I don't remember how and why Tejas and I decided to do the bike tour to Leh-Ladakh, but what I do remember is that the plan was crystallized around a year ago. The honeymoon to Sikkim-Darjeeling made us fall in love with the region and we decided to do the tour in June 2011.
Even when I had the nerve compression in my shoulder in September last year, I was somehow sure that it would not deter me from the ride. To take a test, we went to Amboli -370 kilometers from Pune on bike, for our first anniversary in November 2010 when I was still recovering from it. After the trip, we became confident of covering 350 to 400 kilometers every day. We also realised that I need to learn to ride the Karizma -not just to relieve Tejas from continuous driving, but for the pure joy of feeling the wind on my face, in my hair and maneuvering along the curves.
The preparations began and Tejas procured a tubeless rear tyre for the bike. We are still looking for the tubeless front tyre. The bike's handle wobbles a bit and he has been trying different mechanics who can detect the reason and solve the problem, to no vain. He also spent almost an entire day at BikersZone trying to solve the problem. Although it is now resolved to much extent, it is not 100 per cent satisfactory.
By February, it was time to give the news to our respective friends and see if anyone cared to join us (and make the rest jealous). After endless discussions at Tilak, Tejas's friends Sagar Saibi and Chaitanya Mandavle (almost?) decided to join us. Some others who couldn't join us, advised that we should transport the bikes to Delhi and then ride from there. Some others suggested that we look for a car-backup during the ride in Leh. Wouldn't we opt for a flight if it was comfort and safety that we wanted? Anyways, so we are sure to do it Pune-Leh-Pune -around 6000 kilometers in 20 to 25 days.
Then came the hurdle of taking the long leave from our respective offices. Tejas's manager from the US was here and Tejas grabbed the opportunity to request him for the leave. It was done in two minutes and the boss also said he was jealous ;). I, too got the leave without much hesitation, but at the cost of working as an add-on for a colleague who is on leave in May.
And then I began to learn driving and would soon make a quick practice -trip nearby. Tejas has been a good and motivating teacher. He is also the best rider/driver I know. I also procured a learning license for geared motorcycles, which, I can use during the tour. (There's no time to get a permanent license done before the trip). Getting the license was an experience in itself....I almost roasted for three hours in a tin shed with no electricity for the fans/lights at the Pune RTO packed with prospective riders.
The next step was the shopping spree of the important and basic stuff that we would need to take along -he rider jackets for each of us, riding gloves, a pair of saddle bags and the tank bag from Adventure World in Kothrud. (a detailed list will be given once we have bought everything).
When I was busy with something, the boys visited a person who had already been to Ladakh on his bike for some insights about the tour. He did give a few tips for us to remember...experience always helps!
And so, it is now time to experience it ourselves and we are sure we would return to be better persons!
Look out for this space along with my Twitter if the ride interests you!