Riding to Leh is a task undertaken by thousands every season. You will see every form of transportation involved in this once in a lifetime journey making their way to Ladakh on the Leh Highway. Some do it regularly and most do it at least once. We do it regularly on a bunch of different Royal Enfield motorcycles and as many times as we can!
Leh was a small encampment at the crossroads of history which became a kingdom and a rich one at that. Being an oasis in the middle of such a harsh terrain, it still has the attraction of that city over the mountains, in the middle of nowhere, a place you have to travel hard to reach. It comes with the risks of weather and terrain that can be fatal. However well prepared you are, there is always that freak weather, that chance you will break down far away from help that makes the journey exciting.
Add to this the edgy experience of motorcycles. Riding is always risky and thrilling. Riders the world over look for the roads that will challenge their skills and their endurance. Well, the road to Leh is all that and more. It has more variables than you can calculate and makes it a Mecca for riders.
Apart from the terror and beauty of nature are the host of dodgy travel agents, bike rentals and so called guides that lead the unsuspecting tourist looking for a bargain into the wild. Here I am talking only of riding to Ladakh on Royal Enfields only. You every so often see the group of riders on rental bikes making it up the Baralacha Pass or the gigantic Tanglang La and you wonder if there is a God for just these riders. Those motorcycles are dying! They are just about to give up the ghost but manage to live on for a few more kilometers by sheer will of the rider and some divine intervention.
May it be a Government run bus service or the best vehicle money can buy, the Leh road is a must do and for Royal Enfield riders, it is a mandatory requirement to earn respect as a rider. Good luck to all the fellow riders going up this year, ride safe and be prepared.