Moist air, drenched trees and wet roads might compel the casual two-wheeler owner to stay indoors, but not bikers. For those who swear by the highways, the monsoon showers blissful opportunities to vroom out on their bikes. And even though it is one of the most difficult seasons to be on the road on a two-wheeler, the challenges actually make motorcycle treks irresistible.
While winters, especially the post-October months, are considered the ideal time to go biking in the mountains, the monsoon has its
own charm. “There is always this element of risk during monsoon, but then there’s nothing like riding in the rain,” says Amol Parekh. The 40-year-old entrepreneur is part of small biking-group in Delhi that “tries to explore India, specially during monsoon”.
And it’s true. In no other season can you see India so fresh. Unlike the Capital, the highways are empty when it rains, and so are the roads that lead to some of the most exotic corners of the country.
“It’s a different high to ride through the deserted roads of the hills. Everything seems to have come to life around you,” says Dibakar Som, a writer for a travel website, who’s back from a 10-day bike trip to the Nilgiri hills in south India.
“It’s beautiful to ride through the fog, and to suddenly see a rainbow appearing from nowhere,” says DU student Rupali Chhetri. Chhetri doesn’t ride on her own but has accompanied her boyfriend on trips to Mussoorie and Rishikesh.
“One should head for the otherwise arid places in this season,” says Sachin Chavan, lead biker of the Royal Enfield Himalayan Odyssey. “The Himalayas are perpetually green, but it’s in this season that the rest of the country becomes green. It’s lovely,” he adds.
Avoid the Himalayan range if you are a first timer. With landslides being a norm this season, you may have a hard time.
Be equipped for any challenge. Raincoats, high boots, first-aid kit, extra clothing should feature in your ‘must keep’ list.
Get your bike modified for carrying more luggage. Check your tyres and ensure that they haven’t worn out. The grips should be at their best.
Remember that every thing will have a lesser grip. So, accelerate slowly, brake slowly and don’t lean too much for balance.
Where to head
Take a trip to Rajasthan and Haryana. The otherwise dry land transforms in the rains. Also, the highways here are great.
The Western Ghats, Lonavala, Mahabaleshwar and the Bombay-Goa NH 17 are ideal for bike rides.
Mark the Golden Quadrilateral route and ride along coastal Bengal, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.