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The Essential Biker’s Guide To Ladakh

Leh-Ladakh is every Biker’s ultimate dream. Riding on one of the world’s highest motorable roads is an experience every biker wants to kill for. For the first timers who want to explore Leh-Ladakh on bikes, take out a pad and pen because the following are some things you will have to keep in mind to save your experience from becoming a sad one.

Renting a Bike in Ladakh

The Essential Biker’s Guide To Ladakh-1

Renting a bike in the Ladakh region is easy. You can get a bike on rent for INR 1200 to 1500 per day at the Fort Road area of Leh having lots of stores giving Bullets and Royal Enfields on rent. A common scare about hiring a bike is that during peak season there are chances of unavailability of bikes on rent. While this is very much true, to combat this a lot of travelers try to book bikes online or over the phone- something that one shouldn’t do. You should always check the rate of the bikes at at least 3-4 shops after asking around some locals and select the best out of the lot only after taking a test ride. Make the bikers' Ladakh trip happen now!

Rejection and Selection Criteria

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After you know where to rent your bike from, here is what you need to know about selecting the right bike for yourself.

1. Never take a bike that throws white smoke.
2. Get the air filter checked, if it is dirty then get it changed.
3. If the bike’s engine is making some unnatural sound ask the renter for the reason. If he is not able to give a satisfying answer then reject it.
4. Check self-start and battery, if it is giving problems then immediately reject it.
5. Clutch plates should be working properly, so check carefully.
6. Never go for a bike whose chain makes a lot of noise. You will not appreciate a broken chain in the middle of nowhere on your way to Nubra.
7. Always check your carbonator’s plug, if it is burned then ask the renter to change it.
8. Before your hire a bike, check the tyres. If they are not worn out and if they don’t look like they’re in good condition then get them changed immediately. Same goes for the Engine oil, if there is less oil it will damage the engine in the middle of your trip.
9. Only hire a bike if all the documents are in place and accordingly available.
While hiring a bike make sure that you pay the advance deposit to the right person. Also, make sure about a pick-up in case your bike breaks down in the middle of your trip. Although most of the renters provide pickup facilities, still you should enquire for your own satisfaction. Go through your bike and if there is a scratch or damage on the bike notify the owner about it so that he doesn’t charge extra when you return the bike.
A lot of bikers plan to go on a road trip by hiring bikes in Manali. While it was possible to carry a bike from Manali earlier, bike unions of Leh have now imposed a ban. Personal bikes are allowed if it is registered in the name of the rider or rider’s father. If you are carrying someone else’s bike too then you must carry a valid NOC from the owner of the bike. You can still rent a bike from Manali to reach Leh and keep it there to rent another bike in Leh but you’ll end up burning a big hole in your pocket.

Things you need to carry on a bike trip

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Got your bike? Here is the check list for you to have a smoothe trip.

1. Clutch Plates – Bike trip to Leh Ladakh demands new clutch plates. Doesn’t matter how new old they are when you are driving on world’s most challenging and dangerous road you need new clutch plates.
2. Drive Chains – Drive chains suffer the most during a road trip as rigorous as Ladakh. One must carry spare chain set in case you need one on top of Khardungla Pass.
3. Extra Tire Tube – Any experienced biker would carry spare tire tubes during a long road trip. Even if you are on tubeless tires it won’t hurt to carry one. In case of any small accident like bend rim, a tube can be used as a replacement for a while until you find a mechanic.
4. Tool Kit – Always carry a spare tool kit or ask from your renter to give you one. A toolkit comes really handy, doesn’t matter what road trip you are on. As they say, a stitch in time saves nine, you can overcome little problems when visiting Ladakh, with a standard toolkit.
5. Spare Spark Plug – Due to lack of oxygen on high altitude, spark plug faces damages and gets burned. It is always advisable to carry spare spark plugs to overcome this issue.
Ladakh requires special skills for biking in cold weather, one needs a good Helmet that is properly ventilated and with proper protection on the inside. Along with a good helmet, one must not forget to carry a barclava. It protects the wind from attacking your neck and keeps it warm. Always go for a synthetic jacket and dress in layers so that you can remove the clothing easily as the temperature drops and rises in Ladakh unpredictably. A synthetic jacket is better than the leather jacket as a synthetic jacket will protect you against the cold as well as the rain. Make sure that your gloves are long enough to ensure that there is no gap between your jacket’s sleeve and your wrist. Always go for windproof gloves and if you wish, you can wear doctor’s glove under your synthetic gloves. Apart from these you have to choose proper pair of shoes, socks, shirt and pant.

That’s it guys, the roads to Ladakh are going to open soon (or probably will be opened by the time this article is posted). Drive safe, go slow, be responsible, help others and most importantly don’t drink and drive. Enjoy your experience, visit the monasteries, visit Leh, witness the mountains, take tours and have the time of your life along with returning home with stories to inspire others.
Important Contact Numbers in Leh
Leh STD Code -01982
Police Station – 100, 252018
Police control room – 254880
Tourist Information Office – 252297, 252094, 253462
Deputy Commissioner of Leh – 252010
Foreign Reg. Office – 252200
Indian Airlines – 252076
Jet Airways – 250132, 250638, 250512
Leh Airport – 250380

PLACES YOU CAN VISIT

Once you've reached Leh Ladakh, you can visit some of the monasteries in Ladakh like the Hemis monastery (largest and most popular one), Thiksey Monastery, Stakna monastery etc. You can also pay a visit to the Pangong Lake in Ladakh, the Leh Palace, Nubra Valley and the Tso Mariri Lake. You can be guided with the location by any local there. Start your bike's engine and head to these places.

Visit Leh Ladakh to have the time of your life!
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