Ah the joys of riding solo! This was my first solo ‘long ride’… I’ve ridden till now with my lovely wife as the faithful pillion and never knew how it feels to push the beast on those open roads at full throttle! So when the wife decided to go to Ahmedabad for a few days, I started planning for a really long ride, something that will satisfy my appetite for the open roads and also to start preparing myself for the really long December ride.
The original plan was to ride till Pondicherry on Saturday morning and come back to B’lore by Sunday evening so that I can unwind through the night and be all fresh and new for the coming hectic work week… then Ajey my buddy from SB suggested trip towards Waynad, the lovely place in Kerala where the roads are smooth like butter and the twisties that can make you puke… I talked about this to Keeny (another buddy from SB) who had decided that he also wanted to do a long ride before he goes to Delhi for the last weekend of this month.
We started preparing for this and I got all the route info (like always) to prepare myself mentally… on around Wednesday Ajey called again and said that the roads to Waynad might’ve been washed off due to the heavy rains that this region has been facing since a few weeks. So Keeny and I made a few calls and decided to get back to the original plan of Pondicherry… we called up Ajey and told him about this… but all the curses to that bugger, he said that the whole coastal region is on a red alert for the Tsunami threat (some earthquake in Indonesia) so Pondy is not advisable (darn!). this is when I started seeing the plans falling apart like a raft made out of twigs… I called Keeny again and asked his opinions and suggestions; his response was amazing "dude, I just want to ride, anywhere or anyhow". So I pulled out the internet database again and started rummaging the possible places in the radius of 500Kms.
Hampi was the next decided destination, but like always a new situation arose… Keeny didn’t have his camera this time and he doesn’t ride to any ‘good’ place without it… must admit; he is a pretty good photographer also! (Checkout is work at http://keeny.smugmug.com/ ) So the next option was Hassan where we can go to Belur/Halebid which is around 250kms. The plan was set and we decided that we’ll leave for Hassan on Saturday morning.
I guess early Friday, I got a call from Keeny that he is planning to get the rear crash guards fixed on his bull before we leave and to be honest, I wanted to get some auxiliary lamps fixed for the December stint. So we decided that Saturday we will invest in getting all these gizmos on the bikes and leave on Sunday early morning. The meeting was planned for 10:45 am Saturday morning (my time) and we finally managed to meet up at J.C.Road at around 12:30 (Keeny time)J . one of my colleagues, Gauravdeep also had decided to join in this shopping spree since he is new to B’lore and a proud owner on a new electra standard (right-shift gears) we landed on J C Road and started looking for the headlamps, alas Saturday being the GaneshaChaturthy, most of the stores were closed. The store that Rocky Da and Lohit had suggested was apparently closed and we landed in a completely different place; we were not sure if we wanted to pickup the lamps that this guy here showed.
We just looked around and came to Sandhya (the one stop shop for all Bullet accessories) picked up the crash guards for Keeny’s and Gaurav’s bulls… I was all impressed and all set with those, but not sure if my wifey will be able to sit on the bull with these things hampering her leg space. Anyways, after the shopping, we went to the headlamps guy and got 4 headlamps, 2 for the ‘redeye’ and the other 2 for ‘irony’ went back to the mechanic who had fitted the crash guards on the bikes earlier and got the lamps fixed. Must say, that the bike looks royal after the extra fitments! Anyways, this took up most of Saturday and we decided to go to Saleems’ garage (he is the mechanic I got introduced to with Rocky da) wanted Saleembhai to check the wiring and also check if our bikes were all set to go out on the open roads for a long run…
He gave us an A-Okay by 8pm. We started celebrations with beer and more discussions on the route… by now the routes had been changed a gazillion times and none of us were clear as to where we wanted to ride the next morning! I guess we had decided for Mandya – some heritage town that Keeny had heard about and on route Mysore.
At 1 in the morning, I got a message from Gauravdeep that he is dropping out of the ride as he had a bit too much to drink and was not feeling well… Sunday morning 5am I called Keeny expecting him to sound groggy and giving some silly reason to not join in, but to my utter surprise he was all fresh and sounded really charged to go!
We met in front of Nimhans, Keeny as always was a bit late, but thankfully this time I waited only 10minutes J he had his colleague as his pillion (sort of role reversal) I was the one who usually showed up with a pillion and the others were solo bikers! His friend was a pretty enthusiastic bikerchic (this term is usually reserved for my wife) I could see that she had the spirit for biking and didn’t complain like most other women I’ve rode with till now…
We started towards Mysore (honestly no destination in our heads) stopped at Kamat’s for our breakfast, spent a good 40 minutes (or more) there and then started back on the way, Keeny suggested that he would like to explore Mandya (not exactly sure what, but the town intrigued him) we started riding and I for a change was the lead rider… the ride was awesome, thankfully not much traffic on the roads and the weather was just awesome! We could see mist covered mountains (well actually hills and hillocks ) and a slight drizzle on the way, after a few kilometers I realized that Mandya was left behind a long way and we were already nearing Mysore! I pulled over and asked Keeny if he wants to turn back or keep on going? He was cool with the idea of going wherever! So we kept on riding… around 20kms later, I saw a signboard that said that ShivanaSamudram was around 70Kms away on the left turn… we took the left and started on the road.
This road was like a dream! Absolutely no traffic, all straight road, and you can see it merging into the horizons… this stretch of road will stay in my memory for a long time now… the loud thumps of my RedEye, the straight stretch, the lush greenery all around and us riding into the nothingness to the nowhere…
After a while we started hitting bad stretches of the good road, it turned so bad that for one point it was only slush and sludge and no proper road! I kept cursing under my breath as I could feel the slush splashing all over my bike and making it look more like a disaster than the sexy beast she was! But we kept on. On the way, I stopped by a gas station and filled her up all the way! With the full tank of gas, she was all set to prove her worth all over again!
We kept on going and finally hit the Simsha water plant; the waterfalls were only a few kilometers from here, the roads actually led us straight to the falls… if it was not for the railings, we probably would’ve taken the bikes all the way to the base of the falls.
Stayed here for a while, I smoked a victory cigarette and we all stayed there for a while, had some tender coconuts and Keeny tried his hands on the ‘masala gooseberries’ was pretty tasty must say!
After a while, we started on our way back… I noticed on the way that there was a different route (via Kanakpura) back to Bangalore. So we decided to go this way… BIG MISTAKE!!!
The road that looked pretty un-trodden, empty and smooth suddenly turned out to be the off-roading highway to hell! The tar was completely nonexistent and we had crater sized potholes all the way! This was some project that the state government has started a few months back and decided to make the place better! (I guess they just forgot about this stretch of land) for almost 25-30 kilometers and a lot of aching backs and butts, we got back to relatively better roads, stopped over at Kanakpura for a chai and a well deserved butt break and started back again.
By now, I could sense Keeny’s frustration as I was doing steady 80-90s and a few stretches of 100kmph while he was used to faster speeds on his beast. So I could see him come all the way to my rear bumper and then slow down again since we had decided that I was the lead. (Sorry dude, you would’ve cursed me enough I know J )
After a while we finally reached Bangalore, took the route to BTM and stopped at the parathaguy near my place (he makes some of the best parathas!) had a pretty heavy lunch and then we split. I came home, thanked the beast for its awesome performance and promised it a longer ride soon…
A few things I must say that I learnt…
if you want to ride, just ride, don’t make plans and don’t wait for people to join in. its eventually the spirit of riding and not gathering people together…
if people decide to drop out, don’t over react; it’s a matter of their choice and taste, they wanna ride, good if not, good for them!
Ride at a speed that you are comfortable with, don’t ride because the guy in front of you is ripping or the one behind you is too close
Remember, it’s a ride and not a race… not with your group, never with others!
Enjoy the ride, love the challenges and changes of terrain… its all a moving picture for you
Well, enough gyan from me and a really long droning story, but had to do it!