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Thread: Why We Ride..No definite answers (RE Himalayan, Std 500 and Duke 390, Pune - Ladakh Ride, Sept 2016)

  1. #1
    Addicted scarecrow's Avatar
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    Default Why We Ride..No definite answers (RE Himalayan, Std 500 and Duke 390, Pune - Ladakh Ride, Sept 2016)

    Why We Ride

    The Objective
    People always question us on why we ride, what we get out of it, why can’t we just take a flight or drive. I know these queries have been beaten to death and there are no definite answers for it. In our case too, we just wanted to ride, but we were clear that our destination was Ladakh. Additionally since 2 of us have studied in Srinagar, we wanted to visit it again, especially our school. So the whole objective was to ride through J&K, ascending through the Srinagar route and descending through the Manali route.

    The Planning
    The idea for the trip was initiated by my friend Hashim. When he asked me the first time whether I would be interested in joining for a ride to Ladakh, not sure why, but I said yes. Thankfully with a supportive spouse and family I was able to adhere to my commitment. There were a few other friends who also wanted to ride, but eventually couldn’t join due to personal commitments & date clashes. In the end it was 3 of us, who rode on 3 different bikes. The planning for this trip started in earnest around April. We created a detailed planner i.e. for the route, bike related, etc. and kept updating / tracking as per it. We initially planned to ride in July / August through the following route i.e. Pune -> Delhi -> Srinagar -> Leh -> Jispa -> Manali -> Delhi, but because of the circumstances in Srinagar, we delayed our trip till September and finally planned to ride through / return from Leh. To summarize, it’s important to plan for the key aspects, but also do practical planning as per your requirements, so that you don’t end up over or under planning. Based on our experience, key aspects to plan for is
    1. Your physical fitness – helps in dealing with altitude sickness & is very important to have a good, enjoyable ride. Keeping yourself hydrated throughout the ride also helps a lot in this regard.
    2. Bikes fitness – ensuring it’s in the best condition. Personal recommendation, get the bike serviced at least a month before the trip, so that any issues are noticed & addressed before the trip.
    3. Knowing your group riders / riding style – It’s good to know the riders who you will be riding for the next 10-15 days, their riding style, etc. This goes a long way in ensuring an enjoyable and safe trip. Also if you don’t ride regularly, few weeks before the ride plan to ride everyday as this will get you ready for the ride. Couple of long rides with your riding partners will also help you get used to / give you a chance to sort out your riding positions and communication signals. We also used these opportunities to do a test on the amount of luggage + the way we wanted to carry the same.
    4. Having a flexible plan – While it’s good to have a prior planned plan, do account for delays and be ready to change your plan accordingly.
    5. Enjoy the Destination – While the main objective is to ride, it is important to enjoy the destination as well. While I would love to ride every day, we had planned our days in such a way to ensure we visit key places in Ladakh. This also allowed us to re-energize ourselves for the return journey.

    The Steads

    Ronald Luiz aka Scarecrow @ Duke 390
    Hashim Khanyari @ RE Himalayan
    Mehernosh Musa @ RE Bullet 500

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    Automobiles saga till date......
    KTM Duke 390 - current bike
    Bajaj Pulsar 180 Dtsi V1 (Red)
    Bajaj Pulsar 180 Classic (Red)
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  2. #2
    Moderator Divya Sharan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why We Ride..No definite answers (RE Himalayan, Std 500 and Duke 390, Pune - Ladakh Ride, Sept 2

    Thread approved!

  3. #3
    Addicted scarecrow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why We Ride..No definite answers (RE Himalayan, Std 500 and Duke 390, Pune - Ladakh Ride, Sept 2

    Quote Originally Posted by Divya Sharan View Post
    Thread approved!
    @Divya - thanks for the approval

    ----consecutive posts auto-merged-----

    The Ride
    Day 1 (butt initialization): Pune -> Ahmedabad
    Riding time (Start 5:30 am, End 20:30 pm) – 15 hours (including breaks)
    Distance – 663 kms

    General
    All the bikes were checked, fueled and kept ready on Sept 1st itself. We started at 4:30 am from our respective places and met up at a common point on Dehu road at 5:30 am. An interesting incident happened at the rendezvous point. I had stopped at a temple on Dehu road and had told the boys to meet me there as there was some light to stand there. The boys came and while we were greeting each other and checking the bikes, one person walked down from the temple, almost startling us. He asked us if we had a matchbox and when Mehernosh offered his lighter, he sadly said it won’t work to light his stuff. We then noticed that he was carrying a chillum. He did offer it to us, but we gratefully declined it. His only request was to carry back a cap from Himachal Pradesh for him. After a quick sync up of our communication devices and checking up on the luggage setup, etc. we started our journey. Our goal for the day was Surat. Initial going was a little slow as we were getting used to riding as a group. The fog near Lonavala slowed us a bit, but was great riding through it early in the morning. Also while nearing Mumbai, we mistakenly ended up entering the expressway. Just before that we were joking that it’s nice to pass through toll booths, without paying for bikes and post that we ended up paying a small fine. This was one of the few instances where Google baba wrongly directed us. Luckily the cops let us ride through the remaining 5-6 kms of the expressway. We kept to the leftmost part of the road and quickly exited the expressway. Post this we made good time and our 1st stop was for breakfast @ Fountain hotel, near Vasai creek at 9 am. We had a good breakfast, freshened up and started around 10 ish.

    One concern we had was regarding the impact of the bandh which was called that day. Luckily, this did not cause any major issues and we found fuel pumps at regular intervals. Our next stop was for a quick tea + fuel break. Though the weather was hot, we had to keep wearing our rain gear, as in certain parts it was still raining. The heat, which gets extrapolated because of the riding gear definitely zaps your energy and it’s very important to keep yourself hydrated. All of us regularly stopped to drink water from our hydration packs, drank water whenever we stopped for tea. The roads were generally good throughout, with occasional patches where road widening work is going on. We rode consistently post this with our next stop for lunch around 1 pm, somewhere near valsad. We enjoyed a good Gujarati thali and then setoff. Around 2ish we came across a major traffic jam. This was near Ankleshwar and we had to do a lot of off-roading, squeezing through traffic to clear at least 500 trucks. Our off-road leader Mehernosh, along with proper communication, coordination and riding helped us to safely make it through. Pity we didn’t take a video of this part. We lost about 1 hour because of this jam, but it was a good experience. Post this we stopped for tea and then set off again. We eventually reached Ahmedabad around 7:20. We then took sometime checking for decent hotels online and finally reached our hotel by 8:30. Found a good hotel with decent parking and called it a day. Unpacking stuff, cleaning stuff and finally repacking, was a discipline which we ensured for the next 16 days. We had a good dinner, before calling it a night. One interesting thing in the food menu was, that in other places you will find options for different cuisines like Indian, Chinese, etc. In Gujarat there is a section only for Paneer, with 50+ options, but the food was awesome.


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    Automobiles saga till date......
    KTM Duke 390 - current bike
    Bajaj Pulsar 180 Dtsi V1 (Red)
    Bajaj Pulsar 180 Classic (Red)
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  4. #4
    Rusted akshay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why We Ride..No definite answers (RE Himalayan, Std 500 and Duke 390, Pune - Ladakh Ride, Sept 2

    Good start to along ride. Looking forward to the rest
    Ride To Live

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    Default Re: Why We Ride..No definite answers (RE Himalayan, Std 500 and Duke 390, Pune - Ladakh Ride, Sept 2

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    Default Re: Why We Ride..No definite answers (RE Himalayan, Std 500 and Duke 390, Pune - Ladakh Ride, Sept 2

    Superb start. Waiting for the rest.

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    Default Re: Why We Ride..No definite answers (RE Himalayan, Std 500 and Duke 390, Pune - Ladakh Ride, Sept 2

    Day 2 (Best road, Cows): Ahmedabad -> Jaipur
    Riding time (Start 7:30 am, End 8:00 pm) – 12.7 hours (including breaks)
    Distance – 677 kms


    General
    Day 2 started at 7:30 am. Post a quick breakfast, the first thing we did was to tank up our bikes at a petrol pump near the hotel. Post this we quickly navigated our way out of Ahmedabad, specifically trying to avoid the morning rush hour. The outer ring road, along the river was beautiful to ride on and it helped us to quickly get onto the highway. Post hitting the highway we made good time, till our next tea brake.

    Sometime back, Hashim had mentioned that his Harley group which had passed through the same area a few weeks back had told us to beware of cows. We had taken it lightly initially, but today we understood the reason for the caution. Basically, because of the Gau Rakshak thingy, lot of cows have been abandoned by their owners. Now these poor things keep roaming around trying to find food. Unfortunately the open areas of the road, dividers attract them. This is a big safety hazard as we found lots of cows, some standing in the middle of the road. At one time, we just rounded a corner doing around 80k and we see not 1, not 2, but 10 cows standing in the middle of the flyover, with their horns pointed towards us. We had some scary moments (Mehernosh hit a cow with his handlebar), but luckily with good regimental riding, we cleared this area safely. At one of the stops to mount the cameras, Hashim in his haste to catch up with us, forgot to put the tank bag on and it flew off without him noticing it. Good thing we didn’t ride through this area in the night, because that would have compounded the danger.

    Post this hazard zone, we rode through one of the best roads in the country. This is specifically the road which heads to Mount Abu. We bypassed Mount Abu, but the road was a dream to ride on. Butter smooth tarmac, with greenery all around encouraged us to cover some good distance. We ended up doing some night riding to reach Jaipur, but good riding enabled us to reach Jaipur around 8 pm.

    One thing which we did throughout the ride was to ride in a proper formation. Specifically been 3 riders there was one leader and one sweeper. The slowest rider was kept in the middle so that we rode as per his pace. The leader and the sweeper were connected through Scala Rider and this enabled us to properly call out hazards, navigate through cities, while keeping an eye on the middle rider throughout. We also rode with our headlights on throughout as this made our group visible at crossings, while also enabling us to identify each other. All riders been seasoned riders rode at their own pace and in-case anyone felt sleepy or tired, we ensured we stopped and rested.

    Though the initial 2 days were long, this was important as it helped condition us for the ride ahead. We also became one with our respective bikes and had started gelling as a cohesive riding group.


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    Day 3 (Traffic, ruts in the road): Jaipur -> Gurgaon
    Riding time (Start 3:30 pm, End 8:00 pm) – 5.5 hours (including breaks)
    Distance – 234 kms

    General
    Our original plan was to do Surat -> New Delhi, but since we had covered more distance, we planned to aim for someplace close to Chandigarh. Our plans were impacted a bit as the bikes needed to be checked for some minor issues. Specifically the Himalayan had some engine oil leakage, the 500’s sprocket was making noises and the Dukes front mudguard spacer had broken. None of these issues were stopping us, but we wanted to get them rectified before proceeding. So all three of us headed out in different directions i.e. to our respective service centers. Been a Sunday, we had limited options, but did find a few options.

    The Enfield boys found and interesting bullet specialist in the bazar area (will let them elaborate on their experience further)…..One thing is for sure, you will always find guys to assist with a bullet, but somehow, good / experienced & honest guys, are quite few.
    My experience with the KTM service center (PLM motors) was not nice. They seemed to have seen a Duke 390 for the 1st time and were not able to lube, tighten the chain. The only work they did was to wash the bike. Overall a forgetful experience and I am guessing they were responsible for the electrical issue I faced hereon. Important learning, if there is nothing wrong with the bike, don’t take it to the service center, especially to unknown ones.

    All the bike work ensured we all got free only around 1:30 ish. Post this we rushed to check out of the hotel as we were already way past the checkout time. Post this we caught up with a few friends for lunch and then started towards Gurgaon around 3:30 pm. We changed our plan to reach Gurgaon to ensure we cover some distance.

    Though the distance till Gurgaon was only 234 kms, the high truck traffic and the fact that we left late, encountered office traffic in Gurgaon, meant we reached only around 8 pm. We also had to take a short detour backwards to retrieve the tank bag which Mehernosh forgot at the petrol pumpJ. Also the heavy truck traffic had created ruts in the road, which was a little scary to navigate on the bike. We tried to avoid them to the max by sticking to the left side of the road. Overall an uneventful, though tiring trip. Lastly the heat entering into Delhi hit us quite a lot, especially with all the riding gear, so as usual hydration was very very important.

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    Automobiles saga till date......
    KTM Duke 390 - current bike
    Bajaj Pulsar 180 Dtsi V1 (Red)
    Bajaj Pulsar 180 Classic (Red)
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  8. #8
    Addicted scarecrow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why We Ride..No definite answers (RE Himalayan, Std 500 and Duke 390, Pune - Ladakh Ride, Sept 2

    Day 3 (Traffic, ruts in the road): Jaipur -> Gurgaon
    Riding time (Start 3:30 pm, End 8:00 pm) – 5.5 hours (including breaks)
    Distance – 234 kms

    General
    Our original plan was to do Surat -> New Delhi, but since we had covered more distance, we planned to aim for someplace close to Chandigarh. Our plans were impacted a bit as the bikes needed to be checked for some minor issues. Specifically the Himalayan had some engine oil leakage, the 500’s sprocket was making noises and the Dukes front mudguard spacer had broken. None of these issues were stopping us, but we wanted to get them rectified before proceeding. So all three of us headed out in different directions i.e. to our respective service centers. Been a Sunday, we had limited options, but did find a few options.

    The Enfield boys found an interesting bullet specialist in the bazaar area (will let them elaborate on their experience further)…..One thing is for sure, you will always find guys to assist with a bullet, but somehow, good / experieName:  Jaipur_Gurgaon_Day 3.jpg
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    My experience with the KTM service center (PLM motors) was not nice. They seemed to have seen a Duke 390 for the 1st time and were not able to lube, tighten the chain. The only work they did was to wash the bike. Overall a forgetful experience and I am guessing they were responsible for the electrical issue I faced hereon. Important learning, if there is nothing wrong with the bike, don’t take it to the service center, especially to unknown ones.

    All the bike work ensured we all got free only around 1:30 ish. Post this we rushed to check out of the hotel as we were already way past the checkout time. Post this we caught up with a few friends for lunch and then started towards Gurgaon around 3:30 pm. We changed our plan to reach Gurgaon to ensure we cover some distance.

    Though the distance till Gurgaon was only 234 kms, the high truck traffic and the fact that we left late, encountered office traffic in Gurgaon, meant we reached only around 8 pm. We also had to take a short detour backwards to retrieve the tank bag which Mehernosh forgot at the petrol pumpJ. Also the heavy truck traffic had created ruts in the road, which was a little scary to navigate on the bike. We tried to avoid them to the max by sticking to the left side of the road. Overall an uneventful, though tiring trip. Lastly the heat entering into Delhi hit us quite a lot, especially with all the riding gear, so as usual hydration was very very important.

    ----consecutive posts auto-merged-----

    Day 4 (Bikes Checkup): Gurgaon -> Karnal
    Riding time (Start 4:00 pm, End 8:30 pm) – 4.5 hours (including breaks)
    Distance – 201 kms

    General
    The popular saying, man plans – but God disposes impacted us here. We had planned to start early and aim for reaching ahead of Chandigarh, but the shoddy bike work done in Jaipur meant that we had to show the bikes again in Gurgaon. This turn of events again ate up half the day and we eventually managed to start riding only at 4 pm. The last 2 days didn’t go as per plan, but had enabled us to catch up on some much needed rest. On a friends suggestion we took the Jhajjar route to avoid the traffic getting out of Delhi. This turned out to be a good call as the road was good with little traffic. We again had a good ride, stopping for tea a few times. Nearing Karnal, around dinner time we saw the Jhilmil Dhaba and we didn’t need much coaxing to stop. All of us had a sumptuous dinner. The end result of the large dinner was that were in no position to ride further. We then took a call to find a hotel nearby and start early in the morning. This turned out to be a good call as by starting early we missed all the traffic around Chandigarh.

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    Last edited by scarecrow; 12-20-2016 at 08:34 PM. Reason: spelling update
    Automobiles saga till date......
    KTM Duke 390 - current bike
    Bajaj Pulsar 180 Dtsi V1 (Red)
    Bajaj Pulsar 180 Classic (Red)
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  9. #9
    Rookie dpukvinu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why We Ride..No definite answers (RE Himalayan, Std 500 and Duke 390, Pune - Ladakh Ride, Sept 2

    Wow, awesome. Keep going.

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    Default Re: Why We Ride..No definite answers (RE Himalayan, Std 500 and Duke 390, Pune - Ladakh Ride, Sept 2

    Day 5 (Welcome to the hills): Karnal -> Manali
    Riding time (Start 7:00 am, End 7:30 pm) – 12.5 hours (including breaks)
    Distance – 419 kms

    General
    A good dinner, followed by a peaceful sleep ensured we were all ready to hit the road. We started riding at 7:00 am. A brief rain the previous night, resulted in us having a cool ride. All of us were eagerly awaiting today’s ride as today was when we would hit the mountains. This is what we had been riding for the last few days for. Quickly bypassing the well planned city of Chandigarh, we stopped for breakfast at Heritage Haveli. It was already getting hot, but a good breakfast, which included a big glass of lassi each, prepared us for the road ahead. Initially we got some bad roads, but once we started climbing the roads improved. With the climb, thankfully the weather also started becoming cooler. Surprisingly on hilly roads, since you move around in the saddle more, there is comparatively less butt pain as well. There is a bad stretch of about 25 kms before Mandi. This was our 1st bad stretch and we took time clearing it. We had our lunch at Mandi. We found a small place with a great view of the river, but the food was really bad (Hotel Lush Palace). For everyone’s information, Mandi is a big town with majority of the automobile service center’s present. So it’s a good pit stop to check up your vehicles (if required).

    Today’s average speed was a little less. Post lunch we tried to make up sometime on the good roads. We ended up riding in the night, but we finally reached Manali at 8:00. Riding in the night with the river at your side as a constant companion, was a great experience. While riding in the night we ensured we rode as a group to ensure we provide the leader with sufficient illumination, while ensuring the whole group is visible. All our luggage’s, covers had proper reflective materials, ensuring all of us were lit up like Christmas trees. Today’s ride was a tiring one and we were absolutely delighted to see the hotel. It took us sometime to locate the hotel, but was worth it when we saw the view from the Hotel. Post all the unpacking and the freshening up, the regular grind of riding gear cleaning and airing, we had a good dinner, accompanied by some good music. The cold air definitely makes you eat more and this was a common occurrence throughout the trip.

    In everyplace we stopped for the night, one common occurrence was that we all took up a part of the room to air out our riding gears. In some hotels we had to come up with innovative ideas to air out our gear. Dread the job of the person cleaning out the room the next day though (pity them)J.
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    Day 6 (The day of passes): Manali -> Jispa
    Riding time (Start 10:00 am, End 7:00 pm) – 9 hours (including breaks)
    Distance – 138 kms

    General
    Knowing the ride ahead would be tough, we had broken up the ride to Leh into 2 days. We planned to stay at Jispa, given the comparatively lower altitude and better accommodation options. This turned out to be a good plan as the ride was tiring, tough and it took a long time to travel the 140 kms.

    One suggestion while riding through Manali is to stay at Manali for minimum 2 days to get acclimatized. This is important, especially while riding through Manali as the rate of ascent is high. Specifically you start at around 8800 FT, cross 17800 at Tanglangla, before reaching Leh at 11000 FT. Unfortunately we didn’t do this. Though we had taken Diamox as a precaution, the altitude sickness hit all of us in different forms and intensity, during the next 2 days. Also ensure you start early as there is lot of tourist traffic which heads towards Rohtang pass, through the narrow roads.


    After crossing the beautiful Rohtang pass, we rode through a really bad stretch of road. This is one of the worst stretches and gets worse during rain and snow. In these stretches the RE boys generally left me behind, but couple of short cuts, enabled me to catch up with them. Here Mehernosh almost lost his fuel canister (fell down without his knowledge) and Hashim who was following him found it floating in a water crossing. One personal learning, after taking these shortcuts was that – if the road is good, don’t take them. Also if you take them, ensure you have backup support, as once you take them, you are committed to it. I learnt this the hard way while taking a few shortcuts, both near Rohtang pass and in Ghata loops, but thanks to the Duke it bailed me out in these situations.

    For the 1st time riders, you need permits for riding through the passes. This can be obtained easily, just ensure you get it done in advance to avoid wasting time on it. Also at all check posts you need to stop and update the register with your vehicle no, name and time of entry. This is important for tracking the movement of people and to ensure everyone’s safety. To some extent, this helps them to regulate the amount of traffic passing through as well. Also as far as I know, you can’t ride through the passes at night.

    The landscape now really starts changing. We kept stopping for photos and finally reached Jispa around 7:00 pm. We stopped at a place called Padma lodge. Specifically mentioning this place, as it was one of the only places throughout the trip where we got really good hot water. There is nothing like a hot water bath to freshen you up post a long ride. Also it helps to reduce lot of the aches and painsJ. We had a good dinner and called it an early night. All of us crashed early as the next day was going to be a long and tough day.

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    rajpal, shiv4747 and JourneyGuy like this.
    Automobiles saga till date......
    KTM Duke 390 - current bike
    Bajaj Pulsar 180 Dtsi V1 (Red)
    Bajaj Pulsar 180 Classic (Red)
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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