How to Prepare Physically for Leh Ladakh and Kashmir Bike Ride

The Ladakh season goes hot when the May month comes close. Everyone is ready to set out on an adventure trip of a lifetime. But before you wait for this day to come and start your preparation for ladakh trip, you need to be physically fit and strong to make everything happen.

Here are some insights on how to prepare physically for Leh Ladakh motorcycle trip.

Leh seen from the Old Fort
Leh seen from the Old Fort


It’s most important to evaluate your own physical condition before you decide to set out on a long ride, especially to a difficult terrain like Ladakh. You can prepare your bike or get your luggage packed in just matter of 2-3 days but physical strength and capacity for the ride requires larger efforts and focused attention consistently, over a period of time, and not overnight!

The most common problems faced by riders in Ladakh region – loss of appetite, difficulty digesting food, nausea, acute mountain sickness (AMS), fatique, dizziness, insomnia, shortness of breath upon exertion, nosebleed and drowsiness. It can get extremely difficult to move ahead even if a single problem attacks the rider.

These problems associated with riding in the mountains can be attacked only and only by increasing your strength, stamina and lung capacity.

Dr. Amit Girey, Mumbai based physiotherapist and fellowship in sports and science stresses on the importance of increasing one’s stamina for a Ladakh trip.

“Breathing technique plays an important role for optimising you’re riding and increasing your performance on the trail,” he explains. “Higher altitudes are always a matter of concern for a rider who starts panting and receives less oxygen,” he highlights.

These are a few things that one can practice to increase stamina.

Blowing balloons: Whether the trip is well planned or you are leaving in a hurry, you can always do this exercise of blowing balloons anywhere. It increases your lung capacity with enough oxygen to meet body needs.

Aerobic Exercises: Cycling, swimming and playing soccer is highly recommended to increase your breathing stamina.

Rhythmic breathing: Get your breathing in sync with pedalling, in the ration of 1:1. If that proves to be tough, you can try 1:2 and see what suits you best. Practice different combos, as it will help a great deal.

Mouth and Nasal breathing: People suffering from any nasal problems such as sinusitis or nasal congestion, should practice breathing through the mouth at higher altitude as they will then be able to move air rapidly and obtain a higher level of oxygenation.

Exercises: Try to increase anaerobic capacity through exercises like holding the breath for a while. You can practice this off your bike. Let your body get used to being under oxygen deprivation for a period of time. After a while, it will help you.

Physical preparation for the Ladakh
Physical preparation for the Ladakh ride should not be given a low priority


Despite physical preps, there is every chance that you feel sick while riding high altitudes for a long duration. There are medications, like Diamox, available that bikers often use to cure altitude sickness.

Says Dr. Waman Kale, Mumbai based physician from Sanjeevani Hospital, “Diamox may cause drowsiness and other side effects that can have multiple effects on you. It may affect your ability to ride, and you may even develop some skin rashes, itching or some unexplained reaction. You should always consume it under a doctor’s guidance only, and have it only if it is prescribed for you. Don’t be a doctor as you may not know the harm it can cause to your body. Those who consume it regularly under a doctor’s guidance should have a regular blood test to monitor the level of electrolytes.”

However, the only sure shot way to tide over difficult terrains, is to be fit and gear up with enough strength and stamina in the natural way.

This piece was also published in the MBMW Emagazine March 2013 issue.

Originally posted in

Author: Om Vaikul

Biker, blogger, photographer, travel enthusiast... A wanderlust soul.

13 thoughts on “How to Prepare Physically for Leh Ladakh and Kashmir Bike Ride”

  1. Heylo Om,

    Thanks for da informative comment. Me and my friends are plannin to make a trip in sep. Is sep a good time for da trip? Also kindly advice me on good bike tour operators within leh.

    Thank you in advance.

  2. Heylo Om,

    That was a very informative blog. Is sep a good time to be in Ladakh? Also kindly suggest any bike tour operator for the trip.

    Thanks in advance.

  3. Thanks a lot Om , this was very informative. We are planning a trip in April and was wondering if the temperatures might be too low in Ladakh during that time of the year.

    1. Yes.. The weather is very cold during April months; you’ll encounter a lot of snow at high passes and tuff riding conditions.

      Patience, endurance and alert riding mode is the key in getting through successfully…

      Best of Luck..

  4. Hi Om,
    Thank you so much. Your blog was informative. I am planning to do the leh ladakh ride in june. will be in touch with you for any help.

      1. Hi, we are planing to ride khardungla by bikes, does we need permission for individual riders without package tours

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