Spiti circuit is probably one of the most known places among motorcycle enthusiasts. A lot of people travel on this route by other means of transport as well but a motorcycle ride here is a dream for many. After Ladakh, this route is probably the second place that can truly be called a motorcyclist paradise. While riding to Spiti is a bit easier for people living in northern part of the country, it becomes a bit challenging for people living in Southern areas; even eastern and western too for that matter actually. A big question then that needs answering for someone traveling from that far is how to transport your motorcycle for Spiti trip?
First of all, why would a person want to transport their motorcycle? Answer to this question is that it is convenient to do so. If you were living in one of the southern states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka or Kerala; a bike trip on Spiti Circuit would mean that you have two choices.
First is to ride your own motorcycle all the way from home. If you opt to do this, it would mean that you will have to ride for several days in the plain; through almost all of India while trying to reach Spiti Valley and then getting back home. This would be time consuming, additional hassle and also quite boring. The overall cost of the trip too would definitely go up.
Second choice then would be to reach either Manali or Shimla and rent a motorcycle there but then the reliability of the bike becomes a problem. Motorcycles available for rental are mostly beaten and badly used with a high chance of breaking down in the middle of nowhere. Fuel consumption with these motorcycles too is quite high. Renting a motorcycle from either of these places will also see you paying a daily rental; which depending on the motorcycle you chose can be anywhere between Rs. 1200 to Rs. 1800 per day. Apart from this, you will also be pay a security amount upfront which is quite a high sum of money.
Another hassle is of returning the motorcycle. For example, if you rented a motorcycle from Shimla, it would mean that you will have to circle back to Shimla itself to return it. If you chose to leave it at Manali, then you will also have to pay another 10 to 15k additional apart from the daily rental. All this can however be avoided if you transported your own motorcycle to a place near to Spiti Valley. This will save you the pain of several days of riding through the plains; additional costs involved; and most of all, a peace of mind as it is your own motorcycle you are riding. You are familiar with the pulse of the vehicle, know its limitations and had plenty of time to get it ready for the tough ride ahead.
How to Transport Your Motorcycle for Spiti Valley Trip?
When it comes to sending your motorcycle, you can either do so with a private packers and movers company; or you can send it by Indian railways. Of the two, I have found Indian railways to be the cheapest and safest way. The entire procedure is not that complicated, doesn’t take long and is way too cheap as compared to a private packers and movers. In this article, I will provide details on how to go about it.
There are two options to transport your bike by train. If you are sending the vehicle ahead of your own arrival, it would then have to be booked as parcel. The motorcycle would arrive at the desired destination and wait there until you reach there to claim it. Second choice is to book the motorcycle as luggage. You will do this when you are traveling by the same train. Both you and your motorcycle would arrive at the desired destination at the same time; and you will take the delivery after it has been unloaded from the train.
For sending motorcycle as a parcel to Spiti Valley
- Arrive at the railway station between 10 AM to 5 PM. The parcel office is open only during these hours.
- You will need to bring your vehicle’s RC and a copy of your own identity card.
- Empty the fuel tank to the last drop.
- At the parcel office, you will find several packers who can wrap up your entire bike in jute bags for about Rs. 300 – Rs. 500. Hire any one of them to pack your bike for you.
- After packing, go to the parcel counter and fill up the form with all necessary details.
- You will also be needing to declare value of your motorcycle on this form.
- Complete the paperwork and make the payment.
- This is it. It now is responsibility of Indian Railways to load your motorcycle in the required train.
For Booking Motorcycle as Luggage to Spiti Valley
- The steps for emptying fuel tank and packing will be the same as I mentioned above.
- For booking motorcycle as luggage however, the office is open 24 hours. So yes, if you were boarding a midnight train, the office will still be open.
- Luggage booking starts about 2 to 3 hours before train’s departure time. Ensure that you reach at least 2 hours in advance as you will also need some time for packing and paperwork.
- Ask around where the luggage booking office is. In some cases, parcel and luggage booking counters are separate whereas at some stations these are same.
- Complete the paperwork and make payment. For luggage booking, apart form RC and ID proof, you also will need to submit a photocopy of your confirmed ticket by same train.
- After the train arrives, make sure your motorcycle has been put in the luggage compartment before you board the train yourself.
- Once at the destination station, get off the train and collect your motorcycle.
Steps mentioned above are a short summary of the entire procedure. This in more like an ideal world situation but there are of course several other good to know tips that can be of help to make the process smooth. For a more detailed version of this information with other important tips, please read How to Transport your motorcycle by Indian Railways. Go through the article at the link above for some more information on the topic.
Where to Ship Motorcycle for Spiti Valley Trip?
Next question is where to transport the motorcycle. This will completely depend on your itinerary but in all cases , Chandigarh is the best place to send or bring your motorcycle to. It is close to both Shimla and Manali so no matter which side you are entering the valley from, Chandigarh will become the center point of your trip. You will send the motorcycle to Chandigarh, collect it from there and ride towards Shimla or Manali for Spiti. After the trip, you can then again circle back to Chandigarh to ship your motorcycle home.
Some people I have come across have also sent their vehicles to Delhi. I will however strongly advise it. Delhi in my opinion is way too large than Chandigarh and hence a lot of rush at the railways stations. I am not saying that you will not find any chaos at Chandigarh but it will be far less than Delhi. Another plus point of avoiding Delhi is that then you will not have to ride another 230 kilometers from Delhi to Chandigarh and can straight away take your bike up the hills.
I hope the information above on how to transport your motorcycle for Spiti trip was of help. If you need any further details; or have any other questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section below or at our Community Forum; and I will be glad to answer.