A motorbike tour of Leh Ladakh
By guest contributorAdrian McShane

Your name

Adrian McShane

Which country did you visit?

India

And which region, city or area did you visit?

Leh Ledakh

When did you make your trip?

May 2018

I've loved India since I first visited in the summer of 2016. This was my 3rd return, and I typically spend 2-3 months at a time. Leh Ledakh is frequently mentioned in the more adventurous circles (of which there is a growing community) in India, as an aspirational place to go on an unforgettable motorbike tour.

For me it was a chance to meet my good friends again, and see yet another amazing place in the world. You fly directly into 3,500 metres altitude so a little care needed to be taken around altitude sickness initially. This was the first time I'd experienced this - it was definitely an odd physical feeling, but I escaped with no ill effects.

Leh Ledakh itself is a charming little town, with amazing views of the Himalayan region in all directions. The local food is a mix of Indian and Asian (we're not far from the Chinese border), with fried momo's and thukpa being firm personal favourites.

The recommended thing to do as a visitor is to take 3-4 days and do a loop of the surrounding region. The most common form of transport is a taxi, which can be arranged locally. A memorable drive is over the highest motorable pass in the world. This is completely impassable at certain times of year due to the weather, but during the high season the local military do an excellent job keep the roads usable (if not perfect).

But really, if you are so inclined, this is motorbike country. We rented a Royal Enfield (a quintessential and ever popular Indian brand) and retraced some of the routes, taking in the epic sites and attempting to pass the heavy military traffic that’s forever passing up and down for logistical reasons. It did not disappoint. Leh Ladakh was breath-taking and more than worth the effort it takes to get there.

What was the one item of clothing or equipment you couldn’t have managed without on your trip?

On this trip I heavily relied on a windproof Windshadow jacket. It was quite cold at times due to the altitude but also sunny, stormy, snowing... and the Rohan Windshadow was a great part of an adaptable layering system. I typically prefer windproofs over heavy, more featured jackets because of pack size and function.

And what was the single thing you’d wished you brought with you – but didn’t?

A down jacket. I typically pack very light due to living a nomadic lifestyle, and cold weather gear doesn't always make the cut. This time around I think I could have done with at least a warm gilet. One night we got stuck in a small village due to a big snowstorm in a high pass, in a guesthouse with no heating... an extra layer would have come in handy!

What was the one ‘not so good’ thing about your trip?

The internet. I'm a digital nomad, and the plan was to spend a week on holiday in the region and the second week working remotely, but the internet was less than ideal! They sometimes lose their connection for the whole region for days at a time.

What was the highlight?

Driving a Royal Enfield through various valleys for hours at a time around the region. The background was stunning, the roads were treacherous, and the bike was a lumbering and noisy beast. Loved it.

Clothing fit for motorbike touring

What do you expect from your touring bike? Probably, rugged durability and functional performance. We think the same about our clothing. And we also know that after a hard day on the road, it’s nice to be able to change into comfortable clothing that won’t cramp your style when you’re winding down with a few beers.

Unfortunately, space in the panniers is always a bit limited – which is why our lightweight, packable clothing is so handy. It’s also extremely crease resistant and easy to care for. So, when you do unpack your gear, it won’t look like it’s been ridden through a hedge sideways. And, if you do need to wash it, it’ll dry overnight – ready to be packed away again for the next day’s ride.