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Old 5th September 2010, 11:41   #1
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Default introduce myself - a european in south india

dear all

after a one-year journey 2003/2004 through the americas and africa and a short trip to mongolia in 2008, my wife and I are on the loose again. is there any more to say? yes, i'm an admitted motorcycle traveller, currently curving around in south india.

india is quite different to what i experienced in all my other travels before. in general, most people are friendly, streets are wonderful. if there just wasn't those crazy bus drivers... gee, they really push it!!

here are some pics, hopefully lets you dream of the free world if you're locked behind a desk at the moment:

My wife and her motorcycle in our home country, a ktm 530 exc:

The black Royal Enfields Bullet Electra Twin Spark...

...and here the silver one

10 miles as the crow flies, 30 miles on the road... that's a promise!

The Ghats: hairpin bends from 600 to 8000 ft

last clouds of the rainy season

rice plants in the low lands

share the streets with animals

the western Ghats: challenges with the alpes

You find more pics from india on our private travel page: India Reiseberichte theroad.ch

Also there gps tracks, coordinates, more about the motorcycles and diary entries.

After leaving india we will head further east to singapore where we eventually pick up our ktm 530 exc to waste some more of our time in asia.
i will post some more pics in a couple of weeks.

Keep out of trouble and stay save,
phil aka mindfuel
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Old 6th September 2010, 09:56   #2
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Welcome to India, and to Team-BHP, Phil! I hope we can expect a detailed travelogue from you. A foreigner's perspective on South India would make for a nice read.

A note though : Please ensure that you upload pictures to our server only. Ride safe!
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Old 6th September 2010, 10:09   #3
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Nice to see a biker/traveler join us.

Hope you do keep us posted about your ride through our country. I would especially like to hear the Bullet experience as you seem to have ridden the newer UCE ones.
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Old 6th September 2010, 18:21   #4
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hi there,
nice snaps.where is the last snap taken.it reminds me of the FURKA pass.
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Old 7th September 2010, 10:15   #5
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Welcome to the forum and to India Phil. The 36 hair pin bends are on the road from Mudumalai to Ooty right? A great drive. While you're in the country, try and make a trip up to the Himalayas. Its the ultimate in biking nirvana!

@Rallystar: Unless I'm very mistaken, the last pic is near kodaikanal

Last edited by PhrozenFire : 7th September 2010 at 10:19.
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Old 7th September 2010, 10:47   #6
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Welcome to India, looking forward to your travelogues!

Shouldn't this be in the "Introductions" section?
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Old 7th September 2010, 12:28   #7
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@rallystar: hey, knowing the Furka! A great ride indeed. This pic was taken on the road from Palani to Kodaikanal

@PhrozenFire: Exactly! There are lots of other nice hill drives in Ooty region

@jkdas: Yes, this are the 2010 twin spark models

I'll come up with further pics and detailed Motorcycle rep later on
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Old 7th September 2010, 13:16   #8
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Last but not least, your'e more than welcome to seek help and guidance from all of us team-bhp'ians and I'm sure support can be garnered however minor it may seem. Do not hold back!

Do keep us posted with your experience and wonderful pictures
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Old 7th September 2010, 15:14   #9
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Welcome aboard j4jense!

The bullets must be quite different from the KTMs youre used to

If you don't mind me asking, how do you and your wife manage to take so much time off to travel?

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Old 7th September 2010, 15:55   #10
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Hi Phil,

Hope you are having a blast riding in South India. We await a full fledged log of your travels in India. And in case you need any help of any kind, please feel free to ask here. The TBHP community can definitely help you.

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Old 16th September 2010, 18:02   #11
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thanks for you wishes! it helps not feeling lost. we're on the road now for about 8 weeks and we finally got into it. the bikes work (as expected) well (but not perfect). As there was no motor break down, nor a flat tyre, i do not have anything to complain.

@rehaan: you may ask. it's what anybody wants to know sooner or later. 1st: We do not have kids. 2nd: we both work in switzerland and save money for several years, in this time, we do not go to holidays or make any other expenses that are unnecessary. it's easy to abstain if you have a goal in mind. 3rd: we quit our jobs, quit our room and sold our car. at the very end of the trip we will publish all expenses detailed on our homepage.

@MileCruncher: Having a blast? Well, i try to survive the indian traffic... Your Avatar is promising! Where's that pic taken?
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Old 16th September 2010, 18:30   #12
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Default Welcome home!

Welcome to India ! A big Applause to you and your family. Keep posting here, quite interested to see your posts. Ride safe have a pleasant stay! For any kind of help just mind to throw a post over here, you will get the help for sure. Team bhp is such a big community.
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Old 16th September 2010, 18:41   #13
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Phil, welcome to India! I just went thorugh the photos on your link and I am amzed. I have never been to some of the places that you have mentioned. As Foby mentioned, if you need any help just post it here and some one will respond for sure. Ride safe.
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Old 16th September 2010, 19:13   #14
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Here's the rough route we made until now:
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Started in Cochin, where we spent 2 weeks near Kottayam to attend an indian friends wedding. we visited Tekkady, Munnar followed by Ooty, Mysore, Bangalore, Palani, Madurai, Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Kovalam, just to mention the bigger cities/attractions.

The detailed route listed and visualized on google maps you can find here: India Destinationen theroad.ch

expectations and reality:
i haven't expected much of indian roads. i thought to find bad roads, not really beautiful to drive, but low traffic volumes. the reality teaches me something completely different. the roads are mainly in a very good shape, with some exceptions in kerala. and what counts much more: in the hilly area (kerala here on the pro side) it's pure fun! Woooow, just one curve after another, A M A Z I N G !
not to offend anyone of you guys, but on the negative side: traffic! compared to europe you actually have very low traffic volumes. reading the newspapers, i suppose it to increase very quickly. despite of the few automobiles (trucks, buses, cars, motorcycles), traffic is horrible dangerous! Not to blame just one group, but bus drivers sometimes drive just insane. taking over in curves, crossing red lights on junctions and so on. While sounding horns in kerala really seems to get attention, in tamil nadu and karnataka, blowing a horn is just to push other drivers off the street. the stronger is the one with more rights, incredible. With a motorcycle, we had to "escape" into the ditch many times a day just to survive. And that's the point i don't really get: the majority of mobiles are motorcycles. why do you let yourself push into the ditch all the time? you are the only ones, beside bicycles, that are unprotected when it comes to a crash. no airbag, no ABS, no metal frame protecting you. Why nobody follows the traffic rules? I mean, everything in live costs money. constructing splitted traffic lanes is not affordable. obey traffic rules IS free. it could save hundreds of lives. it costs you 5 minutes a ride. what's 5 minutes compared to a live?
well, i don't want to teach anyone anything. in switzerland, people also only follow rules, because they are enforced and you have to pay a fine if you misbehave. but the fines in india are ridiculous low. those who can afford a car just laugh about the amounts they have to pay for rush driving.

having said that, i don't want you to believe we have a horrible time here. pointing out the differences btw europe and india, it was just shocking at first and i don't understand the reasons. and at least, i survived so fhzgzgzugf
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Old 16th September 2010, 19:57   #15
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Welcome to India my Friend!

About the traffic conditions, I know what you are talking about. Driving [and more so riding] is one hell of a difficult job in India. As you have noticed, Bus dirvers are the most notorious on the highways and in the cities it will be auto rickshaws. They will drive on the wrong sides of the road in an attempt to overtake someone else and in situations they swerve literally a second before colliding with on coming traffic. The whole issue is people who are bus drivers and auto rickshaw driver are mostly uneducated. They don't pay heed to ensuring safety because all that they care about is to maximize their own profits. It will take some time before such people actually start understanding the importance of road safety. Till such time, people like you need to be extra careful in our country. Back off when you see traffic coming from the opposite side in your lane. DO NOT try anything such pushing over drivers as some simply dont react and it will be you who will get hurt. If you see anyone behind you jumping left and right to overtake you, just let him through.

Take such simple steps to ensure your safety. But let me tell you something. The sights and scenery that you'll see here in India will do more than just compensate for the troubles that you'll face while negotiating traffic!!
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