Gregorian year 2020, a year of many firsts:
First gregorian new year's eve spent outside family
First Bullet ride for a length of 10 days
First overseas pleasure trip
First snow adventure amidst the mountains
and many more...
Every man dreams a Bullet ride across the mountains and snow away from it all for a few days. Well my dream became true in the begining of 2020
How it started:
It all started in 2019 when I met an old school friend and realized that my bucket list is lost in the sands of time. Hence I made a new bucket list. A key attraction of the list was Bullet bike ride for atleast a week maybe to Ladakh or Bhutan with the boys and away from family.
Upon a quick status check, I discovered that my reality is nowhere close to my dream
1. Forget the heavy Bullet motorcycle, I had lost touch riding regular 100cc motorcycles for almost 5 years now.
2. Didn't have the stamina to do over 10 burpees at a stretch
There were 2 beeg things I had to accomplish before going to the trip for the upcoming gregorian new year's eve 2020
a. Learn to ride a Royal Enfield motorcycle which weighs about 200kg
b. Have enough stamina and persevance to ride the motorcycle for a stretch of about 10 days 😕
'b' building stamina was difficult too. All my attempts to stay fit went in vain. This journey was simply hilarious.
In the begining, I joined Zumba classes in the society, the instructor got knee problems and discontinued
Next I joined a Zumba dance institute nearby my house, the centre closed down due to less customers
Lastly I joined CULT. I hope I was not a 'Panuti' or 'Iron-leg' for the business
The instructor at CULT gave me an uphill regimen. Inspired by Hritik Roshan from Laksh, I started this journey of excercise
Bhutan is a paradise indeed. There are no flat lands, It's a land locked hilly country with peaceful and accomdating people. And yes they speak Hindi, accept Indian rupees as well.
The tour Operator was Deyor Camps
The trip route was as follows
Day 00 of 09: Get the biking gear ready at home
I figured out that i will have to sell my 2 kidneys, 2 eyes and my unbroken heart ( LOL ) if I have to buy the heavy motorcycle and snow gear. Instead of going to such extremes, I decided to rent the gear from Sharepal which came to about INR 8k or so for 10 days. This idea is from Corporate Finance i.e. it is better to avoid Capex ( Capital expenditure i.e. buying stuff ) when you can have Opex ( Operational expenditure i.e where you could rent stuff ). Hence it is better to save money, save organs too haha
Day 01 of 09: Siliguri to Phuentsholing 175 km
Arrived at Siliguri by flight and headed to Phuentsholing. These motorcycle rides are headed by a Capain. Then there is also a mechanic who comes along the group. The mechanic also carries critical spare parts of the motorcycles. Then there is a luggage and supplies van which accompanies the group. There, everything is set and taken care of. What is important is the experience now
Day 02 of 09: Phuentsholing halt for Visa
Bhutan had a policy of Visa on arrival for Indians. The process took about 4 hours or so. There were 2 reasons to celebrate. Obvio! The visa and another was the upcoming gregorian new year 2020. New 'squad' for about 10 days or so by the campfire 🎉
Day 03 of 09: Phuentsholing to Thimpu 150km
The weather started getting colder, we got our woolens / rexins on. The picture here is a typical traditional room heater in Bhutan. Firewood is burnt in circularly placed outlets. The stones placed act as heat inducers. What you see in the middle acts a huge heat capacitor. This stores the heat which is burnt from firewood and gradually releases the heat to the surroundings.
Day 04 of 09: Explore Thimpu city
The beasts also deseve a rest after the rides
And the would prefer to be in the company of each other for their bullet-brotherhood
Day 05 of 09: Thimphu to Punakha 85km
Riding in the snow is not easy. One has to be really careful. One miscalculation would make the rider and the motorcycle go tumbling down the series of hills and mountains. Of course it's easier if one has 4x4. But why would one want to miss the thrill !
Day 06 of 09: Punakha to Paro 126km
Nearby is a place called as Chelela pass the highest motorable road in Bhutan at 13,083 feet above sea level. Going to this place was a challenge indeed
Day 08 of 09: Paro to Siliguri 297km
The final ride was one of the longest rides I had done in a day, that too amidst the mountains from a snowy weather in Bhutan to a tropical weather of India. One by one the layer of clothing came out as we descended from moutains up above.
Day 09 of 09: Departure to home
With a heavy heart feeling that the trip is over. All good things come to an end.
I returned home promising myself that I will do a roadtrip again. Maybe I will do this Goa rider mania in the future. This is an after-movie from youtube channel of Royal Enfield:
One philosphical moment occured during the trip. I had visited a shop to buy woolen gloves in Bhutan market. An older lady at the cash counter enquired and asked:
Lady: Why do you people come to Bhutan during winter and ride these motorcycles in dangerous snow filled mountains ?
Me: That's a thrill I want to remember for the rest of life
Lady: And what if you die ?
Me: No regrets, I'm content
That is when it dawned me that I had no unfinished business, no regrets, no other expectations. I am fully content. This is what Buddha says: