A Moorish proverb says, “He who does not travel does not know the value of men.”.
To be frank those who know me well, it was a surprise for them when I said that I want to go touring in hills.
But I was apprehensive as my 125cc would be able to handle the torture or not, and it performed so well that I am planning for much longer trips.
It was mine and another xBhpian’s plan to ride towards hills spend some peaceful 1-2 days and come back with a fresh mind. But the things didn’t worked out.
It was last Sunday’s G2G when I asked Devilish(Bishal) if he want to accompany or not and at a moment he confirmed.
The destination was:
CHAMOLI (UTTARAKHAND) : Its situated near the river Alaknanda on the way to Badrinath at an altitude of 960mtrs. Chamoli lies in the arms of the heavenly Himalayas and is full of natural beauty. These mountain ranges, rivers and valleys are associated wit several Gods & Goddesses.
Although our main aim for the trip was to experience hill riding and to capture some natural beauties. Valley of flowers was our main aim but for that we have to extend our plan which was not possible so we stayed there and enjoyed whatever we saw and experienced there.
We decided to meet at Mohan Nagar(Ghaziabad) at 4a.m (3rd July 2010) so that we can cross the city part with minimum traffic. Earlier we were scheduled to leave at 3a.m but we were little apprehensive of crossing Meerut in dark due to obvious reasons.
Our route was simple one, just follow NH-58 (Meerut,Roorkee,Haridwar,Rishikesh,Srinagar,Chamol i)
We didn’t knew what roads and weather we would witness , all we wanted was to enjoy the ride.
Our first break (breakfast) was before Roorkee. Had our breakfast there and continued. It was after crossing Roorkee that we could see dark black clouds hovering above us. Bishal said, “lets continue because if we stop we might not be able to reach Chamoli in day light.”
We carried on and especially the rain-riding added fun to our riding. Strange things that happened were the looks that people and by-passers were giving to us seeing us in elbow guards and knee guards. In starting I was uncomfortable with that but later on I enjoyed the attention.
As we entered hills after Rishikesh we were dumb-struck by the greenery and the beauty and we started “clicking”, secondary reason of these small stoppages were rest break for our butts and lower back.
Hill Riding :
At first we were little scared looking down and while turning through blind spots,hair pin bends and believe me when I say our average speed was not more than 35kmph , which was the main reason for our “long time”.
Hill riding is totally different from city riding, our body posture, our braking, gear shifting way changes a lot, usage of dipper and horns are really needed there.
In between we found some off roading track too as BRO was repairing the NH and the rain added more to that, there was no tarmac just big stones, rocks asking us to ride over them with mud playing a spoil sport, but that too was one of a kind experience. We reached Srinagar at 3.45pm and asked how far is Chamoli from there , loacals said its still 3 hours, so we thought of doing some ‘pet-puja’ and then continue till we reach and we did the same.
We reached GMVN hotel at 6.45p.m after facing some minor landslides , some drizzing, non stop off roading for (1-1.5kms) en route.
We were quite happy finding a hotel alongside river Alaknanda which was at that time looking like a fiery rapid.
Enquired about Valley of Flowers and the attendant said its 122kms from there (I am gonna sue that website which said the valley is in Chamoli).
Bishal started clicking using tripod , which I was really shocked to see, but its good to see a person who enjoys every bit of photography.
We spent the nite chatting and sleeping and “planning” to get up early morning to witness Sun rise, which was a flop idea as it rained all night and we were thinking about what kind of roads we have to face now. But still we enjoyed and used our lenses….err Bishal’s lenses and my mobile cam to its limit.
The morning was well spent clicking pics and checked out at 10a.m thinking that it will eventually take 12-14hours to reach home.
Now as we started back , we were more confident while riding in hills. And we were enjoying that we could easily stretch 80-90kms in a single go. This time our average speed increased to 50-55kmph.
A funny thing happened while coming back: I asked Bishal if we could have lunch at Srinagar itself like the last day and he said we have already crossed it some 25-30ms back, seems I was so busy enjoying the scenic beauty that I forgot the kms I have rode.
Had our lunch after some 150kms and the next stop I remember was after Haridwar for a tea break. We have literally increased our riding time.
It was now when we decided to have our dinner after Roorkee and we rode amidst heavy traffic, among pathetic drivers. We stopped to have our dinner and started doing a long term planning of Leh Ladakh for next year. May be after an year we would be able to do that too.
As we entered Meerut it started drizzling which was adding more chaos to already vehicle choked NH58. Slowly , steadily we cam out of that and at last we reached our homes at 12.30a.m. Our calculation was bang on this time.
On my riding partner : Amazing rider or I would say responsible rider, no friction , stopped wherever and whenever I asked to. Will ride soon with you as promised.
Its been a day now and I am already missing those twists and curls. I am heading back to hills soon……..very soon
P.S.: Thanks to Adhip (adp), Kaushik (Kaus), Mostwanted (Dipen) for lending the guards and gloves. I am getting mine soon
Some pics :
Some greenery we saw
An empty stretch
The Sun rays caught my eyes
Spell bound by this beauty
The best I saw there
I love green now
This baby 125cc really stood upto my expectations
Is the valley calling me again!!
Note : Videos coming shortly followed by Bishal's amazing captures