also pillion) through some of the most treacherous terrains, pay utmost attention to its health also!
First, complete the TCLOCK check (This applies for all rides):
Once you are done with the above checks, ride your bike and listen carefully for any squeaks/rattles. If required, take it to the service station and get things repaired. Preferably do this at least a week before you start on your big ride.
You are going for a long ride and you will face a lot of bad roads/no roads. While riding on the mountains, the twisties combined with bad patches on the road can loosen up your saddle bag/backpack faster than you can realize! And you don’t want your bag rolling down the mountain side, or worse… taking you and your motorcycle down !
The mountain air is cold. And while riding, the wind chill factor will make the air feel colder. Best protection against this is to wear multiple layers of warm clothes instead of wearing one heavy jacket.
Your body loses water more rapidly at higher altitudes. But with the cold weather, you may not feel like drinking a sufficient quantity of water. This can easily lead to onset of AMS. It is extremely important to take small sips of water regularly and keep yourself hydrated.
And a big NO to alcohol at those altitudes. Combined with AMS, it can lead to bad health conditions.
There will be stretches where you will not find any petrol pumps or the pump may be broken. Rather than rely on pool quality petrol bought from some roadside shop, keep extra petrol with you in jerry cans. This can be the difference between completing your ride in peace or being stranded for hours.
Do not depend on ATMs to be always functional. Remote places will not accept cards, and prefer cash. Carry sufficient cash to cover most of your daily expenses, and some extra incase your bike breaks down.
These are some basic points to be taken care of for a wonderful riding experience in the high-altitude mountains. Take your time to visit and enjoy the breathtaking views!