So you enjoy zipping on the city roads on your bike, but always long for wide open spaces where you can go for leisure biking? While long distance biking can be fun, safety is of paramount importance on such road trips. We spoke to a few biking enthusiasts on places that are popular for a go-biking trip and the safety measures you need to take. Here are a few pointers:
Sun and sand in Goa
Goa is 1,700 km from Delhi. If you cover around 600kms a day it will take you three days to reach this second heaven of India (first being Kashmir), as the bikers call it. As per Sachin Chauhan, assistant manager, Royal Enfield, Chennai, "Make sure that you get your bike checked a day in advance when you are to leave and since there is not a lot of mountainous terrain and abundance of mechanics available on the way, you could do without having to carry a whole lot of spare tools. You would find plenty of guest houses on the way to Goa, so you can rest when you feel tired. Food is available at almost every 50 kms and roadside dhabas do wonders to your trip. As the distance is long, the bike choice must be based on comfort and greater mileage."
Mountainous terrains of Ladakh
Riding in the hills is a herculean task as compared to biking on the plains; especially when you ride to a place like Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir, which is as far as 1,047km from Delhi. Your bike needs to be in a healthy condition and considering the cold climate, a fuel injected bike is what you need (Pulsar 220, Yamaha R5 and Enfield classic 350 & 500 could be the bike that could serve the bill for this journey). Biking expert Vikas Dave says, "In many areas you may face breathing issues because of lack of oxygen. This would hamper not only you but the bike's performance too. Be ready for the performance of your bike to be a little below what you are used to. Make sure you use waterproof equipments to safeguard your skin and drink a lot of water, though you might not feel like because of the cold climate. Do not forget to fill up at Tandi which is the last fuel pump. Ladakh is another 365 kms after that."
The chilly Chandertal
Welcome to the muddy and rocky terrains of Chandertal in Himachal Pradesh -- about 1,100km from Delhi, with extreme wind-chills, that can challenge even the toughest and experienced riders! Located amidst the peaks near the Kunzum pass, you will have to make your way there either through Rohtang pass or via the Kaza Spiti valley, which you would reach if you were on to the Shimla route. Bike enthusiast Archit Kumar says, "Make sure you keep your bike's user manual, spare accelerator and clutch wires, a small toolbox, spare tube in case of tube tyres or a tubeless puncture kit in case of tubeless. Chandertal is also known as Moon lake, the best time to visit this place is during the full moon. Mountains surround this lake and the full moon casts its reflection on the lake thereby making for a spectacular view. Make sure you have a good helmet with a clear visor as vision could be a tricky thing out there."
Jacket: Carry jackets that give protection to your elbows and shoulders. In case of an injury, it will protect these vital areas from getting hurt. Try to get a jacket that has a removable waterproof or a thermal lining to keep you safe from the varying weather conditions.
Gloves: Wear waterproof gloves that give protection to your knuckles.
Helmet: If you buy them from the roadside kiosks, it's a big no-no! Always go for SIS certified helmets with a scratch resistant visor, preferably with anti fog properties. Carry a spare tinted visor for strong sunny days' rides, but avoid them in dim light.
Knee Pads: It is important to protect your knees as they are most vulnerable to get cuts if there is a spill.
Boots: Nothing like it if you can afford a pair of proper riding boots that provide protection up to the shin. Else go for any high ankle boots which can give you some protection from water in case of rains.
Camera: Last but not the least, don't forget to carry your camera along or you might not have those facebook moments to share with your friends.