The Rider Diaries series continues and we have Vijay Sah with us to share his story..
Vijay is open-minded, adventurous, and sometimes becomes a little crazy (Yeah we have seen it) He loves exploring new places, giving his taste buds a treat once a while, experiencing new things, and he is always pushing himself out of his comfort zone.
Let’s get to know him better.
So Vijay, tell us when and how did you start motorcycling?
I have always been fond of wheels, from my childhood I started riding cycle which was the foundation of my motorcycling. At the age of 16, I got my first 2 wheeler a scooty pep. I used to go to school with this scooter.
During college, I had a Honda Activa on which I did my first long trip. A trip to Chilika Lake and Gopalpur beach from Bhubaneswar. After that, I never looked back.
That’s interesting! Tell us about your motorcycles and the longest ride that you did.
I have owned three bikes. I got my first bike in 2015, a Yamaha R15. When I started watching MotoGP I always dreamt of buying a fully faired bike. Eventually, I bought riding gear and started touring on this bike, although it was not so comfortable. I sold this bike after a wonderful 20000 km and upgraded to a KTM duke 390 in 2016. I did many trips on the duke and on one of the trips, I saw a group of Triumph Tigers coming in from the opposite direction. It was love at first sight and became a dream upgrade for me. In 2017 this dream came true and a Tiger 800 came home.
Over a period of 3 years, I have traveled to almost every state in India (except NE) and ODO reading has happily crossed 70000 km.
The trip to Uttarakhand in January 2020 was the longest to date for me. I was traveling with my partner for a period of 18 days and covered 10 states and 6000 km. ( Karnataka – Andhra Pradesh – Telangana – Maharashtra – Madhya Pradesh – Uttar Pradesh – Delhi – Uttarakhand – Rajasthan – Gujarat ).
That sure looks like a lot of fun! So how do you pack your luggage for such rides and most importantly, how do you plan?
India, a land of diversity. Diversity in culture, food, and most importantly geography. I always divide my rides according to the season I am traveling. I always keep buffer days when planning for multi-day rides.
Luggage packing is the key to a happy ride. I divide my luggage into categories like tools, wearables, electronics, rain gear, first aid. In wearables, I try to minimize the quantity to as low as needed and try to wash them during a multi-day stop in a city. In tools, I carry an Allen key set, screwdrivers, puncture kit, inflator, torch, multimeter, extra wires. Rain gears are kept in my top box for quick access in case of sudden rain. For first aid, I carry general medicines with pain sprays, band-aids, etc. Another thing which I carry is an extra waterproof phone mount just in case if it rains.
How do you plan the route? What are your criteria for a good stay?
Google maps and friends. These are the two most important sources of information for any route planning. For longer journeys, I prefer sticking to the NH as long as possible. Also, I keep a tab of the weather to places that I am covering.
A good stay according to me is a place where there is safe parking and the hotel is located on the main road. I also like Zostel and other backpacking chains that offer good socializing exposure.
Ah, now the question a non-motorcyclist always asks! What is so empowering about riding motorcycles? Would you not prefer a car instead?
Sitting astride an engine with wheels, sharing space with juggernauts, battling the elements and voices telling us no. We do it for the freedom, for the exhilaration, for the ride, for the adventure, for the individuality and belongings. Something that you might not feel inside a car.
That’s an interesting take! Any takeaways from your motorbike riding experience?
Chasing adventures, creating unforgettable memories, seeing new places, meeting new people. Whatever it is, if it makes your heart race you go after it. It’s hard to explain, unbelievable feelings, and rush of excitement. It is when we start bonding with the machine.
Lastly, Motorbiking is considered a dangerous hobby. What to look out for on the road? How to stay protected?
Motorcycling is indeed a dangerous hobby. For safety, the rider and pillion should invest in good riding gear. But a riding gear does not guarantee a safe trip, even though it may be one of the best in the market. The rider should always ride in his/her comfort zone and never be under peer pressure like riding fast, cutting fast corners, going fast on bad roads. Things to look out on the road are intersections, animals, people driving on the wrong side, potholes.
The art of motorcycling demands so much. It seeks attention from the rider, quick judgment, and reflexes. The mind should always be fresh, a cup of tea/coffee always helps.