Kaza to Tandi | 181 kms | A long ride; A hard ride
The Vir Man had started prepping us from the previous night about the ride from Kaza to Tandi. Taking a day’s break in Kaza made a whole load of sense once we were underway heading to Tandi. Tarmac was like a figment of our imagination. Instead, our reality was filled with rocks, puddles, river roads, water crossings, soft sand, slimy mud. Anything but Tarmac. Anything but.
We had met up with three other riders heading to Manali from Kaza. They would follow the same route as us but branch off at Gramphu to head over the Rohtang Pass and drop down to Manali and thence onwards to Delhi, their destination. They had a slow ride on two counts. One, the lead rider – Biplov – who rode with Vir on another ride, was carrying a pillion rider, Siddharth, on his Royal Enfield Thunderbird. Sid was a photog but not a rider and Biplov’s colleague at work. The third rider was Vikram. He rode the Hero Impulse. This was the second count as to why these three riders had a slow ride. (All of us Bullet 500cc riders were amazed at Vikram’s choice of bike. It had a mere 150cc engine and lacked any semblance of power to counter the twists, turns, inclines, and the lack of any tarmac! All of us had a good time ribbing him the previous night and during that day’s ride. However, all of us were riders and came together when it came to helping others, especially our group, – irrespective of the riders’ choice of bikes!) Vir offered Sid a place in our Backup Vehicle till the point where they branched off to Manali. Which then left just the slow Impluse to contend with. Which is why Biplov and Vikram left earlier than us and we followed later with Sid in our Backup.
Even with about a 2hr head start, the PoshGoondas group soon caught up and passed Biplov and Vikram. However, we more or less, rode together. A good thing. Since the roads ahead had more water running across them than dirt and rocks. We rode parallel to the River Chenab and at times it was hard to distinguish the River from the water flowing on our road, the NH 505!
I was usually part of the front pack of riders; Vir, Fiona, and Sam followed by me between the front pack and the tail riders – Nimish, Kalpesh and Jatin. More often, I would cross such ‘obstacles’ and wait for the tail pack. This allowed me to quickly pull out my iPhone to record video of the riders’ as they tackled their way through the freezing, gushing, cold waters and the jagged hampering rocks underneath.
This was one of the first water crossings. Not dangerous in any way. More difficult and inconvenient. Not to forget freezing cold if the water found its way inside your boots!
Biplov gets a major vote of thanks from all of us for never hesitating to help us out navigate through obstacles. Here, he helped Kalpesh first (not seen in the video), then Nimish followed by Jatin. A pleasure to have opportunity to ride with him.