Trip Start Jun 25, 2013
63Trip End Dec 25, 2013
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I'm now rested and once again, feel very much back in Delhi. It's like I've never been away!
As I unpacked and started to clean my kit I've reflected on the last few months. The riding has been tough on occasions and India is always interesting but I've had an undeniably fantastic trip and the memories will live with me for many years to come.
On cleaning my bike jacket I realised exactly how dirty it was and why I probably got so many 'looks' from those I met on the trip - especially those with the nice hotels!
Initially the mountains in the north with Geoff Andy Dave and Tim and then riding to Calcutta with Richard - those miles at the start of this coastal route seem a lifetime ago.
The mighty impulse has been the star of this trip. 150cc of 4 stroke power and it's carried both rider and luggage over some interesting terrain. Snow, ice, river crossings, sand (both beach and desert), up the highest motorable road in the world, through monsoon downpours and extreme heat and soldiered on despite terrible bumpy road conditions.
All the time though, returning in excess of 150 mpg or 50+ miles per litre as is preferred over here. There were a few bike related incidents but they have been minor given the nature of the terain. .
1. New clutch early on. I burnt the old one out attempting to slip the clutch all the way to Leh due to carburation issues at altitude.
2. Carburettor adjustment in Leh (and new clutch)
3. Regular headstock bearing adjustment
4. One puncture - absolutely unbelievable considering!
5. New instrument cluster in Pondicherry (monsoon flooded original)
This bike has cruised along at 60 - 70 kmph and has remained reasonably comfortable throughout. Whilst this isn't fast in UK terms it's certainly fast enough over here and I wasn't in a rush. I always look after my bikes (ocd maybe?) and this one's no different. I was confident it'd get me back - it had to - it was the only one I had!
I kept on top of the servicing but went by my timescales not the manufacturers. Single cylinder engine working very hard deserved regular oil changes and I made sure it was done every 1500 - 2000 kms depending on availability of a nice roadside mechanic. Post mountains, my chain was oiled - as far as possible - at the end of every day as the chain's hot and the oil would then soak in overnight. No fancy O ring but it obviously worked and only needed very slight adjustment on two occasions.
My extras were a Givi top box I brought out from the UK and a beaded seat cover. Apart from slackening off all the over tight nuts and bolts before departure that was my preparation.
I will type out (at the very bottom) my kit list that'll maybe prove useful to others considering a trip or indeed me should I do it again and need reminding.
Whilst I am pleased to have accomplished my ' lap of india' my biggest achievement would be in the knowledge that by doing so I've also raised a decent amount of financial assistance to asha and its educational programme. If you've read this blog - and hopefully enjoyed it - please think of my reasons for doing it. I came to India to volunteer for the charity and also to do some bike riding. This trip came about following discussion once I'd arrived. Hopefully those that have read my ramblings might also have taken the time to read about asha, and if not, why not? These guys are the reason I decided to do it.
Good people doing good work for those most in need. I've used the story of Usha as an example - a very good example - of what can be achieved by guidance and support. Asha helps provide this support and without their involvement Usha's life - and that of countless others - would be so very very different.
It's building up to Christmas and if it's a time to think of others maybe a donation to charity's a good thing - what do you think? I cannot stress enough how every penny helps and how all donations will go to supporting the educational programme. To date, the genorosity of strangers has overwhelmed me and to those that have donated to asha - a massive heartfelt thank you. Riding the bike was easy - asking for people to donate isn't. The trip's over for me but the children are still in the slums. Keen to study, keen to progress and keen to beat the poverty cycle. They just need some help. So, no presents for me, you don't have to buy me a beer but I will be extremely grateful to see some donations.
As for me? Well my visa expires in December so I have to leave India - where do I go from here? I'm not really sure - life will change - as usual - but my happily smiling bad penny self may well reappear at some point.
As for the mighty impulse? It's currently looking dusty, tired and travel stained - much like I did - but I had a thought the other day about riding 'home' via the stans and into eastern Europe. Not just yet though as there might be some more mountain time next year - who knows?
One thing's for certain though - wherever I end up - you can guarantee there'll be a bike close by, a big smile on my funny old face - and a new road waiting to be discovered.
That's all folks.
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
The kit list
Duchinni helmet - Alpinestars vented jacket - kevlar jeans - lidl motorcycle boots - Indian gloves - cheap camel pack copy - buff scarf - ×2 ratchet straps
Spare throttle/clutch cable - tyre levers - bicycle pump - bike tool kit - 1×adjustable spanner - 12mm spanner - 24/27 mm spanner -chain lube - wd40 - tyre weld - spare inner tube - chain link - cable ties - gaffa tape - insulation tape - rubber gloves
Toothbrush and paste - shampoo - soap - drugs
Pacsafe - leatherman - lumix camera - go pro movi - Samsung note one - ipod / speaker - head torch - book - umbrella
2 dickies shirts - 1× lightweight trousers - baseball cap - sandals - ×3 pairs socks - ×3 cotton shorts - swimming shorts - long shorts - 1× long sleeve sports top
Purchased on the road
Jazzy hyatt shirt and 2 custom made shirts in varkala
Tatt from Kardung la (thanks Andy and Geoff)
Salt from evaporation pond and small coconut from Turtle beach - both free!
Memories - priceless