The Journey: Pune – Hyderabad- Vizag – Bihar – West Bengal Siliguri – Bhutan
Ideal Time to Visit: In the months of June and July, and May to September, just before the rain and cold weather sets in. Going further east towards Bhutan, it does get quite cold after September.
Entourage Strength: A convoy of 75 riders undertook this journey, of which 8 of us started out from Pune. It made for a great experience, yet, if you’re looking at arranging for a group to travel with, travelling as a pack of 9 riders would be ideal, taking into account food and fuels stops. You don’t want to be held back from enjoying your ride for too long!
Preps: There are the regular preps, which include having your bike checked, serviced and cleaned. Treat her well, she is going to be your best buddy for days and take you wherever you want to get to. Then there is the mental and physical preparation. Two things I have come to count as most important are – getting a good night’s rest and not compromising at all on riding gear. Invest heavily on your spine guard, riding jacket, riding boots, ride pants, gloves and helmet. It’s not to be taken lightly, your life depends on it.
Assistive Gizmos: We used the Scala to remain connected to each other and the leader of the group used his GPS device for navigation.
Road & Traffic Conditions: It was a long route and there were rough patches that tested our endurance. Once we reached West Bengal, we encountered heavy traffic congestion due to a mishap, so we had to ride on the other side of the road for a bit and at times through small villages.
Best & Worst Stretches: After Bihar wherever you stop the roads are quite good and so are the sights. Bhutan had amazing roads but it is also where we hit the worst patch during our journey where heavy rainfall through the night had caused a landslide. Even though repair work was being carried out, the condition of the road was precarious.
Weather Encountered: 40-45 degrees temperature followed us all the way till we reached Bhutan where the climate was almost perfect, bordering a little on the colder extremities after the rain.
Food Joints & Stopovers: Food is the last thing on your mind when you’ll be riding this stretch, but the hunger pangs will always guide you to a dhaba. If you’re hoping to find fancy places, you might be disappointed.
Bike Care: Since I am a die-hard Harley loyalist, I trust only authorised Harley dealers with my bike care. So I have a complete bike check-up done before the start of any journey and it is something I highly recommend.
As for fuel stops along the way, there were ample. No bikes broke down (we were all on Harleys) so we did not need to find a mechanic.
Locals: People we met along the way were nice, hospitable, polite and helpful. Good thing for us was that Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the son-in-law of king of Bhutan personally oversaw our travel arrangements in Bhutan and also rode with us.
Bike journeys are an affirmation of the fact that everybody can and should master their fears, break free from whatever is holding you back from exploring more because there’s only one life. Set yourself free and enjoy the most!