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Old 29th May 2014, 20:35   #61
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Default Re: Travelling in the remote North East India

Interesting idea.

Come to think of it external factors and breakdowns impact any vehicle. Yes in a four wheeler you have a "roof" over your head.

Plan where you are going and give yourself enough time o cover the distances. Ideal if you can find another bike with one or two riders.

I am sure if you publish your journey plan some others may also join in - even if it is part way

As to those who find it too adventure some let me just say look up Nick & Kanchan's world tour alone on a bike. http://www.rideoverland.com/

Last edited by sudev : 29th May 2014 at 20:38.
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Old 30th May 2014, 07:38   #62
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Default Re: Travelling in the remote North East India

I would also suggest at least two couples on two bikes. It is always better to have backup. If something happens to the bike or the biker, there will be backup. Remember travelling alone is different, you can become a nobody, a vagabond if you please and adjust to any situation, but with a lady involved there is a minimum requiremnt.
Respect local culture and keep in touch with locals so that you get information about local unrest, bandhs etc which often impedes travel here. You will find simple village folks very hospitable, the bigger cities and towns pretty much like anywhere else in India. Militant/ rebel activity is a problem in many places. Avoid night travel and be safe. All the best.
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Old 30th May 2014, 11:09   #63
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Default Re: Travelling in the remote North East India

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Originally Posted by Anand3553 View Post
The experienced folks in this forum will find these questions dumb for sure but is quite a concern for a guy like me who is not very experienced in traveling long distances in remote areas. All questions considering that the guy is the only rider and the lady is pillion.
Anand, let me tell you that the questions that you have asked are not dumb. They are based on realism and are practical. These are things that most of the people going for such rides plan for and take some measures, but then at times writing in detail about those can take the fun away from the travelogue, hence not too many focus on the precautionary part. But the foreseeable risks are always provisioned for by any sane tourer. Though, I have not toured much in the bike with my wife, I have done a little in my car. Hence, with the little experience I have when compared to the travel stalwarts of the forum, I put forward my views on your questions.

1. As stated by many earlier, modern bikes and cars have become infinite times more reliable than older ones. However, it is better to be adept with some basic troubleshooting & repair skills. Knowing your bike is important and you will yourself understand that what can go wrong, and most of the times, you will be right. As pointed out, carry spare cables for clutch, brakes (if front is drum) and accelerator. Carrying them is not sufficient, you should know how to replace them, if the need arises. Carry at least a litre of engine oil, half a litre of coolant (if your bike is water cooled) and at least a quarter litre brake fluid if it has hydraulic brakes. Carry spare bulbs and spark plugs too. Know where the main fuse is and carry a replacement. Apart from these basic things, you may not be able to do much in a major failure; but that is rare. Look for any unusual symptoms, if they come up & get it inspected by a good mechanic at the first opportunity. Get a new airfilter before embarking on the journey, esp. if the older one has done more than 7-8K kms. Obviously, you need to carry a toolkit which will permit you in carrying out such repairs.

2. Research well on your route. You surely cannot be as free and as vegabond when travelling with a lady, hence jot down the places of stay, esp. overnight stays and plan your travel such that you reach those designated places before dark. Also, plan for alternatives since at times your plans can go haywire due to willful overstays at a place, traffic delays, etc.

3. I believe people in NE are plain, simple and helpful. I haven't travelled to NE states as yet, but traveled to Bhutan once with my wife. I can vouch for honestly & modesty of the Bhutanese people. Just follow the basics of tourism, respect their culture and do not flaunt flashes of your wealth.

4. Some basic research is always advisable before traveling to any place. More indepth when travelling by road in your own vehicle. Get updates on current situation about the place you are willing to travel. Not only criminal activities, you can also be caught in political unrest, local bandhs etc. But that is part and parcel of any tourism.

5. Keep some emergency numbers for contact; both of you. But nothing is better than prevention. Get good riding gear for both the pillion & the rider like riding jackets, pants, elbow & knee guards and of course a good helmet. Riding safely and knowing your limitations are your primary safety equipments.

Do not compete with anybody including yourself. Make the best out of this journey and enjoy the drive through nature. Also, with my experience, I can tell that a ride which is slow, steady & relaxed is much less tiring than a one which is fast or rash, even if you reach faster this way.

6. Well, this is a tricky situation. Best to research the route beforehand to know the terrain and equating that with your bike's potential. IMO, should not be such a major concern. Time that I recall Ani's travelogue where he rode from Mumbai to Leh/ Ladakh and to Khardungla which is often quoted as 'world's highest motorable road', on a humble 150CC bike...ah, let me just add, he rode with his wife!

Now let me also tell you one thing. I was myself looking for such a ride. But then due to lack of riding partners and with monsoon knocking, I can do nothing much than put off this plan for later. I was planning for Sikkim.

Regards,
Saket

Last edited by saket77 : 30th May 2014 at 11:30.
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Old 30th May 2014, 14:57   #64
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Default Re: Travelling in the remote North East India

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anand3553 View Post
All questions considering that the guy is the only rider and the lady is pillion.
1st, how many long rides have you and your lady done together so far? I would never recommend your first tour to be of Himalayas. I met one couple in Leh whose first long ride was to Pangong Tso! The wife was thorughly scared and dejected at the prospect of any further touring!

If you have not toured anywhere else, I would recommend you to travel to Bangalore - Mysore - Ooti, Kerala, Maharashtra, Goa, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh etc first. Then, after a few years, you can go to harder places like Leh or North East.

I and wife have toured a lot extensively. You can read our blogs here on team-bhp by searching 'Vesta'. Last year we did Leh tour on the 150cc bike (I am honoured that you remembered me saket77!). Even after all this riding experience, I did manage to tumble a few times, and saved by a whisker and luck. I think it will take some time for us to gather enough courage to go on such madness again.

As per your questions:

• What if the bike breaks down and you cannot figure out how to fix it?

You have no option but to wait for a truck/tempo to pick up the bike and take it to next big city. That's why you need a reliable bike in the first place. Also ride only in sunlight.

• How safe is it to travel with your better half on only one bike?

Unless you are in a crime prone area, you are very safe. Don't take unnecessary enmity against locals and you are safe.

• I do not remember anyone mentioning any bad experience from people in those areas which I find too good to be true. Are the people in those areas actually so good?

Sorry no idea about North East, as I have visited it as a tourist in a jeep, not a biker. However I had seen few foreigner bikers getting their bikes fixed in a village, in fact that was the reason that I and wife started traveling on motorcycles. If foreigners are coming to India to ride on bikes, why we Indians are dependent on taxis and local transport for the same?!

• What if the rider becomes seriously injured somehow?

You need to (if not already) have proper motorcyclign jackets for both, knee guards, good helmets and gloves for both of you. I was saved by nasty falls on rocky roads by helmets and gloves only. Other than that, if some unfortunate event does happen, other party needs to be mentally strong and smart to take necessary actions. I don't think there are any roads on tourist routes that are so secluded that only one vehicle passes in one day, so you will get help sooner or later.

• If the bike is not able to go forward with 2 people on it on a steep incline and you do not know when 2 people can start traveling again together. Considering that going back is not an option due to time/weather restraints.

In Leh, I faced this problem at some passes, where the passes would be too steep or the road too hard to travel two up. In such times, wife would take lift from locals/tourists till next safe point and I'd pick her up. Sometimes we had to wait for 10-15 minutes for a vehicle to pass us. For safety, jot down or remember the registration number of the vehicle she takes lift into. For short distances of a few meters, she'd walk while I'd ride slowly.

Motorcycling two up in hilly areas takes a certain amount of madness and a leap of faith. Don't worry too much about the bad things. The bad patches or the steep passes form only 1-2% of the total journey. You will find some way or another to get around the obstacle.

One suggestion made above, of having one more couple to ride with you, is very good. If you can find someone, it will reduce the risks even further. But it increases the responsibility as well.

And one more thing. After each such tour, you will find you are even more attached to the person than you were before, because you faced the hardships together, and shared the happiness and tiredness.

Last edited by ani_meher : 30th May 2014 at 15:06.
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Old 2nd June 2014, 09:09   #65
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Default Re: Travelling long distances on a Motorcycle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iksvaku View Post
Anand, I am fascinated by your intention. Are you going to ride from South India to the North East? I have done this trip the other way a couple of times, in a Contessa.

The North East is a spectrum of cultures, with widely varying population densities and road infrastructure. If you have any idea of where you intend to go, I could answer the questions you have posed.
@Iksvaku, yes, I want to do it. We are so blessed to live in such a wonderful country and it is a shame if we do not experience the soul of it, isn’t it?? It will take a few years and the plans are not laid down yet, but I for sure will do it. Thank you for offering your tips. I will be back in the forum once the plan is finalized and would love to hear from you.


Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
1) Not a very good idea for. See if you can get 2 or 3 more couples (on different bikes) willing to join you on your trip. This will be helpful in case of accidents or bike breakdowns.
@smartcat, Thank you for pitching in. I totally understand your point but I am not sure if I would manage to convince anyone to do this with me considering the enormity of the effort required. It would require people with real passion for riding which is very rare in my friends circle. For most of us (including me, a few months before joining Team bhp), the idea of vacation is getting dropped at a point by a driver which is PLAIN WRONG.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Karthik Gullu View Post
Hi Anand,

It is always better to have minimum 2 bikes during a long roadtrips if in case 1 bike broke down,other bike can find the alternative but nowadays modernistic bikes are high end with cutting edge-technology and less chances of bike breakdowns if vehicle is serviced and maintained well on time.
With all these measures,to an extent we can manage most common breakdowns and have safe journey.

Keep reviving
as they alway say !!
@Karthik Gullu, Thank you for the tips. Will sure be helpful


Quote:
Originally Posted by sudev View Post
Interesting idea.

Come to think of it external factors and breakdowns impact any vehicle. Yes in a four wheeler you have a "roof" over your head.

Plan where you are going and give yourself enough time o cover the distances. Ideal if you can find another bike with one or two riders.

I am sure if you publish your journey plan some others may also join in - even if it is part way

As to those who find it too adventure some let me just say look up Nick & Kanchan's world tour alone on a bike. http://www.rideoverland.com/
@sudev, Thank you so much. Will try that for sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pyrodrive View Post
I would also suggest at least two couples on two bikes. It is always better to have backup. If something happens to the bike or the biker, there will be backup.
@pyrodrive, thank you for the tips


Quote:
Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
Anand, let me tell you that the questions that you have asked are not dumb. They are based on realism and are practical. These are things that most of the people going for such rides plan for and take some measures, but then at times writing in detail about those can take the fun away from the travelogue, hence not too many focus on the precautionary part. But the foreseeable risks are always provisioned for by any sane tourer.

Now let me also tell you one thing. I was myself looking for such a ride. But then due to lack of riding partners and with monsoon knocking, I can do nothing much than put off this plan for later. I was planning for Sikkim.

Regards,
Saket
@saket77, thank you for taking the time out to provide your tips. The research is on and I know I need to do a lot of it if I have to do this. I really hope that you would do your trip soon and all the best for that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ani_meher View Post
1st, how many long rides have you and your lady done together so far? I would never recommend your first tour to be of Himalayas. I met one couple in Leh whose first long ride was to Pangong Tso! The wife was thorughly scared and dejected at the prospect of any further touring!

If you have not toured anywhere else, I would recommend you to travel to Bangalore - Mysore - Ooti, Kerala, Maharashtra, Goa, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh etc first. Then, after a few years, you can go to harder places like Leh or North East.
@ani_meher, thank you for pitching in. We have not done much touring on 2 wheeler but has done a few in car but those wouldn’t come anywhere close to this one. We for sure will do some less challenging ones to start with.

Your 3rd point is spot on. There are very few people who understand that the journey itself is the destination, not some littered and crowded view point where you are heading to.

I will definitely do this with proper safety measures as you have advised including the biking gear. No compromises on that.
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Old 2nd June 2014, 16:28   #66
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Default Re: Travelling long distances on a Motorcycle

Anand, it was courteous of you to respond to each of us.

As someone who has done nearly 1,00,000 kilometres of cross-country road travel, I would always encourage you to travel with a roof! In other words, use a car - any car. The climates can be so extreme across our country that it can have adverse effect on your health. If only two of you are travelling, even an Alto would do because:

1. The space is sufficient for two travellers.
2. It does not break down (provided it has been maintained as per schedule).
3. If you are in an accident, you can get an authorised mechanic to you in 30 minutes (I have tested this on a Karnataka highway) or you can get to an authorised service centre within 25 kilometres (I have tested this on a Bhutan highway).
4. If you fall into a ditch (which wasn't there when you parked) you can lift it out!
5. You can go through 9 inches of mud or 18 inches of water or up virtually any gradient (unless there are big rocks).

To reassure you, I have been travelling since the days of the Ambassador and I never had a breakdown and only 2 tyre punctures. Today's machines and roads are far more advanced: in the last 10 years I have never had a car problem on a highway.

Let me know when you decide to go.
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Old 3rd June 2014, 08:06   #67
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Default Re: Travelling long distances on a Motorcycle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iksvaku View Post
Anand, it was courteous of you to respond to each of us.

As someone who has done nearly 1,00,000 kilometres of cross-country road travel, I would always encourage you to travel with a roof! In other words, use a car - any car. The climates can be so extreme across our country that it can have adverse effect on your health. If only two of you are travelling, even an Alto would do because:

To reassure you, I have been travelling since the days of the Ambassador and I never had a breakdown and only 2 tyre punctures. Today's machines and roads are far more advanced: in the last 10 years I have never had a car problem on a highway.

Let me know when you decide to go.
@Iksvaku , thank you. I do understand that car is much safer. But I think doing this in a bike is going to add so much more excitement. Moreover, the bike will make us feel more connected to the surroundings and that is the idea behind this trip.

Besides all that, I am not a master on 4 wheels as many of our fellow bhp’ians are. I am a strictly average driver on 4 wheels and better on 2 wheels. I am not sure if an average driver taking a car to those kind of terrain is something to look forward to.
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Old 3rd June 2014, 19:55   #68
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Default Re: Travelling long distances on a Motorcycle

Anand, the choice is always yours.

One reassurance: since the machines and the roads are better today, you need not worry as long as basic precautions are taken.
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Old 3rd June 2014, 21:52   #69
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Originally Posted by Anand3553 View Post
...................But I think doing this in a bike is going to add so much more excitement. Moreover, the bike will make us feel more connected to the surroundings and that is the idea behind this trip.................
....reminds me of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. To quote the author here,

Quote:
“In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You're a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.

On a cycle the frame is gone. You're completely in contact with it all. You're in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.”

― Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
For more on the Car vs bike debate, maybe you ought to have a look at this thread http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/what-c...ar-bullet.html (Cheap Car...or a Bullet?)

If you are planning to travel without another bike as a companion, then comfort and reliability of the steed will matter the most. You don't want to be stopping every 100 kms for a burnt out spark plug or a clogged fuel filter. And you definitely don't want to do it in the back of beyond, where the nearest habitation is many miles away! . Agreed that you will have a lot more independence on a bike than a car, and the experience will be richer, but it would be possible ONLY IF the bike didn't hamstring you every two days. Reliability AND comfort will become the operative words when you are looking at a window of many days of riding. With a bike that you plan to traverse the Northeast with, the following come to mind
  • Reliability
  • Comfort
  • Fuel Economy
  • Adequate Power & Torque
  • Large A$$ network
  • Easy availability of spares, though this may be moot in view of point #1
  • Tubeless Tyres preferably

ani_meher and saket77 are correct in voicing their concerns, and that comes with experience (and maybe having learnt some things the hard way). If travelling alone, you ought to be prepared for most eventualities, and then some. However don't let that thought daunt you. Allow me to quote Robert M. Pirsig again,

Quote:
“Is it hard?'
Not if you have the right attitudes. Its having the right attitudes that's hard.”

― Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values
This may help you decide on a good bike for your trip http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motorb...himalayas.html (A Premium Bike for the Himalayas)

North East is a beautiful kaleidoscope of cultures languages and vistas. You'll be surprised to know that though they all may look similar to us, there's a great diversity in between regions, and within regions too there are diverse tribes and cultures! This great diversity of culture, language and landscape is what makes it so interesting. Though the common thread running through all of Northeast is the locals' simple take on life and their happy go lucky attitude. They are hard working, simple people with warm smiles and open hearts. I'm sure you will enjoy driving and exploring that part of the country, and will be richer for the experience ! (Though some research on the insurgency affected/ disturbed areas may be in order - BHPians from the Northeast may add valuable insights). Regarding your query on cell phone connectivity, a BSNL postpaid would find connectivity in all but the most remote locations. All in all you would enjoy exploring the NE. You ought to have a look at Roadinc's travelogue for the NE for some inspiration. http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...e-forever.html (The Road My Home Forever...).

Ride safe and all the best ! (Of course we'll expect you to post a travelogue here soon )


Cheers !

Last edited by Ironhide : 3rd June 2014 at 22:07. Reason: Grammar !
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Old 4th June 2014, 07:16   #70
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@Ironhide, thank you so much for the time you have spared to provide all those details and links. Will go through all the links.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironhide View Post
....reminds me of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. To quote the author here,
Your quote above is spot on. To understand the difference, the best way is to travel to your favourite location in a car first and try it again soon in a bike, you will suddenly realize that you feel ‘in’ the surroundings than just visiting it. While travelling in such breathtaking places like the NE and the Himalayas, that is the way to go I believe
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Old 4th June 2014, 07:30   #71
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Default Re: Travelling long distances on a Motorcycle

To the driver of a car, the goal of a trip is to get to the destination.

To the rider of a motorcycle the goal of the trip is to live and experience the voyage. Arriving at the destination is just the ice cream on the cake.
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Old 12th June 2015, 14:08   #72
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I enjoy riding. I really do. That being said, I ride at a constant and moderate speeds as opposed to fast and reckless riding. I own a classic 350. The longest I have travelled in a straight stretch is about 400km. I took a major break of about 3 hours (including lunch time) after the first 200km and occassional breaks for water in between.
Now the following are my concerns. I become impatient after riding for about a 100 km. My patience wears thin and I start whining (at myself) about reaching the destination and for setting out on any such endevours. Well, the route I took was from Kochi to Coimbatore. We have excellent straight roads from Kochi to Coimbatore. With excellent and straight roads, there's nothing left for a rider to do other than keeping himself from falling asleep. And at times I have felt that I am not GETTING ANYWHERE with the constant boring speed of 70kmph. 70 is pretty fast, I know but the boredom plays tricks and fool me into believing that I should go faster. With a bike that makes a greater fuss than my parents when I ride fast (I am talking about 90kmph now), the vibrations frustrates me and I slow down to 70 kmph. The stories of people who ride all the way from Kanyakumari to Kardung La are all over the place. How exactly do they get the patience to do the same? Or am I doing something wrong? On the contrary, I love twisty roads that take you to high range stations.

A friend suggested that I should get the foundation bolts tightend and that could be the reason for the vibration. I will soon look into it. Are there any other advices?
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Old 12th June 2015, 14:42   #73
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Originally Posted by msrsooraj View Post
The stories of people who ride all the way from Kanyakumari to Kardung La are all over the place. How exactly do they get the patience to do the same? Or am I doing something wrong? On the contrary, I love twisty roads that take you to high range stations.

hmmm..

I like riding and driving long distance s on boring straight roads.

This is something you like or you don't like.
There is nothing much anyone can do about it.

But you must ask yourself, why are you riding.
If it is to get form A to B. Then you are using the wrong mode of transport.

Sorry I don't have anything that can help you. But its just one of those things that suddenly happens and you realize that under the sky and between the earth, you exist and there is nothing else.
Someday I hope you understand that.

The day I understood that, I threw away my bikes speedometer.
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Old 13th June 2015, 09:33   #74
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The day I understood that, I threw away my bikes speedometer.
Lemme me put it this way. I love riding. The reason why I ride is not to get from point A to point B. And for that purpose, I'd take the bus. I ride. I don't know why. I just do. And I enjoy it. The speed I enjoy and find most confident is 60 to 70. That's because in that speed range, I get enough time to look ahead and judge, time and even notice everything that moves or could possibly cross my path. I am most relaxed and find myself enjoying the ride in those speeds.

But Travelling extremely long distances at 60kmph and 90 Kmph does have its significant differences. The time you have to spend on the motorcycle, exposure to the elements and so on. Maybe you're right. The reason why I had made that last trip was to get from point A to Point B.

Last edited by msrsooraj : 13th June 2015 at 09:34. Reason: Fixed Grammar
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Old 13th June 2015, 10:26   #75
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The maximum I have ridden one way is 2200 km. Covered over 3 days. KA to JH. Same distance back.
Now if someone wants to find any sense in it, I can't pinpoint any. It was just the willingness and thrill to do the same.
One needs to understand himself and his motorcycle for it. I was prepared with my set of backup and protective gear.
Could anything have gone worse? Yes!
Was it risky? Yes.
Was it foolish? Not in my world but for many, yes!
But that's why I ride.
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