How to Ride a Motorcycle in India & SURVIVE
Driving a motorcycle here in India is a little bit crazy. You have to be half mad to do it, right? But I’m gonna make it easy for you guys. I’ll take you guys through the official.. oh no wait! the unofficial road rules here in India because there are rules but nobody follows them. And there’s plenty of mad men out on the roads here. And we’re gonna ride from here in Gulmarg, beautiful hill station in Jammu and Kashmir, through the capital to Srinagar and then across to another, even more stunning hill station called Pahalgam. Before we leave, I’ll take you over a few essentials that you might not think to bring. But I never did. So in this tank bag.. tank bag is really important. I have a tank bag because I keep all the valuables in there. And when we stop for a tea or stop somewhere, I can just yank it off and carry my valuables with me. They don’t sit on the bike on the back here, okay? And then inside the tank bag, I always have a poncho because here in Jammu and Kashmir, it can rain at any moment. It just comes and goes. It’s a bit like my home in New Zealand. And the third thing: sunblock. You might not think about this but the sun’s rays here, if you’re travelling through Jammu and Kashmir, are really really strong because you’re so elevated. And actually make sure you put it around your wrists because the glove doesn’t cover my wrists. So my wrists always get like this like massive burn line on them. Yeah, avoid that and always apply it to your face because the sun comes through your visor. There’s no doubt about it. Motorcycle riding is the best way to explore India. But let’s keep you safe and get you driving like an Indian. And that’s what it’s really all about; watching local drivers and learning from them. The first and most important rule is take it freaking slow. Taking it easy is gonna allow you to avoid all the hazards on the road. And they are plentiful. And they pop out of absolutely nowhere. 50% of riding in India is just obstacle avoidance, honestly. So don’t expect to get anywhere fast. In the hills, you’re gonna be travelling at like 20 to 40 kms/hour. And on the motorways, I don’t go over 80 kms/hour because cows and dogs love to sleep on the actual, in the actual lanes and also run out from the divider. Now India has lanes but they’re not really used. Cows will float around the road, they’ll overtake on corners or just be on the wrong side of the road to avoid a pothole. And honestly, there’s simply just no reason for why some people are on your side of the road at all. So stick to the left hand side of the lane when you’re going around like a blind corner so you don’t get taken out by a car or a truck. When riding on the motorway, likewise, keep to the left because you’re gonna witness the most insane death defying overtaking in the world, It is scary. You know to use your mirrors often so you know what’s around you. But in India, they use Human Sonar Technology. They drive with their ears, basically. Cars will honk at you for like two reasons. Either they want you to move so they can pass or they’re telling you they’re about to pass you or they are passing you. Don’t get a fright when you discover someone ride up your butt and they’re honking at you. Just look around and decide the best way to actually let them pass. Alright guys. This is a petrol station, Indian Oil. So just go and queue up where the other bikes are. Karl: Hi, how are you? All good? Now they don’t full your petrol tank all the way to the top because they have a tendency of spilling while you’re riding these Royal Enfield bikes. Fill it lighter, over three quarters. And just pull up to the guy Karl: Assalamu Alaikum! Worker: Wa-alaikum-assalam! Take up the tank bag, put your key in… You can’t pump your own gas here in India. You just can’t. There’s always someone who’s gonna do it for you. Make sure the Karl: Hi! Full. Worker: Full? Yeah and you can tell them full. Just make sure he stops before the top there. And always make sure the meter starts at 0 where it says amount there. Alright we filled it to the top nearly. Never mind. Worker: Enough? Karl: Yes. That’s enough. Thank you! Worker: 800. Karl: 800. There’s a bathroom here? Worker: What? Karl: Is there a bathroom here? Worker: Yeah, of course! On the left at the back. So at the petrol stations, you can go bathroom. This has to be the petrol station with one of the most beautiful views ever. Wow! You can fill your air right over here. And then you can go bathroom washroom here. Do not expect a nice washroom though. It is gonna be extremely basic from in and just good to take a pee. Toilet review time. It’s okay. One thing I find really annoying at the petrol stations is you can’t buy like a drink or anything. You have to go and stop somewhere else to get it. Anyway. Come on. Let’s keep going. We’re gonna hit the highway in Srinagar now. This brings us to give way rule in India and they’re very simple. The bigger vehicle has the right of the way. Give way to anything bigger than you. Buses will not hesitate to run a red light and seeing you to heaven or hell. In the cities, buses rule and on the motorways, the truck drivers rule. And they probably won’t even see you because they have so many blind spots on these big trucks and eject up on whatever they take to stay awake so they can keep driving and earn more money. So always beep around trucks to let them know when you’re passing. You’re gonna be using your horn a lot in India. But when should you use it? It’s kind of four basic scenarios when I use my horn here; 1. When I’m passing somebody. 2. When I feel like someone is being a jerk, I don’t hesitate to kind of blast them and look at them as if what they’re doing. And this won’t result in road rage like it does in the West. 3. When you wish someone would go faster because they’re just going too slow or you just want them to get out of your way. 4. And when you think someone is gonna pull out in front of you. When you think someone’s gonna do some dangerous maneuver, let them know that you’re right there and they’re gonna come in your way. The weather plays a big part in motorcycle travel here as well. So you want to avoid hot weather by starting as early as possible in the morning. And it’s best to avoid night travel because it’s just more dangerous. You have less visibility on the road. And be extremely careful when it rains because the roads become very very slippery. And many bikes here don’t have abs and your front wheel is just gonna lock up if you brake too hard. It’s just gonna slide and you know, that results in you falling off your bike. If you’re gonna be conquering the big mountain passes, you’ve gotta prepare for ice as well. It’s extremely difficult to ride on. It’s essential to take breaks here in India because riding here is such hard work. I take a 15 minute break for tea and water every two hours. And I never ride longer than 8 hours in a day because being tired and riding is really really not a good combination. Okay guys. So one thing that is really important to do is stop every hour and eat something or just have a tea, just to keep you going. You don’t want to get tired. It’s really easy to get tired on these roads. You got to take a lot of breaks here. If you’re here in Jammu and Kashmir, these bakeries are the best place to eat. Let’s do it. This is a snack in India; samosa and you can get a can of thumbs-up which is basically like Coke or Pepsi here. But there’s heaps of variety and you’ll find roadside shacks or roadside restaurants along all the motorways everywhere. Now we’re stuck in some kind of traffic jam and the army are holding us up here. These guys are having a fight. Yes, definitely the army’s holding things up here. We’ll be through in a minute though. I managed to get this far without.. jst along the sides here. Pretty good. A guy has just told me that we have to turn back So you see everybody is turning back now. And now there’s an army envoy coming. So I don’t know what’s going on exactly but there’s no getting through here even though I’m just like 10 minutes away from where I need to be. Anyway, let’s do it. Something is definitely happening here. See the mayhem. It’s worse now. How is this guys? And we’re not even there yet. This is just another valley Man, this valley is stunning. It goes so far. Water down there. Beautiful! To be more visible on Indian roads, i even ride with my headlight on or my hazard lights on. Hazard lights have the advantage of being seen on the front and the back of your bike. And no one uses their indicators here in India. So don’t worry about those. And I don’t think I have to tell you this one because if you’re already here watching this video, you’re most likely a really responsible rider But wear the right gear and a good helmet. Good gear will easily protect you from small falls in India. And these falls do happen. I’ve made it to my destination and what a destination it is! Look at this valley. It’s stunning. So it takes a lot of kind of patience. You’ve got to be really upbeat and really positive when you travel here in India because so much happens. Like you saw on the ride today. I didn’t know all that stuff was gonna happen. I thought we’ll just, you know, make a little motor vlog to help you guys travel safely here. But anyway, go and check out my motorcycle playlist. There’s another video on Indian road rules. And then also how to hire a motorcycle here in India. Have an amazing trip. Have a safe trip and Long Live India!