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  #1  
Old 04-11-2012, 07:31 AM
ujourneys ujourneys is offline
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Default Wobbly Wheels Rally | Indian Himalayas | September 2012

Much like you, we are big fans of the trusty old scooter. And much like you, we like to put ourselves through awesome adventures every once in a while. So, when the inevitable ‘What’s next?’ question arose, it got us thinking. What is the last place you think the universally under-appreciated scooter would go?

And that’s when it struck us.

Every year, thousands from across the world come to conquer the Himalayas on their motorcycles. These mountains are tough as nails and there are serious bragging points at stake. We thought why not put the scooter to the ultimate test. Scale the gigantic Himalayas, cross rivers, face huge landslides and battle the endemic lack of oxygen. But why stop at that?

We then sat down to make it even more difficult. We chose some of the most incredible and remote spots in the region and added the condition that the scooters must also complete challenges at these spots. Whichever way your rally ends, you would have earned lifelong respect from everyone.

We invite you to the Wobbly Wheels Rally!

RALLY FORMAT
Uncompetitive. Unsupported. Unguided

THE RIDE
Scooter or a step-through moped with engine capacity below 125cc. Yes, sidecars are allowed

LAUNCH AND DURATION
The Rally will be flagged off on September 3, 2012 after 2 days of pre-rally activities. The launch will be preceded by some test riding on Indian roads, safety briefings by our experts, a friendly cricket match with a local team and a super mental party to put your head into a spin. Since this is not a competitive rally, there is no pressure on teams to finish first or at all! However, we reckon 3 weeks is good enough to get it all done. So, at the end of 3 weeks from flag off, we will host an awesome closing party to celebrate your adventures.

WHERE
The rally will be flagged off from Chandigarh in northern India. Participants will negotiate their way through 3,000 kms / 1,900 miles of treacherous Himalayan terrain, cruise through the final section on the plains to finish back at Chandigarh. See the attached map for reference.

How to reach: Most countries have direct flights to New Delhi (from NYC 15 hours, from London 9 hours). Chandigarh is an hour long flight north of New Delhi (250 kms / 155 miles) and lies at the foothills of the Himalayas. It is one of the larger cities in India and major shippers will provide direct connectivity there.

WHAT DO YOU NEED?
To participate, you must have the following items at the start of the event:
• Class A International Driving Permit (IDP) allowing the participant to ride 2-wheelers in India
• A scooter / moped meeting our requirements with proper registration and insurance (you can buy one cheaply in India, if you don’t want to ship yours all the way)
• Life and accident insurance valid for at least 45 days from the start date

INTERESTED?
Visit www.unreasonablejourneys.com | Email Abhimanyu@unreasonablejourneys.com
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  #2  
Old 09-08-2012, 01:20 AM
ujourneys ujourneys is offline
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The Wobbly Wheels Rally 2012 has started climbing the Himalayan heights. Rain, mud and landslides - 6 days and we have already faced all this. We are tracking the rally's progress on this link. Check it out

Wobbly Wheels Rally 2012 | Live Updates

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  #3  
Old 09-10-2012, 11:20 AM
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That would be awesome to do! Thanks for the updates.
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2009 Honda Ruckus
2008 Honda Ruckus
2004 Honda Metropolitan
2002 Bajaj Chetak
1983 Yamaha Riva 180
1979 Vespa P125X(150cc top end)
1966 Yamaha MG1T 80cc Omaha Trail
(sold scooters)
2007 Vino125cc, 2005 Tank Urban 50(72cc kit installed)
2004 Honda Passport, 1987 Honda Elite CH80
1984 Honda Trail 110, 1983 Honda Passport C70(88cc installed)
1979 Honda Trail 90(125cc installed)
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  #4  
Old 09-10-2012, 03:16 PM
ujourneys ujourneys is offline
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Let me take you on this trip with me....

Wobbly Wheels Rally 2012 | Live Updates

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More tomorrow....
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  #5  
Old 09-12-2012, 12:25 AM
ujourneys ujourneys is offline
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Heading into the mountains ....

Wobbly Wheels Rally | Live Updates

The Kullu Tunnel

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That moment when you realize just how insignificant you are in the mountains

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The river follows you all the way

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First attempt to cross Rohtang Pass

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Mud and slush everywhere

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Yes, this was the surface!

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More soon ...
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  #6  
Old 09-15-2012, 06:19 AM
ujourneys ujourneys is offline
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Wobbly Wheels Rally | Live Updates

The first approach to Rohtang Pass was marred by multiple landslides from the recent rains. There was mud everywhere. The road was slippery. The traffic jam was mammoth. Starting at 7 am in the morning, I kept waiting till 3 pm when the road finally opened. It was too late for today.

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The biggest surprise waited for me back at Manali. I took the scoot for repairs and the guy made the usual enquiries about what I am doing with a scooter in these areas. Upon learning that I was going to Leh on that in this weather, he simply refused to take any money for the repairs.

Everyone loves a great adventure!

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The next day, I started again. The weather and road surface was no better. But the landslides had been cleared. Just take a look...

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On the other side, things were much better.

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Next report... The incredible Manali Leh Highway!
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  #7  
Old 09-17-2012, 11:28 AM
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Keep them coming and enjoy the ride!
__________________
2009 Honda Ruckus
2008 Honda Ruckus
2004 Honda Metropolitan
2002 Bajaj Chetak
1983 Yamaha Riva 180
1979 Vespa P125X(150cc top end)
1966 Yamaha MG1T 80cc Omaha Trail
(sold scooters)
2007 Vino125cc, 2005 Tank Urban 50(72cc kit installed)
2004 Honda Passport, 1987 Honda Elite CH80
1984 Honda Trail 110, 1983 Honda Passport C70(88cc installed)
1979 Honda Trail 90(125cc installed)
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Old 09-22-2012, 01:05 AM
ujourneys ujourneys is offline
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Wobbly Wheels Rally | Live Updates

On the other side of Rohtang Pass, the weather was much better. It was bright and sunny and just the right amount of cold. The scooter was doing alright even after the battering received on that godforsaken mountain pass. Keylong was in sight.

In Keylong, the first bout of health problems cropped up. I had difficulty breathing and blood pressure was fluctuating from time to time. Eventually, I headed to a doctor. He mentioned this is a common problems among bicycle and motorcycle riders in these areas. That didn't help much. Anyway, the next morning I was on the road again.

The road surface fluctuated between awesome to nightmarish to everything in between. Flat tar roads were interspersed with gravel filled surfaces. I spent two nights in a massive deserted institute out of a horror movie and a tent in the middle of nowhere. The fog lamp fell off. The mirror turned the other way. There was much rattling. But the incredible views of Ladakh more than made up for the pain of riding.

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I stayed a day in Leh and decided to visit two of my targets over the next thre days.

Khardung La is considered the highest motorable road in the world. At an elevation of 18380ft/5602m, this is one of the most extreme points of the world. The scoot, however, made it without any whimpering. It did show signs of slowing down and giving up but the little warrior kept going.

On the downhill journey, the headlight gave up. It was dark. The road was slippery from rain and recent blasting to create a new road. I found a little space in the middle of an army convoy to ensure I can see through the creeping darkness. One lovely ride.

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The next stop was Pangong Tso. One of the most fantastically located and largest lakes in the world. Over 140kms in length and straddling two countries, the thing you will never forget about this lake is the colour of the water. Its a shade of blue I have never seen before. It is fantastic.

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  #9  
Old 09-24-2012, 10:45 AM
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Awesome! What did the other cyclists say when they say your scooter?
__________________
2009 Honda Ruckus
2008 Honda Ruckus
2004 Honda Metropolitan
2002 Bajaj Chetak
1983 Yamaha Riva 180
1979 Vespa P125X(150cc top end)
1966 Yamaha MG1T 80cc Omaha Trail
(sold scooters)
2007 Vino125cc, 2005 Tank Urban 50(72cc kit installed)
2004 Honda Passport, 1987 Honda Elite CH80
1984 Honda Trail 110, 1983 Honda Passport C70(88cc installed)
1979 Honda Trail 90(125cc installed)
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  #10  
Old 10-09-2012, 01:22 AM
ujourneys ujourneys is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old School View Post
Awesome! What did the other cyclists say when they say your scooter?
Cyclists are among the coolest people we have come across on these harsh climbs. They experience the worst that the surface has to offer and they do it in slow motion (comparatively). Even they were full of surprise when they saw a scooter doing the rounds of such places. Coming from them, it was quite a compliment!
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Old 10-09-2012, 01:47 AM
ujourneys ujourneys is offline
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Having gone around Leh for the last one week, I decided to explore new grounds. Leh is a barren, moon-like, high altitude desert. Very little grows here and even the most fantastic views are stark.

In contrast, the Kashmir Valley is as green as they come. Full of chinar trees, flowers of every colour and size and babbling brooks everywhere, Kashmir is the stuff of dreams. However, the chequered past of Kashmir has always prevented too many people from visiting. Though this may sound insensitive, but thanks to the security issues, Kashmir is still largely unspoilt. Things have changed for the better in the last few years. No attacks have been reported in years. Army has slowly withdrawn from the city and has dismantled bunkers. There is still massive presence of the armed forces but the city and the valley is no longer on the tenterhooks.

To get to Kashmir from Ladakh, one crosses Kargil. A town on the crossroads of the old Silk Route from the middle east to China, Kargil is stamped on the map of India after the Kargil War of 1999 with Pakishtan. Barely a stone's throw away from the international border, Dras is probably the most dramatic stop along the way. A massive, well maintained war memorial stands in the middle of nowhere and overlooks the international border. Sign posts declaring "You are under observation by the enemy" ensue that your journey is never boring.

The Journey From Ladakh To Kargil

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This is what happens to the hands inside the gloves after an hour of continuous rain.

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There is so much stuff to be carried along, it is like I am on a honeymoon with my equipment

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Old 10-20-2012, 01:27 PM
ujourneys ujourneys is offline
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THE FINAL CHAPTER

Kashmir is a much changed place from even 5 years ago. There is no army in the city and much less visible even in the countryside. The valley is bursting with tourism and things are pretty normal now.

The thing that has not changed is its beauty. Starting from Sonamarg all the way to Banihal, it is picture postcard setting. Head towards Gulmarg and you enter what will feel like the French or Austrian Alps. Head towards the international border and it keeps getting more exotic. Don't expect to see much from the highway, though. The Srinagar - Jammu is one of the busiest highways with a LOT of truck traffic on a road that is not particularly wide.

The journey back from Srinagar to Delhi is one of increasing ease. The twisting mountain roads slowly give way to wide open highways. You enter the green and yellow fields of Punjab growing mustard, wheat and what not. Feel free to stop anywhere and just wander into the fields, have a meal with the farmer (who will very happily share it with you) or freshen up at one of the water pumps. The journey was a little boring given what I had experienced in Ladakh but was made eventful by the name of the event.

Wobbly Wheels Rally finally stood up to its name as the front wheel of my scooter started to wobbly dangerously. I just had to stop after a point. The enitre wheel assembly out, checked and straightened up, it took over a couple of hours for me to be fully satisfied with it. The Vespa has performed amazingly well. Apart from the troubles on Rohtang Pass (which were very many), it has not shown signs of slowing down at all. What a machine!

As I reach home, there is much jubiliation with friends and family. Inside, however, is a different feeling. I don't feel like jumping on the roof shouting, "I did it!". I am strangely calm, the entire experience of having done this is very surreal. Portions of it are flashing in front of my eyes. I tell stories from the trip to everyone. But no one will be able to experience what I experienced unless they are there. I finally understand why people are mad about riding and exploring. I am finally a traveler.

__________________________________________________ ________________

I will be putting up the notification for the 2013 rally soon on this board. Keep your eyes open.

__________________________________________________ _________________

Wobbly Wheels Rally stands up to its name

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Shalimar & Nishat Garden at Srinagar

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The Dal Lake, the beating heart of Srinagar

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Gulmarg

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The various types of traffic you will meet between Srinagar & Jammu

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Getting into the plains

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  #13  
Old 10-20-2012, 09:29 PM
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Congrats on a successful journey! I have dreams of making similar travels like yours across America. Maybe I could ride my Vespa on the Alaska-Canada Highway...
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2009 Honda Ruckus
2008 Honda Ruckus
2004 Honda Metropolitan
2002 Bajaj Chetak
1983 Yamaha Riva 180
1979 Vespa P125X(150cc top end)
1966 Yamaha MG1T 80cc Omaha Trail
(sold scooters)
2007 Vino125cc, 2005 Tank Urban 50(72cc kit installed)
2004 Honda Passport, 1987 Honda Elite CH80
1984 Honda Trail 110, 1983 Honda Passport C70(88cc installed)
1979 Honda Trail 90(125cc installed)
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Old 11-01-2012, 02:09 PM
ujourneys ujourneys is offline
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Thank you everyone for following me on this journey. This has been one hell of a ride, one that I never thought I will ever do. In the end, it was so much more than just a road trip. It is on journeys like this that one starts believing in a lot of stuff. Like the sheer enormity of nature in front of everything we can build. Like the inherent goodness of heart of people you meet on the road. Like the belief that if you can dream it, you can do it.

Anyway, if you had seen the links in the signature, you would have noticed that this was the first edition of an annual scooter rally through the mountains. Registrations for the next one are now open. I have created another thread for the same here.

Hope to see you on the road someday!

Last edited by ujourneys; 11-01-2012 at 02:17 PM.
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