High Altitude Tyre Tales

I explained the situation to my erstwhile hitch-hiker, turned the bike around and limped slowly and carefully back down the mountain, I was only 3 kms from the top of Khardung La.

Although I had the tools etc that I needed to remove the rear wheel, which on an Enfield is pretty easy, I wasn't carrying tyre levers; so I stopped and asked the soldiers at a checkpoint for help.


They were delighted to pitch in once they realised what the issue was. Whilst I was served ginger tea, they clustered round and did the work - under my watchful gaze.

I couldn't thank them enough and promised to say hello next time I was back here. I'd used my spare tube and as I was only carrying one with me- this was just supposed to be a quick day trip, I reluctantly decided that with my current track record with punctures I'd better abandon my attempt to reach Khardung La. I retrieved my passport from the checkpoint guy and promised that I'd be back soon, then enjoyed a fast ride on the good tarmac stretches down the mountain accompanying some Scottish guys on their Enfields - racing?? Moi

I was very disappointed but consoled myself with the knowledge that I'd be back in a couple of weeks with my group and we would be heading over the pass then.

Back in Leh, it was time to take serious action on the puncture situation, which is how I found myself in this unusual position

riding pillion on my own bike through the streets of Leh as a local rode my bike to the best tyre guy in town. This guy -

We also had to sort out a couple of other issues and ended up in this workshop

Yes - this IS a professional's workspace, I particularly enjoyed the Hindu shrine in the corner

and the meticulously arranged tools

A Myriad Of Punctures

With all the punctures that you have had what do you think it will be like leading a party of riders all presumably riding on the same kind of tyres on the same roads.

Tyre Anxiety

As you can imagine, those were exactly the same thoughts going through my mind. The guys I'd got the bike from were pretty mystified at the problems I was having, though to be fair half of them were due to inept repair guys doing things wrong - I learnt to watch them with an eagle eye.

In the end though, I had  punonctures on the return ride and our group ridng the same route had NO punctures at all - I had just been unlucky. It did make me appreciate life without punctures and to not go anywhere without my spare tubes :)