I rode a motorcycle for almost 15 years before changing my daily commute from a bike to a car for 2 reasons – firstly I got married, so it was not safe when I had to bring my wife as a pillion rider on long distance and secondly my new workplace was nearer and thus there was less traffic jam compared my original journey all the way to KL city centre. So it makes sense to drive car then. I miss biking so I still watch other rides if possible and the one that started it all was the Long Way Round – image source: Amazon.
My first motorcycle was actually my uncle’s old Honda Cub EX5 which he allowed me to use to ride from house to college as he was away outstation for work. It was not fast but it was one of the most reliable, fuel saving bike I ever used.
I used it for a few months before my Dad bought for me a 4th hand Yamaha RXZ 135 – the reason it was cheap enough for my Dad to buy it was because it was a 4th hand motorcycle (completely built up using used parts). It was my only hand clutch bike (it was difficult at first because you need to find the sweet spot to release the clutch) and my first 2 stroke bike that I rode.
Of course, being rebuilt with used parts, the reliability of the motorcycle was below par. It lasted enough for few years (with plenty of time at the workshop too) till I had enough money to buy a brand new bike.
My first own new bike was initially suppose to be a 4 stroke Malaysian made Modenas Kriss from a workshop next to my house (I was really, really close of picking Kawasaki KR-150 but I did not enough cash) but I was got cheated – the owner had some financial problem and I could not get my bike. Eventually he paid back in instalments. In a way, it was a blessing in disguise as I was forced back to review the bike that I wanted to buy.
In the end, I decided to buy a 2 stroke Yamaha 110SS which was the next evolution of the more famed Yamaha Sport 100. With new bike, I had a good AGV original helmet, leather gloves and tear proof rider jacket (which helped me from serious injuries once).
Read my bike related posts:-
- Stopping Stupid Pesky Motorcyclists From Our Roads Part 1
- Stopping Stupid Pesky Motorcyclists From Our Roads Part 2
- My Top 6 Steps for the Beauty Of Motorcycling
I think it is coming to 19 years since I last rode a bike ever since I moved on to driving a car but I don’t let my interest on bikes and long rides on bikes to die out.
Long Way Round – Ewan McGregor & Charley Boorman
The best series that I ever saw was Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman’s trip around the world in 2004 titled “Long Way Round”. This was the trip where KTM royally screwed themselves by telling these 2 guys that they could not do the trip and refused to sponsor them.
BMW then stepped in and provided three BMW R1150GS all-terrain motorcycles for this trip and they say the rest was history. Due to the success of the long way round, BMW’s sales of RM1150GS went off the roof and it helped to put BMW as the brand for touring bikes. They then did another titled “Long Way Down” in 2007, riding down the continent of Africa.
Now with Youtube and social media, a lot of more bikers are also capturing their rides on camera – some are epic, out of this world and professionally edited and the rest are just capturing for sake of capturing “something”. There are probably a dozen bike related Youtube channels that I follow on regular basis both from Malaysia and India especially when they go on very long journeys.
Out of the many, my favourite 3 motorcycle related Youtube channels & rides are these:-
This is my latest favorite – well edited and the best part is his rides in heavy rain, flooded part of Kerala and in the roads surrounded by greens, heavy forest. Just watching his videos remains me of the rain soothing effect. Image source: Anny Arun.
My only concern however is that he is riding on narrow, less traveled roads and where there are no humans on sight – if the bike breaks downs or attacked by some wildlife (one video actually shows elephants chasing him).
On his videos, you will see him and his wife (who is often worried about leeches, ha ha) alone on these lonely roads (in some journeys, his friends would join them). Some of the places that they stayed during their journey seems to be part of some hidden paradise.
One good thing is that although he is from Bangalore (based on his conversations), his videos has English subtitles and he often explain things in English too. So it is not too difficult to follow him on his journeys.
Seeing the weather, the rain, the flood, sometimes you will wonder how the people along his journey are living amidst the heavy rain, flood and washed away roads & bridges. It is well documented and some of the views are simply scenic & outstanding.
This was my first Youtube experience with an Indian biker and although Nikhil was done short trips alone or with his fellow bikers on his famed KTM 390 Duke, nothing beats his 2016’s 2500 km trip from Mumbai to Ladakh when he in the end hooked up with another group of bikers (on bigger bikes like BMW GS & Triumphs) and improved his skills. Image source: Mumbiker Nikhil
To be clear, many people including a number of motorcyclists that I follow on Youtube have done the journey to Ladakh including Anny Arun but the trip with Nikhil was more complete with him starting with the prep of the motorcycle, tools & equipment that he needs to bring, drone shot and of course well edited videos.
This was same time when we get to meet Debashish Ghosh (aka Debu Bhai) who with Dharmendra Jain (aka DJ Bhai) who in 2017 went for a world tour (see below). The riding know-how was vastly different.
Nikhil also had very nice drone shots throughout this journey and the KTMs (his friend riding another KTM) was grossly under powered especially when they got close to the higher plains of Ladakh, passing the highest motorable road in the world at 19,300 feet (almost 6,000 metres).
But watch this journey to Ladakh from start to end and you will then understand why Nikhil is famous and has almost 2.9 million subscribers following him.
Starting off in July 2017, Debashish & DJ completed the world ride on March 2018 (a journey of 270 days). They achieved this feat after riding over 50,000 miles; crossing 32 countries and 5 continents in just 9 months – both riding the very reliable BMW1200 GS motorcycle. Image source: Rideofy.
They were joined by a Swiss rider from their Russia leg who shared the experience of riding bikes in South America which helped them a lot when they finally hit the second leg of the world ride. Their video always focus on the ride itself and not others like hotel, food, etc, a point that Debu keep highlighting in his videos.
What amazes me – the roads in Russia were really good and surprisingly drivers are well mannered. St. Petersburg must be one of the beautiful city that the guys visited whilst South America cities were one of the dangerous ones.
The world trip itself divided into 3 legs namely:-
Leg – 1
Mumbai – Indore, India
Mandalay, Pyinmana, Myanmar
Luang Nam Tha, Laos
Chengdu, Xian, China
The Great Wall, China
Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia
St. Petersburg, Russia
Appenzell, Switzerland (Killer’s Hometown)
Leg – 2 (Shipped their bikes from Spain to NY, USA)
New York, USA
Las Vegas, USA
San Diego, USA
Leg – 3 (Shipped their bikes from Argentina to Australia)