There is not a very long list of things that you need for a bike trip, but there are some variations depending on what sort of bike trip you are planning.
There’s small group, large group and solo ride. Then there are reasons behind your ride, some are for a cause, some for long awaited getaway, then there is long weekend bunk from life’s monotony, also the ones for bucket list. The list of reasons for a ride goes on and on.
But things that are essential for an awesome bike ride experience, apart from small variations here and there, are: –
- Like minded, determined fellow riders
The ride that you are planning to go on, if it’s not a solo ride and you are part of a group riding together, this is the most significant element of all, that you know the mind set of your fellow riders. Misapprehending that, might leave you with an unpleasant ride experience in the end, and trust me if you’ve been waiting a long time to make a ride happen, that’s not something you want to feel at the end of your ride. You’ll be able to relate to this in my Spiti Ride story.
I would also like to make a request here, no matter if you take a Bike, Car, Bi-cycle or even if you going for hiking, please carry a portable Garbage Bag or Container. You can always empty the same at suitable disposal points when you are on your ride break, or making a stop to regroup. No matter which place you are riding to, if you respect that place, you will always be welcome there. Moreover, if your children happen to share the same enthusiasm towards traveling and riding then you need to preserve the beauty of that place for them to enjoy when it’s their time for Fun and Adventure. If not for anybody else, do it for them.
- Overview of your bike parts
Your bike parts are so many links keeping your bike alive. Looking out for a weak link is always a good approach. It is obvious when you have spent more than a year with a machine, you get to know when one of its part starts making a sound different than usual or function a bit abnormal. When planning a ride, you can’t ignore such minute details, if you want your ride to be incident free. Get the tiniest of the behavioural change checked at the service station before leaving for the ride.
I once paid the price for such a negligence. During college, I used to drive a Hero Honda Karizma. So, couple of days before our weekend bunk ride to Dagshai, I noticed a very fine small fracture in the aluminium frame that holds the rear footrest. I overlooked it and went on the ride anyway, moreover I thought why bother so much for a same day return ride, as Dagshai is few hours ride from Chandigarh (yes, I am a Chandigarhian and I love it). After spending some time there, we were heading back, so my friend was embarking the rear seat for the ride back home and the frame shattered, it ruined that ride for me as it was a very uncomfortable ride back. Do not overlook any audible/visible changes in your bike when planning for a ride.
- General break fix kit
If a part malfunctions that is most unfortunate, as there is nothing that can prepare you for such catastrophe. But as I mentioned earlier, if you keep a close eye on your machine’s behaviour or on any audible or visible changes in your machine’s performance then it’s easy to pick up signs of such malfunction well in advance. Let me give you one example, I learned a lot from my Karizma incident, so when I was planning an outstation ride with my friends in my VW Polo, my observation about my Polo’s Fuel Pump was worrying me. The fuel pump was making a deep, barely audible, whistling sound. Even though it was barely audible, but it was still something out of the ordinary. I didn’t get the time to get it checked, so I suggested that we should take my friend’s car in place of my Polo. On third day after my return from the trip, the Fuel Pump malfunctioned and I had to get that replaced from the service workshop. Dodged a bullet there, I could’ve ruined the trip for the whole lot, and my friends are not so forgiving, they would’ve tormented me for ages for something like this. Nobody can avoid such malfunctions, but sure can foresee them by paying a little attention towards your machine.
I have gone way out of topic here, back to that, yet general problems like Engine Oil release valve malfunction, air filter pipes or other such pipes in your machine are fixable with a workaround solutions like, sealing components, electrical tapes etc. So, these are the things which should surely be part of your general break fix kit. Things like: puncture kit, portable manual air pump (electrical, if you have means of plugging it to your bike), spanners, screw driver, L-Keys, electrical tape, sealing components (like M-Seal), plastic string roll etc. are part of it. There is no end to how much you can go prepared, but above things are the ones that you should have for general break fix which will help you reach a workshop or local mechanic shop, to get the issue permanently fixed.
- Research about your ride
You can never be 100% sure about the conditions of route you choose for your ride, even if you took the route often for your rides in that direction. Sometimes a little bit of research can save you from agonizing waiting on the road, when what you should actually be doing is riding as per your schedule to check mark all the places you short listed to visit along your ride. Information about alternate routes is always handy when the main route has been blocked by protests, overturned trucks, regional fests, major accidents, or even minor accidents with some douche bags arguing in the middle of the road on whose fault was it? The list of issues I have experienced during my rides is much longer than this, but I have learned from all those experiences and now I do my homework to keep my ride in motion by learning about alternate routes on potential bottle necks and in case there are none then I plan my stops around those bottlenecks to utilize that time. That keeps me on schedule, much closer to it if not exactly on and I don’t have to make sacrifices by skipping list of places to visit along my ride.
- Coordination during the ride
Another vital bullet point in this list, which makes you a successful team and the riding experience a well-coordinated symphony. There are always hitches along the road, but coordination overshadows them and you seem to forget them altogether. And for a group, small or large, coordination is the very first point that I put in my list. In a small group, it’s better to stay together, as to lighten the load on each bike rider, bike riders usually share the load of stuff they all carry, which is why you rely on your fellow riders in case you need anything. This point is same in case of large groups as well, but large groups usually break down into smaller groups, when that happens make sure you stick to the riders you think you can rely on the most, not judging by the kind of stuff they are carrying, but by their mental power and attitude in tricky situations. And in a group, regrouping along the road is the most important thing, because some adventure rides have radio blackout zones, where your mobile phones don’t usually catch any signal at all. Regrouping lets you address to the riders who are facing any issues. In case you fall back from the group and get into some kind of trouble plus you have no way to contact them, ask any of the vehicles sharing that road to relay a message to your group, however your group needs to be coordinated and should be following the regrouping regime to get your message and send back aid to get you out of that tricky situation.
- Safety Gear and Med Kit
It is always better to be safe, than sorry. So be sure you are wearing riding gear appropriate for the kind of ride you are going on. Also, you need to be prepared for any mishap along the road, your riding gear should mostly protect you but in case the situation still demands first aid, then you have a med kit handy for temporary patching up of the wounds till you reach a local clinic or hospital to get proper attention to your injuries. It is also better to take along basic medication in your med kit, painkillers, AMS medicine if your ride takes you to low oxygen level heights, cold/cough medicine, constipation and diarrhoea medicine.
I would like to wish you all an enjoyable, memorable riding experience. I hope the insight that I gained over the years riding, help you to plan your perfect ride. Do leave comments in case my pointers have helped you in anyway and share it further.