Monday, December 23, 2013

The long awaited "RM"

Alright, first of all, its been a long while since I blogged.

And its been 2 years for me since I rode to an RM. Well, actually the last one I attended was the Rider Mania 2012 "Ten years, one brotherhood" edition of RM hosted by us - the Royal Beasts MC, so can't count that in the RMs list where I rode to.

From this perspective, there is a longer gap of 4 years. RM - RTMC Ishtyle, hosted by Bangalore Bullet club RTMC (Also the first Royal Enfield Bullet club that I had joined when I was in Bangalore) was the last one I had ridden to and that was in 2009. One hell of a ride that was - 4500+kms, From Delhi to Bangalore via Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karntaka, TamilNadu and Kerala. Nothing like riding with Beaster brothers.

In between 2009 and now I had my share of fun away from India in Canada/South Korea and that explains my absence from 2010, 2011 and 2013 RM editions. This time I'm here and there is no way I'm gonna miss the BIGGEST and BADDEST RM of all the time - Rider Mania 2014 "Come Home" edition, by the MadBulls MC Chennai.

So, cutting short all the nostalgia etc, now is the time to give you a short glimpse of the Southern ride that begins post RM2014:

RM plans:

Jan 17: Reach Chennai, Collect the motorcycle. Ride with the Beasters to a place for "Beaster special pre-RM" night.
Jan 18: Ride to the RM venue.
Jan 19: RM fever in full swing!

Southern ride plan:

Jan 20: RM Venue - Pondicherry
Jan 21: Pondicherry - Rameshwaram - Dhanushkodi - Rameshwaram
Jan 22: Rameshwarma - Kanyakumari (and probably - Kovalam (Trivandrum))
Jan 23: Kanyakumari/Kovalam - Verkala - Alleppey (Get on a houseboat and spend the night)
Jan 24: Alleppey - Thekkady - Munnar
Jan 25: Spend a day in/around Munnar
Jan 26: Munnar - Kochi (Ship the bike back to Delhi)
Jan 27: Back to Delhi

Riders: Any comments/suggestions on the above itinerary? Till now only the railways/air tickets bookings have been made, bike shipping arrangements and other details are still in fluid stage - any suggestions are more than welcome :)

RM Ahoy!

P.S.: Oh, and btw, some major changes since the last blog:

  • I have a wonderful company of a permanent pillion - my lovely wife Chiya. She loves traveling as much as I do and is capable of doing extra long rides with me (Has already done a lot of long rides as a pillion.)
  • Another Royal Enfield added to the stable: An LB500 Royal Enfield Machismo. This one ate a lot of my money, time and effort and is now, almost, ready for Dakshin darshan.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Into the lower Himalayas

Its been a few months since I updated this blog for the rides done in between. Thanks to a few friends who have nagged me and successfully managed to get me out of my laziness (uncomfortable for me though!) and document the rides from now on! But No! I hadn't stopped riding!! Dude, come on!!

Sumeet called up for a ride on BikeNomads and I wanted to join it. While hectic and unsure schedule at work made me confirm only at the last moment I'm glad I could make it. As with my previous experience with the Delhi nomads, there were only a few names in the riders' list. It was only a matter of time that the list of actual riders turned out to three - including Sumeet, Chintan and myself. Chintan gave us company till Kurukshetra and turned back to catch some sleep.

Day 1:

The dayy started for us at around 4.30 AM from Sumeet's place where I'd stayed overnight. We proceeded to the bypass and tanked up.

The tappet cover in my bullet was bleeding badly, and when I opened it up I was shocked to see a big crack over there. After checking out the spares and tools I found out that I carried everything but M seal!! Thats how it happens actually, the stuff that you would actually require in life is missing at the time when you need it the most!! With this my ride plans became endangered. I told Sumeet and Chintan to carry on If I don't get a timely aid. No point ruining their ride, when they can ride! I called up my rider friend Rajan, from Royal Beasts, at that early hour of morning to get his advise, and he also repeated the M-seal mantra. Sorry to have woken you up Rajan!!

Thanks to Ashwani sir, who was riding with his 60kph group, I got the M-seal to get a quick fix solution.

Ashwani sir pushed off soon afterwards while we stayed back to replenish our enthu with some hot tea. A good one and a half hour lost in this.

We carried on further with this setup and after a while I noticed the oil leaking again, this time from the tappet cover gasket! On this NH1 shit always happens on rides! Last year when I was riding with Sumeet to Hatu peak, Sumeet's avenger wiring went kaput! Around Christmas time when I was riding with Biscuit to Narkanda, I had problems with my carb! And this time it was the tappet cover!! While the ghost of past still haunted the savior was not so far. Pipli (Kurukshetra), where we got help the last two times, came to rescue! I knew a bullet mechanic in Pipli so I thought my troubles were gone. I rode to his shop and damn, it wasn't open yet! Luckily got a spare parts shop next to it which had all what we needed - M-seal gasket sealant, new tappet cover & M seal. We did the mechanic job by ourselves and fixed it so nicely that after this oil didn't even seep through!

Another one hour wasted in this operation. We got back on the highway and tried to cover up distance as fast as possible. Fortunately for us the weather Gods were merficul enough to not present us with soaring temperatures. The ride ahead was mostly uneventful till Zeerakpur. After turning to Shimla from Zeerakpur, it was a P.I.T.A$$ riding in that crazy traffic till Pinjaur. We soon caught up with 60kphers at Kalka, where they decided to push off and we decided to take brunch.

Now the ghats with smooth tarmac started and lasted till Kufri. As always it was fun to ride in those ghats, the footpegs on my bullet are almost gone now. Next time I'm going to replace these footpeg rubbers with the ones in LB500 bullets with tapered end. The scraping robs one of higher lean angles and more corner speeds! Sumeet was speed happy with CBZ xtreme. As heard earlier from other folks he also repeated the smooth handling and nice performance funda about the bike. Bike apart, he's grown his riding skills in the year I have been ridden with him.

Good going Sumeet!

We had crossed Shimla by 3, it was decided that we'll take a tea break at Kufri. Sumeet was so lost in taking the curves on his CBZ that he didn't even notice that he'd passed the place long back!! Finally better sense prevailed and I overtook him to stop for tea/maggie somewhere near Theog.

From Theog the road to right goes to Rohru and the other one goes to Rampur via Narkanda. The 60kphers who were behind us took the road to narkanda while we took the one to Rohru. The smooth tarmac disappeared and we had typical hilly roads with bumpy and slippery surface, this reduced our speeds to 30-40 kmph. The reduction in speeds meant more time with surroundings & man!! They were really beautiful!!

As one gets deeper into the hills you find more attention given to you by the people. Then there are kids who wave at you as you pass them and you wave back - this particular thing is a favorite with me. Reminds me of my childhood days when we used to wave at the passing motorcyclists.

Till evening 6 o'clock it kept on drizzling and we kept on riding, stopping only to click snaps without getting off from the motorcycle and then move on. Around 6 I wanted to capture a few thematic shots so we stopped. Sumeet was reluctant to stop but I pursuaded him to stop as Rohru was only 40 more kms.

Its the region of Devdaar forests, it is colder than the pine forests regions. When we rode through those forest ranges after our photoshoot it was quite cold. I could have utilised the liner of my riding jacket, which I'd left at home thinking that it would be good enough to bear the cold with a textile riding jacket. To minimize the cold I closed all the air vents and situation came under control! I rode ahead of Sumeet, and he probably got lost somewhere! It was kind of spooky to ride there in the forest roads at the time of night. No I wasn't afraid, but it definitely felt spooky!! I was thinking of finding a tea shop and stopping for Sumeet to catch up but couldn't locate any. By the time I found one I was only 11 kms from Rohru.

It definitely was very cold out there! I happily devoured tea and omelette waiting for Sumeet. It was a good half an hour wait for the dude to turn up. It turned out that he'd lost his way somewhere. There is a famous 'Hatkeshwary' temple here @ Hatkoti. The inn managed by the temple charges 50 Rs. for a night's stay. I checked this temple out from far away the next day and it seems I'll try out this dharmshala ;) the next time I ride to this area.

We checked in to the PWD guest house at Rohru for 200 Rs. a night stay. It was only dinner which kept us awake till 9.45 PM, once it was over we dunno when we fell asleep!!

Day 2:

I thought I heard someone honking a loud horn close to my ears, I slowly opened my eyes and it took me close to a minute to realize it was the 6 AM alarm! Snooze for 1 more hour!

At 7 it didn't sound so bad and I got up. A nice view of the hills and river flowing a bit far greeted. What a beauty! Rohru is a laid back place and it is nice to be there to break free from the usual 'bhasad' of the city life. As such there are no tourist places to visit in Rohru and even if there are any, we were not 'tourists'! We'll find our own places and feel what we really feel there.

While looking at the road maps we found an interesting road to Chakrata. Sumeet looked at me questioningly and both of us were game for the new route instantly!

After getting ready we paid the guest housekeeper and thanked him for the nice tea and dinner.

The river was not to be missed at any cost, so we found out a tractor trail leading to the river. Bingo! How time flew by the river we never realized!! Its so soothing to just sit on the banks of a river and just watch it flow by. You get some random thoughts, your mind wanders from one thing to another in a flow, its like the river you are watching.

A few random clicks and we decided to take the road to Chakrata. The roads were as bumpy as hilly roads in the interiors are. We kept on riding along river Pabbar, I occasionally stopped to click a picture or two while Sumeet kept on riding. In around half an hour of riding we did some 25 kms of riding, which going by the standard speeds in hilly roads was quite good. We stopped in a village called Sanail for breakfast. This is a place from where Uttaranchal begins. The locals here are either Himachalis or Nepalis. We'd hot tea and omelette for breakfast and we pushed off to Tiuni.

The roads are bumpy and at places have no tar but only dust and gravel. The scenery around makes for the absence of good roads, It was an awesome experience riding on those beautiful roads. Hilly roads are a different area altogether when it comes to riding or even for driving. You can easily identify who has ridden/driven in the hills before. Any sensible rider/driver in the hills makes way for the vehicle climbing the slope and takes curves wisely and without efforts. The alternates are mostly people from plains who think the road has shrunk in side and if they go a bit more to left there vehicle is gonna fall to the Gorge below! They will never leave road for you nor is overtaking these guys easy! A basic courtesy of waving after someone has made way for you to overtake makes everyone happy!

A santro driver from Punjab was one such moron, I overtook him for good and made sure that he stays way behind so as to never bother me again. We soon covered the distance to Tiuni. Sumeet was riding ahead and he missed the turn to Chakrata. I stopped at the turn, asked the locals and proceeded in the right direction. I had doubted that Sumeet would have missed this turn, so I checked up with the locals if they had seen a Red bike passing by minutes ago. I was greeted by a No and an FYI that my lights were switched ON ;) - As I do when on a ride, I smiled and told them that I'd kept them switched ON knowingly! I dialled Sumeet's number and it was not reacheable, As I proceeded further I could see the river Pabbar flowing and the other road running in parallel with it. I saw Sumeet's red bike. Perhaps he'd also realized that something was amiss! I waved frantically from this end and tried to put the reflections from my visor in that direction. I think it worked and he saw me and turned back to catch up with me. From here it was a stretch of good 20 kms which is only made of big gravel. We rode steadily at 20-30kmph. What a beauty around!! It was pine forest all around with the pine cones all around the road. We gained altitude with each twist and turn of the road.

The bottle of water I was carrying was empty and I was looking for a source of natural drinking water. There are lots of places in hills where there is some naturally filtered water comes out of roots of a few plants. I found one and replenished our supply of water. It was chilled and good tasting water.

The road ahead was mostly an offroad only, and we had a good time riding on them. The beauty of Garhwal hills was beginning to show itself.

I stopped a few kms short of Deoban to check out the view of the valley, after switching off the engine what I felt is totally unjustified with my words here. The sweet sound of whisting of the wind in my ears and a very beautiful view with absolutely no one around and a road that does not have any tar was just smashing! Time was running out on us and we had be back in Delhi the same day. I quickly clicked a picture or two and got back on the road. Moving ahead the road remained what it was before, gained some more altitude and at last we found the road leading to Deoban. The board indicated it was a forest reserve area.

Riding on this road to Deoban was the highlight of the day. Gained altitude quickly and the road was simply small gravel and big gravel and bigger gravel. And occasionally some sharp edged big stones as well. It was already quarter past two and we didn't know where and what exactly this Deoban was! However we kept riding and fortunately came across a few people who told that Deoban was a few miles ahead. This road started resembling a trail in the jungle, the devdaar trees all around sending nice cool whistling winds everywhere. We found a local at the gate leading to Deoban forest colony who told us about a maggie/tea shop in the other road to Mundali. Earlier we had thought of stopping by Chakrata for our lunch but with this find we decided to save chakrata for future trips and proceeded to the shop ahead. It was a small time house located at a beautiful spot in the forest. We ordered tea and maggie and interacted with the locals there. I was told that the place is called as Kauntarani. The few people who live there are Jaunsari and Garhwali people making their living on agriculture and animal breeding. They told they had fields elesewhere. May be they have something in Mundali village. Shankar, a local dude, advised us to start back from Chakrata in time jokingly quipping "Mumbai ka fashion aur chakrata ka mausam kabhi bhi badal sakta hai"!! The clock was ticking towards 4PM and we decided to better take Shankar's advise and push off to reach Delhi.

From Chakrata till Sahiya the roads were okayish, after Sahiya the stretch till a few kms before Vikasnagar was a real bad stretch. We were tired of the offroading and this portion was not offroading but potholed broken roads!! Towards VikasNagar I soon hit NH123 and I opened the throttle only to stop in VikasNagar at an IndianOil petrol pump. I tanked up, had tea and waited for Sumeet to catch up. It was good half an hour wait and after a while Sumeet called up from Paonta sahib!! He'd not stopped and apparently I'd missed seeing him overtake me. Anyways, after that I rode fast to catch up with him. Sun was almost about to go down, it was a perfect lovely shot material but then I had packed my camera for the day and since I had a long way to go I didn't stop to click that sunset. I soon spotted Sumeet waiting, and we carried on further.

By the time it got dark we had crossed nahan, we won't find any more ghats from here onwards. It was somewhere here that we got separated.

Some drizzling here and there but I kept on riding. After crossing this stretch of NH72 and loosing my way once (and getting confused whether Sumeet was ahead of me or behind me!!) I finally managed to reach NH 1!! I waited at a dhabha for Sumeet to catch up while I ordered dinner. After half an hour he called up and I directed him to this dhabha. It turned out that he'd also lost his way at the same place I had!!

After dinner it was plain road negotiation with the truckers till I reached Gurgaon. One particular thing about these truck drivers at night time on any of the Indian highways is that they seem to be racing against each other. One trucker driving at 46 kmph trying to overtake another trucker who's driving at 45 kmph!! Too much of frustration sometimes!!

When you have had a full day of riding, you get a sore arse and all your thoughts after that are on reaching home and thats what all was on my mind!! I soon found myself in Delhi, lost for roads!! Sumeet reached his place in Delhi after a while and I got clear directions from him and soon made my way to Gurgaon.

Too much of fun - offroading in total unplanned area. Up there from Tiuni it really was the road Less travelled. I'm glad I took that road, it made my ride!!

Click here for pictures by me;)

And here for Sumeet's pictures.

Ride stats:

Sumeet on Hero Honda CBZ xtreme
Kam on RE Thunderbird

Day 1:

Delhi - Sonipat - Panipat - Karnal - Kurukshetra - Ambala - Kalka - Solan - Shimla - Kufri - Theog - Jubbal - Hatkoti - Rohru

Odo: 475 kms

Day 2:

Rohru - Tiuni - Deoban - Chakrata - VikasNagar - Paonta Sahib - Nahan - Ambala - Karnal - Delhi - Gurgaon

Odo: 593 kms

Overall ride distance: 1068 kms

Bye till the next time!
Ride safe!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Morning offroad

It has happened after almost three months that I'm back on the saddle.

On and Off, thats what life is all about. All we are left with is an option and attitude to look at these ONs and OFFs and getting back on track or Sulk!

Sumeet came to my place on friday night and a call to Hitanshu set us up for this small ride to a non nondescript lake somewhere between Delhi and Faridabad.

It was a bit of offroading. I have done better offroadings in Kemmanagundi and galibore but this one felt good. Coming after a break feels good, after all!

A good part of the time was wasted in the search of the lake. It was a bit frustrating to get lost in the bushes full of thorns. Hitanshu, particularly, had a difficult time managing his way through these thorns - thanks to the three quarter he wore! For once we thought we were not going to find this lake.

We had lost all the hope and had accepted the fact that we were 'Lost'! So we decided to take the route back and bang! Few meters ahead we find the lake on the left side!

Relaxing by the lake was really fun. All of us had a great time. Pix are here

Camaan the Enjaaiment!!

Oh yeah, incidently this was somewhat 'first' ride of Silver Bullets Delhi NCR chapter as well!!

Time to plan for some trips now :D

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

MR #1: Narkanda, Hatu & Shimla

Mountains Rides inaugurated! Absolute break-free types ride!

And yeah, it marks the start of rides for me, finally ;)

I'm not sure how it would feel to you if you were in my place - sitting so close to himalayas, flagging off friends to Ladakh almost every weekend, getting frustrated with the unending heat in Delhi, no rides happening in the clubs and stuck in office for things that don't seem to be going in any direction!

I had an engine rebuilt towards june end (Yes, too soon! Shit happens, I just happened to be that unlucky fella!). Sumeet proposed this ride to Hatu peak and I joined in without any hesitations.

A day before the ride Sumeet called up to tell that it was only me and him turning finally for the ride :D (of the 11-12 guys). No issues. We had plans to beat the heat by starting verrry early in the morning! I got up at arnd 2.30 after 2 hours of sleep and after getting ready started for AIIMS, Delhi - our meeting point. It started pouring before I could reach there, and while waiting for Sumeet I screwed up my mobile in the rains.

It was a rainy ride in the first half of the day. Sumeet's avenger refused to start as the wiring went kaput some 20 kms short of kurukshetra. To get the jugaad wiring done it costed us a delay of 5 hours! Lack of sleep and hunger were pressing the need to open up the redbull drinks and it was a relief. After getting the wiring done we stopped by a Dhabha to have our lunch. A very tasty lunch indeed!

We moved on towards Chandigarh on NH1, after Ambala it was a diversion to NH22 from where we rode in two lane highway. The traffic situation was hopeless in highway near Panchkula because of the ongoing flyover construction. It was very hot to negotiate the way through that traffic having the riding jacket and helmet on!

5 minutes of gruelling heat at the railway crossing after Panchkula and after that it was an easy ride till Kalkaji. Refuelled and more redbulls bought.

First photo cum butt break. Some pix clicked and we rode again.

Ghats begin and as usual its time for me to rock and roll :D kept on riding. After Solan one butt break and catching up with Sumeet and we were good to reach Shimla in time. Found out the way to Narkanda, crossed the Shimla concrete jungle and stopped at Kufri to fill in our stomachs.

We got another rider Navneet a.k.a. Nav here, he was riding solo to Ladakh (For 3rd time) on his Pulsar 200. From here it was three of us riding together in the night to reach Narkanda.

Riding in those ghats in the night brought back the memories of night driving in Uttaranchal in my Mahindra jeep. It was cold when we reached Narkanda.

And what a place, after ages I could see a clear and star studded sky. We got a room in HP PWD guest house and it was time to sleep after 500 kms covered in the day.

Next morning we woke up late and after breakfast it was time to ride to Hatu peak. The three of us riding to the top of Hatu peak in a road just wide enough to accomodate a car/sumo and with a good inclination. Soon we covered the final 6 kms of this ascent and we were there on the top! What a sight!!

Time to pose next to the board. Yeah yeah.. it does not look great in comparison with all those high altitude passes but wat the heck! We had a great time up there and no use comparing it with anything else :D!!

It was cold up there and totally worth it! Thanks to Hitanshu for suggesting that to Sumeet! We were running short of time and so we pushed off to Shimla while Nav pushed off on his ride to Ladakh. It was nice meeting you Nav!

I caught up with Boodie a.k.a. Shashi and Redbull a.k.a. Kartik in Shimla. A great evening spent in Shimla with my SB buddies.

On the way back the ride was mostly okayish. Except for the flat tyre which took one and a half hours of our time and drained us in mid day sun! Most of the ride back to Gurgaon was done in night time and it was done well! By 11.45 PM we were in Gurgaon, back home. To the same insanity of the same old city woes!

Adieus till MR #2.

Click here for pictures ;)

Ride stats:

Riders with me:
Sumeet on Bajaj Avenger

On the way back:
Shashi on R.E. Machismo,
Kartik on R.E. ThunderBird.


Gurgaon - Delhi - Sonipat - Panipat - Karnal - Kurukshetra - Ambala - Kalka - Solan - Shimla - Kufri - Theog - Narkanda - Hatu peak

Overall ride distance: 996 kms

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Silver Bullets Bangalore - The maiden ride

The first things in life always have great importance - the first love, first bike, first job... & first ride!

My first group ride was a real special affair - 270 kms Bangalore - Madikeri ride was 400 kms odd, don't ask me how! All sort of things happened on that ride, all new riders riding in every directions possible and with an erratic coordination & communication on the ride. In spite of all the mess ups it was a great experience and a great insight to what we were lacking! Some of my friends here, who are now seasoned bikers and who were there in that ride, can vouch for the great experience we had on that ride!

Silver Bullets Bangalore chapter had 10+ members for quite sometime and it was decided in our first meet in cafe coffee day that we should ride as often as we can. So this ride happened!

By the time the proposal to ride was posted by Anup on group I had got my transfer orders to Gurgaon! I was sad! I have great friends here, not to mention anyone in particular - everyone has been so good. All my biker friends, and this place Bangalore - Oh my gawd! I'll miss all of them! Anyhow, this sense of loss lasted till I had a couple of beers!

Its life! We move on, with the good memories. I'll cherish the time I had here, and will remember my friends & the brotherhood I enjoyed with these wonderful guys. At the same time its time for me to make my parents happy and mebbe time for me to become a Royal Beaster!!

So, I joined the ride :) - Even if its my last ride with these guys Let us make it to the fullest. So the other riders joined in!

Almost all the guys were on time at the meeting point - a rather good foundation for future rides ;) - Punctuality! Shashi lead the way and all of us followed to Magadi with me being the sweep ;) - A calm, slow & peaceful ride to magadi. We had our breakfast there and then we headed on to our main destination - Savandurga. Combination of good and bad roads.

We trekked up to the first wall, luckily it was cloudy then. As we were resting under a rock the clouds disappeared and we thought not to waste our energies in the hot sun.

Down the hill and on our way to Manchinabele dam. A ride through newly laid roads going through forest areas - buzzing with tons of butterflies. Two of them banged on my visor... sorry!!

This was my second visit to Manchinabele area & the first one to the dam water.
I bet this would be a great ride for pictures if done in early morning time! I think I have seen some of Srikeerthi's pix - which were real good!

It was afternoon time and was pretty hot there. Kartik and I decided to take off our shoes and take a walk in the shallow waters. That was a good experience.

I shot an introduction video there ->

While coming back we got divided in two groups - LJ, Anup and me on an offtrack and Shashi, Ajey and Kartik on a smooth track! Finally we met at Kadu Mane and had a great lunch over there.

These guys (Ajey, Anup, Shashi) had Tatte Idlis.. However, being a north Indian this thing always sounds funny to me! ROTFL kinds.. only if u know what that means :P!! Hehe

Whats there in a name! Lo - all these guys are tatte idli fans!! :P

A peaceful ride home through BMIC smooth roads - no land speed record this time, my Bull needs servicing, tyres need truing and air filter needs a replacement!

Don't know when I'll ride with SB Bangalore again, I just know that we had a great time today & I hope that these guys will keep on riding :). May the SB Bangalore chapter increase!

We'll meet again guys.. the roads never end.

Ride Stats:
Pix @
Bangalore - Magadi - Savandurga - Manchinabele dam - Kadu Mane - Bangalore
Distance: 165 kms (Approx.)

** Photo credits: Love Joshi and myself

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Caman da Coorg!

It was this friday that I got to know that I was getting transferred to Gurgaon.. Felt sad and bad to leave Bangalore & I know for sure that I'll miss my buddies here.

And the RIDES :((!

I rode to Cloud Valley resort in Coorg with RTMC & enjoyed it fully.

In the morning it was time for some sight-seeing-riding in which a stream crossing also happened - here is a video I shot ->

That was one cool but eventful ride. I will be updating this blog after a while, tired a bit now so gotta get some rest.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Riding solo to God's own country

Riding solo was something that I had never done before this ride. One crazy idea developed over tea time with Deb, Anup and Sathish took its real shape when I opened up my Eicher road map. Got a decent idea about the places/roads & decided to give it a shot. No time constraints so I thought to continue the ride till I feel like getting back.

Posting this crazy idea on RTMC and got responses which warned about the high temperatures in Kerala. Friends at Trivandrum (Silver Bullets & BikeNomads groups) encouraged me to take up the ride & so I decided to face the temperatures whatever they were. In my 8 days ride through Kerala, I felt this heat only once (Kalpetta to Fort Kochi, 2nd day) and rest of the days I managed to skip that heat owing to early morning riding.

Here is a day by day log of this ride -

Day 1: The awesome ghat experience

Started from Bangalore on 30th March towards Kalpetta (Wayanad), reached Kalpetta in good time to visit Lakkidi view point, Vythri and couple of other places with great ghat roads.

Here I had a different experience when I entered a restaurant.

I was kind of shocked to see two glasses served to everyone - one containing water and other containing a whisky colored liquid. Bachhe, budhdhay aur jawan everyone was drinking that! Now that was something very new to me, asked the waiter and came to know that it was hot water mixed with some herbs known as Chukku vellam .. good for health! That was something I saw everywhere in Kerala.

Ride stats:
Route: Bangalore -> Mandya -> Mysore -> Nanjangud -> Gundulpet -> Sultan bathery -> Kalpetta
Distance: 300 kms to Kalpetta & overall around 400 kms
Time taken:
6 hours (to reach Kalpetta)
Road condition:
Excellent in most parts and manageable in others, the roads are re-laid in Bandipur stretch
Stop overs:
Kadu Mane for breakfast

Day 2: Riders' test - NH17. Fort Kochi rocks!

From Kalpetta I started for Fort Kochi through NH17. What a highway! At some places its just like a street road barely enough for a truck and a bike to pass! That was the only time I felt the heat in Kerala. Fort Kochi was a nice place and have the touch of the portugese and dutch cultures. I wished I had reached there earlier so that I could visit these places. May be next time.

Ride stats:
Route: Kalpetta - Vythri - Calicut - Ponnani - Chavakkad - Parur - Ernakulam - Fort Kochi
Distance: 280 kms
Time taken:
Around 7 hours
Road condition: The ghat roads from Wayanad to Calicut are excellent, NH17 in most of the stretches is like a street lane. Finding a lonely stretch of road in kerala is almost impossible
Stop overs:
Many along the way

Day 3: Hitted by a bird

I started at around 6 AM in the morning and reached trivandrum in good time for breakfast. While riding through Kollam I was hit by a bird, man thats really a good force - just felt like somebody had punched me in the arm!! Rest of the ride was uneventful. Jay came to receive me in trivandrum and from there I was with friends. It was good to meet Jay, Anil, BT, Moonie after I had met them in the BikeNomads anniversary ride to Goa. We had a small group ride to Kovalam beach with Jay leading & Moonie sweeping with me and Anil in the middle. What a beautiful beach!

An awesome time on Kovalam beach, with tasty Kerala style sea-food & beer. I just went with Jay's suggestions about the kerala specialities and I was happy with the taste. Small meet with silver bullet members BT, Jay, Subodh at CCD, Trivandrum. I had plans to go to Kanyakumari next morning.

Ride stats:
Route: Fort Kochi - Alleppey - Kayankulam - Quilon - Attingal - Trivandrum
Distance: 220 kms approx
Time taken:
3 hours, 15 mins approx.
Road condition:
Some parts of the road before Quilon are bumpy else otherwise smooth roads. I rode there in the morning time so no issues with the cops, else highway police all along this stretch with white/brown qualises catch the 80+ kmph people.
Stop overs:
Two tea breaks along the highway

Day 4: The beach where choppers fly

The mosquitoes helped me in postponing my kanyakumari plans till my next visit & instead got up late and went to Varkala (Helipad) beach & had a nice time over there.

What a beach, much more exciting than Kovalam!! Evening time meeting/dining with Jay's friends. I decided to say goodbye to Trivandrum the next day.

Day 5: Ghats and the ride, boat ride

Started from Trivandrum to Thekkady after having my breakfast, till Chenganacherry I rode along the backwaters & from there it was ghat roads all the way to Thekkady. I wanted more and more ghats and my wishes were being fulfilled.

Some riding around Thekkady & Periyar. What a place, small but beautiful.

Ride stats:
Route: Trivandrum - Quilon - Alleppey - Changanacheri - Kanjirapalli - Pirmed - Vandeperiyar - Thekkadi
Distance: 280 kms approx
Time taken:
8 hours approx
Road condition:
Great roads!
Stop overs:
Many along the way for tea, lunch, photos etc.

Day 6/7: Belting in Munnar

I got up early in the morning and had a nice morning boat ride in Periyar lake, after which I moved on to Munnar. I had been to Munnar in Aug, last year with my friends. It was raining then & as all the people say - kerala looks most beautiful when it rains there, it was great then.

This time I was alone & it was not raining but still I found out - Munnar is Munnar. It rocks Smile !

Lots of riding around munnar - explored almost all the roads leading out ot munnar, went to all the desolate places and found some great views from there.

Ride stats:
Route: Thekkadi - Poopara - Devikulum - Munnar
Distance: 120 kms
Time taken:
3 hours
Road condition:
First 25 kms pathetic (under repairs), the rest of the route is awesome!
Stop overs:
Many along the way, for tea

Day 8: Mama, I'm coming home

I was contemplating going to Palakkad and doing one of Neliampathy/Marmpuzha but then by that time I had lost the enthu for going to these places, better to go there in the rainy season. And so dropped the plan and Started on my way back to Bangalore on 7th April early morning. Boy, it was cold!

430 kms done in 9 hours - gud enuf for my kind of riding with ample breaks. Back to Bangalore life again Smile

Ride stats:
Route: Munnar - Mariyoor - Udmalpettai - Palladam - Tiruppur - Vijaymangalam - Perundarai - Bhavani - Mettur - Dharampuri byepass - Rayakottai - Hosur - Bangalore
Distance: 430 kms approx
Time taken:
9 hours
Road condition:
Mostly the roads are in good condition except for a few stretches between Rayakottai and Dharampuri byepass.
Stop overs:
Many along the way for tea/energy drinks/lunch.

Overall Ride stats:

Route: Bangalore - Mysore - Kalpetta - Calicut - Cochin - Alleppey - Trivandrum - Alleppey - Thekkadi - Munnar - Udmalpettai - Tiruppur - Mettur - Hosur - Bangalore
Duration: 8 days
Distance: 2131 kms

Overall 2131 kms in 8 days. Refuelled the cheapeast fuel in Kerala - 45.83 bucks a litre Wink full to the brim! This has been my biggest ride so far! Rather than covering long distances I saw places and that is what was a real plus ;)

Riding solo was an entirely difference for me, the first of its kind. A creative mp3 player kept me good company - though expensive but proved its worth on the ride.

So far so good - have seen both the sides now - solo & group rides. I rode solo & enjoyed the experience, I went wherever my whims took me to. Followed all the good looking roads, went to places which were really very beautiful and mostly untouched.

Riding in those Kerala ghats was a real pleasure to me & both the footrests on my bull stand the 'scraping' testimony to the rocking time I had in ghats in Wayanad, Thekkady and Munnar Very Happy.
The bike's response was superb and did not have any issue on the whole ride Smile with this ride now my bull is 6 months and 12K kms old.

More pictures are available for view at:
Locations of visitors to this page