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    You have picked your buddies, I have told you what to look for in them. I have also told you how to.. and now is the time you will truly figure out if the chaps are worth it. It is route planning time.
    Gone are those days when print maps were unfolded and outdated road information was what we had to take a chance on. Now we have maps of every kind and access to travelogues from all types of travelers to make informed decisions about almost every route known to mankind. The question is, how do you plan your own trip, using information from all these sources. Is there a structured way to go about it? Yes Read on
    Step 1:
    Decide where you are headed and when

    From Delhi-Leh 2

    This depends on many factors. The allure of adventure vs the thirst for tranquility.. or in simple english number of days of leave and how kickass a trip do you want, or not. And most important, the weather gods. Riding in the right season is extremely important to be able to have a pleasant trip that is memorable and fun.
    e.g Leh – Ladkah for the accomplsihment, best time-july, nirvana seeker : Highways – For the steady safe rider who wants to cover more distance per day,best time-spetember-november: rajasthan – For ethnic spledor, best time – Spetember.. etc etc
    It is a different deal if you plan to attend festivals etc..
    So now that you know where you are headed and when goto step 2
    Split the trip to small chunks based on

    1. Number of kilometers possible in the terrain/weather

    2. Experience of riders in doing long distance (e.g someone in the group has done about 600 in a day/ someone has only 150… so u plan for say 300 max.. ) in fact 200-300km is easily doable by experienced rides in mountains and bad weather in a day. On highways 300-400 is ultra comfortable per day. (assuming you have done these kind of stretches before)

    3. And availability of accommodation. There are places you HAVE to reach in a day in certain days. E.g in the Leh trip.. if you miss a camp and dont reach the other in time, you could well.. die of cold and AMS
    Trip detailing
    Now this is where the great internet comes to help you. Read travelogues and create list of-
    1. Places to stay
    2. Places to see take pictures of
    3. Places to eat from
    4. Lakes to take dips in
    5. Relatives to say hi to..
    blah blah
    Call these places to stay and book/not book. Check if places to view have a closed day.. check weather..
    Now superimpose these on your trip plan. And what do you find? you might be running out of time to see a lot of things that you want to see..

    so then we go do..
    Trip trimming -stretching
    Cut down on places to see if it affects the flow of the ride. you can mark some places for your return journey as well. Else you should extend the trip by a day or two if possible. If you are thinking “ho jaayega” Let me tell assure you. You are going to miss half the stuff you want to see trying to keep time. Time is a commodity that expires .. Many a great plan has failed because of well lack of good planning.
    Step 5
    Planning B
    And! The plan B. Every destination of stay should be marked by a B destination, which you can reach if you don’t manage to reach till the pre planned destination.. You can try and cover the extra distance the next day or continue plan B-ing throught ; which is not really .. hmm let me see.. graceful
    Always share stuff that you come up with the whole team. Infact let the team share this planning activity! So that everyone is clear about where one is heading etc.
    We have covered the what to dos.. Now here are some tools I recommend
    I use google apps to organize.. here is a sample spreadsheet .. collaborating over which is effortless (This was the effort of yours truly and my riding buddy Vishwas with contributions from Anoop )
    For maps and driving directions-

    For all kinds of travel related questions and highly reliable and updated info

    Alright then.. see you at chapter 3 which is
    Preparation: Bike and you

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