Mental preparedness contains knowing of things that can go wrong or make you vulnerable. Make sure you make appropriate arrangements to deal with such situations. Physical preparedness is equally important for a person riding a bike as the driver or the pillion rider, as sitting for hours together is not an easy task. In addition to the strenuous journey, you have extreme weather circumstances on the road and chances for AMS i.e. Acute Mountain Sickness. Chances of falling prey to AMS are high, which occurs due to the low level of oxygen present in high altitude terrains. AMS can lead to headache, nausea, vomiting, rapid breathing, nose bleeding, etc. Thereby, before you take out your foot on this trip, it is essential to plan for it in your mind and get your body prepared for it. Try to build your physical stamina through physical workouts and mental workouts such as meditation etc.
Usually, bikers, riders and explorers travel to Leh via Manali and people coming from Delhi travel to Manali via Chandigarh and then further to Leh. AMS is an issue which anyone can face when travelling to Leh Ladakh, whether by air or by road. For some it takes a whole day to recover from the effects of the AMS. Probability of getting AMS symptoms are higher with Manali – Leh approach as the high passes come in very rapidly as against a gradual altitude rise when you approach Lah via Srinagar. For the same reason, some people also choose another route which is via Punjab (Pathankot or Amritsar), Srinagar, Kargil, Leh and the return journey is via the other route i.e. Leh – Manali- Chandigarh- Delhi. The Leh-Manali route is shorter and takes about 2 days while the Srinagar-Leh route is longer but it helps bikers get used to the altitude and more or less prevents the existence of AMS.
3. General Information
It is always advisable to gain sufficient information about the terrain, general weather conditions, sudden change in temperatures, transport and stay availability as a preparation step while planning for Leh Ladakh.
4. Biking / Riding Gear
Although gears are available on rent in Leh Ladakh, or from Delhi, but it is always comfortable riding with your own gears. They are fit to size and you know them. If you need to pack, then carry gear and apparel that is sturdy and relaxed. You’d need a sturdy helmet, balaclava, jacket, gloves, knee guards, extra thermals to shield you from the cold, rain covers for your bags and yourself, toiletries, and an extra pair of shoes. Also, pack and keep a medical or first aid kit that contains basic medication like cotton swabs, dettol, antiseptic ointment, headache medicines and any additional medication.
5. Servicing & Repair
Servicing is a must before you hit the road towards Leh Ladakh. Irrespective of the highway, in addition to the basic travel kit, try to carry your own fuel as accessibility is an issue in approach roads to Leh. Also, pack the following things - a pipe to drain petrol, funnel, cutter, battery torches, extra pair of bungee cords, fuel container and particular bike spare parts like tubes, toolkit, spark plugs, accelerator cables, clutch cables, and a portable charger or bike chargers. Practice well, beforehand, to cope with minor faults that you might face with your bike / car during the journey.
Preserve extra batteries for your camera/cellphone or keep a good high capacity fully charged power bank along, memory cards, pen drive with connector. Also carry a mobile mount in case you propose to depend on GPS during your journey. Pre-paid phones do not work in J&K and UT Ladakh, so do carry a postpaid connection with you so as to remain connected.
Lastly, keep all the requisite papers like your valid driving license, registration certificate (RC) of your bike, insurance papers as well as a valid identity proof.