3 September, 2018
Manu Bhutani, who works in our Harley-Davidson corporate office in New Delhi, India, shares his account of his thrilling excursion atop a Harley-Davidson Street® 750
When the Harley-Davidson Street® 750 model was introduced in 2014 to India, it was initially built for shredding traffic, zipping through busy streets of the city. In August, this model reached some very new heights. Heights plagued with terrible conditions and the freezing cold, even in the month of August. Khardung La is a road (if one can call it that) usually closed for half the year due to snow. Located at height of 5,359 meters (17,582 ft) from sea level it is arguably the second highest motorable road in the world!
Harley-Davidson employee Manu Bhutani recounts his travels along Khardung La mountain pass in the Ladakh region of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir:
“I started out on August 11, around 5 a.m. from Gurgaon, a city that lies roughly 32 kilometers (20 miles) southwest of New Delhi. It was pouring and still dark, when most people are still asleep. I pressed the ignition and twisted the throttle of the Harley-Davidson® Street™ 750 and started my journey towards Leh and Khardung La. A journey waiting to throw new challenges my way but will be made worth it with an abundance of beautiful views and wonderful people.
I took the route from Gurgaon – Manali – Leh – Kargil – Srinagar and during this 11-day journey, crossed diverse terrains – highways, mountains, tough terrains, many with mud, sand, stones and natural drains, and experienced off-roading for hundreds of kilometers. Riding on this journey through five mighty mountain passes, through the visor of my helmet I saw many geographical transformations. I was blessed to see many undulating meadows and valleys, exciting peaks and mysterious caves, majestic mountains and glaciers, barren landscapes and beautiful lakes, innumerable species of birds and rare wildlife. Indeed, I wanted to capture every bit of it.
Out of the many memorable moments, I must mention two. The first was enroute to the city of Leh, when I was few kilometers away from village Sarchu and it was raining heavily. With very low oxygen levels, the freezing cold weather made me almost numb. I had to press my hands onto the muffler of the bike to keep consciousness and the Street 750 kept rumbling like it was saying “Bring it on!”
The second memory happened while going downhill. It took me three hours to cross one extremely tough and narrow stretch of 22 kilometers (13.6 miles). The terrain was so tough that I had to stop many times, take a deep breath and regain control over my bike and myself. When I finally covered it, I got to know from a villager that I just crossed Zoji-La, which is said to be one of the most dangerous passes in the world.
All in all, 11 days, 2,200 kilometers (1,367 miles), extremely difficult weather and nerve-wracking terrains, but no sign of weakness – thanks to the Street 750!”