Goosebumps. The bike gets attended to, the riding gears arranged, luggage packed, phones and cameras charged – all of this on the day(s) preceding the ride. And then comes… The Night before the Ride, when goosebumps happen, when excitement reaches its heights, when the eyes are closed but the sleep… is nowhere near.

Exploring off the road at Srisailam

Kicking off the rides in the wee hours has multiple advantages – Getting out of the city without facing the traffic, experiencing the Sunrises on the highways, covering more distances in early mornings when the people/cattle/cyclists are yet asleep and not block the ways. But it also stands for a sleepless night spent staring at the roof wide eyed.

Whether it’s a 200 kms ride or a 2,000, a solo or a group one, whether leading or bringing the tail, the excitement is grand. By the time it’s time to start off, I had already virtually woken up several times in the night, virtually geared up, sat on the bike and experienced the journey several times over, only to wake up and realize: It’s time. It’s the surprises the journey holds, the feel of people and places going past, the insects crashing on the cockpit visor, the awesome highway chai (tea) which awaits rush up the adrenaline and the faces flush with child like excitement.

I asked my biker friends of the things that strike them first on the topic and these were the replies I got:

Time to get ready, armed n loaded. Dear Sleep, please come. Wind slapping the helmet. Check the checklist. Feels like awaiting first day of vacation after a boring year of school. Sleepless. Pray all goes well. Double check the checklist. Excitement for the rubber to be burned. Multitude of emotions – lazy and excited. Pray all reach at the meeting point on time. Dusty faces, yet satisfied. Feeling alive. Freedom. Yay!

A friend of mine said:

β€œWith every passing hour, I remember something that I missed to pack for the ride. Also, calculations keep happening on the number of hours I can sleep if I sleep now, somehow. Finally I leave all hope of sleeping and decide to compensate by sleeping early after riding in the day. And bam, even that doesn’t happen!”

En route Srisailam

If one is riding with a group, messages are exchanged in the night to check if anyone is asleep, and usually, except for one, all reply in negative. So, obviously, the one fellow who managed to find some sleep gets cursed and abused for the entire ride!

I guess, the feel to be out there, sitting on the bike rather than the confines of an air conditioned car, cruising miles upon miles, witnessing amazing vistas, improvising on the itineraries real time, and everything about it starting from adorning our nothing-less-than-astronaut’s-like uniform is the driving force which contributes to the heightened senses the previous night.

When the clock says

It’s about time to stop existing and start living.

Things start to happen.

Riding to Malshej ghats, Maharshtra

Do you experience similar ‘disturbances’ before a ride or a trip? What inspires such emotions in you? Do share!

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Also, check out my exploration rides:

Ride to West Coast- 6 days, 1900kms and 3 states!

Riding into the Kawal Tiger Reserve at Adilabad

Weekend ride to Hampi

Ahobilam- of the Night we Camped in the Nallamala Forest
Maharashtra Exploration Ride - 1,800 kms to Nasik & offbeat Sahyadris