Words and images: Vir Nakai
You talk about riding in the Himalayas and immediately you picture high altitude passes, switchbacks that carve up large barren mountains and stark landscapes. Sadly that is not 100 per cent correct. The Himalayas are made up of three main ranges. The Greater Himalayas, The Lesser Himalayas and the Shivaliks and there is more than brilliant riding to be had in all of them. Now the Greater Himalayas get shut off in winter due to heavy snow and plummeting temperatures, making the window to go riding there very small. Whereas the other two Himalayan ranges are very accessible year round.
The roads that lead to Shimla from the plains are choc-a-bloc with traffic. After all its the arterial road and the lifeline for the Himalayan valleys to the world. But once you cross the madness that is Shimla, life slows down and you see that in the movement of traffic on the road as it all ebbs away. Every village you pass has these small back roads that snake away into the valley or climb up over a mountain. Pictured is one such road. We rode towards Mashobra and turned right towards Moolkoti and eventually up a non-marked dirt road. We followed the road for a few kilometres and the drizzle became a very heavy rain. The temperature started to drop as we climbed higher and eventually rain turned to snow. Already quite far off from where we started the trail, we had no choice but to carry on riding until we came to some civilisation where we could wait out the storm. After slip sliding away for 10-odd kilometres in the snow, we joined the same Shimla highway just a bit after Fagu.
You never know what is waiting for you if you don’t go exploring. The Himalayan ranges are full of such great adventures and brilliant roads.