Rediscovering India on two wheels

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by The Iceman, Sep 12, 2008.

  1. The Iceman

    The Iceman One Way Ticket Holder

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    circa 2007. I was on my way to Leh (Ladakh). While on the highway, my pistons gave up. Got it done up and rode again. Too bad. By the time I reached the real mountains, I had less than 500 kilometers on the odo. And I had a ton of luggage. THe bike refused to climb. Like an angry girlfriend, it just said no. Fuming and oozing smoke. There was no argument. The trip of a lifetime ended right there. I had the option of carrying the bike on a truck to get over the really steep portion but then that would have taken the fun out of it. I was miserable but I came back. From the doors of heaven.

    Cut to 2008. I am hell bent on going again. Unfortunately my investment banking requirements hold me back. But I am determined. I decide on something bigger. Why not go everywhere. Who knows what will happen next year. The country I have lived in all my life but never really seen. Its time to go. So I do whatever it took to get that window of opportunity. And finally the time has come. I am off in 5 days.

    The plans are sketchy. First stop is Ladakh. Khardung La. The highest motorable road in the world. At a time when the only people up there are in beefy SUVs or are participating in a rally. Then on the options are endless. There are places to visit. Pilgrimages to make (in a strictly motorcycling sense). Wagah Border between India and Pakistan). Kanyakumari. Arunachal Pradesh. Dwarka. Sriganganagar. Sariska. Chilka Lake. Nepal. Bhutan. Goa. Dandeli (annual meet of Bike Nomads. Sigh! don't know if I will be able to make it). The Royal Enfield factory in Chennai. East Coast Road. Shillong. The list is endless.

    The steed is ready and willing. It is so fresh off the pot that I don't even have its papers yet. The running in will be part in the city and part on the highway. Its a 500cc Royal Enfield Machismo. Tried and tested in India. Starting off with a retro silencer. Dual fog lamps. Probably a new air filter. Rest of the bike will be stock.

    Off I go....

    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. Chanderjeet

    Chanderjeet IndiYeah !!

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    Great plans, you will indeed find more that you look for :)
    How long would this ride be for ?
    #2
  3. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    :thumb

    :lurk
    #3
  4. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze I keep blowing down the road Supporter

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    :lurk
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  5. The Iceman

    The Iceman One Way Ticket Holder

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    The biggest problem in a long journey is not the actual going. Its the concerns and advice of those nearest to you. They are the ones getting most sentimental especially when one is going alone. Man it sucks. You can't even laugh it off (like you do when everyone else goes on talking with their eyes wide open not believing this is actually happening).

    There is only one thing to do. Meditate.:norton
    #5
  6. The Iceman

    The Iceman One Way Ticket Holder

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    So now I come down to brasstacks. The bike needs to be ready. Few things that I always missed on the bike. Fog lamps. Flashing all indicator lights. And most definitely the silencer.

    Mind you these aren't really mods. They are more conveniences.

    The new Enfields have these long silencers which (unfortunately!) actually work. I mean they tend to cut out the loud thumping noise of the single cylinder workhorse.
    <table style="width: auto;"><tbody><tr><td>[​IMG]</td></tr><tr><td style="font-family: arial,sans-serif; font-size: 11px; text-align: right;">From Machismo 500</td></tr></tbody></table>

    But then, what's the point of a thumper if it doesn't thump. There is, thankfully, the option of retrofitting the short bottle silencer on to the newer models. They give out that nice sound and, some claim, although I find it hard to believe, that they improve power output by a few notches. Here's what it looks with the short bottle silencer.
    <table style="width: auto;"><tbody><tr><td>[​IMG]</td></tr><tr><td style="font-family: arial,sans-serif; font-size: 11px; text-align: right;">From Machismo 500</td></tr></tbody></table>

    Then came the point of visibility. Fog lamps, I think, should be default for all vehicles made with an intention of touring. More than once would every biker have felt the need to have stronger, brighter lamps to see better or to force the oncoming freak to lower his beam. Unfortunately bike headlamps can do only so much. More so for the Enfield. So, I got two 55W fog lamps. Attempt was to install them on the holes on the side of the headlights but the headlamps were both for the same side (;)) and one of them didn't fit. So I fixed it to the frame. This is what it looks like now.
    <table style="width: auto;"><tbody><tr><td>[​IMG]</td></tr><tr><td style="font-family: arial,sans-serif; font-size: 11px; text-align: right;">From Machismo 500</td></tr></tbody></table>

    Then there were the indicator lights. Every biker knows that on the road, two wheels = invisible to the rest of the world. This is more so when the rain comes down nice and hard. So, all lights blinking is a good thing. Unfortunately, this little piece of luxury is not an option that cross the good ol' people at Enfield.

    With the fog lamps on, its quite a nice sight.
    <table style="width: auto;"><tbody><tr><td>[​IMG]</td></tr><tr><td style="font-family: arial,sans-serif; font-size: 11px; text-align: right;">From Machismo 500</td></tr></tbody></table>
    #6
  7. The Iceman

    The Iceman One Way Ticket Holder

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    <table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/nzkRhro0j7mSX_sARTUMAg?authkey=qG8EC3QFxp8"><img src="http://lh6.ggpht.com/needtothinkharder/SMvM0mxw1SI/AAAAAAAACcA/e6QqYxPAIn4/s800/IMG_3767.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/needtothinkharder/Machismo500?authkey=qG8EC3QFxp8">Machismo 500</a></td></tr></table>
    #7
  8. Chanderjeet

    Chanderjeet IndiYeah !!

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    Great bike. Im thinking about the same one for myself. The only problem is the range. With a full tank you'd get about 300-350 kms.

    But good choice indeed. :lurk
    #8
  9. The Iceman

    The Iceman One Way Ticket Holder

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    The reality has started to sink in. I have just one more day left in Mumbai. Frantically, I am trying to sort out all loose ends in life. Rent paid. Interest payments arranged. Bike paperwork confirmed. Critical components bought. Riding equipment bought. Existing stuff fished out of cupboards. Parents convinced (or was it?). Early part of the trip planned.

    RIDE PLAN

    Day 1 to Day 6: Mumbai to Delhi. I will start with about 250 kilometers on the odo. I need to run in the bike for the first 750 kilometers. That's 5 days. Plus one day in Surat for the first servicing.

    Day 7 to Day 10: Delhi to Manali. Includes breakdown day.

    Day 11 to Day 17: Manali to Leh to Manali.

    Day 18 to Day 37: Cover north India including the following places - Amrtisar, Wagha Border, Sriganganagar, Jaisalmer, Dwarka, Ujjain, Bhopal, Pench National Park, Ranthmabore. Any other places on the rough planned route are more than welcome. Leaning towards good waterfalls. And nice cities. Return to Delhi.

    Day 38 to Day Day 42: Delhi to Bokaro (Jharkhand) via Nepal. Cross over at Mahendranagar near Pilibhit. Ride through the Terai region. Cross over in Bihar and ride through Patna and Biharsharif to Bokaro.

    Day 42 to Day 44: Stay at home for Diwali.

    Day 45 to Day 60: Sikkim. North east. Have some friends in Assam (Guwahati and Jorhat). Would love to explore North East. All states. GO as far east in Arunachal as possible. Shillong. Agartala.

    Day 61 to .... we'll see:evil

    OTHER PREPARATIONS

    The bike's papers finally got confirmed today. I am now the proud owner of a two wheeler number originally registered in my own name. It sort of tingles me. The only other time I had my name entered into a vehicles registration book was on the last page. This time around, though, I will be on the first.

    Went and bought the Cramster Outback riding jacket. Bloody heavy lump of cloth it is. But I hope all the armor and rain proofing and winter lining will provide its worth.

    Also bought all the stuff for the bike. Cables. Chain lock. Fuse. Bulbs. Still looking for a foot pump and puncture sealant. Mumbai guys, anyone know of any place for certain where I can find it? Otherwise Delhi guys, please help.

    I am off to the mech again tomorrow. To get the intricacies of the Machismo 500 and understand essential repairs. I can handle the Standard now but Machismo has some added razzmatazz which I need to see.
    #9
  10. HydroXidE

    HydroXidE Adventurer

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    Have a safe trip :)

    :D
    #10
  11. gnuse

    gnuse Ride to Fly

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    As I sit here and await your journey, I am visiting my father and he relates of his "riding" in India on a Harley 45 in 1944. He enjoyed his ride, I hope you enjoy yours and share it with us.
    #11
  12. Osprey!

    Osprey! a.k.a. Opie Supporter

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    I had an Uncle who once rode from Multan to Rome on a Vespa. I wonder if I'll have a chance one day to retrace his journey.

    Looking forward to reading of your epic adventure.
    #12
  13. Osprey!

    Osprey! a.k.a. Opie Supporter

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    Just talked to my dad and got the real story. Turns out I had it wrong.

    My uncle and his cousin rode from England to Rome 2 up on a Lambretta to attend the 1960 Olympic games.

    Now that sounds like an adventure. Almost Che Guevera-esque, minus the communist revolutionary thing. I'll have to dig through my parents pictures next time I'm home to see if they have anything from the trip.
    #13
  14. Chanderjeet

    Chanderjeet IndiYeah !!

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    Lets meet in Delhi. 981.101.9273
    #14
  15. Osprey!

    Osprey! a.k.a. Opie Supporter

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    Is it possible to cross the Wagah border on a motorcycle? Would be nice to do my upcoming trip on a motorcycle. Early planning stages now. If no moto, sounds like bus travel to me.
    #15
  16. Chanderjeet

    Chanderjeet IndiYeah !!

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    Possible.
    #16
  17. Osprey!

    Osprey! a.k.a. Opie Supporter

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    ok, so it it's possible. The next logistical question is whether it makes more sense to

    a. ship a bike over, ride it, and ship it back

    or

    b. Buy a bike in India or Pakistan, ride it for 2 weeks, and then sell it at the end.

    I would think option b is less expensive. But I wonder how a bike and biker with Indian plates would be treated in Pak or vice versa.

    Maybe I could just bring my Colorado plate and hang it over the Indian or Pak plate.

    Thoughts?

    p.s. Sorry for the threadjack.
    #17
  18. kejago

    kejago Kev. Haute Savoie, France

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  19. Chanderjeet

    Chanderjeet IndiYeah !!

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    #19
  20. The Iceman

    The Iceman One Way Ticket Holder

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    Touring alone is a very sobering experience. Especially when you are doing a point A to point B sort of touring rather than knowing you are going to be home in a day or two. Learnt that in a very poignant moment at Vithal Kamath restaurant eating a masala dosa.

    The road from Mumbai till Manor (National Highway 8) is a bad bad road. Very bumpy. Like a forgotten child. A hundred and twenty kilometers of riding roughshod through endless rows of trucks. Stopped at the end of the stretch at Vithal Kamath. Ate a masala dosa and realized THIS IS IT. The whole scenario which I had been contemplating for all these days is suddenly in front of me. It was a very peculiar feeling. Not one of elation or joy. Just satisfaction of knowing that I am on the way. Along with that came the thought that it is going be a long long while that I will be home. That was a wierd feeling. One that I am still coming to terms with.

    Manor to Surat was a much better part of the highway. Took off the highway at Navasari. State highways as a rule are way better than their national counterparts. It was a beautiful rolling highway along the green fields and flooded rivers. The whole of Gujarat is under water right now.

    The moment I hit Navasari, it started raining. Cats and dogs. Completely over the top uncalled for rain. As usual, I was unprepared. All my stuff was kept open in the cramsters. Ran for the first shelter I could find. Wrapped everything up in plastic bags (which I had the good sense of packing) and took off again. By the time I reached Surat, my bags were dripping with water and my shoes were filled with them. Didn't expect this on day 1.

    Stayed the night at my cousin's place. Hogged on food thrust down my throat. Slept like a log. It was time to start again.

    Mumbai - Manor NH8: 2 / 10. STAY AWAY.
    Manor - Navasari NH8: 6 / 10. GOOD RIDE.
    Navasari - Surat State Highway: 8 / 10. WAY TO GO.
    #20