Kerala roads are not really suited for undertaking Iron Butt Association’s rides, think riders. Many who have successfully undertaken the saddle-sore ride say a lot of preparation is required before each ride.
KOCHI: The death of a 21-year-old engineering student, Mithun, whose bike met with an accident while attempting to finish the saddle-sore ride has sent shock waves across the state. The student is believed to have attempted the US-based Iron Butt Association’s (IBA) challenge ride when his bike rammed into a truck on the Pune-Bengaluru National Highway.
While IBA’s saddle sore ride is a popular one across the world, many in India too have successfully
attempted the tough task. The challenge was to complete 1,610 km (1,000 miles) in 24 hours
In the wake of the recent incident, Express speaks to professional riders who have undertaken such rides.
There are several factors that need to be considered before attempting such long-distance rides, the professional riders will tell you. Wearing proper safety gear, following all safety guidelines, choosing the right climate to ride, and even the colour of your shirt matters.
For ardent riding enthusiasts, riding is more of an emotion. A ride is not something you embark on just like that. A lot of preparation is required before each ride, Shiny Rajkumar, a rider who finished the Iron Butt ride recently, says. “It was after three years of preparation that I finally attempted the ride. All precautions were taken and I ensured that my bike was fully conditioned and serviced and had it checked before the ride. I also took rest when I felt like it during the ride,” recalls Shiny.
“ I didn’t start my riding using high-end bikes. Of late, you can see many who undertake long distance rides without much preparation. That should not be attempted. When you ride, you should not create panic among other riders,” says Shiny who started riding at the age of 20.
“It is not a challenge, it is a ride,” says Vijeesh aka Vepai, a professional rider who successfully completed the Iron Butt Association’s (IBA) Saddle Sore ride. “No one is forcing you to take the ride. The onus is on you as it is not a challenge,” Vijeesh adds. The IBA clearly mentions to choose a safe route, he says.
“Kerala roads are never suited for such rides. A lot goes into preparing your body and mind for such long rides. When you cut down on your sleep, you have to ensure that your biological clock has been streamlined accordingly.
It is easy to maintain a constant speed and never to cross the speed limit. One has to be mentally and physically fit before attempting any ride,” says Vepai while maintaining that he is not advocating attempting this. “I wanted to attempt it and so I did,” he says. “I feel proper training has to be imparted to every rider so that they ride responsibly,” he adds. Another bike-riding enthusiast Jeena Mariya Thomas who completed the IBA ride by riding her bike from Bengaluru to Pune and back in 20 hours shares her thoughts about the incident.
She says: “Every ride has its own risks and every place has its own rules and regulations. The riders have the libertyto slow down instead of driving continuously. The road from Pune to Bengaluru is good as I myself have rode through it completing the ride. I think what happened with Mithun was the mistake in part of the lorry driver and as far as this ride is concerned, it can be taken in India.”