FAQs & Best Practices

In September 2013, I did the Kashmir to Kanyakumari (K2K) SOLO motorcycle road trip. A journey from Himalayas to the Indian Ocean all by myself on a RE Thunderbird covering 5,043 kms in 14 days. (ride pics)

This list is a compilation of answers to the questions I had prior to the ride. While the specifics relate to the K2K ride, the ideas/opinions holds good for any long solo bike ride.

1. How far is Kashmir from Kanyakumari by road
Of course, there is more than one route. Hence the distance will depend on the actual route you chose. Google Maps suggests that the shortest distance between Srinagar, J&K and Kanyakumari, TN is 3,618 kms. However, if you’re exploring and improvising the route along the journey, the distance can significantly increase. My K2K ride was for 4,331 kms; K2K and back home (Bangalore) was 5,043 kms.
2. What is the ideal time for the K2K ride?
I’d suggest August – September (soon after the monsoons). The monsoons will make everything look lot more pristine and serene. At some point along the journey be prepared to be enlightened to the truer meanings of deluge.


3. How long does it take?
This will depend on a lot of factors; your endurance level, your bike, the weather conditions and of course, personal priorities among others. Some people do this ride for the record/milestone. I urge you to be a explorer/traveler and relish every moment of the ride; not just the podium finish.

It took me 12 riding days (14 days in all) to complete K2K and return to Bangalore.


4. How many kms should I cover every day?
I personally believe, “Faster you ride, less you’ll witness and lesser you experience”. The idea is to ride at a pace you can enjoy every moment. On an average I would ride for about 8 hours a day and cover about 400 – 450 kms.


5. Is it possible to ship the vehicle to Delhi/Kashmir
Yes. Trains and roadways are two options. I shipped my bike from Bangalore to Srinagar, J&K with NITCO Roadways. It cost me Rs. 7,000.


6. Should one start from Kashmir (North-South journey) or Kanyakumari (South-North journey)? Inconsequential. However, if it’s any solace to you, start from the farthest point from where you stay. That way, you’ll feel good for getting closer to home as the days pass.

7. Does the bike need any modification prior to the ride.
Not necessary. A general service and oil change will suffice. Truth be told, the Royal Enfield is built to outlast you. On the K2K ride, it’s definitely not the bike that you’re pushing.


8. What spares should I carry along ?
I’d recommend Clutch Cable, Accelerator Cable, Tube (rear tyre), Fuse and Chain link. A bottle of engine oil (for top-up) is optional.


9. Motorcycle maintenance along the journey
As the saying goes, “You take care of the bike; the bike takes care of you”.

Late evening (few hours after ride)

  • Inspect for flat tyre (Avoid early morning surprises)
  • Check for wheel wobbling/fork alignment
  • Inspect and adjust optimal chain slack

Morning (before riding out)

  • Inspect for Engine oil level; top-up if necessary
  • Chain lubrication
  • Adjust the brakes


10. Bag packing, riding gear etc.

  • I can’t overemphasize the need to pack lightly. Just keep to the essentials. You’re not going need those fancy clothes or accessories. Leave them behind.
  • Avoid jeans trousers on long rides. The fabric becomes annoying after long durations; worse still if it is raining.
  • Wearing that bag over your shoulders while riding is a strict NO-NO. You either dump all stuff into a 40-50 litre backpack (cover it with a good dust & rain cover) and fasten it with bungee cords on the pillion seat or use a double sided saddle bag.
  • I understand that you’re a photographer and all. But seriously, leave that tripod back home. The trouble of carrying it around far outweighs its actual use. I made that mistake; hope you don’t.


11. Best practices.

Start Early. 

  • Make it a point to get up early and ride out (preferably 6:30 AM). Idea is to beat the city traffic, enjoy the bliss of riding in the golden hour and putting about 100 kms before breakfast all at the same time.
  • Earlier you start, longer you can stay on the roads and more things you can explore along.
Avoid night riding.

  • It’s not that your riding skills fail you after sundown. It’s just an unnecessary risk that you don’t deserve when your body and mind seeks relaxation.
  • Also, managing a breakdown in the night (without light, mechanic on a lonely highway) isn’t all that fun.

Replenish and Rejuvenate

  • Make sure you eat healthy and get plenty of rest. Don’t get into that late night gossip or parties. Remind yourself, “Better things await tomorrow”.
  • The key factor determining the journey and the quality of experience is you. It’s not the roads, weather or the bike. YOU are the prime mover of this entire endeavor. Remind yourself, “Tomorrow, when rubber meets the road, YOU are all YOU have.”

Other related posts on my K2K ride,
Let me know your thoughts and/or post additional questions to the list in the comments section. 

17 Replies to “K2K – FAQs”

  1. As road maintenance is an ongoing activity, my observations may or may not hold good anymore.

    However, I'd say look out for Ghittor-Indore and Malegaon-Shirdi stretch. They weren't as good as the rest.

    All the best Rajat for your trip. have a safe one.

  2. Hello Jagadeesh.

    Fantastic 🙂

    I am planning K2K in December on my Classic 500. Will this be a good time? I will be starting from Kanyakumari. I know the Manali – Leh – Kargil route will be closed due to snowfall. Kindly suggest if Delhi – Pathankot – Patnitop – Srinagar route will be good to travel during December?

    Secondly, can I send my bullet back from Srinagar to Bangalore directly or do you suggest any other places to cover? My plan was to ride back to Delhi and send it by train.

    Cheers
    Uday

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