The Western Ghats have some of the most beautiful biking trails in India. The Munnar-Thekkady route, Ooty – Coonoor route, Bangalore – Goa route are among the many fabulous routes the bikers love. Of course, there are the inevitable potholes but they just spice up the whole riding experience.
Riding through the twisty ghat roads is entirely different from that in the city roads. Sure, both have senseless drivers involved in their daily acts of daredevilry. But the amount of risk involved is greater as the hill-roads can be narrow with blind curves, steep inclines and declines, and not to miss out the trucks that are often wider than the roads itself.
So, if you are all prepped up for an exciting bike trip along the Sahyadri, you must byheart some really important safety tips. If you are a seasoned biker, you would probably know these already. If you are not so seasoned, then these are for you.
Tip No. 1 – Safety Gear
Yes, you probably know about this because you are a wise fella. But there are people, a lot of them, who splurge on flashy, super-powerful bikes, but hesitate to spend on safety gears. That’s plain stupidity!
It’s always important to invest in safety, as accidents, minor or major, are always bound to happen. It’s a one-time investment, and if you settle for cheaper gears now, you might regret it for the rest of your lifetime.
Tip No. 2 – Road Instincts
This is as important as having a safety gear. The Ghat roads are full of surprises, and in many places, apart from the mighty pits, there’s rubbles spread all over the road. A combination of good safety gear with a high level of alertness can help you get over such risky trails, without much fails!
Tip No. 3 – Downhill Gear Shifts
So, you’re having a ride downhill, and right after starting the slope, you shift to neutral and turn off the engine. You probably thought that it’s a great idea to save some fuel. Right? WRONG!
It might save fuel, but it might not save you from having an accident. Always remain in gear while riding downhill because it gives you a bit more torque and saves the effort required by the brakes. If you are in neutral, the chances of having a brake failure are too high.
Tip No. 4 – Honk Honk at the Blind Curves
This is very important, not just in day time but during night time as well. Always remember to honk at the bends so that other drivers can know you are coming. Even if it gets a bit menacing, it doesn’t matter. It’s way better than getting plastered to the front grill of a local bus!
Tip No. 5 – Know the Uphill Struggle
If you are going downhill, and you have a vehicle/s coming uphill, then pull over to the side and let them pass. It’s a struggle for them to stop, and then continue. You will get a better understanding of this when you ride uphill.
Tip No. 6 – Coordination Costs
You probably would’ve seen those biker gangs cruising along the highway in beautiful formations. You might’ve wondered how they coordinate the groups, maintaining the exact same speeds and the exact same positions.
Especially, when we see silky-smooth roads, as humans, we feel tempted to just cut through. If you feel that you can never maintain coordination in groups, then it’s better you ride solo, as coordination costs a lot!
Tip No. 7 – Pulling Over
When you want to pull over and stretch a bit, never do it on the narrow sections of the road. Always pull over at places from where vehicles from both sides can see you. And while getting off the road onto gravel or loose stones, apply your road instincts more than applying the brakes!
So, these are 7 basic safety tips that you must keep in mind while you take a bike ride along the Western Ghats. Take all them as they are totally free!
Curated by: Kiran Reghunath