Monsoon Survival Guide for Bikers

It’s been raining heavily in Mumbai for the last few days and the biker in me has been completely ‘happy-happy-joy-joy’. Now, normal bikers would grumble and mumble under their breath and park to the side of the road every time there is a slight downpour. I however, continue on–the reason being that I have a few tips of my own on how a biker can survive the rains to have fun, even in the most torrid weather. Read on ‘cuz this is where I’ll share those!

Trench coat (duh!)–buy one that is long and reaches at least till your shins. Make sure the sleeves have elastic at the ends because you don’t want water getting in from there when you are riding at full tilt.

Most people seem to think that it is OK to wear just a waterproof jacket but in reality that’s worse. What happens is that the water trickles down from your chest into your pants; making you look like you pissed in them. I’d recommend one of those Duckback two-piece raincoats, complete with waterproof jacket and trousers over a trench coat. It’s a pain to carry around but it’ll keep you as dry as a wafer chip.

When wearing the rain coat, make sure the jacket overlaps the pants. DON’T tuck the jacket into the pants as that makes it easier for the water to trickle in. Also, do keep 100-odd rupees in the pockets for emergency sake.

Backpack–Where else will you dump your trench coat after you have reached your destination? Make sure your backpack is waterproof, so you can dump your wallet, watch, mobile and other valuables without worrying too much about them.

It is recommended to carry an extra shirt/t-shirt in the backpack, though not compulsory. However, do carry three plastic bags. Why three? Because if you have a two piece raincoat – like me – then the pants tend to become dirtier than the jacket. They also seem to take on a muddier colour, and then you don’t want to keep the two in the same plastic bag. The third bag can be used for emergency or you can dump your valuables in it.

Wear the backpack inside the jacket, so that it is further protected from the elements. Now you also know why it was important to keep the emergency money in the raincoat pockets 🙂

Plastic board on crash guard of bike–I used to disapprove of the plastic crash guard once upon a time, but having fitted it these monsoons, I can safely vouch for it. Nothing else will protect your shoes from looking like they were pulled out of quick sand!

Shoes–When it’s raining, it’s important to be wearing shoes and NOT slippers or Crocs. The slippers will make your feet dirty and won’t provide you with adequate warmth. From experience, I can tell you that having cold feet is not a very comfortable thing, especially when riding. Crocs are another no no because contrary to popular belief, your feet stink after wearing those useless pieces of plastic for a while. Also they tend to get worn out faster than any other pair of footwear I know of, so it’s best to avoid those altogether!

It is important to note that wearing a raincoat and a helmet impairs your judgement to a little extent, especially when it is pouring hard. It is therefore very important to ride responsibly. Keep these in mind and you’ll love the monsoon rides.

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The Good Things [and the not so good things]

(Warning! cliché start coming) The last few days have gone swell. I met up with friends from college, met Kiran and had a ball of a time. Have had too many cold coffees and too many paneer/baby corn/mashroom/gobi manchurians!!! The college guys haven’t changed much and everyone is settled and working on in their lives…

Met people from AOL today. The entire training team came out to meet me which made me feel nice. At least there are some places where you are still liked. Chatted with everyone and caught up on quite a lot of the office gossip and happenings since I left the place. There was obviously too much to update me on… after all, it has been more than a year since I met any of them. We plan to meet again on the weekend, so that looks promising.

Apart from all the general running around and meeting everyone, I also took delivery of the Discover 135 for my bro. He has been busy with college and therefore I had the privilege of bringing it and riding it around town. It feels great to ride the bike. Its smooth as hell and the brakes and handling is fantastic. I love the on-road grip that the slightly larger rear tyre provides. Bending sharp deep turns on this baby is truly a joy!

Tomorrow is the dreaded V-Day and this year promises to be as unexciting as any other of the past v-days. Not that I am cribbing about it but will you cut me some slack please God! Its been far too long and… oh never mind.. you know already! Talking of which, don’t you think that this whole V thing is way too gimmicked? I mean giving you ‘Romance at Office’ tips? What were they thinking.. I saw Archies selling heart-shaped balloons!!! seriously, they were for sale! What’s worse is there was quite a crowd around em too. I didn’t bother to go in cuz it was filled with heart cut-outs and other mushy stuff.

In other mundane news, Mr. Tapia (that’s me) needs a hair cut but will gladly wait till later to do the honours. His resolution to stop biting his nails has bombed and he trolls twitter far too many times in the day for comfort! He has gotten addicted to scrobbling and doesn’t play his music without the Last.Fm plugin which is kinda sad when you think about it. Will update more later, right now life’s intervened.

– me.

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