Bullets, Buddhism and Beer - A Solo Circumnavigation of the Subcontinent

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Chat Lunatique, Nov 26, 2017.

  1. Chat Lunatique

    Chat Lunatique aka El Gato Loco

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    To Quote from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.....I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey. It takes place in 2016. The main character, Chat Lunatique (aka Buddha Bill), finds himself widowed and alone after 41 years of marriage. Seeking to blunt the pain he turns to his tried and true tools to forget....adventure and alcohol. Oh, and toss in bikes too! So our hero sells his house and everything he owns and heads off on the solo Bullets, Buddhism and Beer tour. The pic is local beer, my prayer beads and the keys to the Bull, my ride. A theme photo, so to speak.

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    I'm sitting today in a bar at my hotel on Had Rin beach, Ko Pah Ngan, Thailand. I have 6 weeks here of doing absolutely nothing so I decided to finally do my RR for last years' trip. I'm doing Thailand and Vietnam this year but that will be another story. The story will be my experiences on a 9 month trip around the borders of India. From Delhi up to the Himalaya, across the north heading east thru Nepal into Sikkim, down the east coast to lands end and up the west coast back to Delhi. I've visited India and Nepal many times before hiking, climbing, backpacking and renting bikes. This time is full on with my own Royal Enfield Bullet 500cc. I'm also a practicing Buddhist and visit here to do retreats in the mountains in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries. I chant in Tibetan with the monks and this insight into this culture will be not the usual RR.
    #1
  2. Chat Lunatique

    Chat Lunatique aka El Gato Loco

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    So let's start with the obvious questions. I'm 62 and have been riding over 50 yrs. The old man was an RAF aero engine mechanic and I grew up with a wrench in my hand. First bike engine rebuild was a 50cc Honda step thru when I was 10 years old and did BMW MC service on the side in later years, yeah...I know my way around bikes. I became a tool and die maker working in nuclear research and ended up programming and repairing CNC equipment in the auto sector. In Canada I rode a R1200 GS but decided this bike was not suitable for use in India due to the complex service requirements. 5000 masl is not the place to haul out ones laptop and GS911 to diagnose why the pig won't start. Plus...bust a rim and you'll wait 3 months for the Fatherland to FedEx you a new one. So a local bike was the obvious choice and that means a Royal Enfield. The Himalayan 400cc had just been introduced and thru my contacts I was slated to get the first one in Delhi. But...the fickle finger of fate stepped in ( a recurring theme in this RR) and the local gov't suspended sales one week prior to my arrival because it did not meet Delhi emission standards. So plan B was invoked. A Royal Enfield Standard Bullet 500cc with carb. I chose carb over FI for two reasons. FI in India had no O2 sensor and fuel at altitude stops was hand bombed and full of crap, mostly sediments, very hard on FI fuel pumps. Secondly, carbs can easily be rejetted for the too rich scenario of high altitude riding in the Himalaya.
    #2
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  3. EastRoad

    EastRoad Road Viking

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    JFYI: Photobucket (fucking c*nts) don't let use its services any longer to host photos for forums and stuff... (they call this 3rd party hosting). without buying one of their ridiculously overpriced "pro accounts"...

    so all you see here is this:
    Screen Shot 2017-11-26 at 11.50.19.png
    #3
  4. Chat Lunatique

    Chat Lunatique aka El Gato Loco

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    Oh no :devildog
    I can see the pic just fine. Logged out and pic still shows. This will be a major problem for my RR. Is everybody blocked?
    #4
  5. migilito

    migilito Perpetual NooB

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    You rode a bullet with a drunk buddhist in the wilds of the sub continent! Dont let photobucket kick your butt. Im in
    #5
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  6. TripleDubYa

    TripleDubYa Intrepid Explorer

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    I'm in.
    #6
  7. Old Dudes Matter

    Old Dudes Matter Adventurer

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    I’m in and can see your pic fine.

    Sorry for your loss, Hang in there brother....
    #7
  8. JoeBiker25

    JoeBiker25 Been here awhile

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    can't see pics :-(
    #8
  9. Deuce

    Deuce Crazy Canuck

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    No pic up here either :y0!

    :1drink
    #9
  10. lifeofliberty

    lifeofliberty If you're bored, you're not living

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    Yep, blocked, can't see a darned thing. You can get a free blogger account and host your story and pics there for free (if you have to). You can also then link your pics here!
    #10
  11. Chat Lunatique

    Chat Lunatique aka El Gato Loco

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    Can you give details on where to set up this blogger acct? Ta!
    #11
  12. lifeofliberty

    lifeofliberty If you're bored, you're not living

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    You need a free gmail account. So type in gmail.com and sign up. Then go to blogger.com (both gmail and blogger are owned by google) and sign up. You have to have both (blogger requires a gmail account).

    Blogger offers some reasonable design options for creating your own free blog, but the other added benefit is you can upload any kind of files or pictures from your computer and host them for free. You don't really have to create a blog, just create a page to host all your pictures.
    #12
  13. Chat Lunatique

    Chat Lunatique aka El Gato Loco

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    OK, pic bullshit seems to be sorted out. I'm on Flickr now. Everybody see the pic ok now?
    #13
  14. LittleEagle

    LittleEagle On&Off Road since '63

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    Seeing pics of beer and mountains. What else do we need?
    #14
  15. Chat Lunatique

    Chat Lunatique aka El Gato Loco

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    I was planning to live in India for 10 years and tour all of South Asia by motorcycle (Tibet, Bhutan, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, etc) returning to India for R&R between rides. So....my gear list is a lot heavier than normal due to the long stay planned and the fact I'm riding solo with tools and spare parts for the wilds of the Himalaya.

    Basic kit from home

    Arai full face helmet with sun visor - critical at altitude
    Klim jacket and pants - Saved my skin more than once
    Vendrametti Marathon boots - Gawd...I fucking love these boots
    Klim Mojave gloves
    Bead Rider ceramic bead seat - your ass is your friend, treat him well
    Garmin 590 Zumo with locking Touratech mount - loaded with OSM maps of India and Nepal, Garmin India map was shit!
    Giant Loop Siskiyou panniers and tankbag - crap.. big mistake
    Barkbusters handguards - saved my ass from mirrors
    Heated jacket and glove liners - never used
    Disc lock
    Tank film to prevent scratches - The bike will be sold so let's keep it pretty
    Givi topbox
    Waterproof duffle bag

    In India

    Cross braced handebars
    Off road tires - small block
    Crash bar
    topbox plate
    Full metric tool kit - recommended by Canadian Enfield mechanic. Like Harley, on a 500 single lotsa stuff vibrates loose. PITA but necessary

    Spares(recommended by shop for guys who abuse bikes)
    Clutch cable - never used
    Throttle cable - N/U
    Speedo cable - N/U
    Stator - N/U
    Clutch plates - N/U
    Bulbs - N/U
    Plugs
    500ml oil bottle - When level is down 500cc, buy 1000cc top up and save the rest
    Brake and clutch lever - N/u
    Bike cover

    Wished I had
    Spoke bundle for rear wheel
    Spare footpeg rubbers - Kept getting stolen
    #15
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  16. Chat Lunatique

    Chat Lunatique aka El Gato Loco

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    Hard at work before India

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    Bullet tool roll

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    #16
    Balanda likes this.
  17. Chat Lunatique

    Chat Lunatique aka El Gato Loco

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    I bought the Bullet from a shop in Karol Bagh, New Delhi. Because I am a non resident the bike had to remain in the name of my straw purchaser. Bikes come with one year of insurance and my contact charged +15% of the purchase price for his fee. There was a great deal of trust on my end as well because I had to wire the funds to his bank before he would buy the Bull for me. Also I had him break in the bike for 500kms and asked that his mechanic do the 1st service with me and train me on what to expect mechanically.

    Bullets have an even more loyal following than Harley riders as the photo shows. But then again, maybe they are praying that their bike will just start?

    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. Chat Lunatique

    Chat Lunatique aka El Gato Loco

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    The plane ride from Toronto to Abu Dhabi to New Delhi took 20 hours. Got to my hotel and checked in. Knowing I would not be able to sleep, I went hunting for an English wine shop. I shit you not, that's what beer/liquor outlets are called. So, I went beer hunting dragging my parched tongue 3 meters behind me in the dirt. This is where the Fickle Finger of Fate makes the first of its' many appearances (here forward referred to as the FFF) . No alcohol sales today... :baldy. Seems today was a holy day and booze sales were a no no. Round one goes to Mother India!

    My hotel was just a couple of blocks from the bike shop so I spent the first week changing out the tires, doing the 500km service, bolting on my add ons and getting over wicked jet lag. I have been to India 5 times before so coming back was like visiting and old lover that you broke up with. Very much a love/hate relationship for me

    Here's the bike ready to roll. Errr....that is not Lucas electrics on fire guys. It's the puja blessing for the bike and rider. Sort of a ceremony asking to Gods to take pity on this dumb white idiot and protect him from the shit and chaos that he's unwittingly about to descend into. The Sikh gent is the world famous Mr. Lalli Singh. He is THE MAN for Enfield road trips and bikes in Delhi. I trusted this man 100% and he did not let me down, nuff said!

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    #18
  19. BCBackRoads

    BCBackRoads Travels with Gumby

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    I'll be following along. Looking forward to more.
    #19
  20. EastRoad

    EastRoad Road Viking

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    keep it coming ;)

    And I totally understand your love/hate relationship with india ;)
    In all my travels I have not come across a country more "controversial" within short periods of time / minor changes.
    A place where you can see / experience amazingly cool things on one side of the road and misery on the other.
    A country that has so much culture clash to offer, excellent food to taste, where you still can run after a departing train and jump on it (or off it)...
    I think India offers a great deal of travel-adventure which makes it oddly charming to me. And great food...

    looking forward to read more.
    #20
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