Category Archives: 1

Himalayas on a Triumph Street Triple

 

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Ever since I can remember, I have forever been in love with travelling. And it was but
natural that the bug bit even harder once I was introduced to motorcycling. This was
many years back. I have been riding motorcycles for more than a decade now and it’s
really hard to believe I’ve been doing anything that long; many other hobbies have
come and gone by but this is one passion which has remained ever since I was introduced to it. Why, you ask? I don’t really know. There’s a clairty in the entire
experience perhaps, a richness that accumulates.

So, you can imagine when travel & motorcycle came together, my happiness knew no
bounds. I have also been touring on motorcycles for half of my life now! And trust me,
there is nothing better than touring on 2-wheels. And when this winter I got an
opportunity to visit the Himalayas yet again and that too on one of the most amazing
motorcycles (read cult!) ever, I, ofcourse couldn’t have let this pass by.

 

 

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So, on an usual winter morning in the Capital which, for your reference is really cold
& foggy (or smog, whatever you want to refer it by), I along with my colleague
Krishnendu Kes (who was on a KTM Duke 390) started off for a beautiful destination
in the Himalayas, Chail. Now, before I move ahead with the travelogue, I would love to
let you know how much am I in love with the Himalayas. Probably, you are too if you
love travelling even half as much as I do. You see, Himalayas humble you. You almost
feel like a speck of dust in this vast expanse; the Himalayas make you feel the silence.
Like that is perhaps the ultimate truth. All else is pointless noise.

Anyhow, without getting into the philosophical side of things, let me continue. Well, it
as really cold and we kept riding at a decent pace because we wanted to reach our
destination (Chail) before nightfall as neither of us wanted to ride in the hills during
night. Not that we are inexperienced but because there’s no use torturing your body
because of the cold. And once the sun goes down, temperatures can drop pretty
drastically.

I was riding the Triumph Street Triple S and was having a gala time. That 765cc 3-
cylinder motor has all the power & torque that you could ever need. Overaking was a
breeze and maintaining three digit speeds almost became a joke. Also, the fact that the
seat was comfortable, the riding posture was not sporty (unlike litre class superbikes)
meant that I was pretty relaxed on the highway as we sped towards the hills which was
a couple of hundred kilometres away.

Eventually, we did hit the hilly section and realized that for a good few kilometres, the
roads weren’t ideal. There was construction work going on and also the fact that there
had been landslides earlier meant that many sections of the road was in pathetic
condition. I feared the worst simply because big bikes like the Street Triple S aren’t
really meant to handle bad roads efficiently. But boy, was I proven wrong and how!
The suspension took all the potholes and bad roads in its stride and this did take me
by surprise. I played with the torque curve on the hilly section keeping the motorcycle
on 3rd gear and playing with the curvaceous roads.

 

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Also, the fact that the Street Triple S has two ‘riding modes’ meant that I could actually
put it on the two different modes and feel the difference outrightly. So, to name them,
the modes are ‘Road’ and ‘Rain’. Now, as the name suggests, the ‘Road’ mode is meant
for the road and gives you full 112bhp of power on tap. But the interesting bit here is
that the ‘Rain’ mode doesn’t really cut power in any way but rather dials down the
response of the throttle so as to prevent wheel-spins. However, with ABS and
traction-control, I was really confident riding the motorcycle on the hilly roads and on
extremely bad patches of roads that we encountered in between.

Finally, after more than 8 hours of constant riding, taking breaks in between for
pictures and ofcourse to fuel up the motorcycles and our respective tummies, we
reached Chail just after sunset, the total distance covered being a shade over 400kms.

I wasn’t really exhausted. Tired yes, but not exhausted. Maybe it was the motorcycle
which helped me relax in way of the sitting posture or the overall experience which
took care of me.

Now, Chail is an amazing destination in itself. And since we were at such a quaint
little town up in the Himalayas, we wanted to stay at the best possible property that the
place had to offer – the Palace, Chail. And we got lucky as we got great prices and
discounts because the ‘season’ hadn’t started yet. Happy, we checked into our comfy
log-hut and after having a sumptous dinner crashed for the night.

The next day was pretty uneventful as we explored the surroundings and I mostly kept
taking photographs of the Street Triple S. She’s such a looker, I tell you. No matter what
angle you look at her from, you cannot get enough of her. Whether it be that small
bikini fairing or those thick Showa 41mm front USD forks, everything is just so
beautiful and high-quality. This particular Street Triple S that I was riding had a few
extra bits added to it, namely, a Triumph branded rear seat cowl which I thought made
the entire motorcycle look even sexier, an Arrow after-market exhaust which ofcourse
meant the motorcycle sounded out of this world, and a quick-shifter. Now, this quick-
shifter works during upshifts, so, no auto-blipping down-shifting shenanigans here!
But, I didn’t really miss the auto-downshifts as I was too busy in enjoying the
motorcycle and the ride, overall.

After spending two quiet days in the lap of the Himalayas, the 3rd day came when we
had to ride more than 400kms. back home to the Capital. You see, when you enjoy
something in life, it becomes really tough to let go of it. You get attached to it
emotionally and in ways that you cannot really describe. That is exactly what had
happened to me. I got attached with the Street Triple So. So much so that while riding
back to Delhi, I could not help but feel a sense of sadness because I knew once I was
home, she shall go back to Triumph India. That, really made my heart break.

Eventually though, we rode back to Delhi. The ride back was non-stop. We were tired
but the motorcycles did not even budge. It was as if the machines could go on forever.

I have been in love a few times now and I can safely say, what I felt for the Triple S was
nothing short of pure, unabashed love. I sure hope she and I would be able to get back
together for one more adventure, very soon. Till then, the memories shall suffice…

Motorcycle: Triumph Street Triple S
Total distance covered: 900kms.
Fuel efficiency: 23km/litre (highway run mostly)

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The Little Lhasa Awaits…

A breathtaking view of glistening, snow capped mountains; lots of color; a bustling Tibetan settlement; valleys and slopes covered with lush green coniferous trees—these are a few snapshots, which come to my mind when I think of a hill station called Mcleod Ganj. Carry on further to find out more about the place and see a few photographs as well…READ MORE

Chaukori – In the Lap of “Mother”…

It was a long weekend, and I was onto doing what I LOVE doing most – Traveling and Photography! But, this time it was a little different. I was in search of an offbeat place, a place about which no-one really would have heard.

I got down to some real searching and brain-storming, after which I found out this small village called Chaukori in Uttarakhand, about 500kms. north-east of Delhi. What? Chaukori? Never heard of it? Fret not, it is not any town, and it is unlike any of the “regular” hill-stations. It is a very small village (or rather hamlet), with a population that you can count in your fingers.

For more detailed text and some accompanying photographs of Chaukori, read the full post HERE.

High Tea with the Queen – Ranikhet

Long weekends is what I always look out for. Infact, weekends is what I crave for – not because I can relax, sit back at home, or catch a movie or visit one of the million shopping malls sprawling on every nook and corner. But because, come weekend and I know where my next destination of travel would be!

This past long weekend (25th-26th and 27th December, 2009), I visited a new place – Ranikhet. It’s serene, it’s quiet and it was VERY chilly. A must-visit place for every traveler and explorer, alike. Read more to see the pictures and the accompanying text – High Tea With The Queen – Ranikhet

Suave Shimla

I have visited Shimla innumerable times, but each time I visit a place, I make it a point to discover something that I might have, perhaps, left undiscovered the last time I was around.

So, this time, I try and photograph some of the ‘lost charm’ that Shimla as a town has still left. Read on to find out more about my experience of this once beautiful town, and to see the pictures which kind of, for me, defines the ‘character’ of this town – Suave Shimla.

The “Green” Revolution – 2009 Kawasaki Ninja 250R EXCLUSIVE Track-Test!

I was in Pune, on the behalf of xBhp and invited by Bajaj Auto Ltd., to test the 09′ Kawasaki Ninja 250R, on the Chakan track no less, of Bajaj Auto Ltd. For 4 hours or so, I had the 250R at my disposal, and boy was it worth it or what!

Pune is a beautiful city, but everything came to a stand-still that day. For those 4 hours just flew by, and in those 240 odd minutes, I had some of the greatest time of my life!

For the full track test, read the REVIEW.

Under Wraps – Chandratal

I had always wanted to ride to Chandrataal ever since I had started touring. People yearn to visit the ‘mecca’ – Leh/ Ladakh, but Leh has never been in my itinerary, but Chandrataal has ALWAYS been.

I was supposed to ride to Chandrataal this past Friday (18th September, 2009), but got to know that because of heavy snowfall and subsequent landslides, roads are closed. Ofcourse, they open intermittently, but NO-ONE is sure whether I will be able to reach Chandrataal, or will need to come back from mid-way, which would really be heartbreaking, for me.

It seems, I’ll have to wait for May 2010 now, before riding to Chandrataal, which is really disheartening to even think. Chandrataal HAVE to wait. Attached below are a few pictures, for those, who have never heard of the BEAUTIFUL and TRANQUIL lake called Chandrataal

Chandra Taal (meaning the Lake of the Moon), or Chandra Tal, is situated at an altitude of about 4,300 metres (14,000 ft) in the Himalayas. Mountains of scree overlook the lake on one side, and a magnificent cirque presents a view on the other. The name of the lake originates from its crescent shape. Situated in the Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh (India), Chandra Taal is a popular destination for trekkers and campers. The lake is accessible on foot only for few months in a year, from May to August.

A clear stream of water flows out of the lake. During the day, the lake appears prussian blue in color, and a greenish tinge appears towards the evening. The lake is situated on a plateau (Samudra Tapu) overlooking the Chandra River which originates from a glacier near Bara-lacha-la.

Disclaimer: The pictures below are not clicked by me. They have been picked up from random searches on Google.com, the popular search engine.
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The Mothership – 2009 Suzuki Hayabusa, Ridden!

Yup! It is not really related to hardcore travel, but I did manage to take out a 2009 Suzuki Hayabusa Hyperbike for a full day on Delhi’s roads! Now, it sure is travel; may be not in it’s purest sense, but travel I did nonetheless. And hence, it finds space here, on my travel blog.

Read the full article…

At Land’s End – yet again!

Travel starved I was. I just wanted to travel to some-place, and that too really quick as I felt I was really getting “starved”. Hence, I took it to myself to find a few rider buddies, and then finally we rode to Lansdowne this past weekend (25th and 26th July, 2009). It was a wonderful ride, ofcourse, and Lansdowne but ofcourse has a very very special place in my heart. Although, the text is not too much, this time I present host of pictures of Lansdowne and the places surrounding this almost angelic place. Visit the page to read and see more.

Travel Starved!

I have not traveled in almost more than a month now and the signs are beginning to show – boring days, and even more boring nights, thought process is beginning to slow down. And on top of that the tremendous heat of Delhi is killing everything in it’s vicinity, quite literally!

Monsoon was supposed to hit a week back. It did make it’s presence felt for a day or two, and then, it vanished, into thin air. I need to go out, go to the cooler climes where nature almost seems to speak to you, where you need not think twice to venture out into the unknown, where time just seems to have stopped still, and where the views are so beautiful that you feel that you are in your dreams. Yes, a place like this does exist. And I urge you all to get out of your daily schedules, from your humdrum lives and go out and travel, see places, visit some unexplored destination before it’s “too late”. I assure you one day, you would look back and say to yourself – “Wish I would have….”

That, friends, is the worst feeling in this entire world! Phew! Enough of ranting and motivating already. Now, let me get back to what I was doing – looking for my next destination, that solitude, that ‘unexplored’ paradise.