The Great Indian Road Challenge

Riding your motorcycle

what a blissful way it is to explore mother nature. Riding through those curves, those flat tarmacs, those gravel laden dusty roads, to reach where few have wandered before. Very romantic right? That is because it truly is marvellous, like dancing, an intimate duet. While on my rides I have learnt all this and more to be true.

There is also this other side (not so dreamy and romantic) to it if you are on any motorcycle tours in India. It helps to be aware of these precarious challenges that might come your way while riding in India. Being prepared makes one more confident to be able to truly enjoy the simple pleasures of riding your motorcycle in the Indian Outback.

  • Anything can come from anywhere – people, animals and potholes.

Beware of vehicles, as small as bicycles or bull carts and as big as trucks. They can all come the wrong way.

  • Everyone rides at their own pace when riding in a group, no risky overtaking of vehicles (especially on single roads). Relax and enjoy the ride.
  • Avoid riding at night as everyone in India use high beams for driving. Oncoming traffic will most certainly blind you, no matter how clean your helmet. 
  • Use Dipper even in the daytime when overtaking trucks/buses and please make sure the truck driver has seen you and your dipper before you begin the manoeuvre.
  • While riding on rural roads there will be unmarked speed breakers at the beginning and at the end of most villages. These unmarked devils can be really dangerous at high speeds.
  • In the hills, where the roads are really narrow and traffic is at a halt, try to move always on the inside. Staying on the outside when a truck is trying to manoeuvre can be risky for the motorcycle rider, especially with deep drops along the unprotected and extremely narrow balcony roads.
  • Use engine braking to always stay in control of your motorcycle, I always recommend it.
  • Do not use front brakes on gravel or sand or in pot holes. (there will be many in India).

I once met this veteran French rider on my tour of Rajasthan and asked him if he could explain in one word, how riding in India is different from riding in other countries. He answered in one word and no more, “SIMPLE” , riding in India is Simple. And indeed it is. Nothing can outdo the joy of simplicity, be it riding back in time with the rural roads of India or watching agriculturalists using age old hand tools for their work or an interaction with curious locals,  the experiences on offer are endless.

The tips above have assisted me in motorcycle tours in India and kept my rides simple, absent of any unintentional adventure and chaos.



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