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Old 1st November 2018, 02:27   #1
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Default The beauty of 1-day rides! A worthy middleweight to breakfast rides & long journeys

Quote:
The body benefits from movement, and the mind benefits from stillness

- Sakyong Mipham
Indeed!!

It's coming up on one year since I purchased a sports touring motorcycle. An year in which I have fleetingly felt a joy that I thought was long-lost in me. An year of new beginnings. An year of contemplation and self-calibration.

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The beauty of 1-day rides! A worthy middleweight to breakfast rides & long journeys-4.jpg

A few days ago, all my experiences from the past year propelled me to do a day long ride. This essay is the story of how that journey came about and what I took away from it. This is not a travelogue as much as it is a start-up guide for newbies interested in taking baby steps toward touring. Also included herein is a mini review of my motorcycle.

I thought about writing this as a travelogue. But, frankly I could not see enough substance to examine the ride as an experience. Day-rides just don't make for meaty travelogues. On the other hand, I thought I had plenty of material to lay out and discuss from the point of view of justifying a ride like this, and about the process of planning and executing one. This is not to say that I haven't described the ride at all. I have, of course, summarized the ride somewhere below. But, the actual incidents and anecdotes of the journey are broken up into the different sections of this narrative where they serve as teachable moments.

So, read on and please do let me know your thoughts.


Why an all-day ride? And how is it different from weekend breakfast rides?

Going on weekend breakfast rides is a great way to start experiencing one's motorcycle and to meet like-minded people. Lasting anywhere from 3 to 5 hours, breakfast rides offer an accessible entry point both for people just starting to ride, and for those of us coming back to riding after a long hiatus. And quite often, breakfast rides provide sufficient opportunity to derive maximum enjoyment from one's motorcycle. Until they don't that is.

While they are great as a start-up device, breakfast rides can get repetitive at times; what with only a handful of destinations available within a 110 or 115 KM radius of our cities!? Also, breakfast rides are essentially social constructs built around a motorcycle paradigm. The ride is about meeting people as much as it is about the ride itself. This creates a constraint wherein if enough people's schedules do not sync, then a breakfast ride will not happen. Miss a couple and you might have to wait months for another chance to ride and enjoy your motorcycle.

This leaves riders little option but to go it solo. And if one is going solo, what's the point in just going to a restaurant to eat breakfast? Might as well ride longer and enjoy the bike on an extended stretch of road. The next question then is, how much of a long ride exactly does one shoot for? Many of us are interested in stretching our legs, so to speak; but are too intimidated to start full on touring on a motorcycle. Aside from the physicality and the experience required for touring, there is the small aspect of time availability. One has to attend to active families and demanding jobs, and rightly so. It's actually an admirable thing to be a busy professional and / or a responsible family man or woman. With that being said, the question still remains as to how one goes about crafting a long ride while operating within such constraints.

This is where an all-day ride checks in with just the right mix of experiences at a nominal time cost. Leave in the morning and return by evening. It's like a day's work really. Immersive enough to be interesting. But, not hardcore enough to demand too much emotional and time investment.


How did my ride come about?

For a long time, my breakfast rides kept fizzling out due to everyone’s punishing schedules; thus robbing me of riding opportunities. A few times, I even rode solo to our breakfast places. But, things were starting to feel stale. After reading Nandita's superb travelogues, not to mention the other ride / drive stories here, I knew that I wanted to ride longer than just to our breakfast destinations. An all-day ride felt like just the thing. Certainly, I had some destinations on my mind with Trimbakeshwar being right on top of that list. But, for a long while things just weren't coming together. Too much work. Too much rain. Too hot days. Too scared of the road. Too many family duties. My reasons ran the gamut. Then, I read Aseem's write-up and thought that it is now or never - https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...bakeshwar.html (Nandi - My Dominar 400 takes me to Trimbakeshwar). So, I picked a date and just rode.

By way of context, I should tell readers that Aseem is one of the early owners of the Bajaj Dominar who wrote about his buying experience here on Team BHP. I knew that I wanted a Dominar from the minute I saw one; and IronH4WK's fantastic review had reinforced my lust for the bike. But, it was Aseem's thread, and subsequent conversations with other Dominar owners here on Team BHP, that pushed me to a purchase decision. Now, Aseem had moved from Bangalore to Nashik and had just made a trip to Trimbakeshwar!! It almost felt like a sign from up above that the timing wasn't going to get any better than this for me to get this ride out of the way. Before traveling, I called Aseem and suggested that we meet for a meal once I was done with the Temple visit. He was up for it. So, I set out.


The actual journey:

Overall, it was an eventful ride wherein I learnt a lot about myself and about the road. I left around mid-morning and was in Nashik a little after lunch. On the way back, I met Aseem and his friend for dinner at Nashik. We discussed each other's lives and our motorcycles and time flew by. Then, at around 9 PM I tanked up and left Nashik and was home in Mumbai by midnight.

Traffic was noticeably less around mid-morning and later in the night. I think that the mad rush to beat the rush has pushed lots of people into the early morning and early evening windows. In any case, it was one of the best rides that I have done. Clean, crisp, and purposeful. Swaying through the majestic bends of Kasara ghats with only my lights piercing the inky blackness is an experience that I will remember for a long time.

Right. Now that we have gotten the ride description out of the way, let's look at some learnings.


Preparations:

There are enough pithy sayings about the benefits of preparation; and all of them apply here. Newbies especially would do well to start thinking about the journey well in advance. I started my preparations days in advance. I wrote down the items to pack; lined them up and actually went through a full packing rehearsal. I tried out different permutations and combinations in container shapes and sizes. I also tried out two different bags to hold everything. Then, I took each of the packed bag combinations down to the motorcycle to assess how that arrangement would sit on the pillion seat, and what it would take to secure said arrangement safely to the motorcycle. Based on my observations, I made my decision on the bag and container combination to use and then proceeded to do a full tie down of everything. Once finished, I took pictures on my phone to help me remember the steps on the morning of the ride.

The day before the ride, I took the bike for a small spin around town to see if all was OK mechanically speaking. Then, I topped up the tank and did a wet rag wipe down once I got home. Nothing like starting with a clean motorcycle.

Other preparations included being mindful of how I felt in the days leading up to the ride. I typically exercise 5 to 6 days a week. But, a couple of days before the ride, I abstained from all heavy exertion to spare myself any residual body soreness that could distract me on the road.

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Luggage arrangement practice run.


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Some close-ups to clearly mark the anchor points.


What to pack?

Travel light; but, take everything :-) I chose to pack a power bank with some charger cables, medicine for common symptoms, a small dynamo powered flashlight, a cloth napkin, clear visor and a bungee net. I thought I had covered everything; but had omitted a crucial item. More on that later.

Aside from the items listed above, 80% of my bag consisted of fuel for sustenance. Knowing that I was going to be out for a full day, I packed myself some dependable food - 6 peanut butter and banana sandwiches in 3 small containers. There were enough calories in there to last me until dinner; and that's exactly how things panned out. The key concept to remember here is that in open-ended rides, less is NOT more. Only more is more. In fact, even that is incorrect. Actually, more is less. There's no such thing as excess water or food. Considering the very real prospect of being stuck in desolate spots with no access to water or food, it is better to err on the side of caution and carry more than what appears necessary. I ate all my sandwiches and drank up all the water that I carried during my 13 hour ride. Plus I bought another litre of water at Trimbakeshwar and finished that too. Riding dehydrates a person fast. So, it's best to buy water well before one's rations are consumed. That way, there is always some in the bag for exigencies.

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Laying out my items and getting a count.


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Peanut butter and banana sandwiches offer some of the best power to mass ratios in food. They aren't messy to eat either.


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Six sandwiches in three boxes = Enough calories for about 8 hours.


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Boxes are about 3.5 inches in diameter....


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... and about 2 inches in height


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Everything fit neatly into this 15 liter backpack. Well, not entirely neatly actually.

(Speaking of bags, I am in the market for a compact (15 to 20 litre) tailbag with dedicated water bottle holders. I do have the Viaterra Claw. But, that bag is total overkill for a day ride. Kindly do pass on some ideas in this regard.)


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Cleaned helmet visors and laid out my gear on the floor the night before the ride. This way, there is no last minute scrambling to find things.


Coming back to that omission which came to haunt me; here's what happened. After having made great time with slightly over 2 hours of saddle time, I broke for lunch at a lonely gas station at around 1:30 PM. It was nice and warm. Famished and thirsty, I couldn't wait to start eating. Finding a nice shady spot for the motorcycle, I proceeded to take off my gear while simultaneously unpacking my bag. At some point, I removed my prescription eyeglasses and set them down on the bike's fuel tank. They promptly fell down.

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Break for lunch on the Mumbai - Nashik highway.


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Notice those eyeglasses precariously perched on the bag. This was just before the fiasco.

Though I heard the fall, I could not immediately spot the glasses. I thought about pausing my unpacking to retrieve the glasses. But, with the bike on its sidestand, all items were at risk of falling down and I really wasn't about to lose my lunch. So, I put off looking for the glasses for a few minutes while I got my bag and other items sorted and safely perched. Big mistake!! Huge mistake!! From that point, I forgot about the glasses and proceeded to eat standing up. Done with the food, I had a huge swig of water and was really relishing the refreshment. Then I took a step back. That's when I heard the crunch.

Even without looking down, I knew that I was in a world of trouble. I had two spare glasses at home. And yet, I hadn't thought to pack one of them for this ride. I stood 140 kms from home facing the terrifying prospect of riding at least that distance without my glasses. Now, with nine different kinds of panic modes setting in, I weighed my options. If I carried on, I would have to ride first to Trimbakeshwar without my glasses; then try to see the Lord without my glasses; then return home after dark without my glasses. If I chose to return back immediately, I would still have to ride 140 kms back without glasses; but it would at least be during bright daylight. Option two was the only real choice here. I was heartbroken at the thought of returning without having accomplished my goal of going to Trimbakeshwar. Resigned to failure, I picked up the broken pieces and asked the gas station guy if he had any tape. His face gave me no hope. But, I persisted. Then, after a full 10 minutes of rummaging, he pulled out some opaque insulation tape; but didn't have scissors. I somehow managed to tape up the broken pieces and then to tape the whole weird contraption to my nose inside the helmet. By now, I was really sweating in every sense of the word.

The beauty of 1-day rides! A worthy middleweight to breakfast rides & long journeys-yjwz8484.jpg

I had this taped to my nose for about 25 minutes. in hindsight, I guess it's funny.

Then it occurred to me to call Aseem in Nashik. Without him realizing it, he had actually been the driving influence in my choice of motorcycle right down to the colour. If he had brought me here, maybe he can help me get further. I feverishly messaged him and asked if he could help me locate an optician in Nashik on a Sunday afternoon. By the grace of God and Team BHP, Aseem immediately responded that he would work on it. In less than 5 minutes, he had located a place and had spoken to the owner about staying open for another hour. He sent me the address and I was riding in the next minute to the place with broken glass taped to my nose about half an inch from my eyes!! It was crazy.

An excruciating 11 kms later, I got to the opticians and they were so kind as to make my prescription glasses in 15 minutes flat. SAVED by Aseem. Thank you Lord and thank you Team BHP.

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Aseem saved my butt. Thanks to Team BHP.


Lesson: Think hard about what you cannot do without. Then pack spares of those items. Secondly, don't wait too long to break journey. Hunger and thirst have a way of impairing judgement to the point where one can end up making expensive mistakes. My spare glasses cost me Rs. 3500. Money that I had not planned on spending. Still, it could have been worse.

Finally, out there on the road, you absolutely cannot let your morale sag due to a setback. Find a way out and stay patient. It will be worth it in the end.


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Finally, made it.


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A post dinner selfie with Aseem and his friend. Great guys who helped out.


When to start the ride:

This one should be based purely on one's comfort levels. An early morning start is typically ideal. But, not everyone is cut out for waking up early and getting on with it. I have done weekend rides with groups where I had an incentive to wake up early because I had people waiting for me. A few times during those excursions, my eyelids would droop on the way home at 10 AM in the morning. Hence this time, I chose a more forgiving departure time. One that allowed me a full night's sleep. I left around 11 AM after a relaxed morning. This turned to be a great decision because I felt very little fatigue during the later part of the day.


Lesson: Choose a schedule that works with your body clock. Don't beat yourself up if you miss your tee time or a few interim milestones. Staying fresh and positive is more important in the long run.


What to watch for on the road:

Trucks are generally hated creatures on the road. It's true that they can be dangerous. But, I came away feeling that trucks are disproportionately vilified. Out on the highway, I found trucks to be easily managed. They are generally slower and are less inclined to sudden changes in direction. On the other hand, the truly dangerous vehicles are those with high power to weight ratios. Hatchbacks and mid-sized sedans changed directions at will during my ride. A small Alto cut me off at break-neck speed which led to some unpleasant moments. More on that later.

Also troublesome were big SUVs with powerful engines and a large kerb weight. During previous rides, I have had Innovas, Fortuners and of course Cretas, trying to muscle their way into tiny gaps at high speeds. This time, a Mercedes GLS came up behind me and wilfully pushed me onto the road's shoulder. This car came at me directly from behind and that too from a distance. It's impossible for that driver to have not seen me. And yet, there wasn't even an iota of recognizance for my presence on the road.

Finally, there is the odd pedestrian or bicycle or a tempo truck trying to cross the road without noticing a motorcycle rider.


Lesson: Watch for obstacles from a good distance and take corrective / preventive action. In dense traffic formations, holding a predictable line is the way to go. But, in wide open sections of the road, it may be worth it to change lanes every so often. Changes in direction increase the chances of a motorcyclist being spotted by other vehicles on the road. Finally, fully expect big vehicles (and small vehicles) to behave like bullies. The key is to not be around those vehicles when they get their comeuppance.


Riding pointers:

Road surfaces are notoriously unpredictable. Grippy tarmac gives way to loose gravel in patches, and it’s hard to notice the difference quickly. On more than one occasion, I had to grab a handful and make a mid-corner correction because I thought I was going to overshoot the curve and get my tires on gravel. That is scary as hell when one is leaned over. Compounding this problem of the rider overestimating his/her ability is the issue of the rider under/overestimating other vehicles. At Kasara ghats, I saw a big bus going around the outside of a sweeping corner. I started that corner fully expecting to pass the bus on the inside. But, I was faster than I thought, and that darned bus was slower than I thought. If I had continued with my chosen trajectory, I would have run right into that bus at mid-corner. Not good at all.

Then, there's the aspect of riding in traffic. No rider likes to be hemmed in by heavy vehicles on all sides spewing diesel fumes. So, threading traffic is sometimes necessary to get ahead. On this day, I found myself in exactly such a situation. A truck overtaking another truck was taking forever to clear the lane. After maybe 2 or 3 annoying minutes, I was considering threading the gap between the two vehicles. Luckily, at that very moment, the truck on the left slowed down and we all passed him. Only then did I see the third truck struggling with a huge load. This smaller vehicle was the actual culprit in the bottleneck, and he was completely invisible from our previous lane positions. Had I chosen to thread the gap, I would have needed to make an emergency maneuver at the end of my move to account for this previously invisible vehicle.


Lesson: The bottom line is to be conservative and operate well within one's limitations. Expect other obstacles in front of the obstacles you see and choose speeds that are a notch lower than the ones that you are comfortable in; especially in corners. Not all of us are Valentino Rossi's bhathijas. Let's keep that in mind.


Other hazards:

In India, people are more dangerous than vehicles. Coming back to that Alto, I was upset that the car tried to run me off the road. So, I chased it down and angrily gestured at the driver. But, as soon as I had done it, I realized my mistake. Inside the car were a group of people who looked every bit like thugs. Four men in their mid 40s with bloodshot eyes and paan stains around their mouths. After the episode, these guys came up beside me, lowered their windows and threatened me with violence. I was beyond livid. But thankfully, I realized the odds against me. So, I backed away from a confrontation. Just for safety though, I memorized the car's registration number and emailed it to myself at the first opportunity.


Lesson: Highways are essentially lawless hinterlands that are hard to police. Picking fights on these roads will end badly for everyone; especially for solitary riders. So, don't let your mind lead you astray. Even if you are in the right, choose to be non-confrontational. Instead, take evasive action and clear the area.


Overall Learnings:

Short weekend rides have their place. But, day long rides work wonderfully well to widen one's perspective and to sharpen one's focus. It's important to choose destinations wisely and to plan reasonably in advance.

Carry food. Maintain contacts with people at both ends. Stay hydrated. Don't let set-backs determine your mood and thereby your decision making. Take good long breaks. When in doubt, take more breaks. Breaks help to slow your mind and allow you to think. Choose to stay calm and collected. That's the only way to ensure that your mind truly absorbs the experience.

Ride safe. Let the wind always be behind your back.


Bonus Feature - How did the motorcycle perform?

The gearing is short on the Dominar. I saw a YouTube review of the Kawasaki Z800 in which the owner talks about the wide range of his motorcycle’s 6th gear. He said that he could go from 40 km/h all the way up to 160 km/h in one gear, his 6th. Well, the Dominar isn't cut from the same cloth as the Z800. The gearing here comes with very narrow ranges; and the bike definitely wants to be in higher speeds in top gears. The engine protests if one tries to do 40 km/h in 5th gear (let alone 6th). Similarly, 2nd gear is no good for speeds in the teens. It's best for riders to use first gear all the way into the mid 20s. For a relatively small engine, the Dominar is surprisingly hard to ride slow; what with its narrow gearing combined with its weight and the 820ish mm seat height. Taller and heftier riders have a definite advantage here.

But, once it's cruising, the motorcycle pulls effortlessly and never leaves you wanting for power. The Dominar's wheelbase and heft gives it good stability in the straights and in broad sweeping curves. Crosswinds can be a problem; but within manageable limits. At times, I caught a lot of wind on my chest and had to crouch down to cut the drag. But, those were in wide open stretches of the road with not another vehicle in sight. Cruising at 80 km/h, I would at times feel the wind holding me back; I would look at the speedo and do a double take to see that bike had crept well into triple digits. This happened very often. The motorcycle is poised and relaxed in the 90s and will easily gallop into the 100s if one isn't watchful. In fact, I frequently kept upshifting from 6th to see if I was in top gear yet. That should tell you that even in its highest gear, the bike offers brilliant pulling power to make a rider think that yet another gear may be available for cruising. A gear level indicator would have been so useful here.

Talking about gear level indicators, it must be said that rider information is an area that the Dominar could certainly improve on. The dash console is totally not readable under the bright sun. I had to work very hard to read the gauges in daylight. But at night, the meters are legible and neat. But, then the headlights could be better at night. This is a paradox because the Dominar's headlight is one of its distinctive features. It looks great. But sadly, the wash of the headlights at night left me thoroughly unimpressed. So, I added auxiliary lights that have proved quite useful; and I may add yet another pair of lights to improve peripheral visibility. Another planned add-on is a rear carrier rack to strap down some items. Seeing as how this motorcycle is a true sports tourer, Bajaj would do well to offer these add-ons as official accessories.

Overall, other than a few minor gripes, the motorcycle performed in superb fashion. The seat is relatively comfortable, engine heat management is exemplary, and the brakes and suspension feel just right. In fact, I like this bike so much that if Bajaj were to make a twin cylindered middleweight version of this bike with a 650 CC DOHC engine and some feature additions and improvements (gear level indicator, bluetooth, hazard lights, 12V / USB charging port on dash, and better headlights) with a price under 4 lacs on road, I'd start saving up money for a down payment.

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The motorcycle looks muscular and has good presence on the road.


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In these long shots, one can clearly make out the longer wheelbase. That rake angle makes all the difference in the bike.


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Enjoy.

Last edited by Aditya : 4th November 2018 at 07:59. Reason: As requested
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Old 1st November 2018, 11:39   #2
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Originally Posted by mohansrides View Post
Why an all-day ride? And how is it different from weekend breakfast rides?
Amazing thread . Thanks for sharing. I do a lot of all-day drives, usually with family or close friends. Am blessed with a group that loves drives, trusts my driving and is always open to last minute plans. So we head out a lot. A good car, good music, good roads, good company & good food. What else do you need?!

I also do many all-day drives alone in a newly launched car that is being reviewed. Why alone? If it's an important car that I haven't driven before, I prefer to drive solo so that there are no distractions & I can put my 100% focus on the car. As an example, the Jeep Compass = I took it out alone on the highway. I really enjoy solo drives too. Just man + machine .

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Swaying through the majestic bends of Kasara ghats with only my lights piercing the inky blackness is an experience that I will remember for a long time.
You speak my language, man! I LOVE that ghat section. It even has runoff areas if you overcook it. With this 300 BHP AWD Volvo, I think we went up & down like 6 times (pic shot at Kasara ghat itself)!
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Old 1st November 2018, 12:32   #3
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Default Re: The beauty of 1-day rides! A worthy middleweight to breakfast rides & long journeys

Hi Mohan,

Loved reading through your experience. I could relate to a ton of things you have mentioned. The glasses breaking incident, been there done that, wiser now!

The fact that even if you are riding cautiously and within speed limits, some jackass will take it upon himself to remind you that theirs is the "bigger" one! If I had a penny for each such incident I have encountered, that too in the peaceful Gujarat, I would be a rich man!

Then also coming to the way the bike runs. Nailed every detail with pure honesty. Yes it doesnt ride well at high gears and low speeds and it definitely has fantastic acceleration even in 6th giving the impression that another gear is left! Also I feel the weight counters the cross winds to an extent. Bit off topic, but I learnt counter steering on this bike and man it makes it so much smoother to turn in using it.

I dont know much about touring bags but for someone as meticulous/cautious as you I would definitely recommend you buy proper riding boots. I recently did and man they have added comfort and peace of mind too.

Ok, enough of the good part, now I want to disagree with you on the headlights! A disclaimer though, I have only ridden on the highways once in pitch darkness which was last weekend when I went to Daman so my observation is based solely on that ride. I rode for 1.5 hours in darkness (early morning) and to be honest I wanted to say that I do not understand why so many riders are adding aux lights to their Dominars since I was doing pretty close to triple digits on the highway and my low beams were pretty decent in lighting up a fair distance. When it did feel like I may need more help, i would switch to high beams for a few seconds and revert. I honestly felt that the LEDs are doing a very good job. And the flash function worked wonderfully.

Anyway, above rant like is said may be due to my inexperience of night riding which I anyway am not comfortable with, so I dont think I will add any aux lights any time soon.

Now a few questions:

How many kms was the round trip? I am sorry if you mentioned this but I did not see it

What were your break intervals (kms/hours)?

Have you installed a mobile mount? If so which make?

You mentioned about wind blasts, did you face a lot of buffeting in your helmet too?

Finally additional advice/gyaan:

I am sure you will be always carrying spare glasses on rides going forth. Also carry spare keys for the bike and keep sharing your gps location with friends/family every hour.

Wishing you quadrillions of safe riding kms ahead!
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Old 1st November 2018, 13:06   #4
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Default Re: The beauty of 1-day rides! A worthy middleweight to breakfast rides & long journeys

Amazing write-up Mohan sir! The details mentioned are stunning. This thread makes up as a great guide for the riders, right from the steps of preparation for the ride, till the execution and reaching back to home safe and sound!

Meeting you was a great experience; the fun we had, and the discussions that we had.. Awesome would be an understatement!

Humbled that my write-ups influenced you to ride; and to get the Dominar in the first place, that too in the same colour as mine (P.S. I feel it worth writing on the forum even more now). Regarding the help part, as a TBHPian, and a fellow biker, this comes to me as a priority, and an obvious thing to do - the biking brotherhood

Hope to catch up soon on another ride, and have some more fun! (I so much want to do Kasara Ghats and Malshej Ghats, let's plan for it sometime!)

(P.S. I am Aseem , for people who don't know!)

Cheers!

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Old 1st November 2018, 14:14   #5
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Default Re: The beauty of 1-day rides! A worthy middleweight to breakfast rides & long journeys

Great write up, thanks for sharing.

Iím all for day rides! When we lived in Delhi I did a lot of the Sunday morning breakfast/coffee rides on my bullet with friends, colleagues and several clubs.

Good fun. But every so often I would just set off all by myself and just spend the day exploring. Great way to explore parts of any country and there is, as you experienced very often an element of adventure to it as well.

I have experienced a few problems with my 1974 RE bullet. Total strangers helped me out to get it to the local mechanic.

In India i did not like driving at night on my bike. No offence, but it just felt like being on a suicide mission with everybody else doing anything you can think of to get me killed! But sometimes it could not be avoided and I did not like it at all.

Back in the USA and Europe I only drive cars, classics and modern. I often take a car for a day long drive all by myself. I enjoy being alone as much as I enjoy going out with friends/family.

It is just a very different kind of experience, being out by yourself. Whenever I get myself a new car (be it a new / second hand / company car or classic) I will take a day off work and set off for the day. Just to get a good feel, try it out on different kind of roads.

I will stop for coffee regularly, take the owners manual and work myself through whilst sipping coffee.

keep on riding (and writing!)

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Old 1st November 2018, 17:27   #6
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Default Re: The beauty of 1-day rides! A worthy middleweight to breakfast rides & long journeys

Great thread. Thank you for sharing! I'm all up for such day rides too. Such solo rides let you introspect and I personally find a lot of solitude after rides like this.



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Originally Posted by mohansrides View Post
Lesson: Highways are essentially lawless hinterlands that are hard to police. Picking fights on these roads will end badly for everyone; especially for solitary riders. So, don't let your mind lead you astray. Even if you are in the right, choose to be non-confrontational. Instead, take evasive action and clear the area.
Couldn't agree more to this. When you are in the unknown, it is better to be safe than get into a fight for no reason. It will spoil your spirit as well as all the fun you were having. Once you are a part of the argument, your mind will be disturbed and you might end up thinking about the incident throughout the remainder of your ride. A distracted mind is an easy invitation for any mishap that might be waiting on the road. This applies to every traveler irrespective of the vehicle you are touring on.

Ride Safe!
R-Six
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Old 1st November 2018, 18:02   #7
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Default Re: The beauty of 1-day rides! A worthy middleweight to breakfast rides & long journeys

Great thread Mohan! You have covered all the aspects that we encounter while riding with the Do's and Dont's.

Special mention to your meticulous planning and packing, would be interesting to see the prep you do for a long trip!

Ride safe!
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Old 1st November 2018, 19:22   #8
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Default Re: The beauty of 1-day rides! A worthy middleweight to breakfast rides & long journeys

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Amazing thread . Thanks for sharing. ..
You speak my language, man! I LOVE that ghat section. It even has runoff areas if you overcook it.
Thank you. That's what I like about these ghats as opposed to say Lonavla. For one thing, Lonavla treats motorcyclists as second class citizens where they are not even allowed on the expressway. The ghat road there is not dual carriageway, and is unevenly surfaced in lots of places with splotches of bubbly tarmac which can be pretty dangerous. Then, there are many many sections where the edge of the road just falls off like a cliff. As in, there is an 8 or 9 inch drop where the tarmac ends on the sides of the road. A puny shoulder made of dirt will extend for another foot or so and then you are at the Lord's mercy!!! The hairpin bends are way steeper too in many sections in Lonavla. I made the mistake of taking the missus on my first ride ever to those places. The bike was new to me and it started to stall at a really steep hairpin bend. so, I gunned it and she fell right off. Luckily, we were going slow enough that she could find her footing. But, you can be sure that I am never going to hear about that incident for the rest of my life.... Lonavla is best done on a short wheelbase KTM.

By contrast, Kasara ghats have a dual carriageway. Plus, the bends are sweeping and allow lots of room to take in the experience. The quality of the road's surface is better. And as you rightly said, the shoulders are wide; gravelly at places maybe. But, wide and on an even plane. Small stuff that makes a huge difference.


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Originally Posted by Vikram8891 View Post
Hi Mohan,

Loved reading through your experience. I could relate to a ton of things you have mentioned....

Then also coming to the way the bike runs. Nailed every detail with pure honesty.....

Bit off topic, but I learnt counter steering on this bike and man it makes it so much smoother to turn in using it.
Thank you. And yes, I too learnt to counter-steer a long time ago. But, I don't think I do it well enough. I am looking for a good riding school in Mumbai to help me re-learn the techniques that I have forgotten. There is one called Top Gun. But, they do their 2 day road riding classes only in Kolhapur as they say they can't find a track in Mumbai. I am thinking of doing it one of these days.

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Originally Posted by Vikram8891 View Post
I dont know much about touring bags but for someone as meticulous/cautious as you I would definitely recommend you buy proper riding boots. I recently did and man they have added comfort and peace of mind too.
Those ARE riding boots. They are just styled to look casual because I want to step off my motorcycle and not look like I just stepped off a motorcycle. These boots have heel and toe protection, anti-slip soles and other features that help riders in hot weather. They are just not waterproof. Here is a link - https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/...-ace-air-shoes


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Originally Posted by Vikram8891 View Post
Now a few questions:

How many kms was the round trip? I am sorry if you mentioned this but I did not see it

What were your break intervals (kms/hours)?

Have you installed a mobile mount? If so which make?

You mentioned about wind blasts, did you face a lot of buffeting in your helmet too?

Finally additional advice/gyaan:

I am sure you will be always carrying spare glasses on rides going forth. Also carry spare keys for the bike and keep sharing your gps location with friends/family every hour.

Wishing you quadrillions of safe riding kms ahead!
Total mileage was 373 kms. I lost a lot of time in getting replacement eyeglasses. Plus, darshan at Trimbakeshwar takes a good 2 to 2.5 hours all inclusive. If everything had gone right, I would have been home by 8 or 9 PM.

I took breaks every 2 hours on the way out. But, there really is no set formula. Take a break before you feel like you absolutely need to take one. That's the point.

Yes, I do have a mobile mount with a USB charging port under it. It cost me Rs. 600 and is a generic piece of equipment that you will get in any bike shop. Total value for money. Helped me a lot. I never had to use my power bank. Also, don't connect it to your ignition as that risks messing with the wiring. I connected mine straight to the battery and added another switch under the seat. The USB charging port becomes available only when I turn on that switch. This way, no one can come and happily drain away my battery when my bike is parked.

Yes, I felt a lot of wind blast. A windscreen may be good. But, I am wary of adding anything that detracts from the look of the bike. So, I might just deal with the wind and move on (no pun intended). Wind buffeting around the helmet is there. But, a slight adjustment and things are OK. Besides, I feel that being forced to move around and make such adjustments on the saddle is actually beneficial to me as it helps me stay alert. Otherwise, things could get drowsy.

And noted about the extra keys. Good suggestion, by the way.

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Originally Posted by Shekhar2509 View Post
...P.S. I am Aseem , for people who don't know!
Aseem... Thanks for all your help. And it's good that you introduced yourself here as I had forgotten that your handle does not mention your name.

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
Great write up, thanks for sharing.

I have experienced a few problems with my 1974 RE bullet. Total strangers helped me out to get it to the local mechanic.
Thank you. I think for distance riding in India, it is hard to beat the support network that RE has in place. More than their service stations, informal networks like what you have mentioned have developed a high level of expertise in turning around RE bikes. It's a definite advantage for those interested in touring.

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
..In India i did not like driving at night on my bike. No offence, but it just felt like being on a suicide mission with everybody else doing anything you can think of to get me killed! But sometimes it could not be avoided and I did not like it at all.

Back in the USA and Europe I only drive cars, classics and modern. I often take a car for a day long drive all by myself. I enjoy being alone as much as I enjoy going out with friends/family.

It is just a very different kind of experience, being out by yourself. Whenever I get myself a new car (be it a new / second hand / company car or classic) I will take a day off work and set off for the day. Just to get a good feel, try it out on different kind of roads.

I will stop for coffee regularly, take the owners manual and work myself through whilst sipping coffee.

keep on riding (and writing!)

Jeroen
I actually like night riding a lot. For one thing, it's cooler at night. Certainly, this October has been oppressively hot here. Then, if you find a good stretch of road, it can be meditative experience. One has to deal with the morons driving in the opposite direction with their high beams on. But, that's life.

One of these days, I will make enough money to do a motorcycle tour of Europe.

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Originally Posted by R-Six View Post
Great thread. Thank you for sharing! I'm all up for such day rides too. Such solo rides let you introspect and I personally find a lot of solitude after rides like this.
Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by R-Six View Post
Couldn't agree more to this. When you are in the unknown, it is better to be safe than get into a fight for no reason. It will spoil your spirit as well as all the fun you were having. Once you are a part of the argument, your mind will be disturbed and you might end up thinking about the incident throughout the remainder of your ride. A distracted mind is an easy invitation for any mishap that might be waiting on the road. This applies to every traveler irrespective of the vehicle you are touring on.

Ride Safe!
R-Six
To walk away from a fight that you didn't start is actually an acquired skill. A hard one at that. To put it better, I'd say that it's a perpetual work in progress. But, hard or not, it is a vital skill to have in every sense of the word.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick5490 View Post
Great thread Mohan! You have covered all the aspects that we encounter while riding with the Do's and Dont's.

Special mention to your meticulous planning and packing, would be interesting to see the prep you do for a long trip!

Ride safe!
Thank you. But, going by results alone, I'd say that I screwed it up big time. I planned everything; and yet left out an important item and ended up paying through my nose. It's another thing that other parts of my planning came to my rescue to pull me out of a jam. Live and learn I guess.

Last edited by mohansrides : 1st November 2018 at 19:26.
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Old 1st November 2018, 21:21   #9
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Default Re: The beauty of 1-day rides! A worthy middleweight to breakfast rides & long journeys

Just a question why put in so much effort to tie up those things, they are not heavy at all and i prefer carrying them on my back on the backpack. Saves the extra effort. Weight is pretty much neglibilble with the riding jacket on.
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Old 1st November 2018, 21:25   #10
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Default Re: The beauty of 1-day rides! A worthy middleweight to breakfast rides & long journeys

Mohan! Loved the write-up so much dude! You really have a nice way with your words.

Coming to the bullying part, Truckers do that by blocking the lanes and the other smaller vehicles do that by blocking us from being in the lanes. I started considering such thugs as moving obstacles on my trajectory and I just have to negotiate. We shall reap double benefits in the form of peace of mind and makes the ride exponentially interesting.

As you rightly said, a good preparation session is paramount for taking up touring on a motorcycle. This thread would definitely help newbie riders on what to expect out of long-distance motorcycling. Here are my suggestions for the newbie riders,

1. Try enjoying the ride first and then the destination as well. All that you care about is the destination, then choose other mode of transport.
2. Scheduling the ride with enough and well-timed breaks is paramount for the stamina of both the man and the machine.
3. Setting up a comfortable target distance in the next important thing.
4. Make sure to ride in the sunlight and if possible, avoid riding post sunset.
5. Choose a neat place to stay, the next day's ride depends on tonight's sleep.
6. Try to be warm and polite with locals, they are usually nice. Ofcourse, there will be some crackheads as well, stay away from them.
7. Try not to confront anyone on the road, you never know he/she might be the owner of this country with hell a lot of influence

Happy riding!
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Old 1st November 2018, 21:46   #11
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Default Re: The beauty of 1-day rides! A worthy middleweight to breakfast rides & long journeys

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Just a question why put in so much effort to tie up those things, they are not heavy at all and i prefer carrying them on my back on the backpack. Saves the extra effort. Weight is pretty much neglibilble with the riding jacket on.
Two reasons. Three actually.

First, that backpack will not accommodate the extra visor which means that I have to tie down the visor in any case. So, if I am doing that, why not just shove the backpack underneath and save myself the load on my back?

Second, the jacket has a back protector which, while necessary, is sort of irritating because it blocks airflow out the back of the jacket. One gets around that by wiggling the back and pulling back the shoulder blades to create an air pocket. With a backpack on, there is additional load to clear in ventilating the back. Also, this particular piece of luggage with 2.5 liters of water in Tupperware bottles plus the food was not exactly light. It would have easily weighed in at around 20 lbs to 25 lbs, or approximately 10 kgs. Not fun to lug around at all.

In city rides, it’s alright because the duration is short. But you will find that most long haul riders won’t wear their backpacks. Pillion riders maybe. But, the riders themselves? Hardly ever.

Third, there is some research online that says that a backpack with odds and ends in it may not be the best thing to have on if things go sideways for the rider, if you know what I mean. Of course, the research isn’t conclusive. But I anyways don’t like to wear one unless I absolutely have to.

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Originally Posted by ramji_or View Post
Mohan! Loved the write-up so much dude! You really have a nice way with your words....

Happy riding!
Thank you. And thanks for adding your bits of advice. Good points too. I had not thought about hotels. But you are right. In longer rides, choice of overnight accommodation will determine subsequent days’ temperament.

Last edited by mohansrides : 1st November 2018 at 22:16.
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Old 1st November 2018, 23:55   #12
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Default Re: The beauty of 1-day rides! A worthy middleweight to breakfast rides & long journeys

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You speak my language, man! I LOVE that ghat section. It even has runoff areas if you overcook it. With this 300 BHP AWD Volvo, I think we went up & down like 6 times (pic shot at Kasara ghat itself)!
Very true and a very close to heart route. I have been doing Mumbai Nashik since a very young age, Kasara ghat was a pain back then. I remember getting stuck in the ghat for almost 3-4 hours in the state transport's luxury bus called "Asiad". Not any more, since a last few years this place has become heaven for the enthusiasts, especially the down hill section.

Here's a video of my recent solo ride on the Kasara.

Kasara ghat starts from 1:05 onward.



PS: The video is in almost 1.5x speed. The actual speed was very well under the limit.

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Old 2nd November 2018, 07:58   #13
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Default Re: The beauty of 1-day rides! A worthy middleweight to breakfast rides & long journeys

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Thank you. That's what I like about these ghats as opposed to say Lonavla. For one thing, Lonavla treats motorcyclists as second class citizens where they are not even allowed on the expressway. The ghat road there is not dual carriageway
You know, I feel bad for you bikers. The Lonavla ghat - when coming downhill - is the most terrifically designed mountain road in Maharashtra. If you have a good set of wheels & catch it when its empty, the experience will have you smiling for days. Every time I'm high-revving down the ghat, I think "whoever designed this has to have been a Formula 1 fan". It has fast corners, slow & technical curves, S-curves....an absolute delight!

@ All bikers: Please do experience the Lonavla ghat in a car .

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Old 2nd November 2018, 13:53   #14
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Default Re: The beauty of 1-day rides! A worthy middleweight to breakfast rides & long journeys

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You know, I feel bad for you bikers. The Lonavla ghat - when coming downhill - is the most terrifically designed mountain road in Maharashtra. If you have a good set of wheels & catch it when its empty, the experience will have you smiling for days. Every time I'm high-revving down the ghat, I think "whoever designed this has to have been a Formula 1 fan". It has fast corners, slow & technical curves, S-curves....an absolute delight!

@ All bikers: Please do experience the Lonavla ghat in a car .

I believe as of a month back - 2-wheelers are totally banned on the Expressway. Earlier they could use the stretch from Khandala to the Khopoli exit. But now that's closed to and there is now a bypass road at Khandala.

Although I don't ride as fast as most superbikers do - I love the stretch of road when you take the Khopoli exit.
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Old 2nd November 2018, 14:30   #15
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Default Re: The beauty of 1-day rides! A worthy middleweight to breakfast rides & long journeys

A very nice thread there Mohan. I am sure it will help & inspire many new entrants to this whole scene and also returning riders who may have left the scene back in the 80s and 90s. Yeah its a lot different now because we have much better bikes, riding aids, infrastructure and more breakfast spots as well.

As a solo rider myself, I echo most of your sentiments. And I agree if you are riding solo, its much better to strap your stuff at the back and ride freely without a backpack hanging on you. Enjoy the freedom!

As for Aux lights, I do agree some of the cheap Chinese stuff spreads lights in all directions that can be a major irritant for oncoming traffic, so it would be prudent to go with lights that focus front and are angled onto the road rather than the horizon. As for a comment above that Aux are not required, each of us has different kinds of eye sight in the dark and probably some may be comfortable with stock headlights, which is fine. To each his own as long as you are comfortable with what you see.

Ride safe and keep the fun going
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