If you are a true blood motorbike enthusiast, you will yearn to achieve at least one cross-country long journey. A bike ride through the varied terrains from super speeding highways to the dirt-tracked hinterland to the lone single road through the misty green forests. An engaging soul journey that you only live one time. Wind racing through your hair and mind clear of any thoughts with only the road ahead for a company.
If you are that kind of motorbike rider, you should plan for an interstate motorbike journey throughout India. But before you embark on such an arduous journey, here are the top 10 tips you need to keep in mind.
1. Choose your motorbike wisely
Road trips are fun and adventurous but enjoyable only if you are riding a comfortable motorbike. So choosing the motorbike for such a journey becomes the most crucial decision before you start packing your gear and head out on the road. Choose a bike not for its cool looks but for its comfort while riding, its riding capability, its ruggedness, its safety, and of course, how can you forget the fuel efficiency. Take a wise decision, choose the motorbike you have always ridden viz-a-viz the latest hunky and monstrous superbike. The best motorbikes for such long journeys are the ones with ergonomic seats for riding comfort, spaced out and high handlebars for better grip and maneuverability, and one with bright headlights for those dark road patches when you go off-road.
2. Plan your journey
Riding cross country across the length and breadth of India is a task by itself. If you want to enjoy such a long journey, try planning a theme-based route.
You can choose from various ways;
The most explored golden quadrilateral,
One through the wild and vibrant forests,
A bright and oxygenated mountainous, hilly terrain, or
The peaceful and serene backwaters.
Pick one that suits your mood, and then plan meticulously, so the journey becomes etched in your memories.
3. Pack what you need
Packing for a road journey is different from a family vacation or even the solo backpacker’s wanderlust. A motorbike journey is a test of your lean packing skills. You need to consider packing light but not forget the basics like a first aid kit or all necessary motor documents like the RC book and your insurance papers. But how do you pack for a motorbike journey? First, choose the bag to fill; the best are the saddlebags that can be hooked to the motorbike sides, or you can try the magnetic tanks, which can stick across the petrol tank. Both of these have enough storage to take up a 2-week long journey. While packing, keep in mind that you stay light as there will be no porters to carry your load. Choose clothes according to the terrain and the weather conditions. For snacking, select small dry knick-knacks, some ready-to-eat cold dinners, small sachets of ketchup, a few juice tetra packs, some disposable cups, and dishes, and don’t forget the bottles of water to keep you hydrated during your long ride.
4. Dress for the ride, not for style
Since the interstate motorbike journeys are long and arduous, dressing right will make all the difference between a comfortable and stressful ride. Thus, while riding, always put on a comfy cotton T-shirt inside your riding jacket, select some riding pants and a sturdy helmet that will protect you from the rain or dirt as per the chosen route. Also, don’t forget to pack some accessories like an elbow and knee pad if you ride hilly and on uneven terrain.
5. Take regular breaks and drink lots of water
Long tiring journeys come with their stress. Continuous riding can hamper your posture and give you a stiff lower back coupled with acute back pain. Such riding can also cause soreness of muscles in the neck, shoulder, and deltoids making the riding a painful experience. The simplest solution to avoid all this is to take regular breaks from riding the bike—Park the motorbike under a shady tree or near a highway Dhaba. Take a rest, use the washroom and don’t forget to drink lots of water. During long journeys, dehydration is the most common cause of low energy and even unbearable muscle cramps. Carry small sachets of ORS or tang if you don’t like to consume lots of water. It keeps you hydrated during your interstate motorbike journey.
Use these breaks to check your motorbike’s tire condition, refueling, and topping on the engine oil to keep the riding experience smooth. Planning your stops to too few will make riding stressful, whereas too frequent will make you lose time and momentum. Have a fixed time for the break, and you will enjoy the long journey ahead.
6. Use maps and ask locals.
In today’s technologically filled world, Google Maps are the best source of route planning. It gives you all the information of the time, distance, traffic, probable pit stops, etc. But use them judiciously. If you are going through remote villages and have lost the GPS signal don’t feel ashamed to ask the locals for direction. It is said Marco Polo went around the globe because he didn’t ask for directions. Also, invest in paper maps or take prior printouts of the Google Map route just in case you lose your mobile network and there is no one to ask for direction.
7. Sun, rain, and the wind
While traveling on a motorbike for an interstate journey, keep track of the weather conditions in each state you are likely to cross on your way to the final destination. Be sure to carry a windcheater to protect against possible rain and unexpected gusty winds. A pair of sunglasses will save your eyes from the scorching sun as also the dust. Also, make sure to cover your saddlebags with rainproof covers.
8. Drown the noise
Riding on Indian highways can be loud with the trucks blaring their horns or the tempos making a racket. Using noise-canceling ear muffs inside your helmet can go a long way in distressing your ears. If you aren’t comfortable wearing the earmuffs, try a Bluetooth hands-free headset. It will not only save your eardrums but will also make your ride a fun ride with lots of entertainment in terms of music. Hear your favorite songs to your destination.
9. Avoid the rush hour at food joints
Motorbiking across the country can make you hungry. But take care not to halt at the highway Dhaba / restaurants at the peak lunch or dinner time. You will be engulfed with chaos all around and lose lots of time. The best time to halt for food is the off-peak hours like 11 am or 12 pm for lunch and 6 pm or 7 pm for an early dinner. The crowds will be light, and you get the full attention of the restaurant owner. Eat to your heart’s content before you set off to ride again. Do take precautions to eat light while riding the motorbike as you don’t want unnecessary restroom mishaps.
10. Self-motivation is the name of the game
Cross country and interstate motorbike rides are tiring as the weather can make you miserable, and the state of the roads can break your back. So keep yourself motivated by regular breaks, drinking the right amounts of water, eating to rejuvenate your energy, and last but not least, a good night’s sleep for the long journey home.
Thus, if you follow these ten golden rules, you will effortlessly conquer the most challenging interstate motorbike journey.
So, with the unlock and successful vaccination drives, when are you taking your best buddy for a long motorbike ride?
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