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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Joe Motocross, Jan 3, 2011.
Thanks for taking the time to post. This is a classic RR. Many different factors make it great.
Good stuff, thanks!
Great yarn. Thanks mate.
Yeah, seems like bargaining is an integral part of any transaction in India, even when you are clearly owed the full amount. And like Myheap's old man said straight to you, many see foreigners as having bottomless pockets so anything is fair game.
But what a great experience!
It was about my third or fourth week in India before a Tibetan guy I met on a train let me in on "skin tax." Taxis, rickshaws, rooms, it is all priced out in tiers pretty much and you would never really know it if you didn't ever travel with locals.
Obviously, if you are white you are made of money. And when the guy tells you it is a lot less of a trouble to you to pay for their crappy bikes than for them to maintain them or swallow the cost of repairs...well, its true really. I just got to a point where I realized how cheap stuff was and I was actually willing to pay a little extra sometimes not to bargin...skin tax voluntary. And considering that we tend to profit from short changing them on wages and workplace safety when we can...we probably have it coming in karma!
But man, it is amazing that country manages to function. The kindest shadiest people I've ever met. And they know it! Its like they can't help it...they can't.
I think what made it hard for me, and probably you guys sometimes, is that you can't really "do it yourself." You have to rely on people to help you, sell you things, fix things, give you directions, feed you. And you never really know what it going on or what is going to happen. Its really hard to trust people. And it is wicked hot and dirty and busy and there really never is much of a break between negotiations and the next problem.
After all that and coming home wicked sick myself, I find that I'm looking forward to taking my daughter, two up, NOT on an Enflield...
Thanks for the RR!
When it was all said and done with Myheap the day we returned our bikes we were quite upset. There was no question he knew how we felt when we left his shop and Joe is right, we did put it behind us. It wasn't the few hundred dollars that really upset me. It was his total disregard for the money we spent on plane tickets, time and effort involved in getting us to India to do this trip. We mentioned a few times in the report that he just wanted us to keep pouring oil in the bikes and ride them until they died. Yea he would get the bikes back, but what would that have done to our trip. Besides how could we put ourselves in a situation where we could break down in a potentially unsafe area. It was the lack of respect for what we had invested in this once in a lifetime trip that upset me most.
The bike maintenance and hassles were all part of the trip and it was truly an epic adventure. I would just stay away from Smart motors for the Royal Enfield needs.
Joe also left out the part of the story where we couldn't get a taxi back to the hotel and ended up getting the the public train. We really had not spent a lot of time in Delhi and rode the train to the old train station not the new train station where we were staying. It turns out we got lost in Delhi for about 2 hours and lost a camera with about 1000 photos on it in the chaos. When we finally returned to the Hotel the girls were just blown away we had been gone so long. What an experience.
So we are standing there waiting for the train and by the way people are lining up I could see how this was gonna go down. There were so many people trying to get on the train I could see there was no where for the people who needed to get off the train to go. I mean don't let the folks off the train whatever you do. Classic Indian behavior..
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Gents & Ladies
Well done ! A truely inspiring yarn. If you charged $10 to everyone who has read and enjoyed this you would cover the MyHeap short fall 10 times over.
Thanks for the vicarious ride.
Great report guys! And gals. Thanks for following through.
I just found out today that we are getting a Royal Enfield dealer here in Portland. Do you think your bike problems were mostly due to Smart's poor maintenance?
In the end you will remember the trip not the asshat dealer. Great report.
Not saying Smart Motors did you a favor but it would have made for a completely different trip and RR had the bikes been mostly trouble free.
I spent a couple of years working in India and while there are honest and sweet people there, it's unfortunately the exception. The State Department once described it as a functioning anarchy because virtually every member of society is focused solely on themselves (you noticed that in the traffic) and any gain or advantage they can get. Myheap is just an example. There is no right and wrong, "The right thing" doesn't even compute for him. All he sees is that any money he gives to you, for any reason, is less for him.
I could write a book, but your adventure was epic. As a fellow desert rat from your neighborhood I would have killed to be on that ride with you guys. Well done and bravo.
Until Buuurrrts chain popped off!! Great.
On day 18 we did have our first "Get off" I appreciate that Joe skillfully skipped it in his post from this day. But I think it should be covered.
Maja and I went down and I regrettably failed to document it on camera. Back in the day when I was doing a lot of whitewater kayaking we always had a rule to keep the camera or video rolling whenever we had serious action or carnage and get in on film no matter how hard it is to do so. We did not fallow this rule during the only crash of the trip and because of that there are no pictures.
After fixing our clutch cable we were riding hard to make up time. I didn't really think we were going that fast but after we hit the pavement Maja informed me she knew we were about to go down just before hitting a slick piece of pavement and I believe her. Women can be like that. We came to a short tunnel and on the other side of the tunnel was a descending left hand corner which was quite greasy. As we entered the corner the rear wheel started to slide out and before I knew it we were in full on flat tracker mode. I had one foot down and didn't really feel this was a problem until we hit dry pavement and the bike bucked pretty hard. After a couple of good fish tails the front end went out and we hit the ground going maybe 20 mph. Maja took the worst of it with a hit to the helmet and a small tear in her smart wool long sleeve. I would say we really lucked out. There were plenty of witnesses and a couple of folks stopped to give their advice of course. "Hey man you have to be careful!" was one. "You must slow down these roads can be slick!" was another. Yea no shit I thought to myself. If they only knew we were 1300 miles into a 1500 mile ride.
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We both jumped up and I was really worried Maja was hurt. When it clear she wasn't I went to the bike and picked it up off the road. I went to push it out of traffic and the rear wheel was locked up. The chain had popped off and was cammed between the frame of the bike. It took a minutes to fix he problem and get rolling but that day the chain just would not stay on. After reuniting with Joe and Minxter we were in the lead and the problem presented itself. I guess when we hit dry pavement in a slide we must have bent the frame of the bike because the wheels were no longer lined up. We couldn't get the chain to line up after that. We did get it close enough to finish the ride but surely this bike will give the next person to rent it some issue. I mean unless Myheap gets off his ass and checks the bike before it goes back out. I am sure that will happen.
Wonderful report, thanks for taking the time to share it.
Thanks for taking us along as passengers on your India Ride. Very entertaining and interesting.
The bike return is a bummer but the adventure and being back safe is more important.
Thanks for the adventure.
It is interesting to see the Eastern vs Western perspectives. Even at the end of the journey, the westerners were expecting the Indians to adopt western perspective. I think this is an important learning point for westerners that want to travel in other countries.
Interesting, so you're saying the "eastern perspective" is that it's ok to lie to people and go back on your word and that westerners should just adapt to it?
I don't see negotiating over the price of a service as lying.
Joe and Burt wanted motorcycles maintained at level above what Myheap was willing to do. This was driven largely by the time schedule that Joe and Burt were under. These are all part of Joe and Burts western perspective.
Also Myheap probably saw that the prices Joe and Burt paid also had a bit of "Skin Tax" included which he didn't want to pay. Also the Eastern perspective tends to use each part until it is totally used up which minimizes the cost to operate but makes the equipment more unreliable.
Part of the reason that I give Myheap the benifit of the doubt is that we are only seeing one side of the story. I'm sure I would be just as frustrated as Joe and Burt were I in that situation.
I think these points just touch on the surface of east vs west that is seen in the world today.
I don't want to start a long drawn out debate on this great thread, but I think that folks wanting to do this trip themselves should think about these things and take them to heart. Otherwise the work that Joe and Burt did to write up this report will be lost.
My perspective as an "Easterner" and Indian living in the West:
This "dealer" knowingly provided substandard poorly maintained MC's for a long trip like this and tried to take advantage of riders from a different country. I think Joe, Burt and the ladies dealt with this situation better than I or most of the other readers on this forum would have.
I assure you that had he tried the same with some local dudes - the end result would have been much different for MyHeap - from both a financial and physical health perspective.
Sure there may be differences in Eastern and Western behaviors and perspectives on many things, but this kind of misrepresentation and dishonest behavior is not considered acceptable practice anywhere.
Right. It depends how widespread it is. I'm sure you could find someone who has experienced a similar business transaction in the West. If every renter of motorcycles in India would have behaved this way, then maybe but there isn't the data to support this assertion.
Myheap and his father may not run an honest business, but I wouldn't go judging the entire country or the Eastern hemisphere by it.
Seems to me that there were a lot of other people in India (mechanics, hotel operators, food servers, etc.) that went out of their way to honestly assist and help on this journey.
They met some wonderful people from the sounds of things. The guy they rented the bikes from just wasn't one of them.
MTrider, you seem to be assuming that Myheap didn't charge Joe and Burt a "skin" tax. Hell, maybe he saw them coming a mile away and figured he could get a couple bikes rebuilt by renting them out and offering to pay for repairs. And then not doing it.