Motorcycle Diaries with Chandrasekhar Sethi
Motorcycle Riding is all about having a thrilling experience, going on an adventure, and having fun. Few of us know the rigorous preparation that bikers take before hitting the road. Chandrasekhar Sethi, who works as a Supply Chain Executive in HCCB at Bangalore, is an avid biker and traveller.
Chandrasekhar has so far gone on more than 125 rides, covering 375 destinations and around 7300 unique viewpoints in the North-East, Himalayas, Bhutan, Nepal, Eastern Coast, Western Ghats and South India. In August 2016, Chandrasekhar and his team completed the 4 corridors of Sikkim and Darjeeling. The trip remains one of the most memorable rides for him, due to obstacles like heavy rain, landslides, and shooting stones.
Reflecting on his 100th ride which he completed in June 2018 on the Manali - LEH - Manali circuit, Chndrashekhar says, "Riding to Khardung La and Nubra Valley is out of the world. It's like time travelling to the Jurassic era!." In September 2018, he completed a momentous 2700 km ride, covering Chennai - Bangalore – Mangalore – Gokarana – Goa – Shivamogga – Bangalore.
Here he shares a few valuable tips that every aspiring biker should keep in mind!
1) Safety first
Choose helmets approved by the most demanding international homologations – DOT CERTIFIED (US), ECE/ONU 22.05P(EU), and SNELL USA (US). When it comes to safety, do not compromise, even if it means spending a little extra.
2) Health check-up
Before heading out on a bike ride, ensure that you perform a health check-up on the bike. This includes checking the air pressure before riding. Keep in mind that after the tyre heats up, it always shows false pressure. Don’t forget to lubricate the chain; this increases the mileage.
Additionally, you should carry a softcopy/hardcopy of your Driver’s License, Registration Certificate, Insurance Paper, Pollution Certificate, NOC, and an Authorisation Paper to avoid unnecessary delays and penalties.
3) Route planning
Have a rigorous method for prepping the routes you plan on taking. Download the offline map on your Google Maps app, set the destination on your map and take note of the key junctions and toll booths. Before heading out, put your phone on airplane mode. This saves battery power so your phone can last the whole journey.
4) Frequent pit stops
Try to take a break every 50-60 km. And, make a habit of taking a break at every toll gate. It’s vital that you stay hydrated. You can carry a backpack equipped with a water bladder to make sure that you can drink water while riding. Plus, ensure that you eat frequently so you don’t feel fatigued. Carry nutro bars and dried fruits. Pit stops are stress busters and improve your alertness.
When you are riding with a group, maintaining discipline within the group is important. Maintain a consistent speed along with your fellow riders. Each member must carry a unique number on his t-shirt. Everyone is mandated to go in a particular sequence. Overtaking or stunts are not to be done. Only the Marshal (Admin) can overtake if required.
Chandrasekhar along with his bikers group use 16 types of “LEG – SIGNALS" to pass messages to fellow riders. For example, riding on superbikes makes it difficult to see bumps and potholes. Hence, it is the leader’s role to signal the biker behind him, and this signal reaches the last biker.