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    Jishnu C, a Royal Enfield enthusiast and a proud owner of 3 Royal Enfield motorcycles from Bangalore recently took a shot at the “Saddle Sore” an endurance ride (classified by the Iron Butt Association USA) in which the rider is required to cover 1000 miles (roughly 1610 KMs) on his Motorcycle within 24 Hours. He took his trusted Royal Enfield Machismo 500 and rode out on the highway. Here’s a firsthand account of his experiences. We congratulate him for his achievement.

    "100 km more, Nearing Tumkur, Time: 19:30 (Approx.)

    The rain kept lashing out viciously, leaving me with no choice other than to stop the bike. I cleaned up the visor and the eye-glasses for the n th time in an hour. Over the last twenty odd hours I had made up a lead of about an hour, but now I could see it crumble right in front of me. With stunted visibility and no sense of time, it made good sense to keep moving slow or fast. Like in any night rain ride, I searched for a ‘bakara’, found a speeding Qualis, held on to it keeping a safe distance, using its headlight, I began speeding finally. About 30 odd kilometres later, the rain finally cleared. I had an empty stretch for myself. For the first time in the whole day, I opened the throttle, speeding way above the 120 km-ph mark. The bike was singing, despite everything. She just tore apart the night, speeding down the empty road. Soon I reached the familiar city of Yeshwantpur. A friendly cop guided me towards the Petrol Pump. The petrol station attendant, recognised me and ran up to me, grabbed the bank card and dashed into his office. A minute later he walks out with the receipt.
    The time said 21:18 Hrs, 09-Oct-2010.
    I had just successfully finished the Saddle Sore 1000 Miles.

    For those who came late, Saddle Sore 1000 is a ride certified by Iron Butt Association. As per the rules stipulated one has to cover 1000 miles in 24 hours, in other words 1610 km in 24 hours. Simple math, your average speed has to be maintained at just above 67 km ph. Now if you ask me is it doable, yes of course, have a good plan and you can do the distance.

    One of the factors that aided me in the ride was the Plan, nothing else. My intention was to cover 1700+ km in 22 ½ Hours, having extra hour and half to spare is always good and so is the extra distance so as to account for any odometer error. In the end I had done the total distance of 1740 km in 22 Hrs 59 Mints and I had done full justice to the plan I had worked upon.

    A few minutes on the website, www.ironbutt.com, would give you tips as to how to plan the ride. Selecting a good highway, eg: GQ in India, is essential. Being aware of the road conditions helps, doing a recce does help but is not essential. And again till now if you have not had experience of riding in rain and night rides then one recce would not change much. Another hurdle is petrol pumps near highways, which accept cards.

    The chances are there will be enough petrol pumps open all day, from experience yes there are. I would not be joking if I said; I had planned even where I had to stop. BPCL petrol pumps, is a big help. They have printed receipt with the time, vehicle number and date. Their website provides enough info as to their locations, hence spending a few minutes on their website helps. Planning your petrol stops makes a huge difference. I used to average about 30 km per litre, but for this ride I got different mileages; as low as 21 and as high as 31 km per litre. The quality of petrol and temperature and ride speed makes a huge difference. I made plans keeping in mind a mileage of 30 km per litre and in the very first section I hit reserve at 270 km full tank. The next 30 km, I crawled in low rpm (maintaining 60-70 till) I found a petrol pump. I had almost cancelled the ride there.

    Fitness is another aspect. Being in top shape is much better than top speed. I go for cycling almost daily and every weekend. The usual weekend routine is to cover anywhere between 100-140 km. Also love doing off roads on both Trek and Bullet. Did the above help, yes it did, very much. If you can cycle 140 km in 7-8 hours covering 140 km, it only means you can have a bit more of saddle time. Secondly the joint, knee and hand pains, I was lucky not to have. Do an off road on a hard tail Trek bike and sitting on a RE Seat will be like sitting on Pam Anderson’s Lap.

    A mech, who understands your riding style and your bike, is essential. Telling him why you are doing the service will also helps. If you are planning to fix those glaring battery draining extra lights just for this ride then I would say it is a wrong move. A good Philips H4 bulb would do just fine for the highway ride. Having all the riding gears is a must, and this is not the time to try out a new jacket or boot. The one you are used to is always the best. If you are one of those superstitious types, be so, it helps. If you are selectively superstitious, then this is one occasion just like those exam mornings. You see a cat crossing the path just as you leave home, stop let someone else cross. All I am saying is a bit more of comfort with regard to what you wear, think or ride just gives you that extra cushion.

    Anyone who says you need to be at top speed most of the ride is just blabbering. At top speed (every one has their standards, as for me anything above 110, is top speed) the focus and alertness is at a peak. Simple logic, your engine is strained and so are you. Meanwhile keeping a comfortable speed of 90-100 km per hour over a very long stretch, gives you enough time to relax yourself, do some stretching on the bike, and does not put a strain on your mental faculties. In short high speeds are best avoided.

    I made quiet a few mistakes; importantly it was the wrong assumption of the mileage. Taking a spare litre or two of petrol makes sense. Selection of the end point on your side of the road also helps. The advantages I had was the bike just did wonders. I reached the U-turn point a full forty five minutes ahead of the planned time. While returning, the rains actually cooled the engine enough, giving it the needed impetus to push for the last 40 km at Top Speed. Believe it or not, this was the only time the entire ride, I had pushed the bike beyond 110 km per hour, I was ahead of schedule by close to forty five minutes and I had no need to punish the bike or myself. The priority has always been Safe Ride and Safe Bike, the list of don’t do’s were more and I also had decided that I would not push myself or the bike. I would rather call off the ride than having to push either myself or the bike. Safe Ride any day.


    Once completed, the first thought was god I am Hungry. For the next two days, I was just waiting for that knee pain and hand ache, luckily it never came by. Then the documentation process began, and suddenly it hits you as to what you have done. It’s crazy but then so are a dozen other things which we do on day to day basis.

    If you are one of those who want to have a proper saddle sore done, then you should have following. A printed receipt bill, usually a credit/debit card slip, showing the time, date and location is essential. Having a receipt of the petrol stations you stop at, with your vehicle number written on it also adds on to it. Have a printed receipt at the U-turn point if you are doing an up and down ride. Having a picture of the odometer with the receipt also adds to the documentation. Ideally keep as many electronic receipts of bank cards as possible. Have someone sign for you at the start and end of the ride, who can verify about the ride and also speaks and understands English, this is essential because it would be someone from USA who would be calling him/her and the person better understand what is being asked.

    Let me stress on the fact that I have only qualified for the IBA Certification Process by doing this ride, the process has only started and would generally take anywhere between 3-4 months for completion since it has a rigorous verification process. The documentation has to be done meticulously since it involves lots of logs, tables and notifications.

    So after having done this ride, what next, ideally I would like to do a long distance ride on my Trek.

    Would I ride a Saddle Sore once more?

    Not really but again I have no idea, if my bike behaves very well and I really feel the need to do a long ride, then I would just take off.

    All the best for anyone who is planning to do a Saddle Sore 1K, guys the bike we ride is a real strong one, it can really take a lot of “beatings” on and off the roads. Make a good plan and ride safe.

    God Speed."

    courtesy : royalenfield.com

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