Mayank, a mountain lover, and another passionate biker, we know him for a few years now. His ultimate aim, as he says, is to settle somewhere in the Himalayas. Let’s hear his story
When and how did you start motorcycling?
Started motorcycling back in 2014. I went to Hogenakkal falls with my friend on his Yamaha FZ as a pillion and loved the freedom that riding provides, to explore on your own terms. That time I did not know how to ride so learned riding a motorcycle. In the initial days, had an accident and I was on bed rest for more than a month. After recovery, started riding again. Earlier it was more of solo one-day rides and then I moved to group rides with the Bangalore bikers group.
How many motorbikes have you owned/ridden and what is your longest ride?
I owned one pulsar 150 and now I have a Duke 200.
Took my duke to Bhutan-Arunachal(14 days,2000 kms) and Spiti(10 days,1600 kms). So Bhutan-Arunachal was my longest ride to date on Duke. I shipped the bike and did not ride all the way from Bangalore.
How do you plan for a ride? What things do you always pack in your luggage?
For me, planning and anticipating a trip is almost as enjoyable as going on the trip itself. Planning starts with basic Google maps, road conditions and what else can I cover on the way to stay for the day. A week before the trip, assess the condition of the motorcycle and keep it ready in advance. I always carry a puncture repair kit, Vulnerable spare parts, Zipties,m-seal, water bottle, First aid kit, extra specs.
How about the route and the criteria for a good stay?
I plan a route using Google maps, inputs from other riders and I always prefer the scenic route even if it takes more time.
For me, the criteria for a good stay is safe parking, good view, good food, clean rooms.
What is so empowering about riding a motorcycle?
Riding a motorcycle is like Meditation for me. When you’re on the road, either on the highway or on a curvy mountain road, you’re focused, you’re determined, you don’t regret the past, you don’t worry about future, you’re in the moment. On a lighter note, Research says Riding a motorcycle for at least 20 minutes will increase your heart rate by 11% and adrenaline levels by 27% which is remarkably similar to light exercise, so you know it’s a win-win situation.
Riding a motorcycle in challenging situations and coming out on top of it, surely gives me the mental strength to succeed in other areas of life.
Any takeaways from your motorbike riding experience?
From motorbike riding, I learned how to keep calm in tricky situations. As well as I have become a travel planning expert for family and friends.
Motorbiking is considered a dangerous hobby. What to look out for on the road? How to stay protected?
It is a dangerous hobby to some extent, especially in a country like India. People jumping on the road out of nowhere, If you’re fully geared then cars, squid bikers try to race with you, a pothole on the highway when you’re doing 100+ in the fast lane. While on the road everything can not be in our control so I keep checking my mirrors, give way to others who want to go fast, in ghats I keep left in my lane, on highways I stay in the middle lane to avoid any surprises from animal/human.
I keep myself protected with good quality riding gear. Here I want to emphasize good quality because I have learned it the hard way. In the initial days I was using generic gloves and because of my mistake rammed into a cab. Once I had hit asphalt my gloves were torn properly, I came back and got myself leather gloves with Knox sliders.
Biking culture is quite evolved in India over the years and people are more aware of the importance of riding gears, at least in big cities. But still, riders overlook leg/feet protection, I think buying full length riding boots is a one-time investment with far greater dividends in the future. I use a riding jacket, gloves on a regular basis, and follow ATGATT on trips.
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