Note: This is going to be a pretty informal blog post while jotting down the conversation I am having with my inner self. The intention is to recall, relive and enjoy the beautiful memories I have accumulated in the past couple of months.
In the first quarter of 2017, I embarked on a journey to cover the Golden Quadrilateral circuit. However, due to the paucity of time, I couldn’t complete the ride and had to take a different route in fag end. I remember taking a break at one of Toll Naka near Vizag (Visakhapatnam) and rang my father to update him about my wellbeing. While conversing with my father I noticed a rider on Royal Enfield Thunderbird crossing and as a friendly gesture, both of us waved at each other. Just by looking at the motorcycle one could make out that the rider was on a jumbo long distance ride. That turned out to be true as he was returning after completing Bhutan circuit. Fortunately, day after at noon time I crossed the same rider as he was taking a break. I told myself, hang on he is the same guy I saw yesterday. I took a U-turn, gathered some courage and went to have a conversation with him. We had a nice mango juice and introduced ourselves. The way he was talking, answering my questions, clearing doubts regarding riding and keeping motivation level high etc, one could make out the experience guy has accumulated over the years riding different parts of India and abroad. We exchanged contact numbers and told me to give him a call once I am in Pune (he is from Pune and it was in my itinerary).
Upon reaching Pune I gave him a call and honestly I didn’t expect him to receive my phone call. To my utter surprise, he not only answered my call but recognized my name, the place we meet etc and gave me a convenient location for a meetup. Both of us went to Marz-O-Rin Restaurant, had pizza and cold coffee. Let me make something clear, it was probably the first time I had cold coffee and I really liked the taste of the same. Personally, I had a good time and learned a lot chatting with him.
He is one of the most humble and down to earth personality I have ever meet, extremely knowledgeable when I come to riding motorcycles, one of the founding members of KRRC (Knight Riderz RC)– Shohrat Shankar. I must also thank Shohrat for connecting me to Mayank Sir whom I consider my mentor. Mayank Sir helped me a lot to prepare for the ride.
In fag end of 2017, I saw a comment by Shohrat in a Facebook post related with Spiti that the group members were planning for a ride in the month of June 2018. I pinged Shohrat regarding Spiti ride and enquired whether or not I could join them. Again, to my surprise, he gave the green signal and added me to the Whatsapp group that was specifically created for Spiti ride. He also gave some relaxation in the prerequisites that a rider had to fulfill (don’t exactly remember the number):
- A rider must complete at least 3 ghats and 6 off road practice rides.
- Later on, I came to know from another founding member in the group that one should have an at least 200CC motorcycle.
There were few others but I don’t exactly recall. When I came to know about prerequisites I thought of canceling the plan and messaged Shohrat regarding the same. I was planning to do solo ride either Spiti or places I lived and spent my childhood in Northeast India. Actually, I didn’t want to spoil the experience of other riders because of my unpreparedness and decided to drop out from the ride. Shohrat replied back and told me that some relaxations (motorcycle and ghat practice ride) can be made and suggested me not to do a solo ride to Spiti as this would be my first mountain ride. Had I embarked on a solo ride to Spiti, man that would have been a stupid decision that I could have taken.
Now let’s talk about the preparations.
My first aim was to reduce body fat and get lean. Though not mandatory but it helped me quite a bit. It took a couple of months and I trimmed down from 92Kg to 85kg and then before embarking on the ride, I weighed around 76Kgs.
Next, on weekends I started going on the highway and offroad practice rides. The reason, why I choose highway first, was to increase my riding stamina and it also helped me to boost confidence. Earlier I could ride for around 70-80 km in a single stretch but because of practice rides and thanks to Spiti expedition, now I have the stamina to comfortably ride around 150 km in a single stretch. In between, I went to Bodh Gaya which was a life-changing experience. Meditating under Bodhi Tree was a different experience altogether.
Now comes the motorcycle spare parts and servicing. Some of the spare parts and other items that I carried were:
|Sl No||Spare Parts||Other Items (also includes wearables, electronic)|
|1||Clutch cable||Jeans (denim)|
|2||Brake cable||Dry fit T-Shirts|
|3||Brake pad and brake shoe||Undergarments (few pairs)|
|4||Starter relay||Trousers and shorts|
|5||Puncture kit||Socks (5 pairs)|
|7||Front and rear bulb||Rain Gear|
|8||Indicators||Toothpaste, brush and tongue cleaner|
|10||Chain lube||Hair oil|
|11||Face cream (boro plus)|
|12||Antifungal cream (ring guard)|
Initially, I was supposed to start the journey on 20th June but there were a few issues and I had to postpone for a day and started on 21st. Before that, I made sure that the motorcycle is fully serviced. In between, I was in constant touch with Mayank sir and he made sure that I am prepared for this ride by sharing some real valuable inputs.
As a lot of offroading was involved I also changed tires. Initially, I was finding it quite difficult to get the tires and again over here Shohrat helped me. For rear, I purchased RALCO SPEED BLASTER 140/70 17 Tubeless Bike Tyre. And for the front, I got the tire from a local MRF dealer.
Upon changing tires I got the bike serviced on 15th June 2018 at nearby Yamaha service center. This time I used Motul 7100 10W40 instead of usual Yamalube. Changing engine oil was a good and bad decision (not sure). Good, engine performance improved considerably. Bad, while returning I had a major roadblock out of nowhere. More details on this in next blog post.
Stay tuned. 🙂