The first time I got interested in Ladakh was after I had seen the videos of Nikhil Sharma. Though his videos were not exhaustive, they had given a decent overview of the terrain and the route. Ladakh looked easy, but I was wrong. Only after I watched videos of other bikers, especially Debashish Ghosh (One World One Ride), was I able to understand what it will take to ride on those roads. If Nikhil had shown the fun part of riding, Debashish had shown the other side. While I started pondering over it, Nikhil had ridden from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. That was the time I got inspired.
I always had Activa in mind when I started thinking about Kashmir to Kanyakumari. However, I was not sure whether an Activa would manage Ladakh due to the terrain. Then I contacted Debashish on Facebook as I was sure Nikhil will not respond. As soon as I told him that I am planning Ladakh on an Activa, he really got interested and provided his contact. The 20 odd minutes I spoke to him totally changed my perspective. His point was only one.. It is you who will take your vehicle. His advice on how to prepare was extremely helpful. The final words of the discussion were “It is doable.. Do it and we will all be really proud of you”.I was at least able to start visualizing myself and Ladakh. I will be forever thankful to him for motivating me. Debashish is currently doing his World Ride (over 1 lac KMs) and once done, will try personally meeting him.
While all these were going on, Srivadana was in the United States and had no idea that I was thinking something of this sort. She was supposed to come back to India during January this year and I was sure she would jump on for an experience like this. And as expected, when I spoke to her about this she was absolutely in. After Srivadana the first person with whom I had shared this was my sister.
Ladakh on An Activa. Really? This was the response from everyone with whom I had shared this thought.. No one believed it to be possible, however everyone encouraged it. Though I had initially thought to do this alone, I had later shared this with two of my colleagues Yash and Bodhi who I thought will be interested to join me in this ride. Bodhi actually guessed about the ride even before I told him, which I am still clueless about how he was able to. Discussions with Yash helped me a lot in maintaining the energy and keeping me motivated in doing this ride. Due to unforeseen reasons, both had to drop out at the last minute.
I will not say it as a concern, however one major point of contention was whether we will be able to handle this big ride. The previous major ride we did was from Pune to Goa. Being the first, it was absolutely tiring. Being on the roads for 40 days, maintaining the energy levels, handing the pressure and taking care of health were absolutely essential for the entire ride. And we never know whats in store for us. The terrain in Kashmir is risky, the area is in the middle of a war zone, Indian highways are known for rash driving and accidents etc. To be honest, both of us were prepared for the worst when we had started planning.
Once I was determined to undertake the journey, the next step was to plan the route. I will write about the plan and route in the next post.