Hi, everyone. You can call me Noob. Let it be my identity thru out the article or story or blog. Let’s get the first thing out of the way. Why am I writing this article or whatever? Reading the story in the given link, http://www.bikebd.com/nonstop-bike-ride-dhaka-tetulia-teknaf-1500-km/ inspired me to write it coz, I and my friend did the same sort of trip in a different way and I think we did it 2/3 months later, in December 2014. One more thing is, it is almost that time again and we might go for something else this year.But first thing first, I will try not to be a novelist here. I will focus my attention towards the silly mistakes, challenges, about the preparation and realization…those sort of thing…So, let’s begin the blah blah-blah…hahahaha…
Another thing, my history of riding, I only rode 20,000 km (to be exact 19,647 km till date), so one can still call me a noobeasily. It is 2015 and I made that trip in 2014, so it was 3 or 4000 at best….I ride Fazer 153cc, 2013 model and my bike looked like the pic back then and for some reason, I liked that. Apart from the hideous look or some say unique look, It was completely stock, only minor adjustment in the air intake and gas to make the mixture according to my likings (though I didn’t know nothing about mixture back then, but it felt nice. That’s all there is…hahaha)
Duration: 22 December, 2014 – 28 December, 2014
Route: Chittagong – Tetulia – Chittagong
Planning, Preparation and Initial Challenge:
Like any trip we made the decision of travelling with less than 30 days in hand and when we made up our mind to do it, there is nothing that can discourage us…hahahaha…so the planning part ends here.
There is some does and don’ts in prep part.
One big don’t is, do not work on your engine and carb before any long trip.
Check tire pressure and suspension. Please consider the amount of weight you will carry with u, whether you will have any pillion rider or not, his weight etc. here is a picture of my bike at full load (please include me and my friend and his backpack). Yes we took one bike…hahahaha…talk about the wrong stuff…hahahaha…
So, we made different arrangement about how to load the bike and decided to go skyscraper rather than become an elephant, meaning, we choose put everything on the bike rather than hanging them on the side. So I used specific tire pressure, front 30 and rear 45 but went with the stock suspension.
We didn’t take any extra clutch cable with us nor accelerator cable but I suggest to take one all the time.
Weight reduction is a very important thing. As you can see, I tried to strip the bike as much as possible. No front bumper, no tier hugger, even shorten the rear mud guard etc. anything that seems extra to you or if u can manage in any other way then take it off ur bike. Strip the bike of anything extra, that’s all.
Tier is something very crucial for our road in Bangladesh. You should know that stock tier comes with softer compound ( i don’t know for sure but seemed so) so if u do burn out or drift while riding daily then u should look into your tier but we didn’t. First bike so I used to do those a lot. In the red light or anywhere I felt like..hahahaha…show off!!! Hahahaha…I liked to skid a lot so my rear tier was like soft as a butter but we didn’t change the tier. We took the risk because we will go through hili so planned to buy a new one there. Hahaha…stupid idea!!!
Please check your brake pads, specially the front ones. Drum brakes rear wheel can take abuse but not your front brake bad. If use them down to their bones in the middle of your trip and can’t find around then I don’t know what may happen but it will make those noises that can cause headache..hahahaha…
Sprockets (drive and driven) and rear wheel bearing are one of the most important parts to check. Please do change those if your rear wheel doesn’t rotate smoothly and without any noise coming from the hub. Drive sprocket mostly gets damaged so please look into that. Please don’t go with -1/+1 teeth or anything modified sprocket, go stock unless you are absolutely sure with all the load it won’t cause any problem. Please keep it in mind, Chain breaks trip breaks.
Check front forks whether they are licking oil or not.
People talk about spark plug but I did nothing about those. But again I did not know how to check those back then..hahaha…(noob does what a noob does. Feels untouchable..hahaha)
Cosmetic modification is a must because you don’t know what will happen whether you will be back alive or not so do all the cosmetic modification you want, not only your motorcycle, yours as well…hahaha..If you have to ride at night it will surely come handy. Here is how my bike were back then
For Newbies, Please remember, it is 150 cc, Not 600 cc…
So, pack light, only the essentials. I took two pairs of undy, 2 jeans, 1 rain pant, 2 t-shirts, one pair of shoe, one bodyspray, one rain coat plus jacket, face mask, one pair riding gloves, clear sunglassand shaded sunglass.
Winter addition, one pull over, 1 hoodless jacket, 1 heavy leather jacket, one inner like tracksuit, muffler, inner gloves, Turkish socks 2 pairs.
Electronics includes my phone, laptop, charger, wifi dongle, camera, extra hard drive (500GB), usb cable and all those fitted easily in my “willpower” backpack which I bought from Baitulmokarram, paying a hefty 2000 BDT.
As you can see in the picture I put my bag over fuel tank and used those rubber line that one can buy from any motorcycle parts store with 20 – 35 BDT. There was nothing else, so packing the bag is crucial because if you keep too much room inside, things will move with your lean angle that might imbalance your motorcycle and cause low side crash. Even more if you ever had to brake hard that movement will have severe impact on your motorcycle posture. So whatever you take, please pack them tightly and if your backpack is water proof that’s better, if not then take a raincoat for your precious backpack.
Now to fix little bit of this and that, we had a tool box apart from the stock tools. Stock screwdriver doesn’t do anything, it is useless. So take a Philip head screwdriver, a flat head screwdriver, L key set, a strong adjustable wrench. That’s all about your motorcycle and packing.
Failed plan or mistakes or loopholes in our planning, how to adjust:
Now if you are crazy enough to travel during winter in north Bengal, then you love winter or you are insane like us…hahaha…so wearing lots of clothing while riding sometimes will get difficult and it will get difficult rather quicker than you will expect. So here comes the part where I will try to shed light on what we expected or planned but failed miserably.
Biggest mistakes we did that we thought we could ride at stretch for 5/6 days, no problem. But after 3 days of riding (12hrs each day, sometimes more), we just slept in whole 4th day, as a result, we had to cut our trip short because of the budget constraint. So one must consider the exhaustion, especially, if one is a noob like me.
Second mistake, we planned never to ride in the night but we not only had to ride at night, even sometimes till 2 am…hahahaha…Now during summer, it isn’t that much of a problem but in winter, especially in north Bengal, it will test you really. In there, 9pm can be like midnight in some places and cold comes out of nowhere. I remember, once my friend started to shiver so much that he didn’t even had to tell me to stop because the whole bike was wobbling or vibrating with him.
So we had to stop in a local bazar which was already closed and beside the road, we changed all our clothes. After wearing two pants, two jackets, a pull over, muffler, mask, helmet, clear glass, 2 gloves (inner and riding gloves) we felt a bit comfy. But even with two gloves, my hands and knees were becoming numb and stiff. So we needed to make regular stop to have a hot cup of tea. Remember, heroism at certain level is helpful after that it is stupidity. So make those stop to keep yourself warm even if it isn’t necessary sometimes.
Thirdbig mistake was to think that, my pillion rider (my friend) will be able to carry his own backpack on his back during the whole trip. Soon we discovered it to be our worse mistake. Even with that much little luggage, carrying it on your back will give birth to back pain and soon it will become unbearable. So my tank bag started to become bigger to make his bag lighter.
Fourth mistake was initial lagging, means, starting slow or late. We were supposed to start our journey at 5 am from our home in Chittagong but we started it at 8.30am and the fault is completely mine. So after initial ass whooping, I wanted to ride safely so we both forgot the set timeframe which forced us to run even higher risk, i.e. riding at night through thick fog. So maintain a set time frame from beginning till end.
Fifth was to think, you can sleep anywhere after such long journey. You won’t sometimes. So please choose your destination of a day wisely. When we reached gobindaganj at 2 am, we decided to stay the rest of the night there. But we don’t even know where to look so we stayed in some motel because it was the only thing still open for business. So what was the mistake? When those blanket and pillow came…trust me, I am not some rich family mama’s boy or dady’s girl, but even I had hard time to adjust. So I only took my shoes off, put my towel(!!!) over the pillow, used their blanket to cover my lower body up to waist, still wearing all those jackets and pullover to keep myself warm and in this way, you can take rest but not a good night sleep…hahaha…
Sixth was to think that truck drivers are crazy or stupid. They can fall asleep on the road while driving, that’s a possibility but other than that they will understand and respond to your signaling. But you cannot say the same about the bus drivers, they simply do not care about you. They just want to reach their destination as soon as possible. So please be careful of buses more rather than trucks. Empty trucks are more dangerous than loaded one.
Lastly, we couldn’t find any octane provider in tetulia or on to that smooth heavenly road to border. You can push your motorcycle all the way up but won’t feel a thing. At 121kmph, I and my friend got shocked cause we thought we were at 85 or somewhere below 100…that much smooth it feels..hahahaha… Anyway, one have to buy petrol there if you start to dry her up there.
First challenge was thick fog and the night riding. Thick fog is so much thick that sometimes I didn’t saw the road under the tier, couldn’t see not more than 6/7 feet ahead. But luckily we crossed the east region by the midday and trust me, if you didn’t ride on a road in north Bengal, you missed something. Best road in Bangladesh. Even in the fog, even though I couldn’t see the road ahead but I managed to keep an steady 85kmph (which was a stupid thing to do), but we didn’t face that much opposite traffic. But on our way to gobindaganj, we faced opposite traffic like rain and they were so wild that sometimes we had to take the off road to save ourselves from harm’s way..hahaha..but that night wasn’t that much foggy, what so ever.. so thick fog helps ( if you want something positive out of misery) if you can control your adrenaline..hahahaha!!!…
Second challenge was cold because you are prepared but you will never know how it really feels till you experience it. It is completely difference from Chittagong/Dhaka or Sylhet..so if you never been there, it will come as a shock, at least, it happened with us. Hahahaha…
Third challenge, as we did the trip with one bike, my friend had really hard time to figure out what to do during the ride time. Communication between us was a challenge as both were wearing helmet. Remember, high spirit takes one day of ride to subside, after that you become the ride, just rolling. So my friend faced a challenge of staying awake..hahahaha…again we needed to stop regularly to have a cup of tea.
Fourth challenge; while riding at night thru fog, your visor will have misting problem. To deal with that you may decide to keep the visor open like me and soon you will find that your eye lashes is getting wet. Due to the warm temperature inside the helmet, like dewdrops on a blade of grass, there is water drop on your eye lashes. To adjust with that, you can wear clear sunglass just like me but like visor, soon sunglass will develop the same misty problem.hahahaha….so to deal with that misting problem, I think anti fog mask will be helpful. I don’t know, but will try this year.hahaha…
Fifth was cold, I mean running nose. During winter, if you ride after evening to till 11/12 every night for 2 days, you will catch cold. Running nose will be the most annoying thing then. It will wet your mask, and even your muffler or those cotton muffler. When that happens your face will start to get numb. I cannot describe how annoying it becomes, you have to face it to realize it. It becomes a mess. Hahaha…
Finally some suggestions or I am thankful that I did while in the trip:
First thing I am thankful that each place or stoppage we took, we talked with local people about the road ahead, its condition, any risks involved or challenge, how much time it will take for us to reach our destination from here, over all, gathering info as much as possible about the road ahead. Trust me, it will help you to avoid bigger problems..
At least once in a day, stop in a garage to lube your chain, check engine oil, clutch cable, accelerator cable, rear brake, tier pressure etc. And if possible give her a bath after 2/3 days near some water source, it will be refreshing for her and for yourself as well.
Stretch your legs whenever you find a chance. Don’t let any cramp to slow you down by avoiding cramp, so walk whenever you stop and stretch your legs if you are the only one to drive.
Always check your passenger whether he/s is having any issues. Please remember, if you aren’t comfortable riding with a passenger or with that passenger, then don’t take any passenger. Teach him or inform him about your riding style so that he can understand your condition and situation, just by seeing the posture of motorcycle. Because, sometimes you might get tired or exhausted which you yourself may fail to notice. Hahaha…
Road assessment is important. If you can’t see the road then stop to take a look and you can tell your passenger to keep a sharp eye. Hahaha…you don’t have to sniff the dirt…hahaha. Highway can get scary sometimes. Two buses or trucks coming towards you side by side and you have no room to go, or sometimes just for no reason, traffic coming from the opposite, can be on your lane. Those blah blah…so don’t panic, just keep your cool and go off road if necessary. So you must know whether you have room there or not. So riding at night might get tricky sometimes in those north Bengal side.
Moreover, there were theft and robbery issues. So talk with local people, especially the road from gobindaganj to dinajpur after 9pm is risky. There was another one, I can’t recall right now. But till 8pm it remains alright but after that mishap may happen. So gather those info from local people. Not all are useful but some are. So decide wisely.
Finally, try to avoid another riding group or people at night. For two reasons, one, you can become victim of robbery soon; two, you can start to do street race and ran off the road very easily because you don’t know the road like him who use those road daily. But if you are sure, then they can be the most useful people you will meet. Another thing, respect another driver, irrespective of what he drives. Talk with them, share a cup of tea and they will give you the most amazing news about the road. But even if they have nothing to give you, be with them whenever possible. Spreading the brotherhood of two wheelers….hahahahaha….
In the end, I never thought of writing my experience any where like this. So it might look messy, ignore that. The way we took is as following:
Chittagong – Feni – Harinaghata – Madaripur – Kushtia–Natore – Bagura – Gobindaganj – Hili – Dinajpur – Panchagar – Tetulia.
Fuel stoppage: Chittagong , Ahead of Kushtia ( somewhere in between madaripur&kushtia), Bagura, Tetulia (5/10 liter petrol), Dinajpur……..(at least I can recall them.) Can’t recall total fuel quantity, hope to do it this time.hahahaha…
Future plan: We hope to do the same this year, may be on a different path. Same set up, same time. What if every year, taking a trip from teknaf to tetulia becomes 2 wheelers honeymoon. Hahahaha….
Take care. Ride hard but safe and wear proper safety gear at least helmet, gloves and shoes.
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