I’m so completely tripping balls right now, so I thought it would be a good time to share with you guys 10 of my tips for safe, peaceful and comfortable riding, no matter what the distance. Riding a motorcycle is much more uncomfortable and unsafe than being cradled around in a car, but then all fun things are, like blowjobs and bull fights. Here are some ways that can make that 4000 km ride easier on your body, brain, and bike.
1. Get your bike fixed
Your motorcycle is supposed to be your partner in crime. It’s the most important non-living object of the entire trip, with the power to turn your ride into a living nightmare or a legendary dream. So keeping that in mind, get off your ass and make sure your bike is 100% fit to go the distance. It’s no rocket science, check the oil levels, tires, and electricals, and voila! You are done.
Motorcycles have a come a long way since they were first invented, and the level of reliability and the amount of confidence that you can enjoy in them is just unbelievable. Even so, they are machines, with moving parts and sorcery and mechanical demons, all of which need timely appeasement and gifts of labor. Keep them happy, and they’ll keep you happy, unless you have a Royal Enfield in which case you are royally fucked.
2. Carry all important documents
Registration certificate, insurance document, non-polluting vehicle certificate, and driver’s license, these are the only 4 documents that you’ll ever need to save yourself from the claws of incompetent policemen commonly found jacking off on Indian roads and by-lanes. If you are entering some restricted area, like some parts of Ladakh, permits are what you’ll definitely want.
Traveling in other countries will leave you with a handful of must-carry papers, apart from your passport/visa of course. The point is the more exotic the place, the more bullshit you’ll have to go through to see it. All you have to do is make sure you are ready for the crap fest and the bureaucratic cavity searches.
3. Wear full riding gear
Easy to say, but apparently harder to do than killing a bunch of baby seals with a baseball bat. For the confused, ignorant, and stupid riders out there, here’s the definition of “full riding gear”.
- Helmet: One that isn’t cheap enough to be just left on the bike.
- Jacket: One that isn’t there to just make you LOOK like a biker.
- Pants: One that isn’t a pair of shorts, jeans, boxers or a chaddi.
- Gloves: One that isn’t just a thin layer of cloth over your thick skin.
- Boots: One that isn’t a sneaker, floater, or a chappal.
Simple enough? You don’t wear riding gear to show-off, you wear riding gear to protect yourself. The amount of peace good quality riding gear can give you is unparalleled, it increases the fun exponentially when you know that the smallest mistake will not lead to the greatest injuries. And it looks ultra sexy too, which will be evident by the amount of panties that will hit the floor as you ride around suited up.
4. Wear ear plugs
There are different levels of comfort you can get on a motorcycle, and as you climb up the ladder, there is no going back. Here’s how a rider’s life feels like with different levels of comfort given by different types of equipment:
- Nothing: This is the level when the rider has nothing but his bike, the way all of us start.
- First few hours: Oh my fucking God this is so awesome I love my life!
- Later: Fuck man dust in my eyes, bugs in my mouth, shit in my ears, this sucks!
- Helmet: This is what happens when a rider discovers the helmet.
- First few hours: What the fuck? I can’t hear anything! I can’t see anything!
- Later: Oh this rocks so hard man, I can do high speeds, it kicks butt!
- Jacket and gloves: Now our rider goes one level up and gets a riding jacket and gloves.
- First few hours: Man this is uncomfortable! I’m sweating like a pig, why am I doing this?
- Later: God how did I not know about these things all this time! Jacket and gloves rule!
- Riding pants: As he grows up, riding pants enter the picture to make things even more interesting.
- First few hours: My balls hurt, my knees hurt, how the fuck do I pee?
- Later: Oh my ass feels like it’s laying on a bed of rose petals and other asses. God I love pants!
- Riding boots: With finally enough money and brains to take the next step, we have boots.
- First few hours: Why am I walking like there’s a log of wood stuck up my ass?
- Later: I’m just gonna make sweet love to these boots tonight, they are the love of my life!
- Ear plugs: The final step on the ladder, this is where things get really interesting.
- First few hours: What? What is he saying? What am I saying? Why am I deaf?
- Later: This is so sweet man, it feels like I’m floating in the clouds. Never riding without them again!
The only way forward after this is to get better and better stuff! Ear plugs are the smallest, cheapest, and the most looked-over part of this chain, but trust me, they are THE most important thing out there. They protect your ears from damage, dust and grime, they save you from headaches, and help you sleep better at night after that long day of riding.
Another small trick that helps reduce wind noise considerably is wearing a small scarf around your neck. Next time you are doing 100+ kmph, try putting your hand just in front of your neck, below the helmet. You’ll notice a sharp decrease in the irritating whooooosh sounds. Any loose piece of cloth will help in reducing the noise, and will also stop bees from getting into your bra.
5. Protect your eyes
A good full-face helmet is just the first step in protecting your eyes, there are a lot of things you can do to take the fun to the next level!
- Try to keep the visor fully closed all the time. Open it a few inches if things start to get foggy, or consider switching to pin-locks if you can.
- Use dark visors in the day, clear ones at night. Dark visors not only help keep your face un-tanned, they also reduce the amount of light and glare damaging your eyes. They are absolutely unusable at night, so change to clear ones as the sun sets.
- Wear goggles inside the helmet. I have no option but to wear them since I live with contact lenses, but dark goggles in day and clear ones at night not just look cool, they are the second line of defense against UV rays, dust and debris from a crash.
Protecting your eyes is mildly important, because you know, you kinda gotta see where you are going. That harsh afternoon Sun can easily give you a fucking migraine, or a debilitating headache at least. Discomfort adds up over the kilometers, until finally you just can’t look up anymore.
6. Don’t ride at night
Very simple, yet rarely followed. Ride with the Sun, start when it comes up, stop when it goes down. It’s very easy to get greedy and ride just those few extra kilometers at night, but all that does is start a vicious cycle where you ride till late, get tired, start late the next morning, ride till late again and so on.
The easiest way to not ride at night is to have a daily plan that doesn’t involve more than 12 hours of riding, including breaks. Such a plan also ensures that you actually SEE the areas you are going through, rather than just passing through them like the ghost of Christmas past.
7. Don’t act like a fucking princess
You got a 6 lac bike, you look like a stromtrooper on acid, your saddle bags look like you are carrying your dead fat girlfriend around, so people are naturally going to be inquisitive. Indians anyways can’t keep their nose out of somebody else’s buttcrack, so expect weird questions. Don’t try to run away from them, ignore them, or act like you are the crown princess of Disneyland, that will only make things worse.
I have tried everything, and in my opinion it helps to be natural, and not act like a scared cat. Somebody asks you a question, smile and answer it. Don’t start with your life story and shit, just keep it short and candid. When you find yourself in an area where no one follows traffic rules, do the same. Don’t unnecessarily fuck with Roadside Rossi’s, allow them to dance around your bike as long as it’s safe, but don’t let them fuck with you either. Be polite but firm, the point is to become as inconspicuous as possible, or as Confucius would say “Become one with the road and the stupid people who are around you”.
8. Sort out your luggage
In an ideal world, it would be just you and your machine, roaring majestically into the sunset through a field of boobs and bongs. In reality, it’s you, your machine, and a buttload of luggage strapped carelessly to the tail, slugging embarrassingly through traffic and trucks. Everyone starts with a backpack, then moves on to bungee cords, and then finally accepts the beautiful gift of God called motorcycle luggage.
Buy proper motorcycle luggage, saddlebags, panniers, tailbag or tankbag, whatever suits your requirement. The amount of money spent on them is ridiculously easy to justify based on the amount of comfort they offer on the road. Always carry as LESS as possible, only items absolutely indispensable for the trip. Use and throw approach works far better than converting your bike into a 1 BHK apartment.
9. Don’t use gel seats
They don’t work. As much as you may want to believe, soft seats are NOT more comfortable, hard seats fare better over long hours. So please let those gel seats to be used by near-death paralyzed octogenarians. There are plenty of other ways to keep your ass comfortable, as weird as they may sound:
- Shave the hair off your ass: The pushing and pulling of ass hair as your butt slides on the seat is the main reason for discomfort, hence shaving your ass clean would make life so much better! I haven’t tried it yet, so let me know how it works out for you!
- Wear cycling shorts: The tight cycling shorts do more than just cut off oxygen supply to your balls, they add greatly to butt comfort by reducing the skin rubbing that happens with loose undergarments. Try them, you’ll worship them forever.
- Get quality riding pants: Awesome riding pants come with a rough patch just under your bunghole that sticks against the seat and doesn’t let your bum fly off at every touch of the brake. They kick ass, figuratively.
10. Be ready for the worst
Always try to stay visible, by using high-visibility gear/vest and switching on your headlights even during the day. Sleep well before a ride, stop if you feel dizzy. Never cross your personal limits, follow your brain, not your heart. Even after taking all necessary precautions, riding a motorcycle is a death wish. If you ride a motorcycle and aren’t dead yet, it can be squarely blamed on luck. Every biker at least once in their life faces a situation that is totally out of their control, and which invariably leads to bad stuff. Always be ready for such situations, by doing some little things that I’ve listed out in this post.
Being ready for the worst does not mean you are being a negative nancy, it just means that you have that thought in the corner of your mind that “If I go sliding down the mountain at 168 kmph, the dog tag around my neck will definitely aid in recognizing my decapitated body”. It’s just one more way that adds to the peace of mind, however illogical it may be.
This is it, my 10 tips to help you wring out that last drop of fun out of your rides. These are the methods I’ve tried over my travels, and work like a charm. The most important thing always is to not fixate on the destination, but to enjoy the journey, and the above ways will help you make that shitty ride into an epic journey. You got something to add?