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Old 10th May 2022, 12:22   #1
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Default My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan

The last few years have been really bad. Started with the sad demise of my father to whom i was very close, then my mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness, which ultimately claimed her last year. The COVID scene since last two years made life even more miserable.
The only ray of hope was my daughter, playing with her made me happy. But now she has grown up and started going to school and i am still not able to get back to normalcy.

Last year i sold off my Maruti Esteem and Hero Honda Splendor in an attempt to free myself of past memories. Both of them still stock and in pristine condition with FC renewed for next 5 years.

My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-pxl_20210408_030913016.portrait.jpgMy exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-pxl_20210426_095620477.jpg
1998 Hero Honda Splendour, still in imaculate condition. Sold it to a working student.


My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-img_20210124_174706.jpg
2005 Esteem Vxi

I still have my Scorpio 4wd which is the all rounder (groceries, highway, anywhere and everywhere) which i intend to keep forever.

My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-mvimg_20200926_162855.jpg
Current daily drive, 2012 Scorpio LX 4wd @ Gunjur lake

My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-mvimg_20201121_170625-2.jpgMy exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-mvimg_20201121_140708.jpg
A small camp at Jayamangali Blackbuck reserve

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Webasto sunroof installed for my daughter

I then booked and took delivery of RE Himalayan so as to ride myself out of depression.
A Royal Enfield was always in our "to get" list, infact we had booked one in 2012 and then cancelled it after 9+ months of waiting with no clarity on delivery. The home minister wanted a Royal Enfield and i wanted a offroader to gel with my 4wd Scorpio. So it was, the Royal Enfield Himalayan entered our family in Dasara of 2021.

My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-pxl_20211014_070701526.jpg
2021 Royal Enfield Himalayan with our 2017 bundle of JOY...!!

The long waiting period of 4+ months ensured that i got ample time to research and list out modifications for the bike. So, after getting the bike i started putting things on it begining with safety first.

For the bike
  1. Auto Engina crash guard to protect the bike and my legs
  2. Knuckle guards to protect the levers and my hand
  3. Brake cylinder guard
  4. Oil cooler guard
  5. Foam handgrip
  6. Handlebar risers
  7. Sidestand extender
  8. Charging unit
  9. Solace MSTASH Tank bag

For the rider
  1. Solace Rival Urban Jacket with CE Level 2 armour at back, shoulder, elbow and Foam protector at chest, with rain and cold layers
  2. Solace Coolpro V3 riding pants with rain and cold layers, CE level 2 hip & knee protectors
  3. Solace urban gloves
  4. Riding boots
  5. Rynox waterproof riding socks

With the accessories & riding gear in place, i wanted to start riding and relieve my stress. I had a long list of places to cover, some in a breakfast ride and others involving multi days/weeks/months. Decided that Saturday or Sunday mornings would be best to start 2-3 hours ride and allow everything to break-in, the bike & the gear. Planned to do only highway runs at max 80 KMPH and less than 4000 RPM until the first service. This resulted in me covering highwys north of Bangalore upto Gudibande.
The first run was for 100 KMs during which i realized the contour of the stock touring seat is not comfortable for long runs, with my lower back raised, i started feeling pain after the ride. I could move front, but that would increase the knee bend, so i decided to get seat altered. Found JMJ Seat Covers from Google and got the seat altered, increased the height and width. This felt good only thing is that i could not flat foot on a standstill position, this was a disadvantage as i could not reverse with just the toes touching the ground. So went back to JMJ and explained the problem and requested them to reduce the height a bit, which they did perfectly.

My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-pxl_20211016_031759142.jpg
my first Highway run ...


My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-pxl_20211210_102800617.jpg
Heightened seat, taking inspiration from Seat Concepts

In the second highway run, took some State Highways which were really cool, kept learning the bike's behaviour and testing the tripper pod for accurarcy (more on it later...). During this run, decided to remove the saree guard (a DIY) and had the tank pads completely greyed out to improve the looks.

My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-pxl_20211024_023721832.jpgMy exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-pxl_20211024_023757408.jpgMy exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-pxl_20211030_024952335.jpg

These two runs bought the odo close to 500 Kms and with it the first run-in closure, time for the first service. Got it done at CVS Motors, Hebbal, took it at 9:30 am and told the SA that i will wait. After 3 hours the bike was ready with oil change, filter change and general check-up done, total cost was approx Rs 1000/-. Post the first service gear shifts were smooth and mileage went up to 30+ KMPL. Now, it was time to hit 100 KMPH and higher RPMs on need basis which translated into longer highway runs and more saddle time. Realized that my behind would get sore post 1 hour of riding, so got a Fego Float which helped a lot.

My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-pxl_20211103_054404171.jpgMy exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-pxl_20211103_054417304.jpg
First free service at CVS Motors, Hebbal

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First ride into the dirt at Vatadahosahalli Lake

Few breakfast rides around Bangalore:

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Plane view behind BIAL
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Hesaraghatta grasslands

Last edited by gypsyFreak : 18th May 2022 at 20:13. Reason: updates
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Old 13th May 2022, 13:34   #2
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Default Re: My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan

Now, it was time for my first multi day ride. With my wife and daughter in hometown and having taken a week off from work, the plan was to ride for 3-4 days and rest in the remaining. Destination was Shimoga to meet a ex-colleague and then ride to coastal Karnataka and retrun to Bangalore. I had just booked hotel in Shimoga, rest would be decided on the go.
The plan was to ride till 6 pm each day and book a room in the nearest town.
Food during the rides is usually Protein bars and Tea and a meal at dinner.

As the first service was done recently, i got the bike checked again and in the process moved to fully synthetic oil, expecting smoother ride and better mileage. For this trip i decided to completely rely on tripper navigation with a backup plan of using mobile navigation on the tank bag. Got a SJCAM SJ 6 Legend, just to video log key moments, which i am not good at.

The route for first day was Bangalore - Hassan - Belur - Chickmaglur - Bababudangiri - Gaalikere - Bhadra Tiger Reserve - Kemmangundi - Lingadalli - Bhadravati - Shimoga.

Started from Bangalore around 5:45 AM and reached Chickmaglur around 11 AM. As i started to climb towards Bababudangiri, the Trip F started blinking, that's about 270 KMs. I was confused, my calculations of 30 KMPL * 15 liters = 450 KMs was junked. Later realized that Himalayan has close to 5 liters in Trip F, so technically i could still ride about 120 KMs, but did not want to risk it, as there were no petrol bunks beyond Kaimara junction upto Lingadalli and everything in between was mostly offroad and forest area. Petrol was available in petty shops, but i did not want to put a cocktail of kerosene & petrol on my new bike. So, went back to CKM and got tanked up. First lesson learnt, from then on made it a point to tank up whenever i get Trip F.

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somehwere near CR patna bypass

My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-20211228_135715.jpg
on the way to Bababudangiri

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Gaalikere

The forest guard at Bhadra Tiger Reserve entry was surprised to see a solo rider and after usual warnings about tigers on the road, no roads and no mobile signal for emergency, he let me go after noting down my details.
The scenery here is amazing, but i had to keep my eyes on the dirt track road. Stopped to help out a SX4 cab who took this route assuming it to be a shortcut to Kemmangundi, but eventually they turned back within 2 KMs. I soldered on just to realize how hard the clutch of Himalayan is and to have my first fall(the bike's fall). So, while i neared the second checkpost, there was a Maruti Gypsy coming in the opposite direction, to give more road for passing, i went off the trail just to realize my legs would not reach the ground. I could not hold the bike as it was already half way to kiss the ground, i gently let it go
No damages to anywhere, the AutoEngina crash guard did well. The folks in the Gypsy helped me get it upright and i was back on the trail with a bruised ego

My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-20211228_151227.jpgMy exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-20211228_151331.jpg
inside Bhadra Tiger Reserve

All the trail riding in low gears with frequent clutch application resulted in a pain, decided to get the Prospec Easy clutch on my return to Bangalore. It worked wonders as seen in my second multi day ride.
I took a long break at Aramane Vaibhava, Bhadravati and reached Shimoga by 5:30 PM. Directly, went to the hotel and called it a day.

The second day, i started around 11 am from Shimoga and thought of riding towards Marwanthe beach by taking the Sigandur ferry. Nice and scenic roads throughout.

My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-20211229_152728.jpg
a cool place for a protein break by a stream

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that's me, waiting for the ferry

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onboard the ferry with my bike

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Reached Marwanthe around 5 pm

While taking a tea break in Marwanthe, booked a room in Kundapura and decided to rest for the day. Final day was the return to Bangalore, planned to take Hulikal Ghat and another ferry crossing to reach Tarikere and then to Hiriyur and Bangalore. The Nagara, Hulikal ghat stretch is amazing, good roads and minimal traffic, stopped for photo ops at a scenic place.

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Reached Tumkur by 6 PM and got into a 1 hour conference call for an urgent issue and downed 5-6 chais in that time
From Tumkur, it was night ride to Bangalore where i realized how insufficient the stock headlight is on the Himalayan. I had to get aux lights for my next night ride. Finally, got home by 10 pm.

My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-20220101_113632.jpg
customary post trip bike wash

Bought Solace riding Jeans and tested it during a recent ride to our farm where the bike had it's second fall. I had parked it on the side stand and was leaning against the bike and felt the bike moving away, turned around to see it was going for a fall. Got a good grip on the handlebar and wanted to pull it straight, that's when 200 KG mass hit me, this is not my Splendour to pull around. So, i let it go down and decided to picked it up the right way, with my back to it. Another lesson learnt, the hard way.
Solace riding jeans seems a good choice for about 2-3 hours riding, not sure how it would fare in day long rides in peak summer.

My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-20220227_162007.jpgMy exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-20220227_152952.jpg

Did a few breakfast rides. One thing i realized is that tripper pod is useless. For me, the major drawback is that it does not show map view, many times i have taken the wrong route which resulted in app re-routing which basically resulted in application hanging and repeating the previous instruction infinetly. I had a bluetooth connection inside Royal Enfield Escapede helmet. To stop the navigation i had to stop the bike, remove gloves and stop the app. The second approach of using the mobile navigation on tank bag failed as the phone used to shutdown as the temp increased due to direct sunlight. So, decided to get mobile holder for the next trip.

Another few breakfast rides in next few weeks in search of that elusive spot for calm & relaxation. I wanted to be alone, ponder over past memories and do nothing. Basically, just diffuse and let the stress out...

With few rides to my native, the odo came to 4300, time for second service. The swing arm had developed a creaking noise and so did the front headlight area at high rpms. Got it serviced at CVS Motors Hebbal. They fixed the swing arm by overhauling and oiling it and put a damping tape around the headlight to address the noise there. No oil change, adjusted the clutch a bit saying that it was causing stalling issues. I never had stalling issues, but clutch felt good, gear shifts became quicker and smoother.
Next multi day ride was coming up, so decided to get Maddog alpha lights installed. Got the lights installed next to the headlight and later moved them to fork clamps, as i wanted them to turn with the handle. Also, got the oil changed to Motul 7100 10w50 which i expect to do well in the summer rides.

My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-20220417_082535.jpg
Ready to ride with GPS mount & aux lights

Last edited by gypsyFreak : 18th May 2022 at 20:24. Reason: updates
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Old 18th May 2022, 12:09   #3
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Default My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan

It was time for my second multiday ride. The route plan was to ride to Hubli/Dandeli and take the coastal route down to Udupi and then return to Bangalore. But, I had to go to Sakrebailu Elephant camp to collect my daughter's doll, which she managed to drop between the bedsheets during our previous vacation.

The riding schedule was simple, ride during the sunlight with protein bars for food and tender coconut for thirst and when the sun goes down, get a room to eat and rest.

Day one was to be a working day as i had not taken leave, so i started at 3:59 AM from home, reached Sakrebylu Elephant Camp by 10 AM picked the doll and then decided to ride till Mundgod and get a room to start office work. Reached Mundgod and by 12:30 PM i was in day's first conference call.
Having done 450 KMs in the day, still felt energetic to work with no cramps anywhere, thanks to riding posture on the Himalayan and the protective gear.
Next few days i would be riding around Dandeli, just riding & relaxing, no river rafting, no advneture sports, no safari..nothing.

The plan for day two was to ride interior roads of Dandeli and reach the west coast by evening. The day started with a drizzle, which felt good and it kept the weather cool.

My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-20220415_074909.jpg
heading out in the morning, packed up and rain gears on

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inside Dandeli, on the way to Castlerock

My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-20220415_104325.jpg
at Castlerock Railway station

Crossed Ganeshgudi and went upto Castlerock and was going towards Shivapura Hanging bridge when i found a cool, clean and calm spot. Decided to stop, take a protein break and rest for a while. One of the perks of travelling solo, you can stop anywhere and do whatever you want, for how much time ever you want ..

My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-20220415_113458.jpg
just relaxing

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my open camp

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in the lap of mother nature...

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my Himalayan, doing what it is built for...

After a short nap, packed up and was on the road again. Just after a few dozen KMs felt the need to rest again, blame it the humid weather or the uncomfort of the riding jeans.
Found an ideal place, probably a fair ground or a temple ground, the area was well maintained. Parked the bike near a tree and pulled out the mat and then relaxed. A gentleman walked up to me, curious as to what i was doing here, after hearing me, he offered me take rest in his nearby house and come to lunch at the temple fair. I thanked him and kindly declined as i wanted to be alone and rest in the lap of mother nature.

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the second camp

After the second nap of the day, it was already late, decided to go straight to the coast before it was dark. Reached Karwar by 5 pm and wanted to check out Devbagh beach, so followed Google maps which got me stuck in the sand. Whoa, no amount of pulling or pushing could get the 230 KG mass of the bike out. The humidity and my riding jeans were making things worse, i was going to drown in my own salty sweat...
Then came along a nice chap who helped me make some tracks in the sand and pull the bike backwards out of the sand. I thanked him for his effort and rested a while.
I was done for the day, ate a protein bar and started looking for hotels, but alas nothing was available. This is one of the pains of on the go planning, but that's what i came out for. So moved on to Ankola and found a room there, had a nice cold shower and ordered a two course meal to boost up my lost energy.

Next day would be coastal ride from Ankola to Udupi. Nothing much on this day, except that using riding jeans for a summer ride was a bad choice. The mesh jacket kept the upper body ventilated, but riding jeans was a wrong choice. Heat from the 411 cc engine on hot & humid summer day made things misreable, should have used my mesh riding pants. The humid weather and high temperature ensured that i did not get any spots to rest like the day before .. so, i kept moving.

My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-20220416_133350.jpg
paying my respects to the lord at Murudeshwar

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quick stop in search of secluded beach


Reached Udupi by evening and my search for rooms in online portals was unfruitfull. Was about to move out of Udupi, when few local youths started a conversation on Himalayan's windshield noise and ended up guiding me to a hotel room. Makes me believe in the power of human bonding and understand that modern technology still has a big gap outside the metros.

Final day of the trip would be to ride back to Bangalore. Wanted to ride Agumbe hairpins and Kuduremukha ghat, so route was planned through them. Started by 9 am from Udupi and crossed Agumbe soon, the fresh tar on the hairpins made the ride smooth. I always love the hairpins riding up than down, where you are challenged to gear shifts and power delivery. Soon, i crossed Sringeri and reached SK border, from here the roads inside Kuduremukha wildlife sanctuary have deteriorated, especially near old Kuduremukha town.

My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-20220417_132114.jpgMy exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-20220417_132137.jpgMy exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-20220417_134552.jpg
inside Kuduremukha, roads are bad, but everything else is amazing

Started hearing a kat kat noise from the headlight area whenever i hit a pothole, thought it was the windsheild and tightened it, but the sound did not go away. As of now, it is still there, i need to remove the GPS mount and check. It started raining when i was near Belur, put on full rain gear and rode in the rain and night, finally reached home by 9:30 PM. The maddog lights were really usefull and the yellow filter ensured visibility in rain too.

All in all, the bike performed very well, no issues anywhere. I was not carrying any spares at all, as i knew RE service centers where everywhere and had faith in the bike. Just kept lubing the chain after every 500 Kms. I got a decent mileage of approx 33 KMPL with speeds of around 100 KMPH.

Post trip, just made one small change so far, moved the aux lights to the fork.

My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan-20220509_112347.jpg

This brings us to present day, where i am awaiting for the rains to clear up. Have planned a few rides, need to still find that elusive calm spot near Bangalore. Few mods planned for the bike... saddle stay, saddle bags, probably a tent with cooking equipment for the next trip. Let's see how it goes.

Last edited by gypsyFreak : 18th May 2022 at 20:57. Reason: formatting
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Old 19th May 2022, 07:21   #4
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Default Re: My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Motorcycle section. Thanks for sharing!

Going to our homepage today
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Old 19th May 2022, 08:19   #5
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Default Re: My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan

This was an absolutely wonderful thread to read! More power to you and you family sir and hope you have long and safe adventures on your bike! I too have just booked a Himalayan and can totally understand the feelings that you get when you ride a motorcycle. Its peaceful, meditative almost and helps me distract myself from my professional life for just some time. I wish you loads of happiness, Cheers!
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Old 19th May 2022, 10:31   #6
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Default Re: My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan

A very well documented ownership and straight from the heart travelogue! Love the meaningful mods and the ease with which you are able to carry out multi-day rides. More power to you and keep documenting these travelogues for our reading pleasure!
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Old 19th May 2022, 11:57   #7
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Default Re: My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan

Congrats on the new Himalayan. A capable motorcycle and the open roads is like being on steroids. Being with the machine that you trust to take you to far off places on a solo ride helps you calm down and soak in the nature around you. More importantly, you become instinctively positive and look forward to come home to your loved ones in one piece, whilst having a blast for yourself. Karnataka is blessed with such scenic places and good people. When the ride becomes a little monotonous, I used to sing all my favourite songs with the helmet on - the closed environment, echo and those little streaks of wind escaping through the visors; suddenly you feel like you are the world's best rockstar!

I empathise with your situation on the personal front, as I am too in the same boat. This too shall pass. Ride safe. God speed. And, thank you for sharing this heartfelt travelogue.

Last edited by jeeva : 19th May 2022 at 12:00.
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Old 19th May 2022, 12:05   #8
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Default Re: My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan

I really enjoyed reading such a heartfelt yet simple account of the joy your bike has brought. Some of what you said resonated with me - I've been riding solo for a better part of the last 5 years as it lets me "do my own thing".

Wish you many more happy miles on your bike.

Cheers.
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Old 19th May 2022, 12:11   #9
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Default Re: My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan

Empathize with you mate. Time will heal everything, have faith. Hope you are out of depression and wish you peace!

Wonderful travelog there mate! I too have done the routes you have mentioned a few times and can relate to what you have said. Riding solo kind of helps me find myself

Wish you many more miles of peaceful ride! Happy and safe Motoring

Praveen
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Old 19th May 2022, 12:34   #10
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Default Re: My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan

Can identify with you, I also lost my parents back to back in 2006 and 2007 Dad first and Mom next, it was a very long road for the healing process and depression came up in spasms, but had my hands full with my son finishing school and going to college and my job kept me busy: fully agree had Covid put a spanner in the works the healing process may have been that much longer. Best would be to immerse oneself in work and spend more time with family. Even songs can bring back memories and tears. What you have done is the right thing, travel with your new companion! Best thing is you aren't allowed to grieve at all in the immediate aftermath of the death the meandering customs and last rites make you real numb and once that is over you're awash with grief...Ride safe and travel safe and leave your loss far behind and you'll get over it, we all do eventually...
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Old 19th May 2022, 13:30   #11
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Default Re: My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan

Thanks for the post. It makes me wanna fix the Impulse and go touring again. One tip: consider moving the aux lights to the crash bar. They'll suffer more vibrations on the suspension as the outer tube moves about a lot even on smooth-looking roads. It'll have fewer vibrations on the crash bar and stay more stable on the bars.
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Old 19th May 2022, 22:54   #12
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Default Re: My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan

Good for you mate. Although the world preaches to get away from material possessions, I always say cling on to something(no-substance of course) which makes you move forward in life. I was in a similar position and the car i bought to fight it out saved me from a potential dark phase of my life. Whatever it takes brother !! Happy munching more miles !

Last edited by Rubbertramps : 19th May 2022 at 22:58.
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Old 19th May 2022, 23:53   #13
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Default Re: My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan

Its awesome to see you use riding to get your spirits up. Congrats on the awesome Himalayan.

For night time riding I would certainly look into installing a replacement LED light bulb with high lumens and auxiliary lights. For the aux lights, make sure you use all the rubber bushings they provide. This will certainly eliminate all vibrations. You can certainly install it on the utility frame that comes with the Himalayan. I bought cheap LED aux lights, but the rubber bushings were surprisingly good. Its holding up fine after 2 years and several rides. LED aux lights make a big difference. They give you peace of mind about having to ride after sunset.

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Old 20th May 2022, 06:43   #14
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Default Re: My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan

Thank you for sharing! This is one of the best travelogues I have read! Simple, yet evocative. Thank you for taking me on your journey vicariously. Wishing you the very best in all you do. I am sure that your spirit of adventure and your ability to look within will help you overcome all the challenges. Keep riding and keep sharing!
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Old 20th May 2022, 08:25   #15
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Default Re: My exit route from depression - Royal Enfield Himalayan

Such a tranquil vibe I get, from reading your post. Definitely hope that biking improves your constant mood when you get the Big Sad. Same as it has done for me. Spending time with oneself is the way to go for finding inner peace.

Last edited by TheHelix0202 : 20th May 2022 at 08:26.
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