Beautiful, scenic, captivating: Road trips on bikes
Hodophiles share their stories of travelling solo on a two-wheeler during winter, and the unparalleled thrill and magic it offers
If you have ever ridden a bike, you would know that the freedom it allows is unparalleled. The wind in your face, the sun on your back and the endless road — is something experienced by only those who dare to ride. Winters are the best time for road trips as you get to explore snowy hills, highways and plains. The feeling of cold mountain air running through your hair is refreshing.
“Only a biker can tell you about the feeling that one has while travelling through those beautiful roads. The ever-changing drama of nature’s transitioning forms are some of the things that you cannot explain,” says Kamal Kaur, professional mountaineer and an avid biker.
They say no matter the comfort a four-wheeler provides, it cannot be compared to the raw thrill of a two-wheeler. “An open-air ride gives me a feeling that the mountains are riding with me. And nothing can beat that exhilarating feeling of riding along with nature,” says Isa Khan, a travel enthusiast.
It is the excitement of exploring new roads and riding into the sunset that impels Dr Tanvir Singh, BDS MDS (Ortho) and a biking enthusiast to go on these road trips. “When I am on my bike I can feel the wind, the rain and the sun. I feel like I am floating with the birds flying around me and that’s the reason I love to travel by bike.”
“My most memorable experience is lifting my helmet up to stop the tears from fogging my sight when the landscape and vistas overwhelmed me in Spiti. Stop, ‘stand and stare’ has new meaning ever since,” adds Rohan Kanchan, an avid traveller.
The thrill of experiencing India’s scenic beauty can seldom match any other expedition. The most sought-after routes are Delhi to Leh via Manali, Delhi to Spiti valley, Amritsar to Dharamshala, Darjeeling to Pelling, Mumbai to Goa and Mangalore to Gokarna.
When asked about their favourite riding routes, travel enthusiast and biker Anjali K Gupta, says, “My favourite is the stretch from Mumbai to Goa, where I came across the lovely ghats in the winters.”
For some it is the thrill of meeting new people along the way. “I have met some of the most phenomenal people on my road trips across India. My most remarkable trip has been a bike trip from Delhi to Goa just a fortnight before my wedding in 2017 to attend a festival in Goa,” says Suparna Sarkar, Motorcycle Training Instructor. “I have witnessed breathtaking locales, awesome food but most importantly the most amazing people in the most unexpected places,” adds Kanchan.
A motorbike holiday in Kerala is an unforgettable experience too. “Kerala is the land of pristine beaches, beautiful lighthouses and mesmerising greenery. In the state, one is spoilt for choices when it comes to decide the bike route. Ideal trip in Kerala would include a bike ride from Cochin towards the Southern Ghats where a wide variety of wildlife can be seen. All through the way the splendid views of the Tea and rubber plantations and paddy fields keeps the rider motivated. On the other hand a bike route at Southern Western Ghats, Kodaikanal welcomes bikers with open arms. The route shall pass through the famous tea plantations treks of Munnar district,” says Shruti Khandare, model and influencer.
The major cost in travelling on a bike is fuel, stay and food and thus would vary for each individual trip. However, it would be safe to say calculate your trip on the basis of ₹ 5 per km, ₹ 1,500 for meals per day and ₹ 5000 for hotel stay.
Things to keep in mind while travelling
Safety is of paramount importance when travelling, and no place for compromise here. So make sure everything is in working order. Complete the servicing of your vehicle, before you embark on that much-awaited journey. Valves should be calibrated, fuel systems should be cleaned, electrical systems should be checked, bulbs changed and tires checked .
Keep documents handy
“Remember to keep a single copy of documents like driving licence, vehicle registration number, insurance papers. Moreover, you should also keep copies of emergency contact information, medical information papers and important places that will prove helpful to you on your way,” says Harday Gupta, a traveller.
Shop for proper riding gear
It is important to invest in appropriate riding gear for protection and safety. Heat, rain, and pollution hit harder on open roads. “Opt for a set of a quality riding jacket and trouser, or a waterproof biking suit with a thermal layer for colder weather. Riding gloves, knee guards and boots should be invested in,” says Rajiv Mehra, President, IATO.