Guide to Solo Motorcycle Riding

Getting used to your inner silence as you embrace the totality of the world expressed starkly in being exposed and singular; just two eyes, just two ears, one man (or woman) and a set of two wheels cutting across a landscape in its nakedness. The epitome of independence as an expression, a meditation, a penance, a risk, an expedition, an escapade however you name it, matters naught but little since deep down it still is something you’d almost involuntarily do, something more resembling a need and less a mere desire.

AdobePhotoshopExpress_f7d2a56a23b64cd895e41240220253f6

This post serves the purpose of sharing a few personal tips about solo motorcycle riding in India, assuming that you’ve done a bit of group rides and know the basics of riding out of town, here goes :                         if notclick link Loading up for your Ride…

  • Reliability of your machine is paramount when it comes to solo riding, all those normal bike niggles become the source of irritation and worry when alone. So try to eliminate any issues with your bike that you were accustomed to living with.
    • Avoid leaky or smokey old bikes.
    • Make sure engine oil is topped and fresh.
    • Spare clutch and throttle cables are a must.
    • Toolkit is essential.
    • Spare tyre tubes or Puncture repair kit and DIY experience.
    • Spare length of nylon rope and bunjee chords.
    • Med kit with bandage patches and medical tape.
  • Self tested rain wear for you and your luggage, especially if you’re travelling in the mountains.
  • Carry a spare BSNL sim card if you’re heading to desolate or off road locations, could help in emergencies.
  • If you are undertaking an expeditionary ride, it would be very wise to assign someone at home as your non-riding partner and report your movement to him/her.
  • Get yourself insured for accidents and emergencies, keep photocopies of it with your non-riding partner as well.
  • Research and keep a list of nearest authorized service centers for your bike in your travel zone.
  • Carry an offline or paper map of your travel zone.
  • Keep some emergency cash somewhere safe and not so accessible, you don’t want to get stuck in a place because the one functioning ATM in that town isn’t anymore.

AdobePhotoshopExpress_640b5d349d934c6da30d8ff6ec838621

Some dangers that need be mentioned :

  • National Parks / Wildlife sanctuaries are home to a tremendous amount of fauna many of which are built for the hunt, riding through solo on a motorcycle on a desolate jungle road is dangerous enough not to be stopping to casually take a selfie. Keep your senses sharp and don’t become a professional hunter’s man snack.
  • Small time thievery is common sometimes in India, especially on the fringes of a developing metropolis so its wise not to leave anything unfastened, unguarded or flick-able. I’ve lost 3 good pairs of gloves to petty thieves till date, they love gloves!
  • Going to a public toilet when soloing in India means leaving your fancy bags on your fancy bike alone for a snazzy length of time. In a way its similar to shutting down your computer firewall and go click waltzing into dark-net, carry toilet paper or spare water and learn to use nature …deal with it!
  • Anger… yes anger is one of the biggest dangers while soloing, anger can piss off anyone; you don’t want to piss off hotel caretakers, fellow road users, village punks, waiters, mechanics etc especially if you’re traveling alone. Drop the anger in exchange for mirth, this will turn these very bunch of people into very helpful albeit overly forthcoming souls.

AdobePhotoshopExpress_435125b535aa4fe999b80154f106222a

They say the key to happiness is freedom and the key to freedom is bravery. This holds especially true for a solo rider, being calm and able to process your mind even in difficult situations is possibly one of the best things your mind can be equipped with while solo motorcycle riding.

Happy travelling.

Pip #4 | World’s Highest Post Office

Places in Pictures

Hikkim, Himachal Pradesh, India

                                 Hikkim a small settlement nestled deep inside eastern Himachal Pradesh in Spiti Valley, situated at the height of over four thousand four hundred meters above sea level this has to be one of my posted pips. Forget internet, this place has no mobile network coverage or for that matter doesn’t even have a traditional telephone line anywhere in town or around…

… Which is exactly why I like it, where one gets to taste a concentrated shot of life preserved in the past with experiences such as meeting the postmaster over a cup of hot local tea whilst posting the ‘oh so important postcard’ back home as memento. The world’s highest post office ladies and gentlemen :

AdobePhotoshopExpress_543ceae44cfe49c2893de8ca244c3dc1

But its not just this little settlement that captures one’s imagination; the views get exponentially engaging as you leave the river valley below to start ascending towards much rarer air. The road in many places would make you bet your arm that it wont hold up from crumbling down, but apparently it does, albeit barely.

AdobePhotoshopExpress_c5a3ff31a84d4242b193457420ba8477

Every turn of this dangerous road however, greets you with grand canyon like views of this massive mountain dessert, landscapes I have never experienced anywhere else in India. Funnily its also the only place in the country where one finds signboards indicating town populations as low as ‘thirty’.

AdobePhotoshopExpress_c981600b927b49da8e228ec5219bf24c

There’s also a brilliant campsite for folks willing to brave this unforgiving yet utterly beautiful mountain-dessert scape. Walking up a gradual slope here can get you gasping for air, so I suggest acclimatization before heading up here in a hurry.

AdobePhotoshopExpress_68ed9bd2e6f04fa1886197105e9948b4

Overall, its an experience to be had in life as far as i’m concerned, hence this pip.

Happy travels guys like always and deep gratitude for people reading, liking and following the blog.

Cheers.

Wildfires!

As a motorcycle enthusiast I find myself riding about many a times in pristine, ecologically rich environs or so my intention are nine out of ten times. Its a magnificent feeling to soak in the air exuded from these earthen life-givers we call trees, especially when they do that in the collective like in a grove, sanctuary or a national park. But every now and then one comes across the destruction of that very sacred space, something that makes me cringe, cry and cough… WILDFIRE!

AdobePhotoshopExpress_01a871ac5d3945519952ad9f51755d97

This year (2016), the world is experiencing unprecedented levels of wildfires across the board almost everywhere. This post is a small tribute to the plant and animal lives lost in Uttarakhand, India this year. (Over 3000 hectares of forest destroyed, Feb-April 2016)

AdobePhotoshopExpress_f6fb484de86d44d09e89c0b8dd5e0267

The amount of smog that is thrown up into the atmosphere is immense, this white washes any and all views you’ve come to expect from the mountains around. A lot of it is naturally caused while an equal amount is man made. Here are few things that everyone ought to follow during the dry months in a forest:

  • Do not setup campfire if its gusting dry winds.
  • Make sure you put a boundary of small rocks around your campfire.
  • Only build a campfire if you know how to leave no trace of it when you leave; dismantle and wet extinguish your camp fire.
  • Do not chuck lit cigarettes! Stub em out (use the car ashtray if you are driving).
  • Report wildfires with legitimate hashtags so anyone actually helping knows where to go. Or communicate to local authorities.

AdobePhotoshopExpress_6446fc8e6ddd464ba11c16e903e3163d

Simple steps can halve the number of wildfires we are currently experiencing so lets toast to being a little more aware and responsible for what we end up creating.

 

Pip #3 | Kalpa, Himachal Pradesh

                                       Have any of you avid / ardent travelers happen to bypass ‘Kalpa’ on the road to Spiti, whilst passing through Kinnaur on one of the world’s most dangerous roads? Maybe you were on a tight schedule, or happened to miss that little road going off the beaten path or maybe just not in the mood to take that detour. Whatever the case, i’m here to pop an update (read as rub it in) as to what you missed as the sun went down on Kalpa.

AdobePhotoshopExpress_eb1751aa5a634d8b8e7bf6d958abd80d

Yeah, sat there having a warm cup of tea while nature played its own eloquent orchestra right in front of my very stunned eyes.

This is a place where you’d want to pull up an armchair and rest your legs on the balcony parapet; as you gaze the crimson orange hues of sunset while soaking in the diverse cacophony of myriad birds tweeting around.

Until next time…

Cheers and happy traveling people

Places in Pictures | Pip #2 | Jalori Pass

Jalori Pass, Himachal Pradesh

This little known pass used to be something that people trekked to before, having inadequate access it hardly constituted to a decision of taking your vehicle to it, but things have changed and there seems to be a road now, albeit barely. Perched atop the ranges north of Shimla, the way to access it is either through Narkanda or via Shoja ( Map ).

AdobePhotoshopExpress_3b18dc52f59844eda462f6a11f2b7cb4

 

The road to Jalori is what this thing is all about, especially if you happen to take the Shoja route. After Pandoh whilst heading onward to Aut and Manali, don’t enter the Aut tunnel with all its traffic, instead take the quieter road going straight to Shoja…

AdobePhotoshopExpress_495c37e4452a463ebf7c041f4e74ed66

 

 

Bumpy as all hell, riders with adventure bikes will undoubtedly have the broadest smile among others along the way. However, whether you’re on a Hero Impulse or a Yamaha R3, the views are going to drive you mad regardless whilst assassinating the like button in your brain.

AdobePhotoshopExpress_2b813a2437bf47ddb0c348e18baa75ab

For staying options, I’d recommend Shoja nearby, a really quaint little town with just about a couple of basic accommodations. Don’t underestimate it though, it has this air of a typical pahadi* village and is utterly soul gratifying to say the least.

AdobePhotoshopExpress_86e5918a99214f5fb07e63cfa935ad10

A reliable bike and an open mind are the solo riders two best friends among others. Happy travels ladies and gents, cheers and ride safe.

* Pahadi : is a wide term applied to social groups of Pahari speaking Indo-Aryan people of the Himalayas.

 

 

PhotoLog – Bangalore to New Delhi Solo Ride.

Gallery

This gallery contains 59 photos.

Different places, different tales. My intention here is to keep the post concise, just have an elaborate caption explaining moments of this photoLog experienced during my solo ride from Bangalore to New Delhi. The idea of the trip started with a feeling of … Continue reading

Photo Blog – Meandering through Western Ghats – Weekend Trip.

Gallery

This gallery contains 36 photos.

Date of Ride : 25th and 26th January 2014. A casual Photo log running through the weekend ride. (Warning – Pictures are motorbike biased). Friday 24th Jan 2014. It was late at half past two when I finished up work … Continue reading