There are a few factors that you should consider before you undertake a 2,000 km biking adventure that takes you across many states and one which lasts over 4-5 days. E.g. the ride to GOA.
What has prompted me to write this is that there are many of you who are itching to do a long ride. But will you come out unscathed on the other side? You dont want it to turn into a 'mind-signing-checks-your-body-cant-cash' situation (I just love this metaphor). But all is not lost, there are those who have undertaken long journeys and any knowledge best shared with the fraternity is worth something.
Let me address what you can expect on your ride to GOA.
SO HOW DO YOU PREPARE?
I am taking for granted that your bike is in top shape specially when it comes to brakes, tires, clutch, lights and electricals and the general road worthiness of your machine. (I can address this in my next post).
But how prepared are you?
1) FITNESS: Since you will be riding for up to 10 hours on some days and getting back on the saddle the next day you NEED TO BE FIT. Not just aerobic fitness but also strength in your upper and lower body. Did I hear gym? You bet.
2) RIDING STAMINA: Sunday rides are worth only 100 kms or even less followed by a scrumptious breakfast and a nice afternoon nap. This ride will be the exact opposite. You will ride for upto 400 - 500 kms every day for 5 days. You will be in the saddle for up to 10 hours at a time. So get out there and do some weekend rides that notch up around a 1,000 kilometers so you get a taste of what you are attempting to do.
3) BIKE COMFORT: Have you experienced cramps in your butt, legs, back after a few 100 kilometers? Is your bike biting you in places it shouldn't be? If that niggle in your back is only getting more severe with each passing hour then your'e putting yourself at risk as the ride progresses. Because no one can endure 9 hours of pain. No matter how strong you are. Gel pads, comfortable bars, highway pegs, sissy bars and back support all make a difference once the adrenalin subsides.
4) RIDER COMFORT: Are you considering riding in a leather jacket, leather pants and leather gloves all the way to Goa? You will be hospitalized before you get to Bombay. Or you feel a sleeveless T shirt is just right? The sun will peel away layers before you even realize whats happening to you. So ask yourself - Will your gear hold good in cold weather and hot and humid weather? Can you manage your core body temperature effectively? How will you combat dehydration? All these questions are best answered through experience which reinforces the next statement - 'Rider comfort is paramount to riding safely'.
5) LUGGAGE: Have you ever carried all your luggage on your bike? The convenience of putting all the bags in the car is irresistible. But what if the car is suddenly unavailable due an unforeseen circumstance? You do realize that you will be left to ferry all your luggage. And if you have never been introduced to bungee cords or saddle bags or panniers then you could be in trouble.
6) ATTITUDE: I have said it before and I will say it again. A grand ride is first accomplished in your heart. If you can't see yourself at the finish line then you will not cross it. You have to cross the Rubicon. If you cant cut the chord of your comfort zone then you will not see whats ahead. This is where riding experience becomes so important. If you have done it a hundred times the 101th doesn't seem so bad. You draw on what you have accomplished and take it further. Delhi to Goa is not an easy ride by any standards but what will get you through is your spirit and the reward of doing something quite incredible.
So get that chin up and keep your courage at hand because that is how you cross borders, all of them.
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