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Planning trip to Southern India, area, bike and equipment help requested!
I am currently trying to plan a trip to Southern India this August (coming up soon, unfortunately for planning) for a friends wedding. I have about 5-6 days before the start of the wedding ceremonies that I would like to use to tour on a motorbike, and am looking for any advice/help I can get.
I am looking at renting a bike for my trip (at this point in my life, I don't have the time or money to ship my bike over, which I'd prefer to do). The wedding is in Bangalore, and I need to be able to drop off the bike in Bangalore, as I won't have more than a day at most after the wedding before I fly out. I don't mind flying into Chennai or Mumbai (or any other towns that may be a better choice) and doing a one way rental. I am looking for any reputable rental agency that can get me setup before I arrive (don't want to spend limited time looking for a bike). If anyone has used any agencies in the past, and can recommend anyone, it would be appreciated!
I understand this isn't really the crowd that rents bikes for trips, but I was hoping I'd find someone that could advise. The only place I have been able to find on my own searching is a place called India Bike in Mumbai, if anyone has experience with them I'd be interested in hearing it.
Also, if there is any must see things in the area, I'm open to suggestions as well (haven't really had time to dig around the forums yet looking for an exact route/interests, that'll come after I find a place to rent a bike from). I'm probably going to head south from Mumbai (assuming thats where I start) to at least Goa (gotta swim in the Indian Ocean, to make 4 oceans I've been in), possibly Mangalore, before heading inland to Bangalore. I'm not so much of a plan ahead person, more of a I'll have some ideas and we'll see what happens when I start driving person. Trying to keep the legs to a max of about 200 miles a day, to account for exploration time and wiggle room for me being in a not familiar environment, and for not completely exhausting myself during my vacation.
As far as bike rental, it would be my dream to ride an Enfield around India, but since I am a just-out-of-college, still somewhat poor guy, I am liking the deposit on the Baja Pulsars a lot better, given limited time to save for the trip, and not having a few hundred dollars more tied up in a deposit. Any advice on how well one of those will pull around a 180lb guy with a duffel bag? They seem to be just as powerful as the bigger Enfields, and more reliable.
Equipment, I'm set with my normal helmet and riding coat (FirstGear Jaunt, warm, yes, but waterproof, and not unbearable if moving). I'm debating between overpants and pants worn alone. It will be near the end of monsoon season apparently, so waterproof is a concern, as much as me not wanting to be injured in a foreign country. I don't mind dropping some money on pants, but I realize most future uses of these pants will be as overpants, so is there anything that can function as an overpant and pants worn alone? Right now, I'm looking at the FirstGear TPG Escape pants, as I'm happy with my FirstGear coat. Depending on whats available when I order, I've also been looking at the Aerostich Darien pants in the specials/cloeout section of their website, for roughly the same price.
Boots, are they recommended? I looked at some touring boots, and they don't look much more substantial than my Red Wings, only difference seemed to be a thin piece of plastic over the ankle. I have no desire to go full motocross style, as I want to walk in the boots without having to change back and forth.
Finally, any advice on a decent travel insurance agency with good coverage on medical care and evacuation? Don't care so much about the trip cancellation stuff, but I don't really want to spend 6 months in an Indian hospital cause thats all I can afford....
Thanks in advance for your assistance!
EDIT: Forgot to add (I think) that this is my first big motorbike trip outside of the US, so keeping it fun, simple and safe is my primary concern!
best for you is to fly to Bangalore,go in an Enfield/Honda/Bajaj Showroom,and try there.
No one will rent you a bike that you drop in another city.it's not running like big car rental agencies.
if a dealer will agree to rent you a bike for a few days,you will have to bring it back.
also,take in considerations that it will take you a few days at least to get used to driving on the other side of the road.yes..an English heritage...
and in very messy road conditions..talking abaut every sort of transportation using the same narrow lane.including bull carts,rikshaws,bicycles,tractors,
busses that need 30 whole seconds to overtake a truck..and millions of cars..most of them driven by people that untill not so long ago were using only scooters,tractors,bull carts ect..
besides that..one of the most amazing places on this wonderfull planet!!
i love that country and it's people.
The Pulsar will be just fine for your needs, and more reliable than the R/E. Lots of people here on HU hire bikes abroad; it's a really handy thing to do.
200 mls per day in India is possible but very stressful.
Be very very careful there on the roads. Let's just say it's a unique experience, certainly in towns and cities, and also on open highways. Please don't ride at night. Benaulim beach or Colva beach are two quieter beaches in Goa, but I've only been there in Jan/Feb. Hampi is really interesting and s-o-o-relaxed. You might like Kodaikanal and Ootacamund (Ooty). Tiruvanamalai is interesting if you're into important temples.
You'll have to take the time to read around the HUBB for various info - there's a lot there already.
Mostly though, the people are great there, but watch out for the prices you're asked!!!
Thanks for the info! How are roads outside cities for traffic, are they open, or still pretty packed? What is traffic flow like? I came up with the 200 miles at an avg of 40 or so for 5 hours a day, maybe those arent realistic numbers? Not riding at night at all, unless its inside a lit city to a restaurant or what not. Definitely will be checking out those beaches, I don't care how nasty it is, I'm not missing the chance to swim (my Arctic ocean dip was in March, below freezing in a blizzard, but I didnt miss the chance!), and temples would be cool to see as well.
VistaRTW - the reason I asked about one way is that India Bike agency does it for a fee ($150 extra or so to drop it off in Bangalore, probably getting ripped off, but considering its less than I can touch a rental for a day a lot of other places, I'm not too worried)
Also, are the controls swapped on the Pulsars like the Enfields (shift on right?). And yes, I'll be digging around a lot more (its all I've been spending my free time on the past fedw days...), I'm just starting to throw the whole thing together at the last minute, new job actually gave me the money to do it, trying to get time-pressing questions out of the way!
well.if you found a bike for rent in Mumbai ,i say go for it.i was living in India for abaut 5 years,had my own bike and traveled with it.150$ is not that bad for us westeners,but it is alot of money in India.
i used to do abaut 250 miles a day.but i didn't have to get used to the traffic situation,since that was my daily reality for years.when i needed ,i also rode 500 miles a day.but this is very stressful.
if you pick the bike in Mumbay,you have 2 options.
1)head straight down to Goa.
2)go direction Pune(abaut 180 k"m)and then head south towards Mahabaleshwar.this is a lovely place,on the hills,lots of nature and beautifull roads.then you will head west and join the Mumbai-Goa road.
i must say that Goa itself is mostly fludded in Augast.Monsoon you know..
if you do decide to stop in Goa,try the empty quiet north beaches of Morgim or Arambol,or little more south Kandolim or Colava.even though ,again,in August,due to the monsoon, there are almost no westeners in Goa.and many restaurants and guesthouses are closed.
As Caminando already wrote,Hampi is Amazing,and Kodaikanal is very Beautifull.
I would definitly suggest the Pulsar over the Enfield.you don't want,on top of all ,to start to get used to brake pedal/gear lever on the opposite sides of the bike.
Enjoy the ride!!and take it easy..India can be overwhelming..
Thanks a lot! Just another quick question, since you have been there before, are travel times given on Google Maps at least a good estimate? I've come up with about 330km a day @ 5 hours (little over 60km/h) on the national highways, and 300km or so in about 6 hours (50km/h) on state highways. Realistic speed, or enthuastic? I am planning my last day as a cut out day, in case travel takes longer than anticipated.
Looking at gettting to Goa area, Karwar in particular, in 2 days (probably leaving Mumbai in the afternoon, won't make it one day), and from there I have two choices. I can either head over to Hampi through Anshi Nat'l park, then down to Mysore in two days (unless by that time I'm feeling ambitious), before heading back up to Bangalore the next day (hitting up Talkad and some falls I can't spell). OR, from Karwar, hitting up the nat'l park in the morning before Ihead south to Mangalore for the night, then the next day heading to Mysore, and then onto Bangalore. The first option seems to have more to hit up on the way, but at the same time, more riding on state roads, while the second is mostly national roads. Dunno the difference in quality (guess that is another question).
Oh, I'm certainly not planning on big mile days. I just have from the 7th of Aug, midday, to somewhere between the 12-14th (haven't gotten the exact schedule of wedding stuff) to make it to Bangalore, just trying to get an idea of how best to fill the time, more than anything. Also, I'm trying to plan my trip in a way that i can cut out the end parts if I don't get along as far as I wish , and still make it to Bangalore in time (i.e., always progressing towards Bangalore, not getting too far out from national highways, etc.). Just planning in a way that ensures I get to my destination on time!
Everyone who traveled through India by moto knows that it is HELL! The traffic is terrible and you need to be experienced driver to be able to deal with a mess on the Indian roads . We traveled from Delhi to Mumbay and it is the worst experience of our life.
Trains? Where's the fun in that? Actually, probably a lot of fun, but if I do that I may as well just fly into Bangalore. Had a choice between a few days in the Emirates and a bike trip, now that I have the non-refundable tix, its the bike trip...
My suggestion is stay away from the older generation Royal Enfields unless you have used that bike previously & know to turn a wrench in sweltering heat. The newer REs are reasonably reliable. If not, just stay with the Hero-Honda Karizma 225 or the Pusar 220. Safe bet.
Do a search on youtube & you will see riding in inda is absolutely chaotic, but once you blend in, you are fine. Oh yes, vehicle with the loudest horn gets the right of way!
i dont know if i am too late for helping you, but i have been some years ago on a motorcycle trip in india with a company: wheel of india Wheel of India, Motorradreisen mit der Enfield durch Indien
this was a great trip. and i think they also arange "self" driving tours.
just have a look and contact them.
have a lot of fun - but always be aware - indian traffic is just awful and unbelievable.
Sorry for my english
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