Sunday, October 15, 2017

Motorcycles Save Lives

Traffic in our cities is only getting worse by the day and its horrible when you are in gridlock and you hear the wail of an Ambulance and there is just no way to make way for it because where is the space?

To address just that Max Healthcare have launched something called Max Bike Responder where a paramedic on a motorcycle will be dispatched first to the scene of the accident to provide that critical needed first aid before the ambulance gets there. The panniers carry all the a defibrillator and other  equipment, medicines that the paramedic may need.

I think its a great idea but whats with that windscreen on the bike ?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Interview: Abijith Rao

Who are you ?
I'm Abijith and I’m a fanatic motorcycle traveler, a musician and an audio engineer. 

When did you first get interested in bikes?
It can goes back 15 years ago, Where I was allowed to just park my Dad's Bajaj Chetak in and out of the Garage and to just drool looking at my Uncle's old Bullet 350cc. One ride being Pillion on the Yezdi with my Uncle I think triggered it all.

What was the first bike you ever owned?
My first motorcycle was a Honda Unicorn back in 2005, I was just in college and ever since then I've been inclined and bitten by the travelbug, especially exploring the trails and B-roads on the motorcycle.

What was the first motorcycle trip you ever took?
Just before I bought my first motorcycle, me and a couple of friends were riding 2 up on Bajaj Pulsar and RX 135. Coming from an orthodox family, I used to just take off saying I had to do combined studies and just hit to places like Coorg and the likes also in and around Bangalore. From that time on, I've never stopped.

Overland on a Himalayan. How? What? Why?
It all started with mainly MTM becoming the vital plug to ‘travel’ across borders for me. Meeting so many humble and great travellers inspired me a lot and I started dreaming about experiencing different culture and meet new people. Mainly it was, Hubert Kreigel, his stories and one phrase “Take that risk!” did it all for me. I always wanted to travel in the heart of Mongolia for some reason, It was just hooked on to my head. I thought I’ll do this trip in 2015, I didn’t pay much attention and just waved it away and I wasn’t that serious about it initially as this idea seemed impossible to me. After several days, it came back to me again, and this time it was more persistent. But I decided to suspend it as I was about to leave for one month trip to the Himalayas. I will have enough time to think about possible trip across border later, I told to myself. And it really happened this way. 

Preparation took me more than 15 months. During this period of time I went through the moments of doubts, hopes and disappointments, rises and falls. It was very difficult to find support and understanding, I was going in circles. By this time, I got invited by Castrol as one of their influencers the brand’s new product launch. I proposed this ride’s plan with them, after few negotiations they were willing to fund a part of my trip. There I was all set with the foundation with Castrol on board and all my savings ready to travel to Stans and Mongolia. 

Later the plan progressed onward to EU as China/Tibet was really expensive.
Himalayan - Everyone were kinda baffled, when I said I was taking the Himalayan. It was a fairly new bike in the market with a lot of initial issues. For us Indians, there are no options for a good adventure bikes, with the ergonomics of this motorcycle, I really felt comfortable and prepped it up for this journey. 

Always, There's a fine line between Reliability Vs. Repairability. I opted for Himalayan as it was a repairable bike and my plan was it to put it through some extreme terrains through this journey.  

How did you ship the bike to the starting point?  
India is pretty much landlocked right now, With all the bureacracy, Pakistan is a no-go and Burma is expensive needs a tour guide and same goes with exiting through Nepal/China. I had to fly/ship it out of the country. I’ve spent over 6 months working on Visas, documentation and all other paperwork. India is considered as a risk-immigrant country to apply for Visas in Central Asia. Dealing with paperwork has always been a drag for me. But 4 months of dealing with various embassies & regulations has taken patience to a completely new level. Particularly if you're planning to travel through Central Asia, do yourself a favour and ask a visa-agency to do the visa-runs for you, You might save a little time and avoid, running around in Delhi. 

Disaster struck, when I received the quotation for my Air freight charges. My expenses went up by almost 40pc. Then I started my crowd-funding campaign and I’ve received so much of support and people now are a part of my journey and I’m really grateful. Finally on April 15th 2017, I set off on this journey, arrived in Tashkent. I was also supported by 'Big Bad Bikes' who suited me up with Klim gear, Which is probably the best one out there.

I spent close to 2 months working on the motorcycle with my mechanic and made it ready for this big adventure. I even ran it 15,000 kms before the trip to see what problems i might encounter and be prepared for it.

Till now what was the best and the worst part of the ride you have encountered?
I wouldn’t say there’s any least favourite part as once you start a journey, ups and down are a part of it. It teaches you how you can adapt to a situation and how you’ll tackle it. It just makes you stronger. Riding through the Wakhan corridor of Tajikistan, Trans European Trail, Balkans Trails, Mongolia and even the Trans - Siberian across Russia have been just amazing and I'm in total loss of words as to how spectacular the ride was.

What's in your garage back home?
I have my 'Old Lady' which is a 1970 STD 350 G2 Bullet and the 2016 RE Himalayan

What advice do you have for other motorcycle nomads?
All of us dream and very few chase your dreams and go for it. We often keep pushing the ideas of our dreams for ‘Tomorrow’. We fail to realise at one point we will have way to many ‘tomorrows’ piled up and those tomorrows have become ‘Yesterdays’. For many, a job is some unpleasant work you do, in order to make money, with the sole purpose of making money. It’s absurd to take up a job for the sole purpose of making money. If money becomes the only goal and it does. If you work that way, you begin to lose out on your life. We live by media feeding us a lot these days, we are pointed a lot of unnecessary bullshit, with just negative and unwanted stuff to the mass. We are so hooked on to the monotonous routine that it’s really hard to get out of the ‘Autopilot’ mode. As long as you love what you do, find it soon and just go for it. Work will always fill a large part of your life, The only way to be truly satisfied is by doing what you love.

So remeber, One 'No' is say is one less ride taken. Just go!

Now what is your dream ride? 
Following the Sibersky Extreme Trail . The marked roads of ‘Walter Clebatch’ who is a legend in lesser explored sides of Siberia and Mongolia and South America with a lot of time in hand. 

Where are you riding next?
Mostly TAT ( Trans American Trail) and South America is on the charts. Hopefully, 2019. 

Where can we check you out on the interwebs and see whats next?
Facebook: @trailbugadv
Twitter: @trailbugadv | @abijithmrao
Instagram: @trailbugadv | @abijithmrao

I'm currently updating the website, it's should up and running soon


Full Throttle Documentary Teaser

They are looking at raising money to complete it the film and get to tell as many stories as they can. So take a look at their video and if you like what you see drink a few less beers this weekend and help em out.

To donate click here for their Ketto page

Monday, October 2, 2017

Full Throttle Documentary

I got a call from an unknown number from Chennai. Usually calls from the city I attribute to telemarketers and other people asking me to pay some money so that some service I subscribe to will be disconnected if I don't. So I am not sure what made me pick up the call but I am glad I did.

The person on the other end told me a story of a Documentary he and some friends were making trying to showcase the two stroke culture that is being forgotten in the new age of motorcycling that has swept our country. But sadly they are lacking funds to get the full project off the ground.

In their own words

 "Full Throttle is a travel documentary film that will showcase the legacy of vintage motorcycles in India and the stories of passionate bikers who keep them running. Five filmmakers and bikers from Hyderabad set out on an exploration and what follows is a journey into the lives of bikers, custom builders, racers, mechanics and communities which are nothing short of a cult.

It's the question that goes round and round in circles. In clubs and paddocks around the world, proponents from both camps argue their corners passionately. But it’s the very spirit of these bikers that add a different dimension to these machines. When you settle in and kick start this weightless floating machine, it would give you a welcome bid with the roaring sound and the next thing you would remember is the wind gushing your adrenaline and the speed widening on your smile.
As bikers ourselves, we wanted to pay tribute to these wonderful machines and the people behind them. In fact, we always wonder what kind of two strokes we would have if modern technology were applied on them,...have you?? We have finally decided to make a short video, but the stories we came across have inspired us to go the extra mile. We are reaching out to you, the public, so that we could take this mesmerizing travel documentary into a whole new level.
We believe two strokes and their riders are strictly unrepresented in this profit oriented world. It takes more than money to ride these motorcycles. With the help and support of all bike enthusiasts and movie lovers, we could feature a full length documentary film and pay proper tribute to these legends.

They are looking at raising money to complete it the film and get to tell as many stories as they can. So take a look at their video and if you like what you see drink a few less beers this weekend and help em out.

Do donate click here for their Ketto page

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Tiger Trails

This past week was spent in the company of Triumph and its motorcycles. First, we wrestled Tiger 800s on slick and slippery trails in Aamby Valley, Maharashtra, under the watchful eye and cutting tongue of Vijay Parmar, rider extraordinaire and chief trainer, Tiger Training Academy.  Later, we got a little seat time on the much-anticipated Triumph Street Scrambler as seen in the previous post.

Tiger Trails is a structured training program that is designed to instill the basic techniques of off road riding and confidence hand in hand. Large adventure motorcycles can be difficult to manage in the dirt because of their weight and bulk. You can get away with a lack of dirt riding skills on small bikes, but an adventure bike can hurt you if you don’t know what you are doing.

By the end of the session, we were humbler, safer and far more confident riders in the dirt…


Vijay Parmar can't believe how bad journos are off-road...

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Lord, I was born a Scramblin' man...

Yesterday, Triumph launched the Street Scrambler in India and we were there to ride it.
Words and photographs by Harsh Man Rai

When Vimal Sumbly, MD Triumph India, took the covers off the Street Scrambler at a laid-back launch in Aamby Valley, Maharashtra, we fell in love all over again. This is a motorcycle after our own heart and if like us, you are into retro-cool-as-fuck scramblers as a style, this thing nails it better than anything else on the market.

The new Street Scrambler has that familiar Bonneville silhouette combined with minimal bodywork, black sculpted engine covers, a quickly detachable pillion seat that uncovers a luggage rack mounted to the rear sub-frame and that distinctive and beautiful high exhaust pipe. Proper proportions and stripped-back style give the Street Scrambler a rather rugged posture. According to Vimal Sumbly: “Our ambition was to deliver a new segment state-of-the-art rugged off road styled motorcycle that is both addictive everyday fun and an off-road motorcycle but with its own distinctive attitude. This motorcycle feels light and nimble, is excellent to ride around town, and is extremely capable on long distance trails.”

The new Scrambler is built around Triumph's new Street Twin, which uses their all-new 900cc, eight-valve, SOHC parallel-twin with 270-degree firing interval parallel twin motor which also begat the new T100, T100 Black, and Street Cup cafe racer. Peak torque arrives at 2,850 rpm with 59 pound-feet and peak horsepower (54 hp) at 6,000 rpm which is 28 per cent more than the old Scrambler. It also gets ride-by-wire fuelling and switchable ABS that are unique to the Street Scrambler, in addition to traction control and a torque assist clutch. A 41mm KYB fork and twin KYB shocks that are adjustable for preload do suspension duty offering 4.7 inches of travel at both ends. This new Street Scrambler comes from the factory shod in blocky dual sport Metzeler Tourance tyres: 100/90-19 size up front, same as the previous generation while getting a shorter and wider 150/70R17 rear tyre. This means a much larger range of tyre options for riders to choose from, compared to the old Scrambler. And there are more than 150 accessories to fuel your secret-life-of-Steve-McQueen fantasy.

While our time with the new Street Scrambler was severely limited to a couple of small loops on tarmac, we were impressed by how light and nimble the bike felt. The Street Scrambler makes enough power for us it is and delightful to ride. This isn’t a particularly fast bike, but there’s an intoxicating dose of fun on tap whenever you want it. The ride-by-wire throttle and light-effort torque-assist clutch make launches predictable and easy to control while the smooth 5-speed gearbox keeps the motor humming within the sweet part of the rev range.

Now we want more time on this bike to take it into Helmet Stories’ ‘scrambler’ territory and see how it fares. Are you listening Triumph India?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Episode 4 - Cruising Legends - Vir Nakai

Episode 4 | Cruising Legends | TheVibe Originals
From a young age,Vir Nakai has made it his singular goal to explore and go beyond the map. To seek new trails and build new bonds. Come, join us as we ride with him in the season finale of #CruisingLegends, an all-new series brought to you by Castrol POWER1 Cruise. Also, it's his birthday today, and we couldn't think of a more perfect gift for him. #LoveToCruise
Posted by Castrol Biking on Monday, 7 August 2017

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Cruising Legends - Vir Nakai - Teaser

So I may have missed the first few because I was travelling and away for the interwebs but it just happened that the trailer to the fourth episode (mine) came out while I was not. So here check it out and wait for three more days for the whole shebang.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Ride Inn - Manali part Deux

So if you have not heard of Ride Inn in Manali then well I just did you a favour. Now that you have let me tell you that after a few years they have moved down the road a bit and opened up a new location in Manali to host weary travellers on the well trodden Manali Leh route. 

The Inn keep and her husband are insanely great people who will take immense care of you while you are a guest at their property. We love going and hanging out there whenever we can. 

Before I left for Spiti I got them to send us some pictures of what the new place is looking like and let me tell you we cant wait to get up there and spend some time checking it out and eating that great local mutton dish their kitchen puts out. 

Here are some of the images they sent me. More when we are there in the next fortnight.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Life on the road

Its been a year since my Ducati Globetrotter trip and I was reliving the journey on my Instagram Stories but there were a few posts I have been wanting to put up on the blog so here is the first exactly how it was posted last year. 

In the small Nickel mining town of Los deep inside the forests of Sweden the plug in the back tyre came loose and I started loosing air from it. I stopped at what looked like a workshop and met the owner Axel who said he could help. He had a pump with which we filled the tyre and he patched it up for me (probably doing a far better job than I would have).
When it came time for payment he didn’t have change in cash so I said “let me go fill some petrol and will come back with change”. He looked at me and says it automatic and takes only card. Here is the largest problem I have had so far in Scandenavia – my cards have not been working and if they are my bank is charging me in Euros instead of Swedish Crowns (a different challenge to sort out back when I am in India). So I said Axel “why don’t you use your card so I can fuel up and then we won’t need change”. He thought about it and said “it’s unusual be we can try”. That’s what we did.
While fuelling up I found out it was his Birthday and his son is building a 300hp drag bike and he rode motorcycles in the past but is so busy with work that he doesn’t have time anymore.
It’s true when people say if you travel with a motorcycle you are never short of friends…
The Original post is here