When I was younger, I was fascinated by the story of the ‘flight of the Condors’. Threatened by extinction, this species of bird which is the largest land bird that can fly, undertakes an arduous journey from California to the Andes mountains in Chile to look for a mate. Their wingspan stretches to as much as 12 feet in some cases, which is as much as two adult males lying head to toe. Now, I could hardly believe it when I got the chance to set out on the same path as the Condor, as part of the pole-to-pole journey of The Polar Odyssey, co-sponsored by Bosch.
There were two key concerns when I first heard about this ambitious adventure ride. These were, of course, the safety of the riders and the performance of the bikes. Thankfully, there were enough things in place to ensure that both of these factors were adequately met. I’ve been on enough rides to know that such trips cannot and must not be undertaken in a reckless manner.
Safety-first approach can make each ride memorable
I am a strong follower of riding ‘ATGATT’ – a philosophy that most full-time motorcycling enthusiasts swear by. It means wearing “All The Gear, All The Time”, and I have no issue saying that this habit has allowed me to make the most of my passion for riding. The equipment here includes – helmet, riding jacket and padded pants, gloves, elbow/knee guards, proper hydration systems, navigation and more. No matter where I ride, I stick by this. I encourage every motorcycle rider, whether recreational or professional, to follow this philosophy as much as possible. You never know what lies behind every corner, and it is certainly better to be safe than sorry.
Of course, simply relying on safety gear and equipment is not enough. What’s also needed is a bike that delivers hassle-free engine performance and most importantly, risk-free braking. There are so many incidents that happen because of the sudden application of brakes on dangerous roads, and it is disheartening to learn that such incidents are avoidable most of the time. With the right technology and ABS (Antilock Braking System) in place, so many accidents can easily be avoided.
For instance, during our ride on the Dempster and Dalton Highways, the terrain conditions were much worse than we expected them to be. With so much loose gravel, navigating the bikes on these roads required all my skills and expertise gained over the last three decades of adventure traveling. But I would still say that the Bosch ABS on the bikes proved to be an undoubted boon. The confidence it gave me, and the fellow riders was amazing.
The Polar Odyssey has taken us on roads and terrains that most bikes would have been unable to successfully manage without breakdowns. I know of so many rides and trips that have ended because the bikes have been unable to handle the torture and thus broken down. In light of that, the EMS technology we have in place on our bikes has allowed us to experience the American Continents in the most comfortable way possible.
With no worries about ignition or fuel supply at high altitudes, we have been able to enjoy The Polar Odyssey and take our riding skills to the next level. The Engine Control Unit has performed seamlessly thus far, and has delivered unbeatable technical benefits regarding the throttle, fuel injection, air pressure and more, and I am really excited about where the next few weeks are going to take us.
In light of that, I strongly implore fellow Indian riders to undertake such journeys too. But to do so with the right safety gear and equipment enabled on the bike as well. Riders today have better technology and machines than ever before, but this should not take away from the real spirit of a ride. It is more fun when you actually take the time out to stop frequently and talk to people and share your story, rather than just zooming through from point A to B in the fastest time.
There are so many great routes and roads to explore in the world, and I intend to keep the spirit of the ride alive even after The Polar Odyssey will be over, and I wish the same to all my fellow riders. Ride far and ride safe!
Read more about The Polar Odyssey here.