An infamous writer once said, “The more you understand the writer the more you relate yourself to the experience”. My name is Tushar sen and I am currently pursuing my masters in Australia, done with the formal required introductory statement. I am needy and insecure. This is one statement not many would agree too, but in this fast-paced ambition driven life we live in; we are all looking for someone we can cling onto and feel normal. We find that someone special who distracts us from all of this and build are entire universe around them.
This imaginary universe we build around ourselves is like a black hole, sucking us into this one day at a time. We all need to burst this bubble and come out of it. We all have our passions and we should immerse ourselves in it, there is nothing which can make you happier than this feeling.
For me its Biking, it doesn’t matter if the roads are city, highway or hill. I just like to push that throttle, bend near edges and cut around every obstacle on road. I drive a Yamaha R15 Version 2.0 its important to mention the 2.0 because I really find the version 2.0 better than the first generation. Yamaha did a fantastic job on the aerodynamics and tweaked a little with the engine.
Unlike last time we made all the necessary bookings. Me and my mama (uncle) were travel partners, he had hired Royal Enfield continental GT from “Let’s Ryde”. They have a massive collection of bike ranging from small 150 cc to 750cc. They have an online website and have corporate office in paschim vihar. Bikes are clean, serviced and have unlimited millage on them. They even keep bike accessories which I would recommend everyone to keep for safety.
The journey begins at 4 am from ashok vihar, new delhi. We started driving, but the weather was a bit chilly. As soon as we were on highway the wind started to hit us, we had to make a necessary stop for chai. We were warned by the local tea man that its extremely cold and windy in kufri. We were more excited, the thrill of riding in snow is exciting.
We made our first stop at Ambala cantt. For those of you who don’t know, inside the inner lanes of Ambala cantt. Resides a very famous old shop, Prakash coffee shop which serves cold coffee and paneer sandwich. Sandwiches are toasted on a pan with lots of butter and there is a thick slice of paneer between them, simple recipe but it tastes amazing. Unfortunately, we reached a bit early when uncle was just opening the shop. Hence, we settled for bun maska and chai with a nearby tea stall. It was early morning and people were just starting their day. Newspaper man shuffling and arranging the daily times.
We started riding from there and soon the plain roads were transformed into curves and slopes. We had begun climbing on the hills. R15 was doing very good for now, no heating and not losing any throttle. We made our next stop somewhere near solan, we had amazing vegetable maggi which I recommend everyone should, it doesn’t matter which shop all pahadi maggi tastes amazing. It was a quick break and we were again back on the road. Surprisingly it was nearly noon and there was not much traffic. The weather was starting to become cold again, but to our surprise we were greeted with small showers. Since it wasn’t heavy raining we thought if we continued driving we will reach kufri early before it begins to rain heavily.
As soon as we reached near Shimla, the winds became stronger, nearly pushing us on the corners and the rain become much worse. I would recommend to all riders never ride in rain, if you have an option make a pit stop and wait for the weather to improve. What rain does is, it lowers your visibility because your helmet visor is affected, the tires are wet hence slippery and you can no longer trust your disc break on the corners. Are clothes were wet and that just made things worse for us. The increase in altitude reduce in temperature and wet clothes were affecting our body temperatures now. It was difficult to hold the clutch and brakes as my fingers soon started to feel numb.
We did not stop, as we couldn’t find a place to stop. Nearly all shops were closed, and we were just 18km away from our destination. Rains in the hills are unpredictable, you never know when will they stop or become worse. As we crossed Shimla, there is a small dark tunnel which comes.
The poor vision, slippery tyres and numb fingers were not a great combination for an entry level rider; I slipped. It was the worst feeling ever, more than my body I felt I disappointed my beautiful bike. I had a few knee bruises, but I was wearing protective padded jacked which saved my upper body. Recommendation to all, always wear protective gear while riding. Not only it looks cool, but it safeguards you from such unanticipated accidents. I picked myself up and my mama also helped. I needed chai, desperately. I was shivering in cold and there is no better alternative. Locals helped me and soon my body temperature was closer to normal.
We started our ride again and soon we reached our hotel. We checked in socked wet and shivering cold. We ordered the local guy who greeted us to bring us some fresh pants, a hot bowl of chicken soup and boiled eggs. The best way to bring your body temperature to normal is eating hot. Soup and eggs are a great alternative when you don’t have RUM.
We had bed heaters and room heaters maxed, we changed to fresh clothes and were inside beds within minutes. We were tired, so we slept only to wake up late evening. Now in hills it gets dark early hence everything closes early. Yet we stepped out of our hotel to find some rum and hot omelets. Hotel food is expensive 2 boiled eggs for 50 rupees!!! Interesting story here, in the evening when we decided to step out, both of us had no jackets, sweaters or even dry socks, are shoes and clothes were wet from riding in the rain, the Indian jugaad set in and we replaced our shoes with hotel slippers and covered our body with hotel towels. In the freezing cold outside we were 2 towel wrapped bikers riding in 2 degrees on a bike looking for some food and rum.
We did find what we were looking for and came straight to our rooms, the rain had stopped, and it was nearly 2 degrees. Best thing with rum is chicken, hence we ordered for some hot chilly chicken put on the TV and had the best sleep ever.
Early morning, we woke up fresh and fully energized. Our initial plan was to check out late, reach Zeerakpur where we had made bookings spend the night leave early morning the next day and reach Delhi by 9am. But since we were fully energized and had the hunger to drive more, we decided to drive straight to Delhi. We rode continuously from kufri making necessary pee stops in between, we made a lunch break at Ambala cantt. at the famous restaurant, “puran singh ka mashoor vishal dhaba”. Quite frankly, I have understood restaurants and dhaba’s once quite popular among locals and travelers have slowly degraded in their quality or maybe they never were that good and just overhyped. The meat had no boneless option, chicken and mutton both were chewy, and they made us wait nearly 20 min before taking are order. The plates were not clean, even the tables and chairs were sticky.
We reached safe back home, it was in total of 10 hours of ride with normal traffic and including breaks.
Few pointers to my readers and first-time bikers
1. Always get the safety gears (helmet, jacket, gloves, knee and elbow guards)
2. Do not compromise on hotel stay, trust me you need a good bedtime rest after a long ride.
3. Choose your bike carefully, R15 is not recommended for hilly roads or long rides.
4. Do not drink and drive, even if it’s cold replace rum with eggs and chai.
5. Do not travel light, carry extra sets of clothes.
6. Store all this clothes in a waterproof bag.
7. Do not ride in rain.
8. Make sure you helmet visor is free from scratches. Light doesn’t reflect well in scratches.
9. Do not follow online reviewed restaurants, talk to locals and take their recommendations.
10. Make sure your bike is properly cleaned and services before such long rides.
Hotel stay – Treebo, kufri Shimla
Bike rental – Lets ryde
Accessories rental – Lets ryde