Rides or no rides a Royal Enfield a.k.a BULLET is the best friend one can ever have on the lonely roads, in the crowded streets. It makes you feel that you are always with a buddy with whom you can share your pains, your agony, your distress, and your happiness. It never lets you be gloomy, with a simple twist of the throttle it takes you to the wondrous world of speed and pumps in the adrenal.
What do you want from a friend, a shoulder to lean on, and the promise of the world where you are who you are, no inhibitions, no dilutions. “Bull” gets you more than that; it gives you the experience that takes care of the mundane hap hazards of the lay world. It makes you the king of the moment. You have no pain , no quality scores , no targets, nothing to beat, just your own craving for adventure, your desire for action and your spirit to do what you really want to do .
My discovery started one year ago when I met my friend a 2005 thunderbird now rechristened to Dirty (like me…). It was just love at first sight, no other machine promised me so much…I had been with this dream of traveling to places on a two wheeler what best then to do it on the legend Royal Enfield. I wanted some this good looking and some thing legendry and I zeroed down to a thunderbird.
This story begins with my ride to LEH on my BULL two months ago in July. Finding the date and fixing it was a pain in the A@@ as everyone had different days offs and now one wanted to sacrifice on the bonus with missing on one or two days. So we selected July 21, 2006.
Beasts (bullets) were mended and prepared for the LONG journey to the Himalayan kingdom Little Tibet (LEH). We were four with three Beasts. Saurabh and Probir were on there second ride to LEH(so we had experience riders) having said that we were pretty new riders me and Frank.
However we were hell raisers as know by our fellow bikers and we wanted to stamp it by gliding our ways to Manali in one day…..oh! Boy it was an easy task for a regular rider but for novice like us it was tough… we were determined to do it and we actually did it with couple of pit stops and sutta breaks….
The actual learning things were the two accidents what we had on the way to Manali. The first one was a near death experience and the second one a side effect of heavy food and no sleep….
Were we hurt? Yah we were I had bruised legs and swollen arm so did frank. However we determined to reach manali with a positive note, and we reached Manali in the wee hours of the morning at 3 am. The rain gods were happy from us and blessed us with thunderous rains. It was the experience that cannot be forgotten. My body all bruised and bloody, tired to the core, with a hurting as@. I still was happy and contended. Why and how you will ask me yah it was the drug called Adrenalin which was pumped to the MAX.
We stayed in manali for two days and planned to move on 23rd July to LEH. I was still in pain so was Frank his right arm was swallow like a pumpkin and he still wanted to ride to the trenchers way to LEH. I was not so convinced with this idea so we advised him to go back to Delhi and see a doctor.
Now out of four souls only three were left. With heavy hearts of missing a fellow rider we packed our beats and started our journey to LEH.
The roads were good till rohtang pass weather was also amazing we reached rohtang in 1 hour. What to say I was pretty amazed to see the world from such a height. I did what everyone does clicked snaps.
Our destination for that day was darcha which was a small settlement beyond kylong. Night was spend in a nepali tent. It was cold and wet because of rains. But it was a scenic wonder. We started from there at 9 am and were suppose to cross Sarchu and reach pang. However luck was not with us. After the Gata loops Saurabhs bike started giving us troubles and we had to tow it back on a truck from Nakila pass.
Before we could find a truck I was asked to go to Pang and get a truck from there. This ride was just approximately 40-50 km however it proved to be more on me. I was not carrying water as the high altitude sickness took a toll on me and I has to stop on couple of places for catching up a breath. I was in pang in 3 hours, the distance which I cover in couple of minutes.
Probir followed me in few in few minutes and apprised me that saurabhs bike had been towed back to manali. It was a sad moment for us as we had already missed two fellow riders. I was in physical and emotional pain.
The next started with a bright new sunshine and a promise that we will reach LEH without any tragedy. We roared our beasts to Baralacha-la and then took a breath. LEH was just around the corner and I had already stated becoming nostalgic. I was missing frank and Saurabh the preparations what we had gone through and still we meet with such an unexpected tragedies.
LEH, the promise land, the Buddha’s backdoor. It was such a peaceful and pleasant view all brown mountains and a black road running between them with Satluj River running next to you. This road promised you speed it was better than any other road in Delhi. I was already doing 120km/p and still wanted more speed. Probir was enjoying his sutta and it was a pleasant view I felt like an easy rider.
Finding a house was a pain all the guest houses were either full or were reserved for the foreign travelers. We took two hours to find a room near Shanti Stupa and that was a sheer luck that we found such a beautiful location with such a hospitable people. Our window opened to shanty stupa in the morning and we were blessed by the holy thus come then (Buddha).
We now wanted to look around in LEH. Permits were procured and the destination was set one day we were going to khardungla, then peongon, shonmorery and then back.
We started with khardungla which was just like a delhi-gurgaon journey. In the ride I saw oil leaking from my bike and discovered that the clutch box was damaged from bottom and the oil was coming from there. The mechanic fixed it with M-Seal however that was also waste. I some how managed the next three days.
We now were on our ways to pengong the salted lake or the blue lagoon. To reach there we had to cross chang-la the riding and was more painful than reaching khardungla it was -2 Celsius temperature was dropping with every minute. Ride was tough but amazing with equal thrill and excitement.
We reached pengong stayed there for few hours and then back to LEH this whole 300km journey was completed in 10 hours. And we were happy with our accomplishment and wanted to do sonmorery. However my bikes oil was not stopping. Now we decided that we will tow the bike back to manali and meet Saurabh there and do Kaza as by then both our bikes will be mended.
We met a transporter and fixed our ride back home, it was a mixed feeling as we were there to ride and now the bikes gone we were no more bikers. The happy feeling was that we don’t have to go on that Leh/Manali road. We got along the truck driver Sanju and his cleaner Chotu for the next two days they were our drivers and navigators.
Some how we reached Manali with a huge care we took our bikes out and planned to get then services the next day. The next days started with rains and they brought pain to our souls as mechanic did not have the spares and they were only available in Delhi. We had to come down to a conclusion that we were going back to Delhi.
On 2 august 2006 we started from manali with huge bag of memories and a 20kg box of apples….famous manali apples.
The ride was so pleasant as it was raining all through till Ropar we were drenched till our bares. We reached Chandigarh at 7 took some rest and again started for Delhi. Everyone was excited to back from such a long journey.
How ever I wanted some more and promised my self of next year when the preparation will be better and I will be a more mature rider.
I reached home at 6 am and my mom refused to recognize me. When I had left I was neatly dressed and clean shaved delhwala now I was looking like a zombie with unshaven and tired face I welcomes the morning.
I wish I could stay more in LEH.