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Hitting the road in Ladakh

December 23, 2004

Mountain biking above 6,000 feet tests your physical toughness more than your guts. Besides advance planning, you have to pay attention to the art of motorcycle maintenance as your most dependable companion on the road is your machine.

Take care to pack extra self-adhesive puncture strips, a pedal pump, leather boots, jackets and a helmet that doesn't fly.

Although the best time to hit the road in the Ladakh region in April, you need to plan ahead. Right away, if you are visiting between April and September next year.

The high points of the trip, are, of course, the passes -- Rohtang La, Baralacha La, Lachlung La, Tanglang La. Here Nature -- dry, rarefied air, sharp mountain bends, expansive sky -- hits you sharply.

So does motion sickness for the uninitiated, so you need to acclimatise for a period of two days in Leh before gaining height towards Khardung La.

There are decent hotels and guest houses along the way and local people pitch 16-people tents and serve meals at between Rs 80-150 a day. Sheer Zen after a hard day's ride.

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