The thrill of biking up the mighty Khardung La, Tanglang La, or Chang La, three of the highest motorable passes in the world, is fast catching up with professionals in Bangalore.
Breaking away from mundane lifestyles and monotonous office schedules, professionals are choosing to explore diverse geographies by biking their way up difficult terrains.
“We rented motorcycles to 500 bikers across the country last year. About 80% were from Bangalore, primarily IT professionals,” says Rajesh Trehan, from Tony Bike Centre, that rents out Royal Enfield bikes.
Software engineer Pranav Nair had last August biked all the way from Manali to Leh, and then onwards to Numbra Valley. “We did all we wanted: visited monasteries, explored the beautiful Numbra Valley, lakes. It was a welcome break from our regular home-to-office, and office-to-home schedule.”
Paying anywhere from Rs600 to Rs1,100 per day for a 350cc-500cc bike, professionals prefer the excitement of riding through lesser known roads, as compared to booking a package and going on conducted tours.
The New Delhi-based Tony Bike Centre, and I Am Adventure, both of which are into renting of bikes, are currently in the city to promote bike tourism amongst city youth.
“An average 10-12 days is what bikers from Bangalore prefer. After Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Mumbai see lot of bikers,” says Akarsh Pall from I Am Adventure.
Though biking has been around for quite sometime, experts say it is picking up more extensively since the past two to three years.
Trehan, himself a biker who started his firm in 2005, with five bikes and foreign tourists initially renting them out, now has a fleet of 125 bikes. “Biking has been around for a while abroad. But is gaining popularity with Indians since the last few years.”
“Specially after 3 Idiots. Parts of which was shot near Pangong lake,” says Pall. According to Trehan, around 488 bikers rented his bikes last year just for Ladakh.
Other than Ladakh, the season for which runs from June-October; places like Rajasthan (November-February), Nepal (November-February), Bhutan (January-March), Rann of Kutch (December-February) are becoming popular with bikers.
Experts say since bike vendors provide everything from a backup team, to a mechanic, to supplying the bike wherever the biker wants, it is seen as a convenient platform of adventure tourism.