White Spiti was always on cards since last few years but as with my Ladakh ride, this one was also destined to be done on 2 wheels and not on 4.
The plan was born after me and Aditya did Ladakh in June 13.Our confidence was high after doing Ladakh and we wanted to see Spiti in its best color – WHITE. The original plan was to do it in March but got delayed till mid-April. The delay actually worked in our favor as we were able to explore more places which would not have been possible in March. The plan started with 8 riders but many backed out during the course of time; but the mad 2 did not budge. Riding to Spiti in March/April is a mad idea and rightly so; very few brave souls have tried this on motorcycles.
There are number of reasons why it is a mad idea. First the Temperature during this time is around zero to minus 10 and the entire valley is full of snow. Second, you never know how far you’ll be able to reach as snow clearing process takes its own sweet time; you can get stranded in middle of nowhere. Third, you never know when you will come across section of black ice which could be very dangerous. Still if you decide to ride, on the positive side you will see what very few have seen in person; Walls of snow on either side of road; Semi frozen river stream and waterfalls; heaps of snow in the entire Sipiti Valley; World’s highest motor able village Komic and much more. It was this; the eagerness of looking at something special which won the battle of positives and negatives.
Armed with Aditya’s Thunderbird 500 (TB Baby) and mine Classic 350 (Jr.BlackBull), we were determined to see White Spiti. Did we see what we wanted to see…..? I will let the below picture answer that.
Day 1 – 18th April 2014
The plan was simple, no bookings, no exact destinations, just reach Kaza in 3/4 days from Delhi; explore around and see how far we can go. When you say you don’t have a plan, still there is a plan, and the plan was to reach Rampur/Sarahan on day 1. Yes, this was an ambitious day 1 plan since both of us had done Ladakh and we were pretty confident about it. I guess up there in heavens, sitting quietly, God noticed that 2 mad souls are getting overconfident and made a cunning plan with nature to make us realize, nothing is easy until it’s done.
Day 1 Route Map
We started our journey on 18th April @ 04:30 hrs from Delhi. As we rode out of the parking to main road, the rain gods came to greet us; they said “Hello you 2 fellas, I’m coming with you too, and I thought well this is going to be an interesting ride. Our first stop was before Akshardham Temple for Petrol, tank full was done for both and we were staring @ slight drizzle gradually turning into heavy rain. We continued and by the time we reached Geeta Colony flyover, heavy winds coupled with rain forced us to stop. We took shelter under the flyover thinking that rain will subside soon. We were wrong, it did not stop soon and we ended up waiting for almost 2 hrs under the flyover.
We resumed our journey around 0700 hrs with slight drizzle still going on. As we moved out of Delhi rain gods left for a brief moment. We stopped for breakfast @ Zhilmil Dhaba karnal around 0930 hrs and cherished on the yummy paranthas and tea. We resumed our journey around 1030 and were cruising well above 90 kmpl when the unthinkable happened; Jr.BB was hit hard from behind and for a moment I thought it’s over. It was some miracle that I and Jr.BB were still on 2 wheels and managed to stop without a fall. I was in immense pain and my left leg was hurt badly, I had no idea what has happened. Meanwhile, Aditya who was just riding behind me stopped and had a look @ my leg. The first look at injury was bad but further inspection revealed that it’s not broken and only the skin has peeled off. First aid was out and the wound was taken care of with some savlon and bandage.
While doing the bandage Aditya told me what has happened. It was Aditya’s TB Baby who had hit Jr.BB; now how bad is that, two people going together banging into each other. Me and Aditya were cruising around 90 kmpl with Aditya driving on the verge of lane 2 and 3 and I was on lane 3.This is a good diagonal riding position as I can see him in my rear view mirror and in case of emergency braking by front rider the rear one can pass by without bumping into the front.
In theory it’s a good position to ride, however things change in split seconds in real time. Actually there were 3-4 things which happened at the exact moment which caused this accident. In lane 1, a Mercedes was speeding above 100 kmpl and an idiot in Alto was trying to overtake it from lane 2. At the same moment I suddenly slowed down looking at Police barrier in front when the Alto idiot forced Aditya to come in straight line with me. Aditya was in straight line with me and as I slowed down suddenly, it was inevitable and Bang. Thankfully, TB Baby and Aditya did not suffer any damages. We then had a look @ Jr.BB for any damages, left indicator holder was broken and the indicator was dangling with the wire. Rest everything seemed fine until we resumed the journey; the rear wheel was not rotating freely and it seemed like something is holding it .It was feeling like when you try to accelerate while holding the brakes down. So something was not right .We stopped again and inspected what was causing it. With no signs of any damage we decided to get it checked by mechanic @ kurukshaetra which was 3-4 kms ahead.
By the time we found mechanic in kurukshetra, smoke was coming out of the rear wheel. The mechanic dismounted the rear wheel and did a thorough check; finally the culprit was found. The drum shorter had cracked and that was jamming the rear wheel.
Fortunately the replacement drum shorter was found in Kurukshatra and we were lucky to get the original RE shorter and the indicator supporter as well. After the problem was resolved we resumed our journey around 1500 hrs from Kurukshetra. We stopped for late lunch after crossing Parwanu in HP and reached Shimla by 1930 hrs. We had no intentions to roam in shimla so settled in for roadside hotel. We were tired like hell; we started @ 0430 hrs from Delhi and could only manage to cover 370 kms in Day One due to rain and accident. It was a real hard day for a 10 day ride. What’s in store for the day two, no ideas, but will get there and see.