It was mid summer when I suddenly thought of going on a solo trip to Dang Forest, which is located in the interior parts of Gujarat. Dang is a state in the heart of Gujarat, full of green forest and amidst the forest is this beautiful camping place.
The campsite is about 250kms from Mumbai, It has a campsite ⛺️, the Mahal Eco, it’s near the Purna Wildlife Sanctuary. I was super excited to explore this new place and what it had to offer. Reaching the campsite was more fun then actually reaching the place. The interior roads, the landscapes, the thin yet meandering roads that twisted and twirled leading me towards my destination. On May 19th 2018, I made this epic solo journey that came to teach me more about myself than what I already knew. Its only when you push yourself that you come to know your real strength.
I started early morning by 5am as usual, as I believe to cover max kilometers before the sun is up on your head. As I made my way through the roads of Mumbai suburbs, it reminded me of all those under construction areas wherein the roads are a mixture of all type of textures, smooth tarmac, then rough broken parts but straight enough to drive through and lastly those parts wherein you feel your internal parts could also loosen up… The road was great as I exited Mumbai…the NH-8 or Western Express Highway is one of the best highways I have traversed ever since I started riding. While riding through the highway, I was taught certain lessons before I reached Dang forest.
Lesson No.1 : Be thankful for whatever you have (be content with what you have), this is when I stepped into a small restaurant on the side of the highway, there were these small boys who were working there, as they saw me come in they had sparkles in their eyes as they saw a new bike and a guy in riding gears stopping for some snacks and tea. I came into the place, and as soon as I took a seat, these small boys came up to me and asked me about the bike, the journey, where I was from…. once I had answered their questions, they expressed their sadness, why?? you ask….well…they were working there after school to help their parents with their school fees, also they had never felt the freedom that I had as they told me about how far they stay from this hotel, also their school was all hard to get at…. these boys have to get up early morning and then try and get some kind of transport help to give them a lift to their school, as these kids don’t have the privilege to get a school bus to pick and drop them back home.
Lesson No.2 : Never trust anyone on the road except for yourself, as you’re the only one who can do everything for yourself. No one comes to help you when you’re in trouble, be it a flat tyre or you’re in need of fuel. So always carry extra tyre and a fuel can with at least 5litre capacity.
The journeys I have had, some solo, some with groups but the most enjoyable are the ones you do on your own, no one to answer to, you’re free to do what the hell you want, when you want, however you want to….makes no difference who’s there and who’s not.
Hope you enjoy reading these small stories about my travels….if not no worries…..thanks for reading anyways!! Enjoy!! 🙂 Peace out!!
As the curtain falls on this year, I thought how can I do to contribute? then an immediate thought that ran across my mind was to share some good tips with anyone and everyone out there. These are tips that could save you all the efforts of searching online on the most basic things for any one who owns or doesn’t own a bike and wants to know about the raw experience from a rider who loves it, lives it and rides it!!
Anyone who owns a bike knows the joy of a ride, it can be a ride to the nearest town or it can be as long as a cross country ride. It becomes very vital to know the Do’s and Don’ts of motorcycle touring as one learns how to go the distance with the machine. So, without further due I give you my tips which I think will be helpful for your future adventures. Good Health, is the first thing that should come to mind when you’re talking about taking motorcycling into consideration. A lot of health tips that supplement motorcycling as a hobby or sometimes even as a career, are a great way to keep your general fitness in check and not to forget your cardiovascular health which is very important like the engine to your bike. Keeping a few of these pointers with you will help you save your life and you can enjoy motorcycling like never before…
WATER and staying hydrated….
The main point to consider when you’re on the bike and travelling long distances is to keep yourself hydrated wherever and whenever possible. During many of my touring, I have come across scenarios wherein you don’t realise how dehydrated you are unless your mouth got completely dry and starts smelling bad under the mask and helmet enclosure. The trick is to first know when to hydrate,many of us don’t know this basic step. Whenever you take a break or a small break because your bums are sore due to continuous riding, you MUST drink water. Here are my tips which I usually follow on a road trip;
1.Carry two bottles of water (1 litre) Keep it at hands distance or keep it within reach is what i wanna say 2. Carry electrolytes i.e. most simple salt (a few pinches wrapped in tissue paper), or carry electral powder or ORS sachets 3. Drink more water in winters as you don’t sweat but that doesn’t mean you aren’t loosing water from your body Drink water after you go to the loo, as you need your water bank to be replenished
EYES and How to Protect them….
Here I would like to just like to say…… 1.Buy a helmet with in-built sun-glasses 2. Alternatively you could have the Visor of the helmet in a shaded colour (optional), I usually prefer the normal transparent one 3. Keeping hydrated also helps in keep the moisture in your eyes consistent….. 1. Buy a helmet with in-built sun-glasses 2. Alternatively you could have the Visor of the helmet in a shaded colour (optional), I usually prefer the normal transparent one 3. Keeping hydrated also helps in keep the moisture in your eyes consistent.
Food and the effects
Whenever I travel, I usually am on a lite diet, like simple foods which my body can digest and if I do take a long halt in between my rides then I switch to complex food but in quantities where I don’t overeat.There is a thin line between eating and over eating, people usually don’t understand and then suffer from problems like; sleeping while riding which is the most primary cause of accidents on the roads.I always order for something lite and substantial such that I don’t fall asleep or even feel sleepy while I ride.
1.Carry fruits or if possible buy fruits such as bananas, oranges if available have fruit juices if you don’t find fruits 2. If you’re a tea person, have tea with biscuits which is the best food on the road 3. If you’re planning to have proper food, then I would suggest order for something substantial preferably which doesn’t include rice.
Luggage and how to pack light…
Every trip requires you to carry luggage. For a bike trip, we bikers usually prefer carrying our luggage via tank bags, saddle bags or tail bags. Luggage usually must be packed according to the length of days you would plan on the road trip. A short trip may range from an overnight trip to maximum around two to three days, which means packing only the necessary things which you would require on the trip.
I usually carry two jeans and a good number of socks, inners and T-shirts, toiletries etc. I would always suggest travel as light as you can as it also contributes to the overall weight of the bike. Adding unnecessary weight could result in problems while manoeuvring the bike as desired. Even whilst I am touring for more than 5 days, I carry a bag pack (small) which has all the usual necessary items such as your bike papers, power bank, action camera cables etc. and a tail bag/haversack tied down on the rear seat with my clothes and water bottles packed. Traveling light always has it’s advantage as you can carry and load your luggage easily…..As this year ends, I wish all of you a very happy new year and hope the tips I have shared help in your future travels.
Its rightly said….. “Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter” — Izaak Walton.
For me it was my first bike…..the UM Renegade Commando 300cc…and wow!! what a journey it was…..
Before I get into sharing my other adventures on the bike, I thought you all should know where it all began….every story has a beginning, so did mine…here it is….read on…
My journey began when I decided I wanted to buy me a bike….A much awaited thing that I put off for quite sometime…since I didn’t know how to ride a motorbike, that’s right!! I DIDN’T KNOW ANYTHING ON RIDING A MOTORCYCLE….I was scared….was embarrassed that at my age when people think family cars I was thinking bikes…
On 10th of January 2017 I gathered all the strength in the world, as every cell in my brain was screaming “Are you crazy!! Don’t do this!!” but I silenced my brain and just entered the dealership and boldly approached the person at the front desk, and said “I wanna buy a bike”….at first i thought should I ask for a test ride, but then I did….. selecting which bike I wanted was easy, I’m a big fan of cruisers, so when I first saw the commando bike I fell in love…the looks itself is something that would make your head turn. The bike was bulky looking and finally the colour I went for was matte green.
The test ride was hilarious as no one except me knew that I have never ridden a bike in my lifetime except for this present moment, it was like you giving an exam but you know you haven’t read anything, you haven’t prepared but you have to give your final exam. I decided to take help of the service personnel, told him its been long since I haven’t ridden a bike, could he ride it instead with me as pillion!! lol….Hilarious isn’t it!! It was so embarrassing sitting behind as pillion for a test ride….
On 18th March 2018 was the bike’s delivery, me and my dad went to get the new member of our family. Little did my dad knew that his son hasn’t ridden a bike in his life, but would be riding the bike almost 20 kms from the showroom alllllllll the way home…..shocking!! but I was determined to ride the bike. And thus began a long and scary return home….the bike shut down many times because I didn’t know the clutch and acceleration engagement plus to add to it, the bike shut down right in the middle of traffic, where the ones behind were honking like crazy but i still went on. Finally covering those kms not in the usual 45 mins but 2 long hours, imagine borivali to andheri in 2 hours….hahaha… I mean it couldn’t get worse right? Wrong!! in all that mishap, I forgot to refuel the bike which was only given 2 litres of petrol.
After taking the bike on test rounds within the colony I stay, I completed 70kms…..and took it for it’s first service, this time I rode the bike like a pro so to say….and reached the service centre in about 30 mins….I knew then I can ride and now yearned to go places, explore different geographies become a wanderer and just travel….but on my bike….so the first solo ride was Mumbai-Tarakeshwar-Palghar-Vandri Lake-Mumbai, a fantastic ride on the western express highway and my very first solo trip….that was the day i was born again.
Thereafter the journeys I have made were like a road towards happiness, each time I grew. It was as if we were meant to be, the road was my friend and I was his….the bike, my brother, my best friend who carried me to wherever I wished to go.
I started researching on places i could go to, started collecting money for protection gears like a jacket, gloves etc. Soon i had the bear necessities for biking. My journey had jus begun….
Some of the places I went exploring on my bike…..
Sula Vine yards
Rann of Kutch and many more….the list goes on…
Be it a small or a long journey, it’s something that teaches us a lot. We change as we grow and as we travel. The travel bug in me bit me long back when I had first gone to Indonesia for work, fresh passed out of my university, but I had no idea that it would become this addiction and one day turn that into a passion. Riding became my passion with it travelling added to the recipe. You can do what others tell you or you can take charge and do what you want, do what makes you happy, this is what makes me happy. It defines me, at 33 years of age I have discovered my passion, but like they say, its never too late to do anything….and so I continue this journey, with all the passion and dedication that one day I will be touring the entire world on my bike and be writing about it too…Cheers!!
Lets us jump back a few weeks earlier when it all began when the guys and I decided we wanted to ride all the way to the newly constructed Statue of Unity, the marvel which is the talk of the town everywhere.
The statue is located in the Narmada valley in Gujarat and is 182 meters high, the tallest in the world at this stage.I’m very passionate about bikes and ride a lot and so to ride 400+ kms one way was like a treat, so the date was decided, 1st Dec 2018 early morning departureI decided to test my new Gopro camera which I had purchased for rides like these, so as the days grew near I started preparing for the journey that lay ahead. Ofcourse, it was trip over the weekend, but it seemed like the trip I always wanted to do since a long time. The last long trip I had, was to Rann of Kutch almost a year back.
Finally the day before the trip, that night I was super excited and had made a check list of the things I need to carry and the things I need to do before I leave the next day. The time was set to meet at 4:30am near Hub mall Goregoan first where me and one of my friends will meet and then we would ride all the way to Mira Road and meet everyone near Fountain Hotel which is like the grand central station for riders going towards Gujarat for their rides. Next day I got up early as usual with all the excitement and got ready, checked everything and made my way down to the bike to load the luggage I was going to carry with me. For the time being I thought I had tied my bag with the bike cover perfectly fine, but half way down the road I had a car come close honking and saying “Hey your luggage is hanging from your bike”, I immediately stopped and just tied it momentarily so as to get to the meeting point. Once I got there, I tried opening and tying the luggage down with rope and tie downs, once secure we were off.
The first stop was at Ahura, which is a Parsi Hotel famous for its tasty Parsi cuisine. We had “akuri” which is Parsi for scrambled eggs with sauté and masalas, some hot tea and bun maska which is signature dish at any Parsi-Irani hotels when having breakfast. With our stomachs full we set off on the journey towards Gujarat. On the road we had many sub stoppages for snacks, refreshments etc. till we managed to reach the hotel we were supposed to stay the night, Hotel Narmada.
Finally there, we made our way to our rooms, got fresh and without a grain in our stomachs we were back on the road heading to the statue as we had just an hour before the place would close down for the day.
As I took the turn towards our destination, with my GoPro on, I saw the most mesmerising scene on the horizon….picture it! You’re on your bike, viewing the smooth road and there it was, you see the marvel right in front of your eyes. The statue grew clearer as my bike munched the final kms towards it.
The place was grand, we made our way through the queue to enter the place. We reached just in time to see a biiggg line…. I mean really big, it started from one corner and trailed all the way to the lifts that were used to take upto 20 people at a time straight to the viewing gallery.
What a view it was from the viewing gallery, the gallery has good enough space to accommodate the crowd. We could see almost the whole Gujarat, so to speak from that height. After gulping down a few hot thepplas we made our way back to the hotel.
Next day, it was a nice cold morning, we cleaned our bikes and warmed our hearts with a nice cup of tea and started our return journey home.
We stopped at a small but very homely little hotel named “Bajrang Hotel”. The owner was very good and humble, fed us almost everything he had in his shop, tasty patra-ni-wadis, bajiyas, miniature sized samosas, jalebis and some real good tea. After a good king sized breakfast we made our way trough the curvy state highways.
It was almost mid day when me and the guys were scaling the winding roads of the state highway, which was previously the main highway leading to Mumbai. Route wasn’t all it all cracked up to be, we had many patches wherein the road was bad, lot of potholes and being a two lane road it wasn’t wide enough.
As the roads started to unwind, we for ourselves entering the oldest part of the highway where the road was just enough to let one car/truck pass. Road had gone thinner ad to add to that we had one white car ahead blocking the way as they were driving unusually slow.
I was the one who was right behind them looking for a gap so that i could pass them, but the winding road wouldn’t let me. In search for a gap, I almost forgot to check for other things….and THERE IT WAS…a slightly miscalculated moment and I went crashing to the other side of the road, slammed into the bushes but hit hard like a bird crashing from the sky and with hard “Thud” I heard my bone break…..it was simultaneous with the headlamp of my bike which also broke into pieces.
Surprisingly, I got up almost instantly from the crash…..my friends came rushing to see if may have badly hurt myself. Almost immediately i had my world swirling around me and fell back on my friend who was standing behind me, I came to, and whispered to someone “I think I have broken something, i can’t feel my hand and can’t lift it”, to which at first everyone felt its a blow to the muscles and so I was having this difficulty. It took all five of my friends to lift my bike and put it on the side of the road, the sixth member in our pack wasn’t bike savvy, so YES, I RODE ANOTHER 50KMS TO THE MAIN HIGHWAY WITH MY BROKEN HAND TILL I COULDN’T RIDE ANYMORE.
We parked at a hotel which we had planned to halt for lunch, there I realised i couldn’t go on anymore and had to call in the road side assistance for the bike. To my utmost disgust, I learned the RSA doesn’t “Assist” if your limbs are broken as the bike is still in working/running condition. I mean that was absolutely absurd, wherein the rider is incapable of riding but they keep stressing on the fact that I must either call someone or tell someone to ride the bike, which was impossible in the need of the hour.
After some calls I managed to arrange a towing vehicle on my own and at my own expense. To make it worse I wasn’t the only one who’s bike the towing fellow had to pick up, there was another about 20kms from where I was, we had to make a detour and go into the interiors of some village at the outskirts of Gujarat.
After about three gruelling hours of bad roads and clenching teeth suffering the pain all the way i made it home at midnight after dropping the bike at the service centre.
The next day, i was diagnosed with a broken shoulder, which had broken not into one or two, but FOUR pieces….Lol…I will tell you why that’s funny, it wasn’t the injury that was funny, it was the doctors face when he looked at the x-rays and had a look of surprise as to how can a human be standing so peaceful when his shoulder is broken….
On 6th of Dec I was operated for the shoulder injury and am currently in the recovery phase. It’s been two weeks and I must say, I can’t believe all this happened, so fast and so suddenly. But all in all I am very thankful to my family, my friends and all those who prayed for me to get well, without your prayers and blessings I probably would have been in a worse situation or probably not even be here to write this sitting in front of my laptop.
My advice to you all, ride but responsibly, ride but safely, and always wear your protection gears!
Until next time, will write about another adventure I and my better half had when we decided to go on our honeymoon in the middle of rainy season in Ahmedabad…..stay tuned!