How to do a bike tour in India, safely? Or, what are the best safe bike riding tips for India?
Not even Batman can drive his Batmobile in India without bumping into someone or other vehicle! It’s India I am talking about and there are hardly a few people who follow traffic rules here.
Even if you’re following traffic rules in India, you cannot expect everyone else to follow your footprints!
In India, a safe bike road trip boils down to just one thing. It is like a game!
You do one mistake, and trouble will find you!
In my past a decade of bike riding experiences, I’ve done a lot of mistakes, but so far, have been able to remain scratch-less (none to me or to others).
I remember all the mistakes I’ve done on the road and I keep on reminding those incidents to myself. This stupid habit has helped me become better at riding and also how safely I can reach to the target point.
Tips for Long Motorcycle Rides in India
Let’s start with the essential tips for long motorcycle rides in India. I’ll talk about the Sour Butt Pain and how to avoid it, at the end. Because it is very important for you to remember!
#1 Avoid Making Stupid Plans
During my bike tour, I rarely used to have plans. Every day, I used to follow the Sun towards South, till Kanniyakumari, and then towards to North.
It doesn’t mean that I never had a plan. There was a plan, not to make a stupid plan!
If you’re not confident about a particular road or turn, don’t go for it. The gut feeling is always there and you need to start trusting it!
For example, if I’m riding a Bajaj Avenger 220, then taking it to a beach is a stupid plan. It is not at a good fit for off-roading and I’ve tried my best to keep it on the road (he he).
#2 Keep a Rough Plan
As I said, always keep a rough plan ready. Also, be ready for improvising an existing plan when the situation demands it!
You need to take a wise decision in favour of the safety of yourself, and your machine (bike).
Remember, an adventure is never an adventure if you don’t make it to home!
#3 Maps and GPS
You’ll definitely not going to look cool carrying a paper map of India. So, avoid it!
You already have a decent smartphone which is equipped with state-of-the-art GPS system.
Start using it and learn everything inside that Google Maps app. In case you’re not familiar how it works!
If you ask me, I avoid taking help from GPS, as I still love asking for roads from lovely people of our country.
This habit may sound “not safe” to you, but it helps me in exploring and finding new roads.
Kiddo, I’ve been doing it for years. So, I’m experienced in it! Avoid following this habit from day one! (sorry if you’re an adult)
#4 Keep Emergency Contacts easily accessible
Take a piece of paper, write your family contact number, address, your name and details, and keep it in the wallet.
You can also keep a similar note in the bag. Just make sure it is easily accessible, as James Bonds are not real!
And, Superheroes don’t visit India!
#5 Analyse the Data
The data you’ve been recording (knowingly or unknowingly) is meant to be analysed.
The condition of the road, the kind of people you see in a particular city, the number of turns a highway has, the kind of cloud which rains or not, etc.
All this data is being recorded in your mind. You just have to analyse it properly and later, use it to make better decisions.
#6 Always Keep an Eye on Road
A long motorcycle ride in India is a tough game. You do one mistake and the trouble will find you! I’m yet to see Shaktiman saving rider’s life when they are in trouble!
Avoid taking nap, doing silly things which can distract you from the road, and blah blah. You know yourself better! Who am I to judge?
#7 What you Eat, is really Important
Even if you’re not feeling hungry, eating something is really important. If not the heavy food, then go for light ones.
If not the light ones, then you should definitely go for fruits like Banana and Apple. You can even switch to Juice intake.
I love starting my bike ride with the sunrise and at that time, finding a food, or even a fresh juice, is out of the question.
You can start the day with a small chocolate and when the shops are opened, go out and have breakfast.
#8 Keep Yourself Hydrated
With each adding day in my tour, I started losing my appetite. It became tough for me to eat, even my favourite recipes or fruits.
I’ve done a couple of days with just a lunch, but with lots of water. It is recommended to keep a track of water intake.
Usually, I used to have, at least, 2-3 litres of water during the 300-400KMs ride. I used to double the water intake for longer rides.
So far, I’ve done 750KMs in a day and a 14 hour of continuous ride.
#9 Avoid Eating too much
My typical day starts with heavy breakfast, followed by heavy lunch and then light dinner. But, when I’m riding, I try to keep all three on the lighter side!
I try eating five or six times a day, instead of filling my tummy in three times. So far, this trick has been helping me a lot!
And, I get a chance to eat at more outlets on the road.
Love for Highway Food!
#10 Know Your Digestion
We all know about the food items that can make us visit the loo, more than once or twice a day.
While riding, it is being intelligent that you’re avoiding those food items. It is very important to know how your digestive system works.
If you’re not sure about a particular recipe, be shameless and ask the cook about ingredients.
Or, keep a good number of papersoaps, and a water bottle. Hello, we’re talking about India. There are no toilets on the highway!
Okay, very few.
#11 Know Your Machine
These days, teenagers buy a new machine and go for a long ride. I’ll recommend you to stay away from making such plans!
Even if you’ve read tonnes of reviews about the machine, it is advisable to know your machine first.
Start taking small rides, let’s say 50-100KMs, and try to know how it performs in various situations!
You need to listen to the engine’s sound, as it’s the first sign of a bad condition.
Do I really have to tell you to keep it regularly checked? Are you that naive?
#12 Use Ear Plugs or not?
Based on things I’ve read on other blogs, it is recommended to use ear plugs as it can filter out the noises and keep your mind away safe from working on those noises.
In India, the case might be different, though!
Anything from any direction can come on the straight road you are riding on and the chances increase at turns.
So, you need to hear the noise in order to improvise quickly and make a decision to keep everyone safe!
What do you think about using ear plugs while riding in India or not? I really need your inputs here!
#13 Tips for Sour Butt Pain
After my 50 days of the bike tour, a friend of mine started calling me “Tashreef-e-Khaas”. It means that I’ve a really special butt.
For a person who hasn’t done long bike trips, this may sound like a joke. But, the moment you’ll experience the pain a rider’s butt goes through, you’ll sense the reality in it!
Let’s cut the butt-talk and share tips that can keep your butt safe from getting sour.
Sour Butt Tip 1 – Ensure that the fabric between the seat and your body are minimum. Like, wearing just a boxer and riding pants will do the job. Avoid wearing anything else!
Sour Butt Tip 2 – Take regular breaks. I used to take, at least, a five minutes break after every 50-100KMs.
Sour Butt Tip 3 – During those breaks, avoid sitting at a place and start walking. Move your legs as much as you can.
Sour Butt Tip 4 – I used to sit in the squat position (or our “Indian position”) for, at least, 4-5 minutes, and it used to help, a lot!
Sour Butt Tip 5 – Avoid moving while riding as it can distract you from the road. If it pains a lot, then taking a five minutes break is a better idea.
Sour Butt Tip 6 – During long rides, the skin starts getting dry due to the lack of proper airflow. You can arrange some airflow for your butt when you’re not riding! (Ab sab kuch me hi batau?)
I couldn’t find any other good reference specifically written for motorcycle riding, but here is a good read, written for avoiding sour butt pain in case of bike (cycle) riding.
Bonus Tips for Long Motorcycle Rides in India
#1 Watch out for cows!
#2 Highways in Kerala are just like street roads!
#3 Avoid riding during the night as a lot of vehicles are on the road without even a reflector or break light.
#4 Don’t go out in the search for ghosts. A lot of witches have been reported walking down the roads, with a candle!
This was all I had learned and could share to help you do a long motorcycle ride in India.