On roads not taken

On roads not taken

Biker's tale

On roads not taken

Pratik Jain became fond of cruiser bikes when he was a college student and that’s also when he grew passionate about bike rides. His first challenging ride was on the terrains of Ladakh.

Before hitting the road to Ladakh, he had only covered a maximum distance of 500 km in a day on the highways to Goa and Coorg.

His first bike was an Avenger and that’s when he got into bike riding, a passion that continues till today.

He wants to break the notion that bike rides are challenging and that it is not a safe option to ride them for long trips. 

His recent trip to Ladakh is one of his favourites yet the most challenging bike trails of all. It was a 14-day trip which started from Delhi on July 21.

 “Along with a friend of mine, I contacted this group called ‘Crazy Riders’ that manages tours from Delhi to Uttarakhand. A ride to Ladakh had always been on my list and this was an easy platform for that. We were a group of 17 riders and it was a brilliant experience,” says Pratik.

The original route included Delhi, Pathankot, Srinagar and Kargil. While returning, the group planned to take the Manali route due  to the riots in Srinagar and they rode towards Leh.

“While the group halted at Debring and Patseo, we decided to go the unconventional way and not stay at homestays or hotels. Rather, we put up camps and stayed there. The ride from Delhi to Manali was most challenging. Since it was the first day and the very first mountain experience, many suffered from acute mountain sickness,” recalls Pratik.

“Surprisingly, our ride through the highest motorable path in India, ‘Khardung La’, was a smooth one and we crossed it twice. However, while crossing ‘Chang La’, the third highest motorable path, we faced a lot of difficulties. It started snowing and the snow seeped into our gloves, making the hands absolutely numb and impossible to ride,” says Pratik.

Being an adventurous person,  Pratik also tried river rafting in Kashmir at a temperature of three degrees.

There was a time, he recalls, when the temperature was minus eight degrees, the fog was thick and the visibility was poor throughout the route. This was a difficult time for them.  “One could not see beyond 10 feet in front of them. That’s when the Army camps came to our rescue. They gave us some hot tea and fire to warm ourselves before we started our ride again,” he says. “I have got a chance to work abroad this year and I wanted to see as much as I can in my country before moving out. Ladakh, being one of the most beautiful places, I always wanted to visit it at least once in my lifetime,” says Pratik.

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