Imma break it down for you, quick and dirty.
What works: ORS or in a pinch, ICMR - Indian Council of Medical Research recommends a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of sugar to a glass - 250ml approx of water. Carry a mini water filter! I highly recommend a Sawyer Mini - great size, filters up to 400,000 litres of water and works beautifully for India.
What doesn’t work: just plain old water.
Why: Drinking plain old water works for a while but if it is hot and you’re sweaty, you want to replace the salts that you lose through sweat. Otherwise uncool things like fainting like a fairytale damsel, poor decision making and muscle cramps can happen.
What works: Drink water and eat a sweet and salty snack - like a really fabulous energy nutrition bar - Rohil Raj, motorcycle trail hunter savant and marketing manager at Area83 says “There's "The Huda Bar". They're incredible. You should check em out!”. Or a nutjob. Or salted peanuts. Or salted almonds. You get the picture.
Ditch the Sugar Spikes:
What works: complex carbohydrates which means carbs with fibre in them (it doesn’t work so well for carburettors, haha) - whole wheat roti, granola, dal, apples, bananas.
What doesn’t work: White bread, idlis, white rice, soft drinks, energy drinks.
Why: Because your blood sugar will spike and fall, bohot hard. You’ll crash (not literally, not yet), go into a food coma and nod off if you eat really processed, simple carbs like white bread/rice or drink sugary soft drinks.
What works: You’re on a long tour and you deserve to enjoy the entire gamut of food that the country has to offer - just be aware of how your body responds to it and prepare ahead - you want that coffee or nicotine hit before you hit the road and you want to be aware that it’s okay to pull over, take a nap to help with the brain fog.Same thing with alcohol or soft drinks - know that it dehydrates you and add a little extra water to your routine to compensate. Listen to your body.
What works: 3 days’ worth of water and a minimum of 1200 calories worth of food per day. Dan Popescu - badass fighter pilot/motorcyclist extraordinaire, who rode the Siberian Road of Bones, recommends nuts, seeds and honey packed into a couple of tiny 100ml pet bottles stashed away for emergencies in your bag. It will be calorie dense, compact and give you enough protein, carbohydrate and fat to get you to somewhere where you can get supplies, or steal a chicken in the dead of the night. It also lasts almost forever.
What doesn’t work: Chips, biscuits, and maggi noodles. Just say no. Ultra refined, ultra processed and will cause you and your body to burn up fuel super quickly with a shitty mileage. Say NO. Save them for bribing other motorcyclists, wait until they go into a food coma and steal their petrol. Carry a Huda Bar instead please.
- Boiled eggs still in their shell - they keep for a few days - considered the perfect protein with a PDCAAS rating of 1 (Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score)
- Bananas - they keep even if they’re ugly and black - great potassium and carbohydrate source, excellent for cramps
- Joshua Crasto says “Some of the best sandwiches I’ve had on the trails are those that my buddies have carried. I’m usually carrying the tools and tire irons with a dollop of grease, ain’t got nothing on the grilled ham and cheese melts, that’s the usual breakfast offering.”
- Sandwiches - stick to spreadable but unsoggy fillings like chutney, cheese, peanut butter. Dry, cooked mince, thick tomato chutney. The world is your oyster but please don’t carry oysters. You’ll die from diarrhoea. Whole wheat bread is your friend, white bread will make you sleepy.
Want to make your own trail meals because you’re exploring remote areas that have no service and no food? Hit me up - you’ll need a dehydrator. Too long for this post.
That’s it for now. Toodles. Oh, and please, follow the “I Don’t Trash My Travel” guidelines by Motorcycle Traveller’s Meet, m’kay?
Written by Huda Masood
Photograph from Anil Apte (and friends)