This is part I of the ride story of the 4 day trip to Chopta-Deoria Taal. In this part I will cover my ride to Chopta.
Day 1: Gurgaon to Chopta
Chopta is the base for your trek to Tungnath, which is the highest Shiva temple in the world at 12000ft. You can read more about it on wiki here. If you are planning to ride here, most important thing to know before anything here is that if you do a first search for 'Delhi to Chopta' on Google maps. it will show you INCORRECT location.
Since I was riding from Gurgaon, thus for the correct location of Chopta, this was the route: Gurgaon-Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut-Muzzafarnagar-Roorkee-Haridwar-Rishikesh-Devprayag-Srinagar-Rudraprayag-Ukhimath-Chopta. Almost 480km. Till Rishikesh its plains and after that you start climbing.
I started my ride at 5:30am and as I am not very familiar with crossing Delhi and riding towards Ghaziabad side, I connected navigation on my bluetooth intercomm and it was very useful in guiding me to this route. However the maps itself fucked up a little and I kept riding till Hapur, but quickly realized this and joined the intended route Muzaffarnagar onwards. I was surprised to see heavy traffic on road at 6am on road. Somebody please tell me when can we get our roads free from any traffic! So when I stopped for breakfast at Khatauli bypass after covering 150km (8am) I found that the wrong route till Hapur has costed me some 30mins/20km extra. Its not so bad I thought. As usual the breakfast was chai and paratha.
After the breakfast however just within 4-5km I saw a KFC, dayummm I thought, and after some 10km a McDonalds too! No problem I will have a good lunch probably at one of those while coming back I thought. From the breakfast point I had checked my destination was 325km it showed. While eating breakfast I also started the Strava app I thought I will try this time, to track the speed, route, distance, elevation etc. You can see the charts in the end. So the roads are really good after that. Roorkee is fucked up in traffic as always and it all the traffic near Haridwar slows you down. As you approach the roads somewhat turn dusty and into a single lane and slows you down further. You have to be patient on this stretch! The smooth curves around Rishikesh Shivpuri stretch will make you happy again though. I enjoyed riding with a Classic 500 guy on this stretch who didn't want to race with me for a change, was just riding fine. My next stop after that was for refreshments 30km before Devprayag. Started talking to the shopkeeper here and he told me that he has worked in the 'adventure' industry before. I always appreciate whatever people I meet on road share with me. Well I continued till Devprayag to stop to click this beautiful confluence of Bhagirathi and Alakhnanda river. From this point they are together known as the river Ganga.
It was getting very hot already as the altitude was rising slowly and the fatigue was increasing. After Devprayag its mixed roads, mostly good , but with some bad stretches. You will ride along with Alakhnanda river on your side throughout from Devprayag. After enjoying the view of the river down the valley for sometime, hunger started to slow me down but there were hardly any decent places to stop and grab some food. I had to continue till Srinagar where this so called Chinese food joint with a large menu served only fried rice. Anyways it was good enough to satisfy my hunger and put me back on road with more energy. This was about 2:30pm when I started after lunch and had covered 392km. I thought I should reach my destination Chopta by 6pm.
After Rishikesh its just hills and curves in your route and this means you can't ride fast and your speed is limited. So while you are riding on beautiful curves enjoying the view, the speed restriction is kind of frustrating because you can't cross 40-50kmph on these tight curves. As I continued I felt the need of taking more hydration breaks because of increasing altitude and of course the heat. Interesting incident which happened here was that I stopped randomly after Rudraprayag for a quick bite of energy bar and I shared it with one random guy passing by. I started talking to him and asked his name and we both shared same name. This coincidence brought an instant smile on my face.
I had been noticing these two guys throughout the route, one on an RE and another on Activa probably riding from Delhi. The guy on Activa was amazing, no riding gear at all, in a t-shirt and with a cheap helmet. Appreciate the spirit but not the stupidity. Well riding further I had to stop to capture this beautiful sunset.
At about 5:10pm I reached Ukhimath. From here there was a pleasant change in weather. I was riding in hill forests on smooth roads and it was getting cold and slightly dark too. I thought Chopta will be just 5-6km fro Ukhimath, but its actually 30km.
So it took me about an hour more to reach Chopta. There are just few dhabas and stay options here. Accomodation is just minimal and basic with bed and blanket. You have to park your bike on road alongside the dhaba and I just booked for a room. It was already dark by this time and cold too. There is no electricity here, and I mean the supply. People rely on solar power so please get your power banks fully charged and carry torch lights. There is no gas cylinder cooking too and you will see woodfire chulhas(stoves) being used in all the dhabas.
I was hoping to see some stars tonight but sadly it turned very cloudy and rained too for sometime. Anyways I had an early dinner and I have to mention that the food was delicious, although it was as simple as roti sabzi dal. I took a walk in the dark after the dinner and hit the bed after that. Day 1 ended with a sound sleep :)
13 hours riding in one day, I certainly do not recommend it. You should plan for a break somewhere in between, say Devprayag. I had nothing else to do after reaching Chopta on Day 1 hence I could continued as per my plan. It worked for me, might not work for you. So plan as per your level of endurance. Tomorrow's plan was to start the trek early towards Tungnath, and if all goes fine, continue to Chandrashilla too.
Oh well I forgot to update on the Strava recording my whole journey from the point I had breakfast. Here you go. I have tried to combine the elevation chart with the route from Google maps with help of my poor photoshop skills. And below this you will see the speed curve along the timeline starting 8am. Expect an error of 5% in this data.
I found it really useful in understanding the route/pace during the ride, of course you can analyse it after your ride ends. Looking at the speed curve you will see that as the elevation increases it reduces your speed and in the last 50km or so there is a very steep rise in the elevation, making the speed hardly going above 44kmph, which is the average speed in this case (the dotted line).
Petrol: Rs. 1350
Accomodation (at Chopta): Rs. 400
Soap: Rs. 40 (lol yes)
Food & Refreshments: Rs. 230
Hope this helps you in planning your ride to Chopta. If you have any questions feel free to ask in comments. Part II of this ride story will cover the trek to Tungnath-Chandrashilla, riding to Sari village and the climb to Deoria Tal, and part III will cover the return journey.