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Biking or motorcycling, has been the priority for me always. Hopping on a motorbike every chance I get has been innate, ungoverned by reason. Blind and frenzied. Seeking distractions in the form of exploring on a motorcycle, hitting the occasional off road trail and getting to the end of each one, pushing ourselves hard on the bike across those, therein lies the love and joy if it. Serving as a lecturer for Automobile Engineering at a polytechnic institute is a part of what I live for. Teaching, getting students acquainted with the love for machines and vocational skills; consequently I taking joy in the same, keeps me glued to the overwhelming fun in my ventures. Often undertaken on uncharted motorbiking trails of Uttarakhand.

Sharing here some of my secret go to spots, when I feel like revving those grey cells up there. Though there are tons of routes, of which the most extreme ones I’ve witnessed are in Dehradun itself. However, here I’d like to cite a select array spread across the entire hilly state of ours.

1)      Dehradun — Nainbagh — Banchaura — Chianyalisaur 

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Of the top, my favourite. The less known route passes through Mussoorie to Yamuna bridge and then to Nainbagh via Purola road. After crossing Pantwari one encounters some barren roads and then dive into no roads. Bashing my bike across the trails, reaching the Aindi Top was the last I remember on the route. With a minor fall when I was charging a little more. With deep gorges to the left, the steep climbing motorable trail running along the famous Nag Tibba peak is a delight. Descending from the top, we reach Chinyalisaur, and villages like Silkyara and Banchaura.

Aindi top receives a heavy snowfall every year and is famous for the frequent tiger visits. Thus, a forest post at the top. Road is pretty motorable now, with rough patches and occasional dirt trails. Offshoots and detours along the way are more treacherous, and fun to ride.

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The route is high above 8000-8500ft and is risky with deep gorges alongside. There is no motor workshop along the route, after Nainbagh. A mere puncture might be a big problem. One shouldn’t ever go unprepared. Also if you are willing for a small trek, hike to Nag Tibba from Pantwari. See some majestic landscapes and wide Himalayan ranges from the summit.

2)      Chakrata — Deoban — Kanasar — Mori — Radi Top

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I’ve been to the route several time and each time it has been exhilarating. In fact it can be considered among one of the best mountain biking trails of Uttarakhand. Climbing to Chakrata, either via Sahiya or via Lakhwar (latter being more fun), takes one through bad broken roads. But only more beautiful to us, on the Impulse. Occasional charging on half open throttles, at corners on dirt till Sahiya and, halfway through to Chakrata. Thanks to the landslides, it is a fun to ride patch. One gets some majestic vistas and landscapes while climbing up to Deoban, then descending down to Kanasar where the bad roads start. Tuini to Hanol and Mori, is a delight. Riding alongside the grasslands and river Tons. Hanol is home to a beautiful temple of Mahasu Devta. In the month of March it receives a festival, with slaying of 21 goats. Cooked and turned to delicious mutton and bhatua, which is finger licking good.

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The route post Kanasar is laid between rich Chir Pine and Deodar trees, and one can ride through them if brave enough.  Stay is recommended at Mori with the calm riverside evenings. One can detour to Netwar and Sankri from Mori, which are also homes to base camps for famous treks. Netwar and Sankri are also good places to ride to, in terms of exploring the diverse and culturally rich state of Uttarakhand. Further, riding to Radi top is a breeze with metal roads. One must have the excellent ‘Burans’ juice available at Radi top.

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3)      Tuini — Rohru — Chanshal Pass — Dodra Kwar

By far the best Himalayan scapes I’ve seen riding. Best time to hit this route is in April, right when the snow thaws and the melting snow gives way to one of the best trails at 12000+ feet. With Rohru as the last place with supplies it’s recommended that one carries all necessary items for survival. The pass has no accommodations and usually no human in the 30 km radius of it, once the sun sets. So if camping up on the top, be prepared. Rohru, as I’ve observed serves some of the best chicken. So a night halt there, and chicken is a must for non-vegetarians. Roads are harsh, and the vehicle takes a lot of beating. My Impulse struggled a little, reaching the top, past Larot (only place one can find an accommodation after Rohru). But it was fun riding amidst huge 7 feet ice walls alongside, and snow capped peaks at a distance.

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Chanshal Pass connects Himachal with Uttarakhand and, is home to Dodra and Kwar villages. A visit there is a must. The vernacular architecture of the temples in Kwar is beautiful. Road further, isn’t motorable, and on hiking up it leads to Sewa village in Uttarakhand; which is connected by road again, to reach Netwar and Mori. Chanshal is a steep climb and far from Rohru. Kwar is further ahead and returning might be a struggle if not fuelled enough. Also any breakdowns along the route will leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere. Carrying spares, extra fuel and high spirits is highly recommended if one’s eyeing this adventure.

4)      Dehradun — Sahastradhara — Suwakholi — Chamasari

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A route explored goofing around on motorbikes on a lousy weekend, will turn out this awesome wasn’t expected. The route traverses through dense forests, then opening into steep climbs with loose dirt and debris. Crossing Sahastradhara, climbing into a dried riverbed, we reached the other side of the mountain base. The trail went into the jungles. Going as far as we could, we found ourselves face to face with Suwakholi at a distance. Scary trails and deep gorges, are again part and parcel of the route. It’s a short ride but, is quite dangerous with trail width narrowing down to 3-4 feet at places. The route traverses again into the jungles at Chamasari, leading back to Sahastradhara.

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One of the best mountain biking destination, it’s also well suited for MTB trail biking and enduro. We often bumped into trekkers and hikers on the route, with jaw dropping reactions, and maybe feelings of disappointment; bumping into motorbikes and hoodlums like us, there.

5)      Joshimath — Malari — Sumna

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High ahead of Joshimath and, into the Nanda Devi Biosphere reserve, is this route which leads to a small village. With 200 houses of settlers from the Rongpa and Sherpa community, the village is called Malari (close to the Indo-Tibetan border). The route opens in April, after the snow thaws and, closes around December when the locals of the village migrate to lowlands. Near the border and home to a lot of military activity, Malari is a town of old architecture with wooden planks and slated roofs adorning each house.

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Roads are in a bad shape post Joshimath, towards Malari (72kms). No petrol pumps along the way, and only small villages with limited supplies. Tapovan enroute, is a place with hot sulphur springs. The route is scenic and goes until Sumna. Riding beyond is not permitted. Mortar shells can be spotted in Malari. However the best thing that the trail affords, is a magnificent view of the Dronagiri Parvat (where it is fabled, that Hanuman found Sanjeevani).

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Rides I Prefer

Mostly, I stick to the dual sport type. Prime reason being, its capability to go anywhere. The best of the lot has been the Hero Impulse, the sole dual sport purpose built bike manufactured in India. We have been putting the machine through some big ventures across North India. Last year we entered into the 18th Raid De Himalaya for the first time, with two Impulses. One finished 5th amongst 18 competitors in the motorcycle category and the other was disqualified as the rider reached 5mins late after the cut-off time. Riding 80+kms on a punctured front wheel though; from Gramphu to Kaza.

About Ankit Verma

Adventure Biker, Lecturer, Engineer, Ankit also facilitates a community for bikers in Dehradun, as well as starting off a passionate venture in custom built motorcycles. 

Dehradun Motorheads is a small community of adventure freaks from Dehradun, who wish to ride together. Sheer motorcycling fun and madness carrying forward a simple emotion of love towards adventure riding, peppered by some wilderness and nature.

Motobration Customs is a wing of Dehradun Motorheads and a small start to a big dream. Building custom motorcycles to our heart’s content. With a Yamaha RX scrambler, an Enfield bobber and an adventure tuned Karizma built under the firm we’ve just got the ball rolling.

Ankit Verma

Author: Ankit Verma

Adventure Biker, Lecturer, Engineer, Ankit also facilitates a community for bikers in Dehradun, as well as starting off a passionate venture in custom built motorcycles.

Droolworthy Motorbiking Trails of Uttarakhand for the Everyday Off-Roader

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