Advice How to Travel

Ask Chris: Am I Ready for a Long-Distance Ride?

A while back, the following email hit the RideApart inbox: “I live in India and am planning a ride on my Royal Enfield Classic 350 from Delhi to Kerala. The distance between the two is about 2,500 kilometers (1,500 miles). I’m planning to complete the journey in two days. However, I’m a beginner in long-distance riding; so far, my maximum journey length has been 200 km (125 miles). What’s your opinion about this? – Alvin”
Crikey, Alvin! No one can accuse you of lacking ambition; 1,500 miles over two days is a lot of riding. I mean, a lot. Truth is, most experienced riders wouldn’t choose to tackle such a distance unless it was absolutely necessary.
Sure, there is a certain breed of rider who enjoys testing him- or herself with long-distance Iron Butt-like sprints, but the vast majority of two-wheeled travellers would advise adding at least one more day to your journey time. Exhaustion increases exponentially when one is on a motorcycle. This can be worsened even further by traffic and weather conditions.
From everything I understand, India is not a country of free-flowing American-style highways, which means demands for your attention will be greater. The more you have to think, the more quickly you will tire.
Meanwhile, the internet tells me that the temperature is expected to hit 40º C (104º F) in Delhi this week. This, too, will sap you of energy and mental focus. I realize that as a resident of India you will probably be made of tougher stuff than me but I would never set a goal of 750 miles per day in such conditions.
Considering the fact the greatest one-day distance you have thus far covered is 125 miles, I’m not sure you really have the life experience to guess how your body and mind will respond to such an increase in challenges. It’s a bit like signing up to run the New York Marathon after completing a 5K fun run.
I certainly hate to be a naysayer, but I’d suggest building up slowly to such distances and adding more days to your itinerary. You’ll ride safer and enjoy yourself more. If you decide to tackle it anyway, be sure you stop frequently and stay hydrated.