As you plan that fearless, adventurous solo bike ride that’s been on your bucket list for a while, keep these tips in mind for a safe and enjoyable trip.
1) Say no to night riding
Whether you are riding absolutely solo or part of a group of solo bike riders, don’t fall for the bait that the ultimate in adventure is night riding. You are susceptible to get looted or attacked, meet with an accident or have a vehicle breakdown when you are riding on unknown terrains in the middle of the night. Most importantly, you will face difficulty getting timely help. It’s simply not worth the risk.
2) Your luggage
A carrier system of loading luggage on your bike is not at all a good idea. Over and above your backpack, go for a saddle bag or a magnetic tank bag to carry your stuff. Easy to fit on your bike, and easier to lug around during your stopovers, this is the stuff you should be shopping for before going solo.
3) Spares and tools
These must-haves for your rides include a tubeless tyre puncture kit, chain lube, a liter or so of extra fuel, spanner, wrench and allen keys. Most blokes are born knowing how to use them but you could use a basics training before setting off. If you are in a group, you don’t need to worry about getting a refresher.
4) The head and the body
Of course, helmet is compulsory and an ISI approved helmet is an absolute necessity. But make sure the helmet fits properly on your head (a loose fit is not safe, nor is a very tight fit that doesn’t let air pass), covers the jaw line and teeth and has a clear visor without any scratches (otherwise you will have trouble seeing in the night). Keep the chin belt strapped on at all times during riding. You should wear a well fitting wind cheater to brave winds and chill.
5) Pit stop
Once on that adrenaline rushing trip, you would love to push your boundaries and keep going, but a smart ride strategy is to take a break on the hour, stretch your (hand, neck, leg) muscles, sip a little water (winds will dehydrate you) and also let your machine cool down. If you are on a long trip, after a week of riding on with just night breaks, your body will slow down, so take a good two days break before revving up again.
6) Contingency stuff
We are not talking of medicines and GPS here. A first aid kit, a couple of name tags with your details (one on your body, another for luggage), rain cover (again for you and your luggage) and a pepper spray for emergencies are a good idea. You never know what might come your way and it’s better to be prepared than not.
7) Your friendly smile
Solo trips are much more enjoyable when you keep a friendly countenance and a smile can often get you all the help you need. Stay open to new experiences, meeting new folks, befriending strangers, trying out local cuisines, staying in all kinds of accommodations and by the end of your trip you will emerge richer with varied experiences and stories to tell.
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