You might be a Royal Enfield enthusiast and a legendary rider (in a group). But, when it comes to riding solo, there is always an element of doubt that slips in your mind and makes you back off. Well to tell you honestly, it’s good that this element can’t be addressed in advance. Because, if it can, then you will lose all the adventure and fear factor. In turn, the experience and sense of achievement gets lost.
This ‘doubt’ can be divided in two parts
(a) What if you meet an accident? – Well, in this case, all you can do is RIDE SAFE!
(b) What if your bike doesn’t start or you are held at a check post by authority or you are stranded because of something unforeseen? – No guarantee in this case too, as the definition of ‘unforeseen’ is as wild as anyone’s imagination. E.g. What if you skid off the road into a valley only to hang from a wild branch and awaiting a rescue rope to drop down from the hill (Bollywood filmy masala).
But still, there are few things that can help to plan stuff before you set for a solo bike ride.
So, here are the 10 keys that will help you cater to point (b).
1. Ensure that you don’t have a rented bike.
Anything that doesn’t belong to you has a higher probability of ditching. If it is yours then you will know all the loopholes of it. If you don’t have your own motorbike, you might as well buy one. Trust me the feeling of getting ditched by someone else’s motorbike is far worse than your own. Who likes to own a liability (or be one) after all?
2. Ensure a thorough service and a test ride.
Ensure a thorough service at least a week before riding solo and that you test ride the motorbike within the city for 25 KM – 50 KM.
3. Carry that extra bike key (or two) that you have.
Most of us leave the duplicate key behind, and who hasn’t faced the problem of the bike key getting lost and/or car key left in the car while you are locked outside.
4. Ensure you have a post-paid mobile connection with network provider offering coverage in your area of ride.
There are states that do not allow pre – paid connections (e.g. Jammu & Kashmir) and these are the states where you just might need the phone most. Also, a battery pack of your smartphone might just prove to be handy.
5. All legal documents and passport size photograph should be carried.
All legal documents including driving license, registration certificate, pollution certificate (including the dates of the ride), insurance, 5 – 6 passport size photographs with a white background (in case you need to fetch a permit before getting in the sensitive area) must be carried along. Also, do your research for permits done in advance to avoid the last-minute confusions.
6. Carry ‘Polaroid’ sunglasses.
Regular sunglasses don’t kill the mirage you see on the highway. Mirage causes a lot of confusion while riding that might lead to some close encounters.
7. Get a waterproof or water-resistant bag on your metal horse.
Wrap all the electronics and documents (camera, charger, phone, cash, motorbike documents etc.) in a plastic bag inside of the bag. It’s fun to ride in rain but electronics and paper don’t like water/moisture.
8. Have a session with the motor mechanic and learn how to replace chain lock, spark plug, fuse and clutch wire.
Carry one of each in spare. These are the ones that are most likely to get damaged. For fixing a flat tyre you will have to take it out yourself, carry it on your shoulder, ask someone for help to take it to the nearest available mechanic for getting it fixed. While the mechanic will fix it, he might just not have your tyre’s tube, hence you must carry a spare one for both, front and the real wheel (check the specs of the tyre’s tubes before purchasing). Put specific emphasis on the motorbike battery to ensure that it is working fine. If possible, buy a zero maintenance battery (that doesn’t need water) and understand how the wiring is done.
9. Guards, on the body and on the motorbike are a must.
While it might cost you some good amount of money and also make you feel heavy/uncomfortable while riding; elbow guard, riding jackets and knee guards, can make you save that limb you have. A leg guard on the motorbike (both, in front and back) is a mandate for both you and the bike. It can protect your leg (if you fall) and can avoid all the contact of motorbike with the ground avoiding any dents on it.
10. Cover your body as much as you can (especially the arms).
It’s good to get tanned but getting sunburn is horrible. Riding in open where sunlight gets in direct contact with your skin can lead to painful sunburns and other medical problems. So put on jacket, full mask helmet, face mask and an elbow length cotton glove (just to cover the wrist area that is open between gloves and jacket).
Sounds like a lot of tasks before the solo bike ride begins, but trust me, All Of It Is Worth That Priceless Ride!!!