There’s a whole wide world out there for riders who are not afraid to get out of their comfort zone and experience for themselves the sights and sounds that can never be enjoyed from the supposed luxury of the couch, says Vijay
There are essentially two types of ADV bike owners. The ones who know what their bikes can do and the ones who don’t. The first will never ride off-pavement and constitute the equivalent of the soccer mom. Sunday rides to ‘parantha’ breakfasts and deep insights shared at biker cafes constitute their depth of field. Occasionally they will attend a Biker Festival in the neighbourhood but nothing more than that. They are those that don’t know what their bikes are fully capable of and are too afraid to try anything more than just a straight-line dash to the gas pump - once a month!
Then come the second kind who know what their bikes can do. They will plan and execute journeys of thousands of kilometres, maybe travel across the world! For them to safely ride 800km a day on tarmac highways is not unusual. So how do they do it? What makes them so different from the ADV owner who can’t venture out of his comfort zone and is reduced to a fretting wreck if the bike tips over at standstill?
Curiosity starts the change from a ‘sometimes rider’ to an ‘addicted wanderer’. It can be the desire to visit the old painter at Daryaganj, who hand stripes the gold lines on Bullet tanks or it may be the ‘must-do’ Manali to Leh highway that starts it all. An unexpected urge to ride the Spice Trail that crosses the coffee and cardamom plantations of Chikmagalur. Anything.
Even a name. A friend was so fired up by the name ‘Zing-Zing Bar’ that he had to load up his ADV bike, ride through fog and rain over Rohtang and just see for himself! It was so disappointing – just a right hand hairpin on the climb to Baralacha La – that he rode onward, spontaneously and unplanned, for the next two weeks. He saw Ladakh, resplendent in the fall, had his petrol cache robbed in Zanskar, stayed in a monastery when he ran out of money, borrowed some from the Deputy Commissioner in Kargil, spent three days holed up in Kashmir, before riding the Mughal Road home. He never really told me whether he returned the loan but it changed the way he looked at travel aboard a motorcycle. The world started to become his oyster. Riding out, spontaneously and far, was to become the best motorcycle training he ever had.
Wanderlust. It drives the adventurer to seek out the unknown, the outlandish. Most of the these ADV riders scan maps incessantly, pore over the stories of other travellers, even going back a century at times. Today Google Maps gives you access to the world – first hand. The web is an unlimited storehouse of knowledge and similar interest groups allow such detailed sharing that it almost takes the surprise of discovery away. A trip to Mongolia or Patagonia is no longer a dream but a very real possibility. Let the wanderlust take you over.
Money. The more you are willing to put in the further you can go. At least that’s what logic dictates. Strangely, its not the rich but the average that have had the most wonderful and eventful rides around the globe. Some work their way through the rides, often returning home spending months working, replenishing their cash reserves. Then they reboot their journeys. A six-month PhD in ‘Travel on a Motorcycle’ teaches more than years spent studying Quantum Physics. The resolution of daily problems along the way will make you totally grounded and unflappable – a master of damage control!
Six months on a motorcycle will change you completely. From an insufferable corporate complainer, constantly berating hotel housekeeping, you will learn to sleep in the wilderness with a small tarp, one end tied to the handlebars, the other pegged to the ground. And you will appreciate your Taj Mahal because it kept most of the drizzle away from your clothes! Become curious. Take out that ADV beast from the garage and make a new comfort zone. The whole wide world awaits!