ACD Racing Engine Guard | All Important #WITD

What I Did Today – WITD

The design of the Super Tenere powerhouse leaves the engine / sump / oil filter exposed to damage from road debris and stones and rocks if riding off road. The stock protection – aka Skid Plate – is a basic plastic piece which would not afford any decent level of protection. Hence the Skid Plate as engine Protection is a must have for this bike. For that matter, any bike that is liable to go off-roading.

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Season:2016 | Engage: Prep mode and GoPro Setup

This week here in Metro-Atlanta had been like Spring – almost Summer. Clear blue skies. Warm 78s through the day. This, after a number of weeks of irritating, persistent rain – or ‘precipitation’ as the weathermen would like to call it – seemed like the call proclaiming that the 2016 season is now open for Cage-free riding and for some GoPro videos to boot!

I was looking forward to riding with a group I came to name as the WeekendRiderz on Saturday. But having to visit some friends on a late Friday night, turned in to a late Saturday morning and a subsequent (sadly, sorry Chaps!) scrubbing of me being able to ride with the group. This had me with some free time on my hands during the early afternoon.

I decided to run the FJR around the local neighborhood testing out the various GoPro camera locations and vantage points around the bike, using the suction mount and the Ram clamps. I had an hour or so available for this. I focused on using the Saddlebags or  Panniers. Along the rear the surface on the Panniers afforded decent flat areas for the suction mount, The GoPro3 had the Limefuel battery all hooked up and ready to fly.

Using the GoPro App on the iPhone, I used ‘control’ mode to view the shot angle on the GoPro3 and make any necessary adjustments. This was done while the app is connected to the GoPro, hooked up in turn to the iPhone via the GoPro camera wifi. Once the videos were captured, I used the Apple Lighting to SD Card Adapter to connect the microSD card to iPhone to import the four videos into iPhone. I could have used the GoPro Studio app on the my laptop, but I still find that clunky and a little tedious to use and decided to go the RoadWarrior way and create the video using the iPhone. This time using Splice iOS app, a nice easy to use and quite intuitive app for video editing and production. Far better than the GoPro Studio. Any wonder that GoPro decided to use a substantial amount of the cash reserve to acquire Splice.

Tip: Uploading videos from iPhone to YouTube: Once the video was ready, I used the YouTube iOS app to upload the video to my channel. However, after uploading completed the process hung on ‘finishing the video’ for a couple of hours. Looking up Google Forums, it seems to be an endemic problem with the uploading feature of the iOS app. The alternative was to ‘share’ the video from the Photos app to YouTube. This worked fine and the upload was completed within minutes.

Here’s the video showing the four different locations I tried.

Do you have any suggestions of camera positions I should try on my next ‘camera location’ trial session?

Boots by Royal Enfield, India
Bike by Yamaha
Video by RakeshRao of #PoshGoondas
Camera by GoPro
GoPro battery by LimeFuel
Mounts by Ram Mounts

 

The Valley Green

 

Mountain range surrounding Leh, Ladakh; As seen from the Shanti Stupa, Leh

The day after we arrived in Leh, we had the morning to ourselves. #PoshGoondas were free to amble around town; try and get some Indian money out of the ATMs (that’s another story for another day); or do a bit of sightseeing which Jatin, I and Kalpesh decided to do. Nimish was off Snow Leopard spotting.

After visiting the Leh Palace, we went up to the Shanti Stupa. A nice, serene, spiritual location. Although walking barefoot on the sun baked tiled floor was a task. Perched at an elevation, we could look down on various sections that made up Leh, ensconced in the Valley. With it being a dry day, the skies were pristine blue, the clouds snow white and the land saturated in arid browns or lush green. The view of the fertile greens snaking along the valley, appeared to look like a tree lined river finding its course as allowed by the Mountains, as if standing guard. And this scape overseen by the snow capped mountains in the yonder. Such stark terrains, coexisting. Perhaps in co-dependence. Another of Ma Nature’s tapestries.

“Over every mountain there is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley.”
/Theodore Roethke

Snow capped Sentinals

 Mountain range surrounding Leh, Ladakh.

We rode into Leh the previous evening. The general feeling on reaching the hotel was bittersweet. Glad that we had an amazing experience leading up to arriving into Leh and without any mishap or untoward incident, more importantly. Saddened to a degree since Leh was the ‘end’. A couple of days and we would need to fly back to reality. To the concrete jungle. To the rat race. This was, in my opinion, the measure of the quality of the time we spent, on our own and with each other, over the previous few days. Either when riding, or just gazing in amazement at what Nature can really get up to.

Nimish and I were up early(ish) armed with our cameras. I found Nimish on the terrace of the hotel building. The terrace afforded a clear view of the Leh Skyline on one side. The other side looked towards the town but was shielded by trees and hotel/homes reaching up two maybe three stories. Needless to say our attention was drawn toward and captivated by the ‘Skyline’ side. And what a breathtaking skyline it is. We kept swapping lens, positions, zoom in, zoom out whatever we could to try and capture what we were seeing. I don’t believe the images do justice.

Amazing how Nature can take a handful of colors – just the Browns and Blues and the intermittent White – and create such an indelible painting. It was wonderful to see the wind blowing wispy clouds over the peaks, gently caressing the Snow, as if trying not to smudge the painting. A picture of gradients rising from the dark, arid rock merging into the soft white snow through to the wispy white and finally to the vivid deep uniquely blue skies. The image may not fit into the ‘photography rules’ – rule of thirds, leading the eye etc. But it is striking nonetheless. Hope you like it.

Nomination:
With this image I nominate a determined spirit, a great person, and a wonderful photographer, Siddharth. We spent a day together as we rode, or rather, ‘traveled’ out together from Kaza. Enough for a bond to be created. His images are truly inspiring.

“Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing”
/Barry Finlay

The Spiti

 
Along Spiti River, just before Kaza, Himachal Pradesh. India.

This shot has been a favorite of mine on many fronts. The memory surrounding it primarily. The composition. The colors. Usual suspects that make up an image. But for me, specially so.

We came to this point on our #PoshGoondas ride after a fairly wet, drenching ride from Nako, via Tabo Monastery. As we ate up the kilometers, the skies cleared up to show off the uniquely blue tint, white clouds and some decent but dirt/gravel roads. The arid, yet mesmerizing landscape we passed through practically tore us between enjoying the ride or stopping every minute to capture Nature as we had never seen before. This particular spot was where the Spiti River was at its widest. As we turned a corner, the world opened up. Spirit River in a wide delta area with sand banks and rocks interspersed, dotting the waters and creating mini wakes, as the water flowed around, past and over them. The road along one shore, and mountain along the other, lined with lush green Trees along bottom. Suffice to say, we spent quite some time enjoying the vista, trying to capture as much as we could into our mind’s camera.
It was easy to cross the river on foot at most sections along sand banks and rocks. The elevation still left us breathless on any sort of exertion and we tread slowly but surely towards the middle. Beyond this point the river flow was stronger and deeper. This spot was about the furthest I could go – trying to get close to the middle for a good composition. Taking a picture low over the water and looking out through the valley; I had to get a shot. I had to bend low and compose the shot through the the tilted LCD screen. This pressed on the lungs and added to the breathlessness caused by the elevation. Few quick shots and I was done! That or being prone in water gasping for air.
In my mind this shot really does justice to the expansive mountains, valleys and the enormous skies! Add to that, the smooth – almost machined smooth – rocks on the river bed. The brown dull waters, the shinning smooth colorful rocks, the lush trees leading the eye through the valley with its brown arid mountains and up to the blue skies protected by the white-gray blanket of clouds.

The spot; vivid and memorable.
This image; a favorite for years to come.

“There will always be rocks in the road ahead of us.
They will be stumbling blocks or stepping stones;
It all depends on how you use them”
/Freidrich Nietzche

 

5000 Milestone passed.

Our website has crossed well over 5000 views/visits since it was let loose on the InterWebs. As at writing this update, 5818 to be precise. Thank you all for your support and encouragement.

We expect that the count will rise significantly once the Daily ride reports roll in and get posted. There has been a little delay in getting around to it. Jet lag, back to life, work and other distractions just forced their way in. To add to that I had to do a little trouble shoot with the loading time of the site. On web as well as mobile, readers had complained that it just took too long to load. After a few days of checking the nuts and bolts, we were able to identify the culprits and remove them forthwith. The site loading time should be much faster now.

More to follow soon.

5000image: mimo.eu

The Ride | Pictures Videos

Back to Life; Back to Reality! This was my Facebook update this morning. Right up to a few days back our ‘reality’ was suiting up, starting the engines, navigating through river crossings, riding on non-existent roads and reveling with open throttles on the few good tarmac roads! All this seemed to evaporate in to the thin air with the ‘Thud’ of the aircraft wheels touching ground as I landed 54in Atlanta on Saturday. Left only with vivid memories of the Ride and the memories shared and created with friends, old and new.

Now comes the task of managing, curating, assimilating the Gigabytes (probably Terabytes) of media we have collected over the 12 days of our ride and add the non-ride related media before and after the ride was done. Media collected in form of images from iPhone/Smartphone, DSLR camera and the GoPro cameras. Multiply this with seven riders altogether (including Vir Nakai) and we have a mountain to go through.

The intention is to get all the images and videos into a central cloud folder. All seven of us upload our media to the folder creating a pool and then each one of us can download images/videos from the other riders, that we would like to keep for our collections.

We are currently leaning towards Dropbox as the best option right now. But I would like to throw this out to all our followers and friends and look for suggestions of options besides Dropbox that we should consider.

Please share your suggestions in the comments below.

 

Day 11 | July 15 | Leh to Pangong Tso II

Leh to Pangong Tso | Multi Terrain | Decent riding

I posted another video of the same stretch taken from the Helmet mounted GoPro. This video was taken with a GoPro 3 facing me while heading up to Chang La  (5,360m or 17,590 ft) from Leh (3524m or 11,562 ft) to get to Pangong Tso (4,250m or 13,940 ft). Nice stretch with warm Sun, clear skies, cool breeze, me and The Steed.

I have attempted to add some background music using GoPro Studio editing software. Music from: BenSound.com

Location:

Video:

Day 11 | Jul 15 | Leh to PangongTso

Leh to Pangong Tso | 100kms | Decent Ride

Our penultimate day’s ride took us to the much acclaimed, much awaited destination of Pangong Tso. The Blue Lake or the 3 Idiots Lake. This was a two day ride. A day’s ride there, overnight stay and then another day’s ride back. Kalpesh, due to prior commitments back in the US, had left the previous day heading back to USA. Sam had a flight early next day which meant that he could join us on the ride to Pangong Tso. He was missed. Him and his fear of all things water, crossings and wet! The PoshGoondas group was down to five riders; Vir, Fiona, me, Jatin and Nimish. Jatin and Nimish had decided to split a bike. Jatin ride to Pangong Tso, while Nimish rode the Backup Vehicle taking pictures. And on the return leg they swap; Jatin riding the Backup and Nimish the bike. So, in essence, 5 riders on 4 bikes!

The ride to Pangong Tso was like a summary of all the preceding road surfaces we had to navigate through over the past 10 days. Started off with city traffic riding, narrowing to quite single track tarmac, followed by climbs over smooth tarmac with intermittent water crossings, rock and rubble, reaching Chang La (Pass) at an elevation of 5,360 m (17,585 ft) where the ‘road’ – rather, a track, was lined with snow with an accompanying chill breeze. Then the descend over rough roads, back to smooth tarmac with intermittent rocky roads!

The video below shows the first patch of riding over the smooth tarmac. Undulating, wide smooth curves made for the throttle to open and a nice ride. After leaving Leh, this led to our first Chai stop and a breather. Jatin and I took were the ‘Tail’ group here. I wanted to enjoy the smooth tarmac and the gentle sweeping curves and decided to open up the Bullet and zip ahead. That was a fun stretch indeed.

Location:

Video:

The Convoy Crossing

Day 7 | Tandi to Sarchu

We encountered this water crossing riding a few hours from Tandi. This was along the Srinagar Kyonon Road. It would branch out further up, where we would fork off and head towards ZingZingBar and then to our night stop at Sarchu Tents.

This particular crossing had a nicely deceptive dip running right across the road. Easy to push through and get jammed into the dip ensuring freezing cold wet feet! Just as the PoshGoondas Crew reached the crossing, an Indian Army Convoy of Trucks (seen here) trundled along from the opposite side. This was a good thing. It gave us that time to look at the crossing and try and work out a good smooth line through the crossing based on how the trucks made their way across. The trucks were Army and they were bigger. They got right of way. No questions.  The actual crossing allowed only for single lane traffic.  The trucks were driving by young men, driving along with focus and concentration. Respect to them. The wait to cross was fairly long. It was the Indian Army which guards the borders in inhospitable regions. Patience was easy to come by.

Vir, Sam and Fiona had managed to cross (seen ahead between the trucks). Vir, as always, came up to the crossing to guide and help (if needed) others across the waters.

 

Convoy Crossing