Hello, Riders……..hope you are riding hard and riding safe, please ensure you do get your riding accessories today. I make it a point to keep talking to people who ride without the helmet, that’s the bare minimum (No Helmet, No Ride)…….enough of Gyan right? This blog is about my ride solo to Gods Own Country – Kerala and here is the how it all started.
As the saying goes “When Life Gets Tough……I Ride” not to run away as some of you may think but to gather myself and work on facing such situations. That was exactly the reason why the thought of riding solo came to my mind in the month of Oct 16 when things were becoming really tough professionally and it was also affecting my personal / family life……relationship with my lovely wife and cute daughter, I was distancing away from my Father and Sister……I use to ask myself one question is all of this worth it? And the answer always was NOT AT ALL…..
I really don’t want to get into my professional mess which I was going through……and get you guys bored, but I was shattered, my confidence was broken completely and that’s when my wife came up to me and said that I should think of taking a break and coming out of this completely. I really wanted to do it but as a typical middle-class guy there were many thoughts I had because I had no other employment offer with me, how will we all survive, how will our daily expenses get managed etc and this really haunted me for quite some time because of which I was not able to take a decision. One day I was at home discussing with my wife about the next course of action, she told me to resign and also mentioned that we will manage whatever is the circumstances……that was a confidence booster for me and remaining was history.
I then started planning for taking a break and doing a solo ride to somewhere which will give me time to myself to reinvent and come to peace with whatever had happened. I also wanted to spend some quality time with my family so that they also feel my presence and bridge the gaps which were created. This was the beginning of the plan to ride to “God Own Country – Kerala” on my lovely bike (Royal Enfield – Electra) solo.
The preparation had four key steps in the below order:
Preparing my Family: I really don’t have to say anything, riding solo from Pune to Kerala feels scary and when I told this to my better half (Anu Babu), her reaction I am sure all of you might have guessed it. Yes……her first words were “NO”, but I am lucky she understands my passion towards biking and how important it is in my life. She was also part of the struggle we both went through, hence she was quick to realize the importance this ride has in my life. I must confess that I lied to her by saying that there is one more rider joining me, which was not the case from the beginning coz I always wanted to do the ride alone…….this was done only to give her confidence.
Learning details of the bike and its maintenance: Now this was a damn critical piece…….as I was riding solo. I had to ensure I know the basics of my Bull and was able to get it back on road in case of a breakdown, not knowing the basics could be dangerous on those lonely roads with no help. I researched a lot on the internet, spoke to a lot of mechanics and friends to ensure I didn't leave any room for mistakes…..it is better to be safe than sorry. I learned about different tools which are used, learned how to open critical parts of the Bull (my experimenting on my RE many times), learned on how to repair in case of a flat tire etc. One of the most important things every rider should keep in mind while riding solo is to carry the right set of tools, air pump and should know the Motorcycle well (when does it need attention, performance etc) It's like knowing how she will behave in any circumstances. I will write a separate blog on what to carry / not carry which riding solo, these are my learning which I will share.
Route planning: The objective of the ride was to travel through the villages, internal roads, new places and spent 5-6 days on the road to discover me, unwind and travel through the wilderness of this great country experiencing people, culture, food and great places this country has. So why Kerala? why not some other destinations? great questions and one on my personal objective were to go and stay with my Father (in Kerala) alone for a few days. I was not able to give him time due to the worldly obligations which all of us have and somewhat felt that I was ignoring him and realized that as he is getting old he needs me by his side to feel wanted and to stay happy. Hence I decided to the Kerala route, I had two option to go straight in Kerala which was no fun and as a rider, I am keen to explore new routes, places, traveling through unknown roads and meeting new people. Hence planned a route which had all the ingredient into it covering 2000 kms in 5 days and riding through great road, no road, jungle, hills, villages, cities, farmland etc.
Physical and Mental preparation: This was a critical element as far as I was concerned, riding solo for 6 days into the unknown requires a lot of mental and physical toughness. This is just to overcome some of the obstacles like break down, riding condition, adjusting with the environment which may compel you to sleep at a roadside Dhaba or in middle of nowhere. I am in general a hefty guy (During one of the HR conversations somebody in my previous office called me a beefy guy hahahahaha…..) so physical fitness was critical and what I did was running and walking for 45mins every day which gave me endurance and kept me active.
Saddle for the ride: This was again a very tricky piece of activity, I am usually not a very light bag pack guy. I like to keep multiple clothing and based on my mood on a particular day I determine which one to wear. That was not going to work during this trip as one part of my saddle was full with tools for the bike and I had only other half of the saddle to pack my cloths. So I had to to be very careful this time to be as light as possible. Again I will write a separate blog on this in detail to help all of you in case you plan to do solo.
To be Continued……