But activities like this don’t just start on the same day. It needs a lot of planning and a significant amount of preparation. You need to be sure of what you are doing. I was.
Anything beyond 400 km would be new. But I knew the make and the model of the vehicle well.
The engine does not have a strong cooling system. This meant I had to take frequent breaks in my journey. I did a quick calculation and that means for every hour on the road, I need to take at least 15 min off. Since I preferred riding only in sunlight, I only had 6 am to 6 pm to ride and with the needed breaks, this brought me down to 7 hours of total time. So I would target only 350 kms in a day. This was not a bad target. Given I had time in my hand.
The next thing was the body. But I was mentally prepared for it. I prepped my body for it. I stretched enough and took good rest and most importantly, I promised myself and kept in mind that I would listen to my body. So when it needs a break, and can’t take it, I would stop and recover well.
More than both these, what gave me the final push was the one thing I had never accounted for. My emotional support system. I knew I could do it but I always stopped myself because of the extreme disparagement around me. Forget about encouraging, no one was willing to even talk to the possibility. Was I being too ambitious? So I had always stopped myself. Until this time, I very cautiously mentioned it to a friend and he did not react in surprise. All he said was, when are you planning? Not because he had done this before but because he had faith in me. And my biker friend Deepak, who was the only person who said, ‘it is tough but can be done’. He shared with me all those tips that he had learned in his years of long rides. He has a massive Himalayan. My active is puny compared to that. Yet at no point did he make fun, ridicule, or dismiss me. He asked me all the right questions and helped me where my answers were off. As an avid biker himself, he noticed I was mentally prepared and ready to do this. This was all the fuel I needed.
The next was the safety factor. The scooter is made of lighter material, so even a small nudge would send it off on the highway given the speed. But if you calculate the probability, the chance of being slightly whisked is extremely low. This means I face almost the same possibility that other vehicles have. To compensate, I have to be extremely careful and submissive to let all others go. Ego cannot get the better of me. I have to be sane and humble. Despite religiously following this, you will see that I narrowly escaped a tragedy in a couple of instances.
I had to pack light cos I did not want to tie my luggage behind. Meaning, I keep my luggage in front. Enough for a trip and enough to not disturb the handlebar and give me enough space to keep my legs. Thank god for small legs.
And finally, of course, the servicing. I gave my vehicle to service at Expedition motors at BTM Layout, Bangalore, who did a thorough check of all that needs to be changed. A day later, he came up with a long list that I did not even know needed changing. The vehicle was 5 years old and had run a good number of kms. They were all valid, and the folks got into changing them, including the rear tyre. Done and dusted, wrapped, and packed, I was now back at my place to do the final checks and get a good night’s sleep. And a good night it was.