At age 40, in the middle of raising venture funding for my second tech start-up, I had a massive heart attack. It’s a long story, but in essence, while I was lying on the cold OT table and wondering why they were trying to freeze me to death, my loved ones were waiting outside desperately hoping and praying that I make it through. Surprise: I did make it through.
In just a few days I will make it all the way through to 50.
3 minute read | 486 words
At 4,420 meters Sach pass is not among the highest ‘motorable’ passes in the country, but it is certainly one of the steepest and one of toughest to bicycle across. A couple of years ago, Punit and I failed to cycle across it (read about the last attempt to cycle across the Sach pass here. What are the chances that I’ll do better on a solo attempt?
It is a little after 4:00 pm and it has already been a tough day of cycling.
12 minute read | 2547 words
Planning on riding/driving from Manali to Leh? You can explore the route in an interactive map right here and also download a .gpx file of the route for your GPS.
On this 470 km trip you will climb 14,000 meters and cross five major high-altitude passes (called La). If you are cycling, the climb to the pass will seem endless. I have marked all of the passes in the file just so that you know how much more you need to suffer!
1 minute read | 190 words
Earlier this year we went scuba diving to the Andaman Islands. We spent a over a week at DiveIndia on the Havelock islands.
There is no easy way to describe the vibrancy of the underwater ecosystem of a coral reef. No description can do justice to the experience of being 10-20 meters underwater.
Early morning departure for a dive session I tired using the word ‘psychedelic’ to describe the colours and the shapes of the astounding range of lifeforms.
1 minute read | 144 words
As far as I can remember, I had one persistent, recurring childhood fantasy/dream: To fly. All by myself.
Some 40 odd years later, it has finally happened. I went through a short training to learn to fly a paraglider. So how was it to live out your childhood fantasy, you might ask? Well, nice! Really nice. But, somehow not as fantastic as the original fantasy!
Mostly because jumping off the face of a high cliff defies your basic instinct.
3 minute read | 544 words
The hardest part about Spiti is reaching there. It took us a 22-hour bus ride to get to Rekong Peo. For the sake of acclimatization we had planned the night stay at Kalpa, which is not so far from there, but much higher. And also much nicer. Having had our fill with the HPTDC’s ‘ordinary’ buses, especially given the quantum of our luggage, we choose to just hire a jeep the next day to take us up to Nako (technically still in Kinnaur) – another five odd hour drive.
10 minute read | 2104 words
Where in the world
do you have a car driver slow down to a halt, to let you finish taking a picture from across the street.
Where in the world
do you have women managing the night desk alone in a small hotel, in a smallish town.
Where in the world
do you have women taxi drivers doing solo cross-country drives.
Where in the world
do you have young women single handedly manage resto-bars on the side of a highway, in the middle of nowhere.
3 minute read | 460 words
Perhaps more appropriate to say ‘trying to’ cycle across the Sach Pass. And failing. We did our best, under the circumstances, and failed. No shame in that!
15 odd kilometers short of the Sach pass we had to turn around . The trail (can’t call it a road, even though it was wider than a typical single track) was so steep, and so full of slush that our bikes had no grip.
2 minute read | 308 words
She knew. I could tell she knew that I was in pain. I had been making sure that the violent negotiations between my calves and knees were kept to, well, myself. But she could see through it.
I was determined to take myself and the 20 kilo pack on my back, safely to wherever the trail ended. This was the last, and particularly gruelling, day of a 6-day-trek across the Buran Pass.
4 minute read | 772 words
Ride report form September 2010 Ride dates: September 4th to 14th, 2010
Two riders: Sanjay Jaiman and Ajay Jaiman
After years of thinking about it and weeks of planning we finally did it. Close to 600 kms of cycling from Manali to Leh (because Tanglang La was closed and we had to take a detour at Debring and go via Tso Kar and Mahe bridge).
We rode with all our gear including clothes, sleeping bags, tent, stove, utensils, food, water, cycle spares on our cycles – an estimated weight of about 25 kgs (not counting the weight of the bikes, pannier racks, and bags.
1 minute read | 171 words
In June I traveled almost the entire length of the Spiti valley in the ‘European backpacker’ style. Using local buses (non-a/c with non-reclining seats), hitching rides, and hiking– from village to village and from monastery to monastery; eating in ‘dhabas’, staying in village homes, monasteries; making new friends (some of whom were perpetual travelers – they do not have a stable snail mail address)…
It is an absolutely incredible way to see the countryside.
1 minute read | 162 words
I like the idea of self-supported cycle travel. It gives you a feeling of freedom, almost liberation from the constraints of ‘tourism’. Or at least that is what I thought. To put it to test, the first order of business was to acquire pannier bags (the bags that hang on the sides of the cycle). And then a pannier rack, on which the bags are attached. Once I had mounted the bags and done a couple of short local test rides, I felt I was ready for a real test ride in the mountains.
4 minute read | 684 words
© 1995 – 2020 Ajay Jaiman