Solo riding tips: Fun with just you and your motorcycle!

By | January 27, 2015

I love solo riding, I genuinely think that’s the way it was always meant to be. If you really want to go with other people, get a fucking car, or a bus, or train, flight, basically anything apart from a motorcycle. Still, I enjoy group rides from time to time, it can also be a very rewarding experience if done with the right kind of people. However, that’s not what we’ll be discussing today.

Today I want to talk about something that I’m quite surprised I haven’t already written a novel about. It’s kinda weird I haven’t written a single article about riding alone, but it’s alright, not too late! Let’s discuss some solo riding tips, ideas that can help you squeeze the maximum fun out of the whole 2-wheeled experience.

1. Solo riding tips – Have fun:

Easier said than done! It’s pretty unbelievable how many people consider solo riding to be kind of a responsibility, something that you just need to get done and over with. Most people are just scared, for reasons that I don’t exactly understand. Unless there are armed thugs waiting for you in the middle of the road and your riding buddies are Kung Fu and Kick Boxing masters, there’s no situation where riding alone is more dangerous than riding with a group.

For me there’s nothing like the FREEDOM that comes with solo riding. You don’t need to have a set plan, don’t need to ask anyone anything, you can do whatever the hell your mind desires. Solo riding is not as much about covering distances as it’s about finding yourself. So whenever you go out there alone on your bike, try to do every possible thing that you really wish to do. Go wild, follow your heart, have as much fun as possible, that’s what the spirit of adventure is all about.

2. Don’t ride at night:

I’ve repeatedly said it before, but it’s even more important when you are alone. I recently saw a photo on Facebook where there was a bullet mark on the door of a Xylo. A family was traveling at midnight with their driver and they heard this loud bang. They were intelligent enough to not stop, and found that hole the next morning. Turns out robbers nowadays have gone total Bollywood shit, shooting your tires on the road before looting your ass naked.

India is still a hairy country to ride a 2 wheeler in, the chaos is more or less uncontrollable, and I don’t really see things improving for the next decade or so. As much fun as it may be, riding is inherently dangerous. Riding alone at night in India is just suicidal, you are probably better off drinking a bottle full of Harpic, it’ll be a much more humane ending to your life, much less gory than grating your face off on the asphalt and then getting robbed, followed by possible anal penetration.

3. Carry tools and spares:

This is one area where group riding helps, although it’s nothing you can’t handle on your own. If you own a reasonably reliable bike with tubeless tires, the list of tools and spares you need to carry is pretty slim. Here’s what I carry on all of my rides:

  1. Tubeless tire puncture repair kit
  2. Extra engine oil
  3. Spanners and Allen keys necessary to tighten the chain or remove both wheels if required
  4. 1 liter of extra fuel
  5. Chain lube

And that’s it! All of these items take not a lot of space in my saddlebags, and this is all you’ll need for 99% of all roadside emergencies. Even though many companies have started providing roadside assistance programs now, my experience with them has been quite shitty. It’s better to be prepared on your own rather than depending on some random dude on a phone. There’s no rocket science here, all you have to do is know your bike and take a look at it once or twice a day, and do some good old Indian jugaad if all else fails. Not too hard, is it?

4. Be friendly:

This I guess is the biggest mistake most newbie solo riders make, which leads to them having a bad overall feel, and the subsequent bashing of the riding alone experience. Don’t be scared! The world isn’t what you see on the news or Facebook. People are always nice and cool, unless you deliberately stick a finger up their ass.

I’ve been through some of the worst possible areas in India, and I can tell you there’s nothing to be scared of. Even if there are terrorists and policeman firing at each other from across a road, as soon as they see tourists passing, they stop, let them cross and then continue on with their killing business.

Always remember that you are nothing more than an insignificant little spec on the map of a giant world, a world where everywhere has their own set of problems that has nothing to do with your little bike or you.

Indians are curious, inquisitive. They see somebody on a motorcycle having a good time they want to stop and talk to them. So talk! Don’t try to ignore them or run away or something else stupid, they are just fucking humans! Be nice to people, help someone if you can, stop at random places and talk to random people. That’s what life’s all about, chance encounters that restore your faith in mankind.

5. Wear dog tags:

OK, now we are entering the dark zone, the things nobody wants to talk about. Accidents can happen anytime, all you can do is be prepared for them as much as possible. An easy first step is to have some form of identification on your body, an area where dog tags rock. You can carry your documents in your wallet, but unfortunately there’s a big chance it would be stolen while you lie in a pool of blood.

You have to be realistic. 

Dog tags have embossed information about you, your emergency contact people, your blood group, and any other information that’s vital for your survival. I bought mine from iTags, check them out. Nowadays helmets come with features where they can beam your GPS coordinates and shit, but I’m not entirely sold on their usability. In any case, do whatever you feel is right in making you feel safe, because it’s very important to be psychologically certain that you’ve got every emergency covered. You can’t ride with fear. 

6. Carry pepper spray:

Last, but not the least! Always a good idea to carry a bottle of pepper spray in your left jacket pocket. Why left? Because you can whip it out with your left hand without losing control of the throttle. You can buy from a wide variety available in India, in all different shapes and sizes, priced from around 300 to 1000 bucks. I have carried one for some years now and have never needed to use it, but this is again more psychological than physical.

Although I haven’t tried it yet, a bottle of pepper spray can fire till about 7 feet away, and contains enough jizz to neutralize 10 odd people. You never know what might come your way, especially in the insanity of our country, so it’s always good to be prepared. It’s harmless, easy to use, easy to conceal, and you can carry it on flights as well without much trouble. Buy a bottle each for your entire family, NOW.

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These are my ideas to a fun solo experience, something that I consider to be really important for overall growth of a rider. The most important thing is to keep an open mind, to let the things happen the way they are, unless you are being kidnapped and your bike burnt, in which case you have my permission to go bat shit insane.

Check out this article where I list in detail all the things you can do to be prepared for a crash before it happens.

  • Rahul Gurung

    I am planning to travel solo with my RE 350 Classic from Delhi to Vadodara (Gujarat). Please suggest what precaution/safety measure should i have to take with me for this solo ride ?

    If anyone help me with route ? Thanks

  • Antony Dinesh

    Hey akil,
    It’s good sharing your experience I have cbz extreme do you think that would be comfortable for a long drive around 1500 kms in total. Because I’m pretty much scared weather I’ll make it or not and how to manage back pain when it utters.? Please reply so it would be really helpful for my upcoming trip☺

    • Akhil Kalsh

      There are people who have taken scooties around the world. CBZ can certainly do it.

      Divide your trip into 3 or 4 parts. Like a 1500 km trip can be cut up into 3 days of 500 kms. Take test at night, take lots of stops during the day and have fun. You will be fine.

    • shakti

      Brother, i have been to hyderabad from bangalore and returned back on my activa. so be assured CBZ will do that many kms for sure. I had a history of back pains so i was strapped with a back belt which is easily available in local medical shops. Happy tripping!

  • karun817

    Hey Akhil..Thanks for sharing your experience…I have 1300 KMS ride coming week and I have RS200 …any other things to keep in mind??

    • Akhil Kalsh

      Have fun! Take lots of photos, stop when you feel like it, and be disciplined with your start and end time. As you gain experience with long rides, you’ll figure out the things that work for you 🙂

      • karun817

        Thanks Akhil for your kind response. Sure shall follow the discipline.I want to purchase an Armour jacket, in Bangalore where will I find a good one.Thanks

        • Stalin Emmanuel Etay

          Hi Karun,

          I guess you should have already got your riding jacket by now. However, let me mention about a shop with wide collection of impressive Jackets with some reasonable prices. The name is “Let’s gear up” where I got my Rynox riding jacket.

  • Karan Lalawat

    Hi Akhil, i really want to speak to you regarding solo riding. please share your contact number with me else whatsapp me on 9999005187. my name is karan lalawat, i reside in delhi. looking forward to hear from you.

    • Akhil Kalsh

      Hey man, let’s talk on Facebook.

  • RAV

    1 liter of extra fuel in luggage isn’t that akin to carrying live grenades ? why not just keep refilling whenever possible

    • Akhil Kalsh

      It doesn’t always work out, especially with the Duke’s dismal fuel tank. I’ve been saved by that liter of fuel so many times, and I don’t really think it’s dangerous unless you are too stupid with it.

  • RAV

    possible anal penetration , really bro ? any case u came accross ? i know its a wild possibility, but unbelievable

    • Akhil Kalsh

      It’s just exaggeration mate, I don’t mean someone will literally come and rape you in the ass, although it’s not impossible. It happened to that black guy in Pulp Fiction, in the middle of the fucking day.

  • Anil

    Sir, you are simply great. Kindly tell me is it a wrong decision that I have booked a bullet. I can purchase ktm 390 as well but I have to bend forward which is a painful posture. Kindly suggest. Should I go for street 750 or triumph Bonnie base model

    • Hey Anil, I personally hate Bullets, but that doesn’t mean that you should too 🙂 I would any day pick a Duke 390 over any other bike out there, simply because of how usable and how cheap to maintain it is. It doesn’t have a sporty posture at all, so I don’t think your back will face any trouble. Please take a test drive and then you’ll know for sure!

      Street and Bonnie are brilliant machines too, but be ready to shell out big money for maintenance.

    • RAV

      Anil if you have even a slight hesitation with bullet, then please dont buy right now. do test drives read reviews do cost analysis of servicing bullet, or else you may end up regretting why you bought bullet and u might as well curse Akhil dfor not stopping you when he could. IMHO bullets are only for hard core bullet fans whose life goals include owning a bullet, most of others regret it later, all the best. your other options are better. do let us know what you choose finally.

  • aren

    love it !! have read many articles by now i like the abusive methodology you adopt for indian road i have similar sentiments about theese things here are some new abusive verbs which you must use next time
    shit stains
    asswipes
    rotten nutsacks
    chronic ego tripping fucks

  • kingofcochin

    Brother, you hate on riding at night too much!! Sure, it is not wise to ride on strange roads at night time, but frankly night riding has been grossly under rated!

    I have been doing most of my riding at night for past couple of years and believe me it is simply wonderful! Much less traffic and greater road awareness ( with a few caveats). If you make sure that you are equipped as you did in this article there is absolutely no reason not to ride at night.

    For the past couple of years I have been doing monthly commutes to and from Bangalore to Kochi and it is always at night. The advantages are you dont have to take leave to ride during day time, you can ride through some of the busiest routes of the country in relative peace. Sure when you are touring and exploring places it makes no sense to ride during night time, however if you are like me, who avoids vehicles with more wheels than two like a plague even the routine trips can be done by bike if you ride at night.

    Besides you would hardly be able to appreciate the reflection of moonlight on a vast lake, with mountains surrounding in horizon and you being absolutely alone on a highway if you ride during daytime!

    • Haha, I like your optimism mate! If I knew the route by heart, I think I would also prefer going at night. This article was more about riding solo to someplace that you haven’t been before, riding at night and missing a turn could prove disastrous 🙂

  • Ensure that your toolkit is adequate. And if possible replace bolts you commonly have to remove in the case of a fuckup with allenkey bolts of same head size and carry that allenkey in your tool kit.

    Once while riding shit happened and my motor got hydrolocked(Surprisingly I wasn’t crossing a stream and I didn’t even drop the bike.) and there was water in my cylinder, and it was post midnight and a thunderstorm was going on, and I had to open up my bike on the side of the highway, the toolkit didn’t have the necessary tools, but my co-rider was riding an Aviator and had the right tools with him, drained AF box, carb and got the water out of the cylinder from SP window, everything was fine and we were ready to go.

    So its always better to be prepared. 🙂

    And these are a few of the things I carry with me;
    1. Spare Tube / Tubless repair kit with a nose plier.
    2. Spare cables under the seat, both throttle and clutch.
    3. Dedicated GPS unit (seems redundant, but trust me, its worth it!)
    4. Mobile/USB charger under the seat.
    5. Spare key, Dog Tag, College ID card(I wear it under my riding jacket along with dog tags) and originals of motorcycle docs.

    Cheers, ride hard, ride safe. (y)

    • You can never have enough tools if you’re out of luck 🙂

      GPS is awesome man, even the one in phone. I rarely use it, but it gives so much more peace of mind. Recently got a USB charger too and loving it!

      Thanks for your additions 🙂

  • You are lucky you aren’t married, dude. Post that all logic falls flat 🙁

    • Bwahahaha! Yeah man, my boat is gonna sink pretty soon too don’t worry 🙂

      • RAV

        already sunk right ? you never talk about her or the change she brought in you. topics for future eh ?

        • Akhil Kalsh

          Yep, gotta keep something to write about.