By Vir Nakai
When you ride a motorcycle, and you crave adventure, you are always looking for that special road trip that challenges you and your bike to the core – a ride that resonates within you long after the ignition has been switched off and your battle-scarred bike is finally silent.
The champion of all adventure road trips is the Helmet Stories ride through the Pangi Valley in Himachal Pradesh. This gem of a little-travelled route — first pioneered by Helmet Stories in 2012 — is bookended by Rohtang Pass on one side and the almost mythical Sach Pass on the other as we ride along the ever narrowing valley of the Chandra Bhaga river through some of the most naturally beautiful locales in India. The roads are unpaved and narrow, hewed out of living rock, sometimes so high that the river looks like a shimmering silver ribbon below. The ride includes forays into abutting valleys and meadows, a route of seemingly endless twists, turns and elevation changes turning each day into a most excellent adventure on two wheels.
There are no fast food chains or 5-star hotels on this route and it is so much so better for that. We camp below a thick canopy of stars, sometimes next to the river, or high up in the mountains with a scented mattress of pine needles below our sleeping bags. Before dark, the bonfire is lit, the grill fired up, the bar is open and it’s time to exchange irreverent banter about the day well spent.
The toughest day is the ride from the idyllic meadow of Sural Bhatori that crests Sach Pass, a road that crosses over the Chandra Bhaga and ascends through forests of bhojpatra, pine and deodhar before the terrifying switchbacks that take you to the summit. Beyond lies civilisation and the idyllic hamlet of McLeodGanj an easy two days ride away. Only riders with a lust for extreme mountain roads, thin air and great food need apply! Day 01 (14th September 2014): Manali – Urgos Day 02 (15th September 2014): Urgos – Tindi Day 03 (16th September 2014): Tindi – Sural Day 04 (17th September 2014): Sural – Satrundi Day 05 (18th September 2014): Satrundi – Khajjiar Day 06 (19th September 2014): Khajjiar – Dharamshala Day 07 (20th September 2014): Dharamshala – Chandigarh
Anyone that’s interested can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for info on joining a ride!
What do you think, would you be up for this incredible adventure? Let us know in the comments section below!