In a bid to find out if motorcycle traveling is for me, I have been trying to embark on short trips to get a feel for it. My last was 8000kms in Aus on my GSXR600 and now I am going to be tackling 2 weeks in the Indian Himalayas. I'll update as often as I can get some decent Internet (currently in Leh, India)
My updates will be more periodic on my Facebook or blog if anyone would like to follow there also :)
Four wheels move the body, two wheels move the soul. And so it was that I decided to cut short as month long trip to Brazil and instead spend the last 2 weeks riding a family members borrowed bike through the Himalayas in India.
The plan, if it can be called that, was simple, to fly into Jammu in Northern India (a mere 30 hour journey) and ride towards Leh; a bikers paradise neigbouring Tibet and China from where I could spend a few days exploring some of the key routes in the region. The steed of choice; a KTM Duke 200. A locally produced bike but as I would find out later on, not a very common one at all, especially so in the North when trying to source spare parts.
The first 2-3 days of the trip were going to be reportedly mundane in ‘highway’ traffic (I use the term highway in India very loosely) making our way through Kashmir and into the open plains of the Ladakh region. The first step was to pick up the bike which had been shipped from the mid-eastern state of Maharashtra. Upon arrival at the depot, all seemed well with the packing, however it was only upon unwrapping that it was found that apparently someone had thought it a bright idea to use the clutch lever as a lifting point and in the process broken the bracket for the bike clean off.
With no KTM dealers in town and in fear of the trip being over before it began, it was time to hit up all the other spare parts shops in the area in an attempt to find a suitable part. As luck would have it, a part from the local company Bajaj would do the job, albeit bypassing the safety switch of starting in gear. No problem; $5 dollars later (inclusive of parts and labour) the bike was back on the road !
Since this ride covered a route mainly dominated by military presence it had been arranged to stay in military camps along the way, although this sounded like a great convenience there would be some significant drawbacks highlighted as the trip went on. It was quiet an experience however to be treated as a guest of the Indian Army and to meet the men who protect not only my country but also serve in remote and extremely violent places such as Sudan as part of the UN Peace Keeping Force.
So it was, after a night of packing and little sleep, it was time to hit the road