Offroading or Onroading? What's your High?

by Nabila Tazyeen

Posted on 18th August, 2015

Uttaranchal Beautiful Road
Image Credit - Rajesh

Either of the following three things may have happened when you read the headline - one, your eyebrows shot up, you rubbed your hands in glee and said to yourself that this is going to be interesting; two, you instantly took a side; and three, well, you don’t know what I’m talking about.

Let me start with onroading. You wake up early one morning and decide to take a road trip to, let’s say, Masinagudi. You chart out your ride and get on the highway. The roads are smooth, the tyre marks are imprinted forever on the tar and you’re flying with no obstacles. You reach your destination unscathed and exactly how you had left home. That’s onroading for you.

Mount Abu Road
Image Credit - Utsav Verma

Now, think about this – you wake up early one morning and decide to take a road trip to, let’s say, Masinagudi. Except you don’t take the highways. You take the offshoot paths that are known only to locals, cows and goats. Stony, rough, treacherous, remote, raw and altogether way too adventurous. When you finally make it to your destination, you’re covered in dust, probably still shaking from a fall and at least a couple of hours late checking into your hotel/resort/lodge, but still wearing a toothy grin. That’s offroading in a nutshell. Onroading’s like the eldest of the family and offroading’s like the black sheep of the clan. That said, both are fun in their own ways.

Offroading Bikes

Highways usually have the most picturesque sights en route, almost as if they’re slicing fields of paddy and sunflower in half endlessly. Sometimes, they’re flanked by magnificent mountains, gurgling streams and quaint towns or villages on either side. Offroads usually have lots of thicket and wild plants for company – and in freak instances, wildlife too. Onroads make for smoother journeys, while offroads make for more adventurous ones. I remember when my friend and I drove from Bangalore to Goa four years ago. What was meant to be a journey through highways soon turned into a rickety drive when I, my friend’s navigator, slept through a turn we were supposed to take and had to take a diversion onto still-untarred state highways. Of course, we spent more time on the road than anticipated, but the bonus was that we caught an amazing sunrise over landscapes untarnished by civilisation.

Mumbai Pune Expressway
Image Credit - Rohit

The challenges of the two types of road trips are very different too. Offroading is a lot more about skill and control and knowing your machine inside out, because the terrain is unpredictable – unlike a tarred highway that’s even. The ride to Kathmandu last year was my first taste of offroading. We went through dried up stream beds and insanely steep dirt roads on mountains, by the end of which I vowed never to do offroading again. Unless I will be the one riding, because that’s when I will find it exciting and stimulating rather than scary.

Moutain Dirt Road
Image Credit - Michael Mellinger

That said, it’s okay to not have a preference. You may want to take the family on a holiday sometimes, and sometimes you may want to have an adventure of your own. Whatever your choice may be, though, one thing is guaranteed: the memories and stories that come out of it are going to last you forever.

What is your preference? Share it with us in comments below!

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About the Author: Nabila Tazyeen

Nabila Tazyeen

Nabila Tazyeen is a wordsmith by profession and a storyteller at all times. The only occasions life makes absolute sense to her is when she travels. She loves exchanging travel stories and is constantly seeking new cultural and culinary experiences. Nabila can be reached on nabila.tazyeen(at) She blogs at You can also catch her escapades on Instagram as @thenebulousone.


Roadtrips, Offroading, Onroading, Highways, Dirt Roads, Mountain Roads