Riding K2K – A Successful Project!
Shivasankar :Shiva is Project Lead with the C&W PM team in Bangalore and has over 22 years of work experience. He has been riding for 25 years and has covered over 2.5 Lac Kilometers. He has been twice certified as SS IBA 1600 rider. He recently completed K2K full circuit meter clocking 7750 Kilometers in 14 days.
Project Management is a very practical skill. You can apply it not just at work, but also while working on your passions! Here’s my story on a project of riding from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and back!
My project had to wait for several decades for the right adventure bike with touring and off-roading capabilities. And the long wait ended with the launch of the BMW G310GS. After going through quite a few reviews and articles on the bike, I booked a ride with destiny.
I had a list of touring and endurance routes on my mind and at the top of the list was every biker’s dream – the Kanyakumari to Kashmir trip or K2K. My ride would be a slightly longer – Bangalore-Leh-Kanyakumari-Bangalore. Since the bike was new, I had to quickly run-in the bike for the initial 950 KMS and complete the first service to ensure that it’s in the right condition for the longer ride.
Taking on a ride like this, that covers 1000 plus kilometers daily for several days together, is not easy and really tests a person’s endurance. I have never ridden such long distance on a bike, thus it took lot of determination to convince myself in attempting this ride. The planning for this project required me to train extensively. I had to get used to eating a balanced diet and walk for 4 kms every day. I had to include a lot of fruits and vegetables as part of the diet, since you usually can’t go wrong with such food.
Some of the equipment I had to carry for this trip included
- Simple tools, Fuse, Engine oils, spare spark plug, Puncher Kit, Allen key set
- Since the GS was a just launched machine, the saddle stays weren’t available to carry the Saddle Bag. I had to custom make one
- Most riders to Leh usually carry about 25 kilograms of stuff.
On 8th Sep I started the ride from my home, with odometer reading 1010 KM. There would be 43 other riders with me. It was quite a scene to watch. The whole trip was meticulously planned, just like any project. We had to factor in every possible risk. I’ve listed some of them below.
- Bike Breakdown, Since the bike was brand new, this was an unlikely event. But who knows? Every manufacturer has lemons. But the fact that it was a new BMW gave me enough confidence to move on. Plus, these bikes have been tested by other riders for endurance rides towards known and unknown destinations!
- The fuel capacity was just 11 liters. This effectively translates to just 250 KMs till the next gulp of petrol. We planned our fuel stops accordingly. We also carried extra fuel on specific routes.
- I anticipated some evaporation loss of engine oil. So, carried oil and sure enough had to top up twice, approximately once every 3000 kms.
- As a first-timer, I didn’t really know my limits or the limit of the bike. Let’s say I didn’t make efforts to find it out during this ride!
- Night riding is dangerous. Therefore, we made sure that we made maximum utilisation of daylight and planned our route so that distance, food/fuel stops, hotels, and other required stops were all mapped out between the start point and end point of the day. This ensured that there was no night riding in either direction.
- Since the route involved a large expanse that is known for extreme weather conditions, we chose to do the ride during peak summer. This minimised chances for landslide, avalanches, or heavy water crossing en-route to the Himalayas.
While several bikers chose to transport the bike for part of the distance, I decided to ride the entire route. The bike did a great job at handling the rough terrains, Highway touring as well as off roading.
I reached Kanyakumari with odometer clocking 7077 Kms. With a good night sleep and after having a fabulous sunrise experience, I headed back towards Bangalore. I reached Bangalore at 5 PM on 23rd September having completed 7753 KMs for the overall trip.
If you are also a dreamer like me and plan to do a long ride to the mountains, I have some tips that could help:
- Consider it a project and plan accordingly
- Commit yourself firmly and strongly believe in yourself, you can do it.
- Never compromise with own safety, good riding gear is paramount. “No Gear = No Ride”
- Train your body and mind. Practicing Yoga and Meditation helps.
- Practice to build your endurance.
- Learn to attend small/minor issues on bike.
- Successful rides are the result of the rider’s determination, ability, and practice. Bike size/capacity only comes in next.
- Love your Bike.
- The entire cost of the trip came to about 48000 INR. There were no cost over runs
- Always have a Plan B. Luckily for us, we never had to use one.
- Don’t push beyond your limit. Keep sufficient buffer in the plan for eventualities.
And finally, my lesson learned? I’m more confident of doing “Kashmir to Kanyakumari” (3800 Kms) in less than 60 Hrs. This will help me take a shot at entering into Limca book of records.