Riding to Spiti

The Spiti Valley is a desert mountain valley located high in the Himalayas in the north-eastern part of Himachal Pradesh. The name “Spiti” means “The Middle Land”, i.e. the land between Tibet and India. The valley and surrounding region is one of the least populated regions in India and is the gateway to the northernmost reaches of the nation.


Lahaul and Spiti is surrounded by high mountain ranges. The Rohtang Pass, at 13,054 feet (3,979 m), separates Lahaul and Spiti from the Kullu Valley. Lahaul and Spiti are cut off from each other by the higher Kunzum Pass, at 15,059 feet (4,590 m). A road connects the two divisions, but is cut off frequently in winter and spring due to heavy snow. The valley is likewise cut off from the north up to eight months of the year by heavy snowfall. A southern route to India proper is periodically closed for brief periods in the winter storms of November through June, but road access is usually restored a few days after storms end via Shimla and the Sutlej in the Kinnaur District.

Riding to Leh, Sarchu, Royal Enfields

That is what Wiki says about Spiti, we are headed out in a few days on some custom painted, fully restored Royal Enfields we have restored in our garage in Dharamshala. Our friends Rahul Lal and Rohit Lal are coming along for their yearly epic ride with us and its going to be fun!!!

A rider and being cool

When I was a teenager I always wanted to look like the cool tough guys on TV. This look was classified as below ordinary in our household. I am an Air Force officer’s son, need to dress sharp and pretend I am a productive part of society.

  • James Dean coolness rebel motorcycle vintage

As time passed and I got to do pretty much what I liked, I suddenly realised I could be like that role model a few decades back (the one that died of an overdose!). My riding bug was serious, no doubt. But what to wear? I ride vintage Royal Enfields (for now) and these bikes are not the best in terms of comfort. I love them, but one of the reasons I hate them is the poor handling. And falling (multiple times) from one of these vintage motorcycles is not fun. There is a massive clang followed by a hush and then the groaning or screaming starts.

  • Motorcycle wear royal enfields vintage riding tours

Being of Sikh stock, I am a man. A real man, no padded jackets for me. After a particularly nasty spill 10 minutes from home on a cold February day, I had a change of heart. I bought a set of riding pants and Jacket. Though not the best quality (I can be cheap) it did the trick. I could fall anywhere and I was safe! I would seriously recommend a good kit to be a part of your motorcycle purchase. Spend a little more and save yourself the pains and aches that pop up in the winters and of course as you grow older, on a daily basis.

Since we are on this point, don’t go cheap either. I spent more money buying cheap kit than a one time cost for a good one. If you are short of cash, buy the armour and you can wear it under super cool clothes like our friend Mr. Dean is wearing in the photo.

As the infographic says, avoid the fool’s gear and ride safe. You do want to be able to play with your kids, eat solid food, open doors, wipe your backside, have sex and be agile for a long time.

The Joy of Riding

To defend the joy of riding a motorcycle can sound like bashing cagers and totally denying the need for any other form of transport. It is edgy, it is fun, it is cool and if you have a vintage motorcycle, then it is sexy.

Royal Enfield, Vintage, Electric Start, Wimbledon

We live in the Himalayas, and ride motorcycles everywhere. It is amazing as each time you ride you feel happy. Going for a coffee means putting on your gear, banging down the checklist, making sure everything works and then starting up your favorite bike. At the Cafe, people look at the bike and take photos and at least one person asks more about the bike. When you are riding long distance, it is just thrilling to go fast on the curvy roads and let your motorcycle loose.

In India, we have the blessing of having a few vintage British made motorcycles still running around and the Royal Enfield still in production. You can find old cast iron motorcycles and fix them up to do epic rides. I myself have 7 of the finest and every day I decide which one to ride to get that coffee.

It’s a revolution, baby!!