Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Time to Ride - Helmet Stories 2016 Ride Schedule

Ladakh and beyond
When - June to September
Days - 7, 10 and 16
Ladakh literally means the Land of the Passes. This Holy Grail of motorcycling roads famed world-wide will take you through three mountain ranges, six passes–a dizzying 18,380 feet high at Khardung La, pre-historic salt water lakes of the Changthang Plateau and a 40-km off-road ride through a high altitude desert at the MorĂ© Plains. Rich in natural beauty, the landscape in its silence, emptiness and unbelievable vastness is breathtaking. Lying off the beaten track, this mysterious destination once accessible only to professional explorers can now be easily done, taking you to hidden villages and an enlightened people who worked out a sustainable lifestyle centuries ago and have seen little reason to change.


Spiti
When - June to September
Days - 7, 10, 12 and 16
The Indo-Tibetan regions of Kinnaur, Spiti, and Lahaul are the stuff adventurers’ dreams are made of, offering sublime mountainscapes, twisting roads, and fascinating Tibetan- Buddhist communities with atmospheric monasteries. The old Hindustan–Tibet Highway (built by the British as a invasion route into Tibet) runs northeast from Shimla through Kinnaur and Spiti, along mountain villages with slate-roofed temples and vast orchards of apple trees. The views turn even more dramatic as one negotiates the rough, drop-off ledges of the road —an action-packed art in itself—into the desert-like landscape of Spiti where tiny villages of whitewashed houses are dwarfed by the sheer scale of the surround- ing landscape. Although the spectacular scenery is undoubtedly the highlight of any trip through Kinnaur and Spiti, there are also marvelous monuments, including some of the world’s most intriguing Buddhist complexes (such as the 1000-year-old World Heritage Site of Tabo Monastery in Spiti), as well as high-altitude villages that seem to cling to the sides of mountains or balance on the edges of sharp cliffs.



Pangi
When - September
Days - 8
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 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!

Coastal Route 
When - All year round except in the monsoon
Days -  3, 4 and 7
This ride will start in Mumbai and we shall head south till Vadkal Naka, traverse the most spectacular coastal route in the country. Take in the views of hills and untouched beaches along MSH-4 all the way down to Guhagar. The road often stops abruptly, and ferries are the only way to get across. There’s more spectacular scenery further down, toward Ratnagiri and Tarkarli. A short boat ride takes you to Sindhudurg Fort and then we shall be in Goa in time to have a cold beer and watch the sun go down. There are no fixed date rides for this route open this year so if you are a group who would like to do this ride contact us and we will fix it up.


No this is not all we are working on a few more shall update this post once they are final. So what are you waiting for? Start planning and write to us at vir@helmetstories.com for more information.