Tuesday, 30 October 2018

seabiscuit 2.0

Here's what you can do to better an already awesome Hero Impulse

list of my mods so far from 2013 to 2018 - 5 Years of farkling what started its life as a 150cc farm bike.

1. Engine swap
2. Fork upgrade to 43mm Showa Cartridge from 1989 Honda CR125R
3. 21'' DID Al rim w/ Ceat 90x90 21 Himalayan tyre
4. Speedo wont work with the 21 inch wheel, so used a wheel sensor magnet with a generic computer for Speedo, ODO
5. Pro Taper CR high SE bars, MSR handguards
6. Tank painted white and shrouds removed
7. Taper roller 32005 Bearings replacing the cup and cone ball bearings
8. Swingarm swapped from a 1986 Honda XR250R - increases wheel base by 40mm and reduced flex
9. Zedling Suspension (Pune) custome made rear shock for the XR250R swingarm
10. BBR big bore kit and CAMs, BS33 CV carb 118 Main jet, 20 Idle jet
11. Same old mega phone exhaust, the DB killer fell off in the event !
12. 1988 XR200 rear wheel and hubs along with Drum Brake backing plate with cam.

Built the bike with little to no time to prepare for a motorsport event, however, went ahead anyway with a "i don't give 2 shits attitude" - a poor decision in hindsight as I did not make it. Crashed badly and broke the bike badly enough to pull out on Day 1.

All in all, great experience. Not I can proudly say that i know the rules of chassis mechanics and a bit about how the kinematics and suspension work when we have one wheel behind the other. However, I had to spend the next day fixing what I broke and rode back from the India Baja in Jaisalmer all the way back home to Chennai over a month. Which if you ask me, was a good shakedown. Bikes great ! small glitches here and there, tiny niggles... lots of learning and more than happy to share if anyone else wants to do this to their bike, and make a radically different bike out of the Hero impulse.



Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Dear Gigi, Dont look like a dickhead

 Original Source: Boris Mihailovic


There, this should upset some people.
I'd hate them to think I was off my game...
I like so-called “adventure” bikes.
I have ridden many of them to all sorts of interesting places. I have dropped them into deep holes full of water. I have held grimly onto their handlebars as they cascaded down rocky hillsides.
I have even lost my licence on them, in one go, just outside of Coolah for doing 145 in a hundred zone.
So I am a fan.
But I have had a strange ache in my head about them ever since those two massive pox-blankets did that TV show a few years ago about riding around the world on a pair of borrowed BMW GSs.
Yes, Charlie and Ewan. BMW sold quite a few bikes off the back of that duo of useless shit-gibbons.
You see, they didn’t ride all the way around the world at all. They caught a train instead of riding the Road of Bones, if you’ll recall. And with the level of back-up vehicles, fixers, bodyguards, doctors and massage therapists they had along, it was hardly what one might call an “against all odds” adventure.
That did not stop them calling it that anyway, selling a whole bunch of DVDs, and so introducing a whole generation of riders to a whole new genre of motorcycles – the so-called “Adventure” bike.
And while some few folks do indeed ride these purpose-built beasts into the wilderness and have a ball, others (just like Charlie and Ewan) quickly discover their ambitions don’t quite match up with their abilities to punt a relatively heavy and quite tall motorcycle up the side of a mountain, and so their mega-dollar German or Austrian Adventure bike becomes the motorcycle equivalent of the Land Cruiser Prado that will never see a metre of dirt – but sure looks like it could, huh?
Which is fine, I guess. Adventure bikes are quite capable and brilliant road bikes, after all.

But as for adventure itself, and the having of it, you don’t need a purpose-built bike. Not really. Not if you actually crave real adventure.

All you need is a bike. Any bike that is not a purpose-built adventure bike and off you go. People do it all the time. You should too. Take your R1 and ride it through the Simpson Desert. Go ride your Ultra Glide through a Cambodian jungle.

Take your F4 MV Agusta through a bunch of swollen rivers on your way to Cape York. Hell, take that fancy Italian sex-machine to the Hindu Kush. Fix it with a rock and some goat-innards when it stops.

Have an adventure. A proper one.
It would be much like taking your Adventure bike to the racetrack and cutting sick laps on it, dirt tyres and all. You punch that tall-arse Teutonic twin and its knobbies into Southern Loop at 180km/h and you will know adventure.
If you want to observe adventure from a remove, then that’s fine. Observe. Don’t pretend. Not all of us are mentally or physically equipped to go adventuring, and so when we choose instead to only “look” like we go adventuring, people laugh at us.
Just like those pathetic Christian pseudo-bikies who only want to “look” like patch-wearing one-percenters.
On that same, and very valid point, not all of us are suited to ride motorcycles, and while I appreciate the efforts some of those people go to so they look the part, each and every time I pass them wobbling hopelessly along the road, I cannot help but feel we would all be better off as a species if they would just stop it and go back to driving cars.
I guess so much of motorcycling has become image rather than substance these days, and I think that’s pretty sad.
I remember a time when I thought nothing of hurling a modified Shovelhead down a dirt-track because there was a cool swimming spot at the other end and my girlfriend was going to get her 19-year-old boobies out and bake them in the sun. I remember manhandling ill-mannered GSXs along rock-filled creek beds because there was a rally site somewhere ahead and my mate Mudguard had a pocketful of hash he needed to share with me if only I made it there in one piece.
No-one had an Adventure bike.
No-one even knew what one of those was.
But we sure as shit had adventures.
Real ones where we risked our lives sipping deeply from the cup of life.
After all, if there is no real risk, there is no reward. And yes, some of my compatriots paid the ultimate price. They bought the ticket, they took the ride. I don’t mourn them now and didn’t mourn them then. I celebrate their lives instead.
Sure, you can dress up, buy the bike, and get all the accoutrements. And to the casual and ignorant observer you’ll certainly look like a risk-taking, high-stepping, hip-swinging adventurer par excellence. Which I’m sure is important to you, and that’s why you do it.

But to people who know what adventure is, what risk is and what reward it brings, and that style is nothing without substance, you only look like a dickhead.


In loving memory of Hubert. 

Sunday, 21 January 2018

The Dissolution of Modern Friendship

Source: goodmenproject.com -  by 

Some friendships we let go of, some let go of us.

I had a discouraging realization recently.
Many of my friendships aren’t going to last forever. I don’t know why or when I started believing they should, but on closer inspection, this is something I have felt for some time now.
This realization felt like I had just noticed an ancient tree I pass every day; its deep roots betraying my own surprise at its arrival in my awareness.
Mind you, not all friendships carry this expectation for me. Not the casual acquaintances or the location-based relationships that always just puttered along. I speak of the friendships I choose to actively engage in, to pursue.
As time has passed my belief in permanent friendship has cemented itself into a dangerous precipice on which I find myself standing more often than I’d like. It is neither possible for all friendships to last forever, nor is it healthy to believe they should. But my belief has become absolutely intractable, gradually and subtly calcifying my heart.
And I’m not sure what to do about it.
It is no secret as we get older, we lose as much as we gain. The conversations we have with our friends frequently revolve around the physical losses; a decreased flexibility or the inability to quickly bounce back from a night of drinking.
All of it is some sort of loss of ability. “I can no longer do X.”
While those losses can come as a surprise they quickly transition into a light hum of frustration, loud enough to be annoying, but soft enough so it becomes part of our daily noise pollution.
It is not these physical changes affecting me daily. Losing abilities is to be expected. Losing people almost always catches me off guard. I once read “It takes a long time to grow an old friend.” The older I get, the fewer opportunities there seem to be to plant enough seeds.

Yes, we are exposed to new circles of people when we join a new club, company, or community. But the leaving behind of those jobs, clubs or communities can mean those circles disappear much quicker than they were created. We lose friends at a rate faster than we can replace them.
Maybe this is natural. As we get older our world tends to narrow. We pair off and move from cities to suburbs, separate apartments to shared homes, transitioning away from dense centers of population while literally expanding the footprint of space which only we ourselves inhabit.
We go from knowing everything about our friends’ lives to getting regular updates, to conversations that start with “Did I tell you what happened last spring?”
It never ceases to amaze me how varied people’s relationships are. Some people find their life partner, pair off and essentially retreat to their own bunker, rarely to be seen again. Some partners become intertwined with other couples, having and raising children, socializing, and vacationing all together.
Whether the former, the latter or some hybrid in between, it has been my experience as time has passed, no matter how much I have cared for someone or how hard I’ve tried, it is increasingly difficult to hold on to them.
It’s a debilitating feeling.
My immediate concern is usually that I have done something wrong, said, or not said something, causing a rift. But as somebody who tries to be a semi-decent human being with no major drama in his life, the logic does not suggest every friend I have lost has been the result of my misdoing.

If it had, it would almost be easier to accept. If I knew there was something functionally wrong with me and how I behave, the way I emotionally neglect or abuse people, I would at least have an answer. But I have no evidence to that end.
The harder pill to swallow is this: Many friendships, perhaps most, just do not last. Due to time and circumstance friends simply drift, subject to the changing currents of life. We pay more attention to these currents when they separate us than when they unite us.
Which is to say so many relationships are the result of circumstance, to begin with, and those circumstances change as abruptly to cause endings as they do beginnings. But our minds rarely dwell on how good things are going or how positive our luck is. We simply wonder about the things we lose and can no longer have.
I wonder if others have been able to do a better job at maintaining friends than I.
The zen, who I do not know but have read about, say “The tighter you squeeze the less you have.” Which is to say I’m giving myself a kind of emotional arthritis. Perhaps it is my unrealistic expectations that need to change.
These expectations leave me questioning appropriate efforts. Am I trying hard enough? If I am, then why aren’t they? How long should I continue to reach out before giving up completely?
I feel hyper-aware of relationship dynamics at all times. It has not proven to be helpful. I imagine most people feel sadness at the loss of a friend. I can’t imagine they obsess over it.

The gradual deterioration of friendships is very much a part of life, whereas the lens through which I look has positioned it as something unnatural and preventable. Which brings us back to the fact that no friendship is guaranteed forever. They don’t have to be. Nor should they be. The length of a friendship is also no indicator of the quality of it.
It is clear the casual evaporation of ties between myself and others in my life would be better viewed as a function of time itself.
There is nothing stopping me from reaching out to those I have lost touch with, which I often do, but there is also nothing saying I need to be so confused or hurt when I no longer hear from them.
Different does not have to be inherently bad or good, it can simply just be.
This, however, does not always jive with some internal need I have to classify things. Is this thing living or dead? Worth my time or not? In so many areas of life, I love things that are neither black or white but grey. With friendships, the grey maddens me.
It is also selfish to think a friendship should continue to exist merely because I alone want it to. A friendship does not exist to serve only one person, it is there because it serves both people, otherwise, it is not a friendship at all. It is simply a parasite and a host.
The dissolution of friendships, while significant to me, doesn’t seem as significant for others. Some people simply see it as something that just happens. They don’t evaluate, worry, or try to contextualize.

Our encounters with others are extremely relative. There is no international standard for connection with another human being. It is not feasible for all to have the exact same expectations of friendship. We seek different feelings and are fulfilled by different experiences.
Sometimes, people just stop responding. For me, that is always what hurts the most.
When I was younger this hurt less. A friend would move or I’d lose their address or phone number. There was no way to find them, to look them up, or to contact them. And so even if they purposely avoided staying in touch, it became more of a mystery of the universe than something that felt deliberate. I could wonder if we would ever meet again and what that might be like.
Missed contact no longer means a letter that got lost in the mail. It doesn’t mean an answering machine never checked. Every communique is a tiny number 1 highlighted in red on a digital device in the pocket of your intended recipient.
Today you can call, text, email, and message somebody on social media all to no avail. The actions we take or don’t take have immediately apparent consequences. Silence used to mean many different things. Now it just means “no.”
That kind of deliberate silence is unambiguous.
It is easiest to be upset about lost friendships when one is not creating new ones. And creating new friendships does not get easier as we get older.
My senior year of college, my roommate and I came home from a social event in his used beige Cadillac. We were discussing the people we had been with that night as we pulled into our driveway and he said something to the effect of “We’re not looking to expand our friend circle.”

He spoke of us as some sort of private membership club whose roster was full. I didn’t say anything at the time. I was so baffled at how different our opinions were it incapacitated my speech. All I knew was I strongly disagreed.
While I have never really considered myself to be part of a “friend circle” I have always wanted to make new friends. Even if I’m not actively pursuing it… the interest remains.
At this moment, matching my actions to my interests feels like a better use of my energy than pining for lost connections.
I cannot control the inevitable disappearance of friendships, but I can always be curating, creating, and nurturing new ones in addition to the ones I have.
It is not hedging my bets, though I could understand how it would appear as such. If friendship is what I’m interested in, both the giving and receiving of it, then I must be actively involved in the creation of it,merely commenting upon its existence or disappearance.
The well of friendship is infinite. It does no good to spend my life peering over the edge, clutching my half-empty bucket.

Monday, 8 January 2018

What have we become ?

Is your blog unique from everyone else's? Do you offer value to people? Do you update it regularly? Is your SEO up to snuff? Do you have a "subscriber list”? here's your answer to whoever asked me all these questions, GO FUCK A GOAT MATE! 

So, back to motorcycles and mountains.

I had to shake myself hard to come to qualms with someone who was "very urgently" building concrete structures deep in the trans-Himalayas. As someone so much closer to the connection, he was more disconnected than a bloody city dweller.

To think about it, there used to be a time when our farmers were our doctors, and our food was our health insurance. Farmers never grow food, they only take care of the land. They are the people of the land. cranking it to 2017, Our Doctors care-less, our farmers are no longer bothered about the well being of the community, Our food has become a product, we have medicalised health care, Everyone is flinging shit at each other on social media, borders are more closed than ever and all we do is pick on our differences. 

keep this in mind when you travel if you’re reading this. Engage in conversations and keep travel the way its supposed to be. Because Travel is incorruptible. I hope you look at it the same way too.

So, we went to the Himalayas in Nepal again, obviously on Motorcycles. It was 3 of us, and then later 2 of us. And, if there anything to be learned, as it always happens, We had the most incredible good fortune tempered with some bad luck. I toppled the bike 40 ft in a mountain slope in Ranikhet, Clutch cables snapped, we had fights, chains had to be adjusted, we fixed oil leaks with beeswax and I dropped the pig a few times. Met travellers (Anja & Holger on the BMW Dakars and Martin & Xena on XT tenere's), shared stories and invited them over when they get down south.

I think the Air cooled, Carburetored, steel framed, 'lightweight' and easy to self-service/repair adventure bike is a dying breed. Yes, I am talking about the Pig & Seabiscuit. Lets say, someone wants to do a 5 year RTW and doesn't want to ride a bike that they don't have to plug in every few months to keep running or needs a NASA qualified technician to diagnose; or spend ridiculous amounts of cash on parts, then it's these bikes they will be looking to.

Being a motorcycle traveler used to be about using your creativity to take a basket case old hag and using only grit and ingenuity, turning it into a "one of a kind eye dazzler", then risking your life on the asphalt on a bike you made yourself out of pride. Pretty much what I’d like to be, and I can proudly say I am 25% there. But so is my Ego, like my friend once mentioned.

PS: Anyone who thinks a "modern", lean-running, gravelly, snatchy fuel-injected throttle system is nicer to use than a 20 year-old bank of CV carbs is deluded.

I know the pig's limits now. I know where i’ll take her next. And finally, after stoppages and break-downs every single time, the Bond has been made. White pig and I seem to have it going now. She has a thing for me. She even adorns a “new” TN plate now. I have a feeling that all my bikes make the bond in the Himalayas, like as though they are alive and they know that they are up there. I’d like to believe that they are alive and they know.

2 random things before we end this,
I am against lawns. If you have a lawn at home, you’re an asshole. And then, there is Pakistan. Very obviously I will go there someday.


Just remember that its your life. Do what you love and do it very often. If you don’t like something, change it. If your job really sucks, fucking quit. If you think you don’t have enough time, stop spending time on your stupid smartphone or Facebook or Instagram. Because social media popularity can sometimes give you an inflated view of your own abilities. The universe works in uncanny ways, and stop being curious for the sake of it. Stop over analysing, because, life is simple. Make everything count, mostly small things. when you eat, eat till satiety and appreciate every morsel. just like women, all emotions too, are beautiful. Ask the next stranger you meet what his passion is. Don’t try to inspire people, because sometimes its not worth it, But share your dreams with them, for all you know you’ll never meet them again or else, it can be an extraordinary meeting, who knows. I firmly believe that life is about people you meet and then things that we create with them. So, get the fuck out. Get out, start creating. and last but not the least travel often.

I don’t know what has become of me.  I should maybe stop writing this blog because soon it's going to be 2019. We live in an era of instant everything, and I feel that I don't fit "here" anymore. No one reads blogs anyway. Plus, I have the advantage of being extremely unpopular in real life. So, I do not need a virtual popularity fix for my ego. Maybe I should make memes. hahaha.., A very random blog post indeed.

Merry Christmas and Happy new year folks! May the next year always have the shiny side up as its meant to be.
Make sure to Ride a lot of dirt in 2018.