A long ride. Gurudongmar Lake. Picturesque setting. And a proposal. He’s done it all – Ramneek Singh. They say that a story is worth reading if you are hooked to it till the very end. The climax is the real deal. But let’s get to know the humble beginning that every story has. And who better than Ramneek Singh himself to unravel his story before the National Record holding story.
Rachana from Team Livingit connected with Ramneek for the #IamLivingit series. Read the story to know about Ramneek, his passion for riding and how he follows his passion –long distance riding!
Livingit: A traveler and a rider, tell us a little about yourself.
Ramneek Singh: More than being a traveler or a rider, I relate to myself as a storyteller; and what better way to tell stories than by having some amazing experiences!
The knack for exploring the unknown was developed in me from a very young age by my father who used to take our family on yearly vacations to far off places during the “Durga Puja” holidays. Once I came off age, I got exposed to various people, books, and movies which gave me perspective about life and the importance of traveling in life.
Livingit: How did you get into riding? How did riding develop from a hobby into a passion?
Ramneek Singh: When I was in college, I worked at Crossword bookstore for pocket money. It was there that I read the book “The Motorcycle Diaries” by Ernesto Che Guevara about their epic motorcycle journey in South America.
I was hooked to the book. Soon enough, I managed to watch the movie and was awestruck by it! My parents gifted me a motorcycle and as soon as I was able to complete the run-in of the motorcycle, I convinced my best friend Rajinder to go on a motorcycle road trip from Kolkata to Darjeeling.
While planning for my first ride, I came across an online portal of motorcycle enthusiasts at www.xKmph.com. They took me into their fold and exposed me to the wonderful world of motorcycling!
My parents, though un-approving of the idea of traveling long distances on the motorcycle at first, started to slowly understand my passion and after a little bit of resistance from them for the first few trips, they embraced my idea of traveling for which I am forever grateful to them.
Livingit: What bike did you learn to ride on? Would you recommend it?
Ramneek Singh: My earliest memories of traveling on a two-wheeler are that of me standing in the space between the seat and the bucket of my father’s Bajaj Chetak. The first time I balanced a motorized two-wheeler was also the same Bajaj Chetak of my father. However, I was allowed to regularly ride a motorcycle only when I was old enough.
Though I learned to ride a motorcycle on my Dad’s Yamaha Crux, a majority of my learning happened only when I owned my own Bajaj Pulsar 135 LS which I fondly named “Bikey”. It was the perfect motorcycle for a young college student like me.
It was lightweight enough to maneuver through city traffic, had enough power to cruise at decent speeds on the highways, returned a decent fuel economy and managed to swing a few heads too. A 19-year-old couldn’t have asked for more.
Livingit: What bike do you currently ride?
Ramneek Singh: I currently ride a KTM Duke 200 which I have fondly named “Dukey”
Livingit: Bajaj Pulsar versus your current KTM?
Ramneek Singh: This is a hard comparison. Dukey is technologically miles ahead of the humble Bikey. However, since Bikey was my first motorcycle, I have several memories with it and that is why I have a soft corner for it.
But with the changing dynamics and requirements of my travel plans, Dukey is a worthy upgrade; and just like Bikey fulfilled all my requirements when I was a twenty-something college student, Dukey fulfills my requirements now that I have more ambitious travel plans.
Livingit: What is your dream bike?
Ramneek Singh: I don’t have one yet. I was happy with Bikey and now I am happy and content with Dukey.
Livingit: Working for a multinational company which finances your travels, you’ve traveled the length and breadth of India multiple times on your bike. Did you start long distance touring on your two-wheeler before or after landing the job?
Ramneek Singh: I did my first long distance ride when I was in the first year of my college and I was working at Crosswords. I managed to travel as much as possible with my then humble job and with a little bit of help from my friends. I had the time then but limited means to travel.
Once I graduated, I joined Bose Corporation and that is where I have been working since that last 5 years.
While my current job takes care of paying for my traveling bills, it the time which I find difficult to manage. Having said that, I must admit that my organization has been really supportive and understanding towards my passion and approved my leaves whenever possible.
It is the greedy traveler in me for whom it is never enough no matter how many leaves I get. At the end of the day, it is all about balancing your priorities and doing what you love to do.
Livingit: What are some of the routes/places that motorcycle enthusiasts cannot miss?
Ramneek Singh: It is extremely difficult to name just three! In no particular order, I have loved traveling on the following –
- The twisties of the old silk route in East Sikkim
- The extremely well-maintained route between Thimpu and Paro in Bhutan
- Riding aimlessly on the White Rann of Kutch
- Riding along the Bay of Bengal from Pondicherry to Kanyakumari via Tranquebar and Dhanushkhodi
- Riding deep inside the Thar desert from Jaisalmer to Lonegwala border
- Riding on top of the plateaus with the clouds playing hide and seek from Shillong to Cherapunjee.
- Riding anywhere on the Maharashtrian Western Ghats during peak monsoon
- Lastly, the 15 kilometers ride from the last check post at Geigoon to Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim.
Livingit: What are some of your favorite destinations in India to explore?
Ramneek Singh: I have always been attracted to the simplicity of the North Eastern part of India. Sikkim, Bhutan, Meghalaya, Arunachal, North Bengal have always been my favorite.
I have also enjoyed exploring the remote areas of the White and the Little Rann of Kutch. One of my most special experiences happened when I slept all alone under the stars deep inside the Thar desert at a small village called Khuri near Jaisalmer. I have also loved the relaxed colonial vibes of Pondicherry, Hampi and South Goa.
Livingit: How do you plan for a long distance trip – what are logistics you take care of before you set out?
Ramneek Singh: A healthy motorcycle ensures that you reach your destination without many hiccups. After all these years, I have come to realize that motorcycles are not machines but living beings and if we listen to them closely, they tell us if anything is wrong with them.
I have fortunately been a tentative listener and always took care of my motorcycles which in turn have never let me down even in the remotest parts of the country.
One of the biggest challenges while traveling with a pillion is accommodating the entire luggage on the small motorcycle and that can be solved by purchasing motorcycle specific luggage bags and a few modifications to accommodate the extra luggage.
Rest, you can never be completely prepared. I believe having a passion of long distance of motorcycling is all about giving yourself up to the universe and believing in the universe to take care of you.
Livingit: We’d ask you about your most memorable ride…but a wild guess would lead us to your record-breaking Proposal ride: Where did the idea come from?
Ramneek Singh: Of all the places that I have traveled to, the Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim has been my favorite. I had fallen in love with the place since the first time I saw it and when I thought that it was time for me to take my relationship with my better half to the next level, I couldn’t think of any better place.
The idea was always to make the moment special for Swatabdi. It was months later that a friend suggested that the proposal could be a record breaking one and that is when I approached Limca Book of Records. When I was proposing to Swatabdi, neither of us had the faintest of an idea that it would turn into a record!
Also, Swatabdi managed to write her feelings about the proposal ride. Here’s what she wrote –
Ramneek Singh: No. She relishes the opportunity of enjoying the vistas while I concentrate on the road.
Livingit: What are your tips for amateur riders?
Ramneek Singh: Do not ride for likes, comments, and social media flattery. Start humble, do not jump to a higher CC motorcycle in the first go, learn the tips and tricks on a small motorcycle and then upgrade to a bigger one. Be humble and ride for the simple pleasure of riding; nothing more, nothing less.
Livingit: Why do you ride?
Ramneek Singh: Riding a motorcycle gives me perspective. I think better when I am riding. I have had the best of my ideas while riding my motorcycle. It does not necessarily mean to ride in the high Himalayas, I feel my best even while riding through traffic in summers.
The whole idea of balancing your life on two wheels which are powered by a complicated engine and a tank full of combustible fuel between you and the engine is a rather intriguing one.
Traveling to far off places on a motorcycle is one of the ways when you can truly be in sync with your journey and the prospect of not knowing what to expect in the next kilometer is something which fascinates me the most.
Livingit: How important is it to you to be able to live your passion?
Ramneek Singh: A life without passion is a waste of a life. We are not born to grow, earn and die. We are born to live, and only during the time when we follow our passion are we really “livingit” to our fullest human potential.
It’s stories like these that inspire us to live our passions! Wishing Ramneek all the very best for his future endeavors and looking forward to many more stories.
Managing work and passion at the same time is a task and Ramneek is up for it. What’s your excuse?
So, Stop existing! And Start Livingit.