Why I Joined The Polar Odyssey – Journey of a Lifetime

My adventure motorcycling habit has taken me to many places, and Deadhorse in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska has been on my radar for quite some time. I’ve been waiting for a chance to visit this beautiful region and test myself in Arctic Alaska. So, when I heard about The Polar Odyssey – Arctic to Antarctic ride co-sponsored by Bosch, I knew that I just had to be part of it. The varying terrain that we would be visiting during the ride promised to test man and machine, and this really appealed to the adventure rider in me.

I had recently been part of the Trans-Siberian Odyssey which took me to 6 countries in 53 days and was a smashing success, and I was itching to set out on my next adventure. The Polar Odyssey was initially planned from California to Chile, and I did not even think twice before I agreed to join in. the opportunity to visit 17 countries while covering more than 50,000 km across 2 continents was just too good.

What I was most looking forward to
On my previous Trans-Siberian Odyssey, I rode my motorcycle on the dreaded ‘Road of Bones’. This gave me a taste of riding on dangerous terrain and I was eager to push myself further. As part of The Polar Odyssey, me and my fellow riders would in fact be riding through 4 more of the world’s most dangerous roads –

  • The Dalton Highway, Alaska – 666 km road which is one of the most isolated routes in the US
  • The Dempster Highway, Canada – 736 km road that was frequented by dog sleds during the Gold Rush
  • North Yungas, Bolivia – Known as the ‘Road of Death’, the route is notorious in popular culture for its dramatic altitude variations
  • Atacama Desert, Chile – A sparsely populated region in Chile that hosts several all-terrain sports and events

PictographTouching each of these destinations was something I was really excited about. I was looking forward to coming back knowing that I had successfully ridden on 5 of the world’s most dangerous roads. For me, adventure motorcycling is all about the thrill of overcoming a challenge since I started in 1994. It needs an element of adventure to make it worthwhile for me. That’s really what made The Polar Odyssey so intriguing for me. Everyone has a different philosophy and reason behind why they travel, and for me the thrill of riding on a challenging road is a huge motivation. That’s also why I actively promote #AdventuresBeyondBoundaries as my primary message to all riders.

I was also really excited to test the machines we would be riding on. The changing terrain and weather conditions demanded reliable engine performance and braking mechanisms more than anything else, and I was happy to learn about Bosch’s ABS (Antilock Braking System) and EMS (Engine Management System) technologies that were put in place to handle these. ABS is so essential for such rides on diverse terrain as it prevents wheels from locking up when brakes are suddenly applied, and EMS is essentially the beating heart of any engine.

PictographWhile safety equipment and gear are definitely a must-have for such rides, trusting your motorcycle and knowing it inside out is also important. In that sense, the Dominar has lived up to my expectations and has delivered a trouble-free ride so far. I’ve been impressed by the ABS in the bike, which has helped maintain traction on the gravel filled roads we have ridden on. There were so many instances when we suddenly had to stop the bike, and ABS gave us the confidence to do that calmly. It won’t be long now before every bike on Indian roads comes factory fitted with ABS, and I can certainly vouch for it and say that it will reduce hundreds of daily accidents. The EMS on the bikes have also delivered a level of functioning that is not seen in such extreme conditions. We’ve faced no fuel injection issues, air supply hiccups or ignition problems, and I’m happy to say that the EMS on the bike has worked beautifully.

In my next post, I’ll be sharing some interesting highlights from The Polar Odyssey and also some of my future plans and tips for fellow motorcycle enthusiasts. In the meantime, ride safe!

Read more about The Polar Odyssey here.

About the author

Deepak Kamath is currently part of The Polar Odyssey with 2 more riders. The journey will take them from the Arctic to Antarctic on Bajaj Dominars and cover more than 50,000 km across 17 different countries in 2 continents. It is one of the most ambitious and challenging adventure motorcycle expeditions ever undertaken by a group of Indian riders.

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