Tag Archives: Himachal Pradesh

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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…to the Queen of Hills.

Yes, it had been quite a while that I travelled last, and when a bunch of friends suggested, or rather asked me to chart out a 3- day plan of driving to the hills, I just couldn’t resist! I mean, how could I!? I checked my schedule (no photo-shoots were planned during those 3 odd days), and I was off.

A plan was made within a couple of days, emails sent with proper descriptions, and the entire plan, and we were off during the weekend, early morning at 0400hrs. Without going into the details, let’s just say, we had a fabulous time, not only because of the company that I had, but also because of the fact that a few people in this group of 6 people, had infact experienced snow for the first time, and it was a sight seeing them go crazy at the first glance of snow.

The first night, we halted in Narkanda, while for the 2nd night, we came down to Shimla, where we halted for the night, before returning to Delhi and to our busy chores the next day. But, there is that bug inside me, which keeps pinching me from time to time, to go out, travel and travel some more. So, who knows, where I am off to next month! For the time being though, please enjoy these few pictures which I managed to create during this 3 day trip. 🙂

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