We are on a constant quest to seek adventure. Some find it while catching waves on a beach in Tahiti, some while base jumping in New Zealand, some sky diving off a plane above the Palm Jumeira. Then there are a few whose pursuit for thrill takes them on a journey best experienced on a motorcycle. While the idea of a bike trip is really fascinating and most definitely on almost everyone’s bucket list, planning one can be really tricky. But don’t let that thought bog you down because right here is the 101 Guide that will help you plan your ride.
1. Shortlisting the Destination:
To select a destination for your motorcycle ride is slightly challenging than picking one for your average vacation. Some destinations are extremely seasonal on account of extreme weather conditions which make it impossible to ride. For eg. Riding across Ladakh is possible only between the months of June and September. The rest of the year Ladakh experiences extreme winters with sub-zero temperatures and road connectivity is cut off from the rest of India. Hence always try and find out more about peak and low seasons, weather and climatic conditions, state-specific festivals and or cultural gatherings, etc. Having this kind of information beforehand can help you plan your ride not only on a budget but also quite efficiently and flawless!
2. Own Motorcycle or a rental one:
To ride your own motorcycle from your backyard to the highest motorable pass in the world or to the southernmost tip of India is every motorcyclist’s wet dream. If you have the time to be able to put in all those miles, then it’s the perfect way to complete your dream ride. Riding your own motorcycle besides adding immense sentimental value also allows you to push your limits due to familiarity with the bike. However, if professional commitments stop you from being on the road for too long then it’s always advisable to rent a motorcycle form the closest hub city. For eg if you wish to ride across Uttarakhand, then renting a motorcycle from Delhi is idle. It’s also noteworthy to know that renting out motorcycles from metro cities is a lot reliable and also cost-efficient. Another option would also be to consider riding along professional motorcycle touring companies. They usually offer a wide gamut of services along with rental motorcycles that include accommodation, meals, tour guides/road martial, breakdown support, and a whole lot more. Figure out your idle way and without wasting any more time mark out that calendar and pack your bags. The open road awaits you!
3. Pick the right company:
Some of us prefer traveling solo over the company of a crowd. This usually works for people who wish to ride at their own pace and are in no hurry. It allows you the flexibility to plan your riding hours, stops and destinations. However, if you are a chirpy social being who needs the company of a crowd then it’s always better to put together a group of like-minded friends to take on this daring adventure. Riding with people like yourself is recommended as it always keeps the differences and tempers at bay. You never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. On that thought be sure to make all those moments memorable on this epic bike trip.
4. Dress for the Slide and Not for the Ride:
Always remember to be dressed for the worst-case scenario on a motorcycle. The idea is to be protected and not stylish. Always wear a helmet, an armoured jacket, armoured pants and riding boots. In case you do not have riding, pants use knee and shin guards as an alternative. If you are riding along with a pillion/co-rider be sure to have them geared up as well. There are plenty of helmets available with built-in Bluetooth intercom systems. You and your pillion can stay connect and entertained throughout the ride. Please note, currently, bluetooth intercom systems in India lie in the grey area
and there isn’t a specific rule that restricts the use of the same.
5. Pack Light:
Assuming you have shortlisted a destination and have decent knowledge about weather conditions during your time of travel it’s always smart to carry only what’s required. The rule of “lighter is better” will be your closest companion when you spend plenty of days on the road. Also, be sure to pick the right kind of luggage which could range from saddlebags to tail bags to waterproof tank bags. Packing light is an art that you will learn with experience. Plenty of clothes folding hacks available online will help you to fit a lot more effectively. It is also recommended to prepare a list of things you will need on the ride basis the priority.
6. Map your Route, Plan your breaks and Book your accommodation:
Whether you ride solo, in a group or along with a professional company, it’s always handy to know your route. Either carry a physical map or download the offline map of the entire route on any navigation app such as Google Maps, Maps.me, and many more. For those traveling solo, having a GPS or Phone mount can come in handy. Long hours in the saddle can be tiring and so on a multi-day ride planning your breaks is very important to ensure you keep fatigue away. Be sure to plan and book your accommodation well in advance. Ensure that the hotel at least provides hygienic washrooms and a comfortable bed because after a long day’s ride it’s the one thing you will need the most. Also, try and prefer hotels that provide private parking spaces for your motorcycles. If you are looking at avoiding going through all of the hassles of picking the perfect hotel you could very well opt to ride along with a professional motorcycle touring company and let them handle everything.
7. Making the Motorcycle Trip Ready:
The pleasure of riding your own motorcycle to the most exotic of destinations is second to none. However, this requires your motorcycle to be in pristine condition to take on anything the journey throws at it. Before setting out on a multi-day ride, it’s always recommended to service your motorcycle, change all consumable fluids, tighten nuts and bolts and check the health of the battery and wiring to avoid any eventualities. If your ride takes you to more remote areas, it is also recommended to carry along spare parts that are prone to damage or that may require a replacement. For eg. Certain motorcycle tyres continue to remain inflated by way of tubes which may not be available in remote areas if you suffer a puncture. Other such essential spares to carry could be throttle cable, clutch cable, spark plugs, brake pads. However, if you wish to ride along with a touring company then you wouldn’t have to worry about any of these as the breakdown assistance covers it all.
8. Have a contingency plan:
On a multi-day motorcycle ride, things can always go south. Bad weather, political turmoil or even natural calamities can play spoilsport and leave you stranded. It is advisable to have a contingency plan in place that you can switch to should you be stranded. Prior leave approvals and pre-booked flights are extremely difficult to reschedule and hence a plan B is always worth it. If you are traveling on a tight schedule, riding along with a professional touring company can be really beneficial. In most cases, in spite of eventualities, these companies tend to get you back in time without the need for rescheduling your flights.
Riding motorcycles across long distances is as much a mind game as it is a physical one. It requires a great deal of mental motivation along with physical endurance. Once you have taken into account each of the above-mentioned pointers, you are ready to hit the road and feel the wind your face. So, what are you waiting for?