Things to know, before you go on a bike ride to Dainkund Peak
Our fondness for backpacking has taken us on lots of road trips in past five years and maximum of them have been to some location in Himachal Pradesh. Himachal is like assorted bouquet of exotic flowers, you just can’t have enough and can’t get over it, the more you explore, the hungrier you become 🙂
This Road Trip was part of our 3-days tour to Himachal Pradesh, India covering Mcleodganj-Dalhousie-Dainkund Peak and back. Time was certainly of essence as we had 4 days including travel from Delhi to the destination. We boarded HPTDC Volvo from Delhi to Dharamshala, then took a cab till Mcleodganj (the distance is ~9kms) and continued our journey on bike from there. We experienced incredible moments of wonder, adrenaline rush, excitement and peace and experiences shall always be shared, so here we are! There are certain things one needs to evaluate before taking a road trip by Motor Bike, particularly on this route.
- Fitness is Critical: ‘Healthy body and healthy mind are keys to blissful life’. This applies to road trips as well. Being fit has really helped us during traveling, we have been able to explore & test our limits on most of our trips – be it Srinagar, Rajasthan or Himachal etc. It gives you so much of confidence and mental strength.We follow a fitness regimen to the maximum extent possible & have tried to inculcate a routine in our lifestyle and that really helps to continue our grueling tours.
- Right Time of the Year: The climatic conditions are likely to impact your travel plans always. We planned this trip in April as the season from March – May bears pleasant climate & moderate changes in hill stations. Definitely a road trip has to be avoided in monsoons to hill stations as there is an impending danger of landslides & during extreme winters also it’s not conducive. It always helps to keep track of the meteorology of a particular place before your visit.
- Plan & Prepare: The route we covered on this trip by bike was ~125 Kms from Mcleodganj to Dalhousie. If you guys have been to hills you can imagine the road which moves in a circular motion as you go higher, the structure of the road does not allow you to cross a certain speed, you still have maintain a consistent speed considering the duration of your travel. Infact the road till Shahpur was pretty straight past that it started becoming jittery. Fortunately, the whole road is maintained well barring few patches which makes very difficult for a bike as it skids.
- There’s something about bike ride: You will find innumerable bike rental options at Dharamsala and Mcleodganj as well. These guys keep variety of bikes available at different costs ranging from INR 600 – INR 1000. Since we were a couple we selected sturdy and comfortable (front as well as back seat along with support) Avenger. It’s important that you select a bike having broader seating pattern as longer travel hours on bike can have impact on your back and overall health. The bike you choose would be totally depending on your discretion. Traveling by bike gets you so close to nature, it refreshing and thrilling at the same time.
- Keep it Light: Make sure you have all the necessities – clothing, footwear, food and medicines. We had just one backpack and one small hand bag for food supplies. This made things manageable. As we had to carry our stuff on bike from one destination to other, lighter the better. And since this was a Himachal trip we had to carry woolens and jackets but packed it all in one single decent sized backpack.
- Must haves in your food bag: When we travel to higher altitude areas our snacks bag always comes along. The items include bread & butter, chocolates, dry fruits, packed juices, sometimes even ready to make maggi. It’s important to have these as you need more calories on the mystic mountains to sustain moreover everywhere you will not find decent & reasonably priced hotels or food joints. Hunger can strike anywhere!!!
- Important accessories: The temperature in the Himachal goes haywire unpredictably. And if you are out on the road in the open, you got to take all the precautions possible. Carrying an umbrella, raincoat and spare pair of shoes is a good idea. We had this trip in April’14, the skies were clear for most of our journey till Nainikhad, as we were approaching Dalhousie the blue skies started turning dark and the breeze became chilly. Just when we were 10 Kms away it began raining, next thing we know it’s literally snowing!!! Besides the usual items we carried huge polythene cover & rope to save our backpack from the rains.
- Taking Breaks is a good idea: The route has bountiful scenic beauty and it’s an absolute treat for eyes and soul. So you might prefer to stop at few random places to stretch and click a few shots to rejuvenate yourself. It’s well said ‘the journey matters in the end not the destination’.
- Mingling with the locals: You will agree that every place oozes a different culture, food, beverages and people. It’s purely insightful to interact with the people & embrace their culture. We have observed that local people in such remote areas are remarkably warm and friendly.
- Have a Safe Trip: We as a couple, pondered over a lot of facts before setting out on a bike trip on this route. The route does not have lot of hotels, dhabas forget the washrooms (we had to use public schools for such facilities!!!). But we researched well, took calculated risks and breaks. Keep your GPRS handy & check the map regularly, if you have a partner traveling with you ask him / her to keep track of the route. You generally won’t find lot of people on the road to resolve your queries. One wrong turn can cost you a lot. These roads are isolated; all you will find is villages at decent distances for stopovers and government buses.
The breathtaking multi views of Dhauladhar mountain range make the trip all the more memorable.