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Old 15th December 2016, 15:28   #1
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Default Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh

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
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Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_2813.jpg  


Last edited by scarecrow : 15th December 2016 at 15:34. Reason: Formatting updates
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Old 15th December 2016, 16:44   #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

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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Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_20160902_042151.jpg  

Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_20160902_081203.jpg  

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Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_2795.jpg  

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Old 15th December 2016, 18:37   #3
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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 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 pump. 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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Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img20160906wa0027.jpg  

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Old 15th December 2016, 18:40   #4
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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 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.
Attached Thumbnails
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Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_2852.jpg  

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Old 15th December 2016, 18:44   #5
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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).
Attached Thumbnails
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Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_2881.jpg  

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Old 15th December 2016, 18:49   #6
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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 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 pains. 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.
Attached Thumbnails
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Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_2919.jpg  

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Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_2945.jpg  

Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_2955.jpg  

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Old 15th December 2016, 18:54   #7
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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 7 (The day I almost gave up): Jispa -> Leh
Riding time (Start 6:00 am, End 9:00 pm) – 15 hours (including breaks)
Distance – 335 kms



General
Today our plan was to start really early as we knew we had the worst road of the trip ahead of us. We got up at 4 am and were ready to leave at 5:30. After loading the luggage on the bikes, we noticed that Mehernosh’s bike had a puncture. We tried filling it with the air inflator, but it seemed to be a big leak. While debating on options, we checked with the hotel guy and he mentioned that there is a tyre guy close by. While Hashim went ahead to wake up the puncture guy, we slowly rode towards the shop. Post checking at the shop, we found that unfortunately the puncture guy had gone out of station. There was another puncture guy, but he was 10 kms away. While thinking off options, Mehernosh mentioned that he had a product which will help him ride his bike for 30 kms. Since we had no other option, we decided to try it. It’s basically a one-time use product which fills a mixture of self-expanding gas and foam in a tubeless tyre. It allows one to ride a short distance at a speed of around 10 kms. Post filling the tyre, it seemed to work and we slowly road towards the puncture guys shop. We managed to reach the shop in 20 mins and then spent sometime waking up the guy. Luckily the guy woke up and agreed to do up the puncture. To be on the safer side we changed the tube as the earlier tube with the gas was flammable. The puncture guy charged us INR 500k for the tube + services provided. While waiting for the puncture to get repaired, we managed to have tea and biscuits from a side shop as well, while taking pics of the early morning sun light.
Though a little delayed, we then started our trip for Leh. We had to reach Leh today as another member was joining us and had already reached Leh in the morning. The first check post we crossed mentioned that we were the second set of riders crossing today. The road / ride post this was good for the next 50 kms and we tried to make up sometime before breakfast. The weather was cold and this further egged us to ride on. Post our breakfast halt, we had a mix of decent and bad roads right till the time we stopped for lunch at Pang. Till now the other riders had been taking Diamox, while I had not taken it, with the assumption that I would be ok. This turned out to be a bad move as somewhere around 12 ish, the altitude sickness hit me. Also in the afternoon sunshine it had become hot further compounding the issue. Somehow with my fellow riders support, I managed to take breaks and ride, but thoughts of just stopping at an Army Camp and resting for a day or 2, definitely crossed my mind. Thankfully post lunch, the roads nearing more plains improved and this gave the energy to further proceed. On the fuel front we had tanked up at Tandi (which is the only fuel station enroute), but to be on the safer side we stopped and tanked up while crossing More plains. The idea was that it’s better to have the weight in the fuel tanks rather than on the rear of the bike. Also by this time my bikes display had conked up, so I had no accurate info on my fuel status and was relying on the kms travelled + other bullets fuel situation to tank up.

Riding through Gata loops and More plains was a great experience. We were adventurous through a few shortcuts and had our share of adventures because of it. One revelation here was the Dukes performance, aided by the light weight and power. Specifically, I made the mistake of taking a shortcut (short route between 2 loops). When I entered it, it seemed doable, but halfway through it, I found it to be very step, rutted & with loose gravel. Somehow managed to power my way up, all because of Dukes power + handling. The problem with these shortcuts was that for a bike there was no way to turn around once you enter it. I learnt this the hard way as I had become cocky after taking the last shortcut and ended up falling in second one. Here again the safety net of riding with fellow riders allowed me to get back on the road. Net net, the learning was that if the road is good / ride able, it’s not worth the effort and time to take the shortcut. Most of these shortcuts seemed to have been used by 4x4 vehicles only.
The good roads from More plains onwards helped us make up sometime. The roads while cross Tangalala pass and especially the last 100 kms before entering Leh is really good. We rode through these roads in the night, so we didn’t appreciate the full beauty, but it was a great ride. The sense of achievement which we felt while reaching Leh, was really fulfilling.
Attached Thumbnails
Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_2962.jpg  

Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_2966.jpg  

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Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_2984.jpg  

Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_2986.jpg  

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Old 15th December 2016, 18:56   #8
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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 8: Rest in Leh
Riding time (None)
Distance – 70 kms


General
Today was a well-earned rest day for us. The previous night everyone hit the bed immediately after dinner. We all woke up around 8ish and then met up for breakfast. Today’s plan was to 1st to get the bikes checked and then see a few places around Leh. We also used this day to get our laundry cleaned (expensive though). After dropping off the bikes at the RE service center in Leh, we used the vehicle, which would be with us for the next 3 days to visit a few places in Leh. After been on the bikes for 8 days, sitting in the Innova was like sitting on a sofa. One highlight of the day at least for me was – the RE service head been a KTM fan, got my bike cleaned, chain tightened and lubed. Was nice to be given royal treatment in the RE showroom.
Attached Thumbnails
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Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_20160909_122136.jpg  

Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_20160909_122227.jpg  

Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_20160909_130601.jpg  

Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_20160909_145220.jpg  

Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_20160909_123235.jpg  

Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_20160909_152019.jpg  


Last edited by Aditya : 19th December 2016 at 07:41. Reason: Small typo :)
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Old 15th December 2016, 19:09   #9
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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 9: Leh -> Pangong Lake
Riding time (Start 10:00 am, End 15:00 pm) – 5 hours (including breaks)
Distance – 147 kms



General
Our original plan was to 1st to visit Kardungla pass, then Nubra valley and then Pangong Lake. We had to reverse the plan, because there was a Marathon to Kardungla and because of the same the main roads were blocked for traffic.

As the distance to Pangong lake was not much, we started a little late i.e. around 10:00am. The roads were ok, with some bad patches enroute. This was a very scenic route and we kept stopping to take photos. With our lazy lunch, we ended up reaching around 3 pm. Definitely suggest reaching this place early as the lake looks totally out of this world in bright sunshine. Knowing that this place would be cold we had booked a resort with proper huts. This turned out to be a good decision as the temperature really dropped post 5:30 pm and with the wind, it was not comfortable to sit outside. Thanks to a good bonfire, some warm spirits, music and good banter, we enjoyed under the stars. We tried taking time-lapse videos, but unfortunately none of us were successful. Post a good dinner, we again hit the land of the nod, with the plan to get up early to catch the sunrise and view. Except for Mehernosh, nobody got up on time the next morning.
Attached Thumbnails
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Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_3011.jpg  

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Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_3049.jpg  

Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_3010.jpg  

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Old 15th December 2016, 19:15   #10
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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 10: Pangong Lake -> Nubra Valley
Riding time (Start 10:00 am, End 17:00 pm) – 5 hours (including breaks)
Distance – 197 kms


General
Today again we got up at a relaxed pace. The 1st thing we did was clean our bikes + chain lubing and general checks. Was nice doing this with the awesome view in front of us. Really enjoyed having my tea, while viewing the lake. With the rising run, the temperature quickly started getting hot. After a good breakfast we started towards Nubra valley. Though the distance was short, we were warned about the bad roads, with a few notorious water crossings. Some parts of this route turned out to be trickier as there was fine sand, which was really slippery and would catch you out if you were not alert. Also in some patches the rocks were really sharp and large. Been somewhat seasoned riders by now, we covered the distances quickly, again stopping to take lot of snaps. We also stopped once to fuel the bikes from the back-up fuel canisters. We reached Nubra valley in time to do the camel ride. Post the camel ride we headed towards the resort. The weather in Nubra was pleasant and here we had booked tent accommodations. Post freshening up, we had a good bonfire, followed by a sumptuous dinner. It started raining sometime in the night and when we work up, the weather was totally different. We could see that the mountain tops were covered with fresh snow and with this we expected to encounter snow while crossing Khardungla today.
Attached Thumbnails
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Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_3059.jpg  

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Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_3110.jpg  

Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_3114.jpg  

Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_3117.jpg  

Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_3119.jpg  

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Old 15th December 2016, 19:21   #11
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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 11: Nubra Valley -> Leh
Riding time (Start 10:00 am, End 16:00 pm) – 6 hours (including breaks)
Distance – 160 kms


General
With the change in the weather we were excited and hoped to encounter snow while crossing Khardungla today. Our escort vehicle’s driver, who is a localite checked ahead and confirmed that the weather ahead was ok. The initial few kms was really good and we enjoyed the curves, with little traffic. Enoute we stopped to drive the ATV’s on the dunes. This was a good experience, though wish there was an option to ride the ATV’s on the river bed.
Nearing Khardungla the road is really really bad. There was a little slow on the top. We all rode slowly and reached Khardungla around 2 pm. Because of the afternoon sunshine, the cold was bearable, but as usual it was crowded. After taking the customary photo’s we quickly started our descent towards. We got delayed a bit as there were 2 landslides enroute and we had to wait for the same to be cleared. Again hats off to the BRO team on maintaining the roads in such adverse conditions. The last 30 kms before Leh is well paved and we ended up reaching Leh around 4 pm. Since this was our last day in Leh, we spent sometime shopping and generally checking out Leh. Our initial plan was to have the famous wazwan for dinner, but as we had skipped lunch, we ended up stopping at a small shop to have kebab’s. This turned out to be one of the best snacks we have had in the last few days.

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Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_3146.jpg

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Old 15th December 2016, 19:25   #12
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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 12: Leh -> Jispa
Riding time (Start 5:30 am, End 19:00 pm) – 14 hours (including breaks)
Distance – 335 kms


General
Today we started with a little sadness as it was the start of our return Journey. We had evaluated returning through Srinagar, but with the current situation still been bad, we decided to return through Manali only. We started at 5:30 am from the hotel. The last 3 days, we had been dumping our luggage in the escort vehicle, so it took us sometime to get used to putting the luggage back on the bikes + the additional weight. Also we had to fuel our bikes. With a slight delay in finding fuel (pumps only open at 7 am), we finally ended up starting around 7:10 am. Post fueling and checking air, we starting riding towards our first pass (Tanglala). When we had entered Leh 3 days back, it was in the dark, so we ended up missing the views. The early morning ride helped us soak up the great scenery. Post 80 kms the weather changed and it started raining. Luckily we had all dressed accordingly. We had our 1st tea break at Rumste. Actually we were forced to stop as it started snowing and had become really cold. The tea / biscuit break gave us some additional energy to proceed. Post this the ride up to Tanglala was quite tough as it became really cold, with near zero visibility. With frequent stops + using the bikes engine heat to warm our hands, we somehow managed to cross Tanglala. The temperature only became bearable when we had descended from the pass and the sunlight became visible. As we knew what kind of roads to expect, we made good progress and quickly crossed Moore plains. Our stop for lunch was just after Ghata loops. Post a good lunch, we crossed the bad stretch of road in Pang, but somehow on the return journey the road didn’t seem as bad. This time around there were lot of Army trucks heading towards Manali. Through the course of the day we ended up crossing them a few times. Hat’s off to them, but even on these narrow roads they kept giving space to the bikers to cross. We discussed about trying to make it till Keylong, but nearing Jispa we were tired and hence decided to stay in Jispa only.
Attached Thumbnails
Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_20160914_214721.jpg  

Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_20160913_075428721_hdr.jpg  

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Old 15th December 2016, 19:29   #13
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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 13: Jispa -> Manali
Riding time (Start 10:00 am, End 17:00 pm) – 7 hours (including breaks)
Distance – 138 kms



General
We woke up to the sound of the Army trucks crossing i.e. the same convoy we had crossed yesterday. Since we didn’t have a large distance to cover, we started around 10 am. We rode at a good average speed and stopped for lunch at a small place enroute. Had a good meal i.e. the staple dal rice. Our next stop was near gramphu for tea and momo’s. We ended up having some good mutton momo’s here. Post this we hit the bad stretch before Rohtang pass. This time the road was worse because of the rains. We took time crossing this stretch and on reaching the top we found it was raining & foggy. Because of the weather there was lot of crowd on the pass and we took time crossing it. Post the pass we stopped for a quick tea and then started descending. The weather also cleared up a bit. We again encountered the Army trucks convoy, but with some good riding we cleared them one by one. The ride while descending was really good and we were all pumped up entering Manali. While entering Manali I headed towards our hotel, while the RE boys headed towards the RE service center to show their bikes. Specifically the Himalayan’s engine was leaking oil and the standard 500 was devouring its sprocket. While I reached the hotel and lazed around, the boys had an adventure finding the RE service center. Once the boys returned, we freshened up and then decided to play some snooker. Spent a good evening playing snooker, along with some good wine and dinner.
Attached Thumbnails
Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_7746.jpg  

Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_3188.jpg  

Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_3189.jpg  

Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_3197.jpg  

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Old 15th December 2016, 19:33   #14
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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 14: Rest in Manali
Riding time (NA) – 0 hours
Distance – 30 kms


General
Today’s plan was to chill in Manali. The 1st thing I did post getting up was to wash my bike and generally check it up. On the ride up Rohtang pass I lost the glass of one of my auxiliary lights, but only realized it while cleaning my bike. Taped up the electricals nicely to ensure no water seeps in. Post a hearty breakfast we headed to the RE service center to leave the bikes for the issues to be addressed. The RE service center in Manali is located in a quite far of location and when you ride to it for the 1st time, you really doubt that there is a RE service station there. Specifically it’s up on the hill ahead of Delhi Public School. Post dropping off the bikes, we walked down to Johnson’s lodge. All of us had a good 2 hours massage and then headed for lunch. We had the famous rainbow trout for lunch and then lazed around till we got a call confirming that the bikes were ready. Post picking the bikes we did some shopping and then headed to the hotel. The evening was again spent chilling and then packing for the next day.
Attached Thumbnails
Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_20160915_105045.jpg  

Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_20160915_134518.jpg  

Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_20160915_161637.jpg  

Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_20160915_140250720.jpg  

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Old 15th December 2016, 19:37   #15
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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 15: Manali -> Panchkula
Riding time (Start 8:00 am, End 19:00 pm) – 8 hours (including breaks)
Distance – 320 kms


General
Since majority of the bad roads were behind us, we started a little leisurely from Manali. Our goal was to cross Chandigarh today. The ride was good throughout and we had our customary tea and lunch breaks. Post the bad patch near Mandi, we took a wrong turn. We lost sometime getting back to the main highway. Also we didn’t find too many options for lunch, so stopped at the 1st decent place we found. The weather had also started becoming hot and with every stop, we continued reducing the layers from our riding gear. Apart from our usual stops for tea and bio breaks, we maintained a good average and entered Chandigarh around 5:30 PM. Hashim had a few office calls to attend to, so we took a long tea break. Post this stop we decided to ride for another hour or so, and on a friends recommendation decided to stay at Panchkula. Post checking-in and freshening up, we stepped out to check out Panchkula and retired after a not so great dinner. Since the next day was our last ride, we were a little sad, but nevertheless slept early.
Attached Thumbnails
Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_20160906_164815.jpg  

Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img20160906wa0032.jpg  

Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_20160906_164744145.jpg  

Why we ride...No definite answers! Himalayan, Standard 500 & Duke 390 ride to Ladakh-img_20160916_200643.jpg  

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