September 01, 2010

Some tips for long motorcycle rides

It's been a while since I am back from Pilgrimage 2010, and since then I have been wanting to write down some tips that I found to be useful.  Some of them, I learned from my friends; some of them I learned myself.
  • Add bike maintenance to your plan.  If your ride is long enough to require bike maintenance, factor that into your plan.  After reaching Manali, both our bikes needed some maintenance to be done.  Like, cleaning and lubricating the chain, changing the engine oil, etc.  Luckily we had allocated one day at Manali for resting.  We used that day for getting the bikes done up.
  • Pack in small small plastic bags.  I had kept all my shirts and inner wears in one plastic bag, my jeans, track pants, etc. in another bag, chargers and other electronics in another bag, and so on.  This way they have a good internal arrangement, and they won't get wet if it rains.  Our saddle bags are supposedly water-proof, but without the plastic bags it would have been a really bad scene.
  • Take only what you really need.  For a 3 weeks bike ride I carried 5 t-shirts and 1 pair of jeans.  When a close friend advised us to carry one pair of jeans it seemed ridiculous at first.  But if we are going to be wearing our riding gears all day long, what's the point of carrying regular clothes?
  • Don't carry tools that you don't know how to use.  Or tools that you can find at a mechanic's.  This is pretty much the same as the previous one.  We found a "list of tools to carry" online and we bought them all enthusiastically.  Including a heavy foot pump!  After a good friend's advice we decided not to carry the pump and several other tools and spares we had.  It turned out that we didn't need any of those tools.
  • Add buffer days to your plan.  Keeping a reasonable number of days as buffer would be useful if something unplanned comes up.  If everything goes well, you can always think of something to do in those extra days.  (I had two spare days after the trip.  I visited Taj Mahal in one day, and returned early and rested in the other spare day.)
  • Remember it's a vacation.  This may not be applicable to everyone, but I like this one enough to add to the list :)  Our 3rd day in Leh, we woke up at 8 in the morning.  Both I and my brother were tired.  I had said the previous day that we should either go to Hunder next day or do white water rafting.  But we were too tired to anything, so we decided to sleep more and relax rather than forcing ourselves to go visit places.  I mean, if we don't allow ourselves to relax and rest, what's the point of taking a vacation?!

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