Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Karakoram Highway- Not for the faint-hearted!

Built as high as 15,000 feet above sea level and under very rough conditions, the Karakoram Highway is sometimes considered the Eighth Wonder of the World. Construction on the road began in 1966 and was completed in 1979, although it wasn’t open to the public until 1986.

This dangerous road covers more than 1,300 kilometers and, at least in some places, follows the old Silk Road. Cutting through the most mountainous region in the world, the Karakoram Highway is beset with hazards: rock falls, landslides, avalanches, flooding, snow drifts, reckless drivers, herds of animals, precipitous cliffs and terrible storms.

Interestingly, the road meanders through the Hunza Valley, the scene of James Hilton’s Lost Horizon, a novel about the mythical Shangri-La, a harmonious place where people live for centuries.

It is one of the dangerous routes ever to be built as it crosses Pakistan and into China touching the Indian border along its way into China. Karakoram highway is said to be the highest paved international road in the world. It is known as the ‘Road to Paradise’ that is if you like exploring the mountains. For bikers and motorcycle enthusiasts alike, this is on their top 10 bucket list of places or routes to ride on, although it is said to be one of the rarest travelled routes by bikers and motorcycle enthusiasts alike.

Karakoram highway connects China and Pakistan across the Karakoram mountain range, through the Khunjerab Pass, at an elevation of 4393 meters (15,397 Feet) above the sea level. The road is one the most dangerous and hair-raising road trip in the world. 812 Pakistani and 82 Chinese workers lost their lives in the mudslides and falls, while building the highway.

Portions of the road may be temporarily closed due to road work or inclement weather. Heavy and prolonged rains cause a great deal of stress to the riders who are riding through the area. Due to the remoteness of the area, it is recommended that every rider must make sure that his/her bike is ready for the trip. Inspect all tires and make sure that they are properly inflated, check all fluids in the bike, replace all worn out spares and most importantly pack light essentials that is needed for day to day survival.

This is one of the most dangerous routes that is travelled by riders rarely due to its remoteness and climb in elevation over thousands of feet, and pass through remote areas across the Pakistan borders. Always suggested to check the weather forecast for the day and then plan your ride as it gets really dangerous during the rainy seasons.

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Friday, September 13, 2019

Points to remember on an adventure ride

Some suggest that a certain amount of free play in brake/clutch lever and throttle movement is a good thing because it allows the motorcycle to bounce around a bit without you unintentionally actuating the controls. There is always a bigger bump coming, so at some point you will have to rely on your own ability to let the bike move relative to your body without moving the control levers or throttle. If you minimize play in the controls, you force yourself to become more sensitive to the bike’s movements. That sensitivity will lead to an earlier awareness of what the bike is doing. Having more time to react to what that big bike is doing can help you keep the metal bits off the ground.
Another potential benefit arises when circumstances force your body into an odd position relative to the bike. Having a lot of practice at moving around on the bike without accidentally moving the controls will help you maintain control when that happens. Minimal control play requires less hand/foot movement to take out the slack and make subtle control changes—a bit of brake here, some clutch feathering there—as the situation dictates.
Rotating foot pegs helps a rider during his trail on the off-road adventure always. It eases the riders legs and decreases any strain massively that is incurred by the rider during the ride.
Freeplay of the clutch, brakes and the throttle movement is good thing because it allows the rider and the bike to bounce around a bit without unintentionally actuating the controls. This helps keep the bike steady and smooth throughout the ride during the off-road ride. In some cases changing the body position on the bike is part of effective off-road riding setups. As the riding evolves, one must take time and intermittently check the areas where the bike may make contact with the surroundings and it has to be made sure that it is not as dangerous as it looks.
An assessment of the bike cockpit must be done by the rider at all times before leaving for a long road trip or anything in that manner.
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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Get out of hands!

Does waving come as a reflex gesture to you when you see a fellow biker on road or wish to communicate something? Well, a wave may be the most natural hand gesture response from you and balance may not even be an issue for you, but certain communication signals on road can be distracting for someone who is behind you or sees you from the opposite side; sometimes it can knock you off balance while manoeuvring certain tricky stretches.

It goes without saying that all of us like to retain control of our bikes. Your controls help you do that. Certainly your left hand may be idle when you are in motion but you still cannot rule out its usage. If you wave mid-way through a left hander, you’re not counter steering and that’s a bad habit.

Have you ever had a Harley-Davidson rider do a U-turn, chase you down, and beat you because you had the audacity to wave at him from your scooter? No, me either. But it could happen! Why risk it? If you nod, they won’t notice, because that’s too subtle a movement to make it through the vibration of their sunglasses.

Waving is distracting. First, you have to make sure the other rider can see you. Then you have to actually do it. After that, you have to watch to make sure they wave back.

If you’re a group, riders behind will wonder what road obstacle you’re pointing at, they might think you’re pointing to gravel or sand, and panic.

I believe that when you see a fellow rider on the road you should nod generously. But keep your hands to yourself. Riders usually don’t wave at each other as sometimes there might be a necessity to use all the controls on the handlebar, or clutching while cornering or maneuvering at slow speeds. Nobody will be offended if you do not wave back at the time.

There is no reason to wave when you’re in the zone while riding. Nothing should be on your mind for anything other than that ride no matter what kind of ride you are on.

Nodding is considered safer than waving by riders universally. They say that waving is dangerous at times and that should not be done on the rides whenever they see a fellow rider in the other direction. Nodding is just a small gesture and doesn’t require much action but waving is not, hence, riders say that they usually nod instead of waving.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Frills or no frills 'attached'!

Do you love riding long distances on your bike but feel you could do better and cushion the impact on your back?
If yes, the good news is we have awareness about and access to various choices of accessories and options to customize/tweak our bike paraphernalia as per our body posture preferences. Some do it out of their obsession for their two-wheeled companion, while others can consider this to make the best of their rides.


For those with a history of backache, especially, a few hours on the road is all it takes to trigger discomfort in their back, thereby thwarting any attempt to enjoy the experience. What we can do is replace the seat with one that suits your case. Do look out for aftermarket accessories and check out the reviews by those who have used such seats before investing in one. You might want to see if they have an exchange/return policy.


In order to avoid too much wear and tear on your knees as a result of prolonged riding posture, ensure that the pegs are at the optimal position, not too high, not too low. Also remember to keep your knees straight for better stability and knee health.


Regardless of whether your motorcycle’s handlebars are single-piece tubular models connected to the upper triple clamp in the middle or if they have clip-ons that clamp onto the top of the bike’s fork tube, you can test and observe the impact on your body by rolling them back half an inch in their assembly, particularly if you are steer clear of upper back stiffness.


Without a doubt, a windshield is a must-have on long road trips to protect yourself from flying fragments of gravel, debris, mud scrap or even insects or dried leaves distracting our vision. A good windshield also lowers the drag and keeps the riding ease steady, as against battering wind that can slacken the pace. There are plentiful, good quality aftermarket windscreen varieties that you can choose from for your bike.


We all come with our ‘trappings’ and go with many during our trips. Less is more when it comes to travel and it holds equally good for bike rides; the lesser your luggage the more you can revel in your ride. Stick to carrying bare essentials like rain gear, extra layers, extra gloves, food and dry socks.

Source Credit:

Kate Murphy
Ride Apart

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Admin Checklist for a Happy Ride!

Admins Checklist for a Happy Ride!

Being an admin of a motorbiking club is no easy task as you have to cater to different personalities all joined by one mutual feeling of true passion and brotherhood. Admins have a different challenge altogether when planning any type of ride.
There are many things that go on in an admin’s mind throughout the ride such as-

1.      Safety:
Safety is a priority for all admins of different biker groups. They have to ensure that their club is on the right track and that they will have to ensure the ride safety as well while planning the route. He must also be fair to any of the requests pulled up by the club members at times.

2.      Control over the Club:
There should be a bunch of rules and regulations set by the club admin and the members of the club must strictly adhere to the same.

3.      Necessary Documents:
The admins must ensure that the members of the club have all the necessary documents that are needed for them to use on their ride i.e; driving license, insurance papers, road tax papers,  Aadhar Card, necessary Permits etc. In addition to this, the riders ought to carry the necessary personal documents needed in case of an emergency.

4.      Riding Gear:
Proper riding gear is required by all the riders to wear while on the road. They must have to wear their jacket, knee guards, shin guards, gloves, elbow guards and a full- face helmet that is required by the riders to be worn while on their ride.

5.      Service, Tyre Pressure and Oil Level:
This is one of the most important steps while riding a bike or going for a long ride. Service must be done to keep the condition of the bike in optimum performance level so that it is easy for the riders while riding. Oil Levels must be checked as if there is no proper amount of oil in the vehicle there can be instances of the vehicle breaking down and not ride at desired level. Tyre pressure must be checked once in a while as low pressure in the tyres will sometimes cause a flat and cause an accident maybe as well as rupture the tyre and the rims of the bike.

6.      Communication:
There must be proper communication between the riders and the admin during the ride. If there is a specific point where they must stop it must be communicated to the rest of the riders during the ride so that they all can be in one single fold and stop at the same place instead of riding on without the club. High frequency radio or Bluetooth communication between the riders and the admin is a must in all rides.

7.      Luggage:
Pack light. For long rides, riders must carry bare essentials and travel light. Essentials include clothes, toiletries, energy bars, water and fuel cans, oil and small additional bulbs for the headlight.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Skippers Canyon

Skippers Canyon Road

The Skippers Canyon, one of the toughest motorable and most dangerous roads on the planet, runs to about 26 kilometers in the southwest of New Zealand’s South Island.

Hand-carved by miners in the 19th century between 1883 and 1890 during the gold rush, the road is built from a very narrow cut in the middle of a steep cliff face. One might as well forget rental and bike insurance on this ground; if you come face to face with approaching traffic on this open, tapered road that twirls toward a sharp dip on one side and a vertical wall on the other, you will understand why.

For two vehicles to find their way, one of them would have to reverse up to at least 3 kilometers of coiling roads to reach a point that is wide enough to let the other vehicle pass by. Regarded as an engineering marvel back in the day, the Skippers Canyon is largely a one-way steep road with sheer plunges of several hundred meters. When it is dark or rainy or both, it is a nightmare, no doubt and access is closed to most vehicles during the monsoons.  

The views are indubitably superb and make for a photographer’s delight. Make sure to carry a solid filming equipment with fully charged batteries and ample memory to record the whole ride. Fact has it that the road was formed by glaciers approximately 25,000 years ago as a loose, gravel rock and gold ground way down the valley. During the glacial process, heaps and heaps of precious gold was deposited throughout the canyon. Over the years, the mighty Shotover River, flowing from the Southern Alps through this canyon, came to be the richest gold bearing river in the world. The Skippers Canyon, thus, was built to improve the access to the upper Shotover River for the miners.

A popular tourist attraction today, the road remains as was during the 19th century and is definitely not advisable for people suffering from vertigo or fear of heights.

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Monday, August 26, 2019

Stay skid-free on rainy days!

Rainy Day Tips for a Skid-free and safe Ride

The air and the ambience get better with the onset of monsoons but the mildest showers are enough to create tiny to big dents and alter the ground not making it favourable for the biker, seasoned or new. The protective instincts kick in harder when it is a new bike. Here are some easy-to-remember tips for riders to use while cruising the roads in rain.

1.    Checked your tyre pressure?

While checking tyre air pressure regularly is a given, this is vital during monsoons as the onus is on the tyres to hold the grip on road. So keep an eye out for cracks, flat spots, bloats and wear and tear.

2.     Dry is a no-no for the chain:

The lubrication on the chain has to be checked often as a lubed chain increases the overall vehicle health and performance, supports better gear shifts, prolongs chain life as well as repels water and other elements that the vehicle is exposed to during rain.

3.    Water-proof your vehicle

Agreed motorcycles are water-tight but as time goes by, some of protection may give way to wear and tear of some of the vehicle parts. Hence water-resistance is key to avoiding electrical accidents during rains.

4.    Do not forget your raingear:

Always carry suitable rain gears with you during the monsoons; if you live in a city with unpredictable weather conditions, it doesn’t hurt to keep them with you at all times. Make sure to pick conspicuous colours as pouring rains can lowers visibility for other vehicles on the road.

5.    Relax! Ride Safe!

The most important tip is to stay calm as you beat the monsoon winds and unclear road views. Do not cramp up or slouch as a reflex to avoid getting wet, rather, loosen up to focus on steering clear of puddles, potholes and slippery stretches.

6.    Puddles!!

Small puddles may seem harmless but they pose equal danger to bikers like the big manholes as it’s tricky to gauge the depth. Don’t flat out to avoid an unexpected puddle, stay steady on the vehicle as it crosses the slick and avoid full throttle.

7.    Oil Spills:

Like the tiny coloured bubbles that you see on the wet patches and puddles during rain? Keep away from them as these hued mud suds result from excess oil spilt from other vehicles that render the roads greasy and dicey.

8.    Braking:

Riding in the dry requires one to apply just a little more pressure on the front brakes than the rear brakes. The opposite is required while maneuvering the vehicle in the rain. If the front wheel starts to slide, it can get challenging to correct it unlike the rear wheel that allows for correction. Seasoned riders stick to applying more pressure on the front brakes, as that is still the preferred method to brake quickly, but it can go horribly wrong if done wrongly. Braking in the wet needs to be gentle.


Low visibility during the monsoon seasons is obvious. Riders must be very careful be it on the highway or the city and must, at all times, use the hazard lights or the parking lights while cruising on stretches of low visibility in a heavy downpour. Use the same tips in winter to stay steady in foggy conditions.

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