Bike Preps, Packing Tips & What to expect at Rider Mania 2017

Bone stock or tweaked, functional mods or an all-out visual spectacle – whatever your motorcycling style, Rider Mania is the place to be for all things Royal Enfield. Every year, riders and enthusiasts make a beeline for Vagator Hill-Top, Goa to soak in the wheels, waves & vibes.

Here’s what awaits you when you ride in at Rider Mania 2017:

Early Risers:

Image Source: Goa Trail Riders

The Early Risers rides are a great opportunity for enthusiasts who love to take in the sights and sounds of Goa at dawn. This year’s rides include a dirt trail through a canal that’s curated by the fine gents at Goa Trail Riders, as well as a ride, that’ll take you down a scenic coastal route.

Dirt Track Training:

Those looking to hone their riding skills on the loose stuff, would do well to enroll their name for the Dirt Track Training sessions that’ll be held on all three days. Those 500 for an hour long session with Shahnawaz Karim & his experienced team, definitely sound like money well-spent. I’ve already signed up, so, it’ll be fun meeting up with everyone who’s going to be there.

Dirt Track Races:

Dirt Track Racing at Rider Mania

The Dirt Track Races are a huge crowd puller here and attract novices and experts. There are over 9 different classes of racing culminating in the prestigious, Race of Champions. Always a close run affair, there’s some great racing to be witnessed. So do bring your sunglasses, hats & sunblock as you watch from the side-lines. Besides these, there’s the Slow Races, Assembly Wars, Carry Your Bike, Maze Chase and Trials to keep enthusiasts going.

Rider Training for Women:

Rider Mania 2017 will also have rider training programs for women, by STRE (She Travels on a Royal Enfield). STRE has been actively involved since January 2015 towards the inclusion of women in the riding community at large; encouraging women to ride more & for pillions to take up riding.

Custom Bike Exhibition:

Custom Bikes at Rider Mania

The Custom Bike Exhibition at Rider Mania is the ultimate creative show-off from some of the best custom builders on the scene. Previous years have seen designers do the needle sweep, going from practical builds with plenty of flair, to full-bore show stoppers.

Music & Food:

Raghu Dixit Project performing at Rider Mania 2015

Once the sun sets on Vagator though, it is time to let your hair down. Some of the hottest music acts, such as Indian Ocean, Raghu Dixit Project, Nucelya, etc. have regaled us with their eclectic performances. So it’ll be exciting to see the line-up this time. There’s also plenty of mouth-watering food being cooked up at the stalls inside the main arena. From eternal favourites like Maggi & Omelettes to Greek Souvlaki, Chorizo-Pao to Barbecues, you’re sure to find them all here.

Bike Preps, Tools and Spares:

I’ll be riding down on my Himalayan and here are a few things on bike preps, tools & spares that I’d like to share with you:

  • Give the bike a thorough wash to get the grime off, a couple of days prior to the ride-off date.
  • Clean and lube the chain, using an approved product. Riding on a dry chain is a sure-shot way to burn a hole in the wallet. While at it, bring out the WD40 and spray liberally in all metal joints and hinges. Key areas include the switches and the gear shifter linkage, along with the side & main-stand springs.
  • Check the brake-pads to make sure that there’s enough life in them to safely complete the trip. It is far easier to replace worn-out brake-pads, than risk wallet denting damage to the calliper and disc.
  • Check the clutch and throttle cables, replace if necessary. Better still, replace them annually. They’re cheap enough and you reduce chances of a cable-snap along the ride.
  • Inspect and replace (where necessary) the carburettor joint, overflow pipe, battery breather pipe, etc.
  • If you’re like me who rides their bike the way it is meant to be ridden, then bring out the wrench and spanner set, and tighten all visible nut-bolts. Pay close attention to the fly-screen fasteners & the tail-lamp bolts as they’re the most prone to come loose. Also, get the head-stem checked, just to be on the safe side.
  • Next, check the functioning of the horn, lights and indicators. Replace any fuses and fused bulbs as necessary. Ensure that both tires have enough tread life left in them.

Tools & Spares:

Tooling essentials for Motorcycle Rides

Breakdowns can occur when you least expect them, so it is best to be prepared. As a habit, I carry all essential fuses (multiples), a spare spark-plug, oil filter and clutch + throttle cable on every ride beyond city limits. I also carry a comprehensive tool-kit on my rides that I’ve elaborated here. Not that I’ve had a breakdown on the Himalayan per-se, but they’ve proved to be quite handy in assisting fellow riders on the road.

And if you still can’t fix a problem, then break out a cold one and call Road Side Assistance or the nearest Service Centre to come rescue you.

Luggage & Packing Tips:

Each trip is an opportunity for load reduction and packing efficiency. Deciding upon the clothes & other gear to bring along for a road-trip, is a balancing act between the minimum that can survive in and the most we can get away with. For example, on a 5-day trip like the one down to Rider Mania,

  • I’d take along a pair of denims & quick-dry trousers, a pair of shorts and about 5-6 t-shirts/short-sleeve shirts. This’d give me enough ammo to be at my presentable best, without going overboard.
  • In terms of Footwear, apart from my riding boots, a pair of walking shoes to shelter my feet from the sun while checking out the sights and sounds on the festival grounds is a good call. And about 3 pairs of socks should suffice. One to wear, the second as change & the third as backup, in-case of emergencies. A pair of flip-flops (or sandals) for those quick & short walkabouts should round things off nicely.
  • In terms of electronics, I tend to carry my DSLR for the leisure shots, a point & shoot for fun on the run & an action camera to shoot video. Plus the usual chargers, cables, memory cards & card readers, tripods/monopods to play the support role.

All-in-all, I tend to move with about 15-16 kilos of weight as luggage, and the key is to pack all this without disturbing the dynamics of the bike too much. Plus, I need to be able to access everything as and when needed. So,

  • The tools & spares are always packed in the left half of the saddle-bag. Not only am I away from the traffic in the case of any road-side emergencies, but the sari-guard that’s present, acts as an additional support for the weight.
  • The clothes and other personal belongings, including the toiletries, all go into the right half of the saddle-bag. A pair of bungee-cords act as a brace, to prevent the bags from coming in contact with the wheel and the exhaust, even under spirited riding.
  • All the electronics, including the cameras, are wrapped up in a couple of t-shirts and go into the helmet-bag/tank-bag. Similarly, a charging cable, some dry snacks and the bike documents are carried along in the hydration pack on the back.

And, that’s it! You now have all the information you need for Rider Mania 2017.

The countdown has begun. So, start prepping and I’ll see you in Vagator.

Have a safe ride in… 🙂

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