Thursday, September 30, 2010

General Travel Info

Sometimes the road conditions are as tough as off-road riding. Royal Enfield motorcycles are heavy (dry weight 160kg), this trip is for the experienced Rider.
In the mountains the distance travelled each day is governed largely by the altitude of the passes we have to cross. On the plains, the distance travelled each day is governed largely by the distance between main centres.
Expedition planning by its very nature has to be dynamic.
As a rider you should be aware that the conditions in which we ride will at times be tough. Of course there are endless smooth, rolling miles of road, which never cease to delight.
Stretches of highway are broken, badly pot-holed, muddy, rocky and possibly icy. Long sections are often little more than loose un-rolled stone. The seasons are damaging to roads all over the sub-continent and we may be riding before maintenance and repair work for the coming season has begun.
Traffic in India follows a different set of rules to those you will have experienced. Overloaded trucks will not give way when overtaking other overloaded trucks and may well force you off the road. If you are not constantly evaluating possible ‘escape routes’, you are not concentrating.
Riding wide round obscured corners is a definite No No! Landslides, huge rocks, smashed trucks - or no road at all, are just a few of the possible encroachers of the road you hoped to ride.
Cows - the most Holy of animals, auto-rickshaws, trucks and buses all can appear – at speed, out of side turnings and without having ‘looked right’. Turning signals are not to be trusted and riding too close to the vehicle in front is an accident waiting to happen. Hazard Awareness takes on a whole new meaning when riding in India.
Standing-On-The-Pegs is a riding style to adopt at times, sometimes for a few kilometers, it’s tiring and has to be practised.
At times we'll have to ride through streams across the road; some stretches may be 50 metres wide. Monsoon rains and ice-melt often cover stretches of hill and mountain roads, shallow water on round boulders, can very be very slippery. We all face these obstacles and with a few 'wet runs' you can master the technique. Riding slowly and accurately with plenty of revs keeps the engine alive and gets most riders through, at worst with wet boots!
In the north of India we can ride through hot sunshine, rain and freezing snow in the space of a few hours, suitable clothes should always be carried in your tank bag. In some parts the sun can be very hot. It’s important to cover yourself well – head and neck cover is very important to help prevent heat-stroke.
Some riding days are short perhaps only 50 or 100km, other days can be long at 250kms. We will schedule down time to give riders a rest and mechanics a chance to adjust and repair the motorcycles.
Wherever and whenever possible, I want you to be comfortable.
Whilst travelling in the sub-continent there will sometimes be uncomfortable stays, it's in the nature of travel in Asia. But whenever possible I will try to find us comfortable and clean accommodation.  It’s not wise to sleep ‘rough’ in India and certainly not in thick remote forests, contrary to popular belief there are wild animals out there that may find you and eat you!   :-)