June to September is the best time to hit the road for motorcycle trips to the Himalayas. Actor Amit Sadh recently biked from Manali to Khardung La. Here’s his tried-and-tested checklist
1) Acclimatise your body to temperatures at higher altitudes before bringing out jackets and mufflers. This way, you feel less cold when the temperatures drop at night.
2) Carry extra brake fluid, brake wires and oil to help while trudging through rocky terrain. Carry torches (handy at night) and batteries.
3) Ensure your documents, such as bike papers, permits and driving license are in a safe place. Carry copies.
4) Your bike must be in optimum condition before setting off. If repairs, servicing and conditioning are required, do it soon and as thoroughly as possible for a glitch-free ride.
5) Read about your trip. Map a rough route for your trip so that you don’t need to stop often for directions.
6) Carry a high-quality camera, and ensure you keep it charged. If you’re an avid photographer, don’t forget the filters!
7) Carry extra food; this includes dry foods and water. Carry water purification tablets.
8) The first aid kit will be your best friend as there might be lots of gashes and bruises. Carry items such as balm, pain relievers, etc.
Sadh advises against long rides
Actor Amit Sadh during his trip
1) Don’t photograph people without their permission. If they ask for money for clicking photos, don’t encourage it. Take extra care of this while visiting monasteries and gompas.
2) Don’t stray from the group that you are travelling with, especially in unfamiliar territory.
3) Plastic is officially banned in Leh-Ladakh. Do not litter the places that you visit. Bury what is degradable.
4) Don’t take long rides. It’s advisable to rest in between. Your body will thank you for it later. Also, avoid riding at night as much as possible. Not only does this strain your body, but finding a shelter will also become that much harder.
5) Avoid smoking and drinking as it dulls your senses and you need to be at your optimal best when on a road trip, especially on a tricky vehicle such as a bike.
6) Speed thrills but kills. Choose a speed that is optimal for the places and things that you want covered.
7) Don’t disturb wildlife at the location. Photograph and admire them but leave them in their habitat.
8) Heavy luggage taxes your bike and body. Travel light with essentials. Leave out the unnecessary.