Riding Noob Takes Himalayas

Himalayas
Himalayas

Everyone was crawling back to the city from their summer flings but I was fattening up a 45-litre pack for a motorcycle tour up to the Himalayas (from now on will be referred to by the pronouns she/her) with eight other kakis. The mountain range is a goddess and one needs to prepare for her smile that defrosts through her clouds, her cool cradle, the kiss of her butter curry, her scent in her collection of chais, and her craggy facade that one could cup with one’s hands. I’ve scooped up my five fives for a loose guide to a minimal packing list that will save your life for she will be the death of you.

Five Indispensables

  1. Get a full-face helmet. Almost all our helmets come from Regina Specialties (and so does all of my gears). My kaki’s Shark carbon helmet weighs like my wallet after a dinner date. The lighter, the better for the neck since the rides stretch for four to six hours over a nine to 13-day trip. My tour kakis’ helmets were brightly-coloured so I easily spotted the kiasu way ahead. Play Tchaikovsky through the helmet audio and watch the riders cascade like synchronised swimmers dipping in and out of her sublime bends. 
  2. A serious tour jacket with zipper vents and armour pads is a must. She will embrace with an unforgiving chill; it went down to 2°C at Chang La. I had five layers: one long-sleeves with heat technology, a mesh jacket with armour inserts, a tour jacket, a raincoat, and yak wool I bought at Leh’s market. I had heat stickers when it got depressing. But it’s warmer at lower altitudes and I thanked those zipper vents.
  3. For lower-body clothing, I wore undergarments, tights with heat technology, tour pants with armour inserts, and rain pants. It’s better to splurge more on a set of durable jacket and pants because we sat on sharp rocks during photo-taking breaks. One will also fall for mommy nature; only three out of the eight riders in our group managed to stay upright on their motorcycles for the entire trip (all of them have decades of experience). Our ride captain fell on his Kawasaki Versys with road tyres while crossing a strong river. I fell three times and was hit by a lorry once. If a wardrobe malfunction happens, Leh is bursting at its seams with winter wear shops.
  4. Get high and waterproof boots. Riding in comfort makes the most difference.
  5. Do not go to her without moisturiser. The air is cold and painfully dry like an asexual forty-year-old. And like rejection from an asexual forty-year-old, the skin will sting as it breaks. More dry air will continuously slap the face even with the visor down. Embalm the body with a balaclava, aloe vera, lip moisturiser, and eye drops as if recently deceased from a heartbreak.

Surprisingly Useful Barangs

  1. The headlamp and lantern were crucial at night in the camps and hotels because they either cut the electricity early or the light bulbs were busted.
  2. A travel adapter with multiple ports conveniently charged all digital devices at the same time. They were charged early since the lights were out as early as 4 pm in some accommodations. 
  3. Long cables and extension cords didn’t hurt because some of the power points were positioned inconveniently at boobie-level. Why?
  4. Washing detergent was also very useful since I only brought two shirts, one pair of pants, and three undergarments. I had to wash and dry my clothes right after riding every day to catch her sun. I also had a deodorising spray for the shoes and the outside layers that were too heavy to wash. 
  5. My kakis had their helmet audio communications with them and they enjoyed gossiping about city chicks while staring at towering mountain faces. I had a bluetooth earbud in one ear and it made six-hour ordeals much shorter.

Things I Wish I Had

  1. I kept wishing for a sleeping bag because the cold does not relent.
  2. More moisturiser.
  3. More Netflix series. I watched Money Heist, damn good cast but predictable screenplay.
  4. One more shirt
  5. Love and acceptance

Things I Did Not Use But Were Still Essential

  1. Whistle
  2. Lighter
  3. Medication pills for nausea, diarrhoea, body pain, altitude sickness, and maintenance drugs. The touring company, Devils on Wheelz together with Hangout, provided us with altitude pills for the first three days. I felt spoilt like a gu niang by the tour organisers.
  4. First aid kit that my kaki exhausted as he had a bad fall. 
  5. I used a multi-tool to adjust my mirrors when the support vehicle was far behind. I also cut freshly plucked plums with it. Her plums tasted better than any sappy kiss I had in my teens. Legit.

Items I Wished I Left Behind

  1. The infatuation with the asexual forty-year-old.
  2. Extra hiking boots. But my crocs served well when we were walking around town markets.
  3. A spork, a mess cup, and a water bottle. I lost them. It’s safer for the tum-tum to buy distilled or mineral water as long as the bottle is recycled.
  4. My binoculars were fun to have to peak through her crevices but it magnified the nerd in me.
  5. My allergies to men.

I dry-showered with wet tissue for two out of the 13-day date with the Himalayas but she still accepted me for my wit and daringness. It pains me to ghost her. I might come back someday but for now, I’ve my eyes set on many other roads I’d like to ride through.

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