If you love the mountains and love the freedom & the pure wind-in-your-face exhilaration of biking then Ladakh provides the perfect opportunity for you to combine the two and go biking in Ladakh.
There is no better way to experience this wonderful place, free from the constraints of packaged trips and the safety of civilization, biking in Ladakh puts you in touch with the raw side of nature. As you drive through the winding mountain roads and traverse high passes, you can help but be in awe and humbled by the magnificence of the mountain landscape all around you.
This article, will provide you some useful tips about hiring a motorbike in Ladakh and some do's and dont's with regard to biking there.
How to hire a bike:
It is pretty easy for you to hire a motorbike in Leh. There is a good number of adventure shops which hire out bikes. The charge is usually between Rs400 to 700 per day and it varies depending on the season and the model of the bike. The best way to figure out where the rental shops is to ask your hotel and they will point you to the right place. As for the formalities to hiring a bike.. there is usually none. I was expecting to pay a upfront deposit, but there is none!!. You are just required to pay the rent upfront and then you are good to go. Obviously all this works based on the trust system and i was very impressed by their attitude.
Just for convenience i will list the name and location of the place i hired my bike from.
The Himalayan Tamers, Changspa Road (close to the Leh market), Directions : Towards the start of the Changspa road is the Moravian mission school. You walk past it and after some 100m or so on the left side is the Himalayan Tamers shop. You cant miss it as there would be a lot of bikes (mostly Enfields) parked outside.
- Obviously, check the brakes before you get the bike. And also check the head lights, indicator lamp etc. - Choose a bike with a large fuel tank and good mileage. There are not too many petrol pumps outside Leh (infact to my knowledge there are only 3 petrol pumps. Two in Leh and one at Karu some 35km outside Leh), so make sure that you have enough fuel to last a 500km round trip. Better carry a 5-liter container for carrying extra fuel.
- Although the guy lending you the bike may say otherwise, it is important that you carry some sort of rudimentary puncture repair kit. There are no mechanics outside of Leh and being stranded on the road at altitudes of over 4500m is not something you would like to do.
- Wear good sunglasses. It is imperative as you are most likely to traverse many snow covered passes. And the light at that altitude is bright enough to cause temporary snow blindness.
- Depending on the season, carry warm clothes. Good gloves and wind proof jackets are essential. It rarely rains in Ladakh, so it might be ok to leave your rain gear at home.