January 18th – January 31st 2006
JANUARY 18TH: WEDNESDAY: DAY 1: DESTINATION HYDERABAD
The alarm bell set for 5 AM woke us up. Us meaning, Mandy and CP from Gujarat Bullets, who had arrived in Nagpur the night before and myself. After our daily morning routines, we were all ready to ride out of the gates of my home by 7 AM. Gurdeep, as punctual as he always is, had shown up at my place to join us dot on the Scheduled time.
After a little photo shoot at my place, we rode out to the nearest Gurudwara to seek blessings from the Gurus for our long journey ahead!! We were supposed to meet the rest of the gang at the Patton Tank Square in Ajni on NH7. A 10 Minute ride brought us there and the riders were all assembled and ready to ride, along with other members of the club who had come to see us off and wish us well for the tour!!
The riders were:
1]Anukarana Singh [WMC] Custom Lightning 500
2]Nikhil [WMC] Custom Campus 350
3]Rajesh [WMC] Std. Electra
4]Ruchir [WMC] Thunderbird
5]Gurdeep Singh [WMC] Std. Machismo
6]Mandy Singh [GBC] 500 CC
7]CP [GBC] Std.350 CC
Come to see us off were Sagar, Munish and Vivek!! We all assembled at the Patton Tank for a little photo shoot, and after some cheers and wishes rode off Southwards on NH7 towards our Destination for the Day. Hyderabad…485 Kms away!!
We took our first halt at the Reliance Petrol Pump and A1 Plaza barely 25 Kms on the Highway for Taking up and breakfast!! Half an hour later, we were on the Road again!! Nikhil and I in the lead, the weather perfect and the Morning Sun reflecting on the chrome, this seemed like a good day to ride, with all of us in the best of our Spirits!!
A couple of Kms before Jamb, I felt like taking a leak, and didn’t feel like breaking everyone’s rhythm of the ride as well, so I decided to race ahead, do my job and be back on my bike by the time the rest of them caught up with me!! I signalled to Nikhil that I’m racing ahead and sped off towards Jamb!! As soon as I was done, and mounting my bike again, I saw the rest coming in full speed and turning right from Jamb on NH7, towards Hyderabad!! They all thought that I had raced much ahead of them and wanted to catch up with me, and didn’t see me trying to start my bike by the side of the road!! At that same time, my bike was giving me some trouble in starting up and I lost a couple of minutes of time there!! By the time the bike started and I got on the road racing behind the pack to catch up, I was about 3 minutes behind them, with the pack racing full speed trying to catch up with me thinkin’ I was ahead of them!!
Ridin’ on full speed, I came at a Y Junction on the Highway with NH7 to Hyderabad going left and a State Highway cutting towards Wardha on the right!! At the Y junction the tea stall owner signaled me to stop and told me that the rest of the pack had taken the wrong road, gotten on the SH to Wardha instead of NH7!! How did he know we wanted to go to Hyderabad?? A day earlier, about 12 Beasters on 11 bikes had passed the same way after spending a day with me in Nagpur and they had passed the same tea stall and asked him for directions, which our pack, in a bid to catch up with me, forgot to do!!
I waited for a few minutes thinking whether I should ride behind them on the wrong State highway or continue alone on NH7 without them and meet up somewhere on the National Highway again!! I decided to go alone on NH7!! I sent the guys a couple of SMS’s telling them they were on the wrong Highway, and rode Solo towards Adilabad, the town that I mentioned in my SMS to them where we’d all re-group!!
The road was great and I enjoyed my solo ride on NH7, till all of a sudden there were huge pot holes all over the road without warning!! My front shocks took the beating, but the road smoothened out again and in a while I crossed the bridge over the Godavari River and was well on road towards Adilabad!! About 11 Kms before town, I stopped at the next Reliance A1 Plaza, sent another SMS to the pack that I was there and waiting for them and dozed off for an hour on my bike till a distant rumbling sound of the pack approaching me woke me up!! We all had a light lunch there. The manager of the Adilabad A1 Plaza, impressed beyond words and awestruck by the bikers in their Leathers and Patches, clicked a few pics of our’s and took my E mail ID, promising to send me the pics!! While we all had lunch there, Nikhil rode on into town and had some repairs done on his bike, and ate at a dhaba after Adilabad to save time and waited for us there!!
Riding along, we grouped up with him, and the pack was complete again!! With Nikhil and I again in the lead, we rode on Southwards on the fantastic Highway through small ghats and forest covers till we all came across a popular Highway Sign Board on NH7!!
“MAHABOOB GHAT ROAD AHEAD”
Here Nik’s bike was giving him some trouble and he thought his fuse needed replacement!! He didn’t have a spare one, so I checked for my spare fuse and noticed that though the fuse wire of my bike was intact, the tiny glass tube encompassing the fuse was cracked!! But it was running ok, so I decided to leave it and replace it in Hyderabad the next day!! It was almost 4 PM by then and the 7 of us had automatically been divided in 2 groups with Nikhil, Ruchir, Rajesh and I ripping together on the highway, and Gurdeep, Many and CP tailing slow and easy together behind us!! By the time we left the sign board, after a few modifications I did to it, the board now reads “BOOB GHAT ROAD AHEAD”!!!!!!!!!!!
We crossed Nirmal around Sunset and that’s when we really slowed down!! Night riding was posing a major problem for some of us, especially Gurdeep and me!! Nik and Ruchir, I noticed many times and even told them so later, were riding and overtaking trucks and buses very recklessly and refused to listen!! Through the night ride, everything was bright and ok for us on the highway till each time the lights of vehicles approaching us from the opposite direction on high beam almost blinded us!! After a while we all got the hang of it, and crossing Nizamabad and a couple more small villages entered the outskirts of Hyderabad!! With about 20 Kms to go, I called up Vinod from Wanderers and told him our location!! He told us to get to the City Centre Mall in the Hyderabad and wait for him there!! In another half an hour, we were all assembled and waiting for Vinod at the Hyderabad City Centre Mall!!
He showed up in a while on a Kinetic Honda and took us to a nearby restaurant and treated us to some awesome Hyderabadi Biryani there!! After dinner, we all rode with Vinod to his house, and after some conversations and plans for the next day we all dozed off between 1 and 3 AM!!
JANUARY 19TH: THURSDAY: DAY 2: Part 1-EVERYTHING GOING WRONG
Everyone woke up at their own leisure on day 2, and took their own time in getting out of bed and getting ready for the ride ahead!! As per plan, we were all supposed to do an easy ride of 271 Kms from Hyderabad to Vijaywada after getting our bikes checked in Hyderabad!! Things started going wrong then!! Vinod spoke to some guys from Wanderers and told them about our plan who all, for some reason, kept insisting to us us that the Hyderabad-Vijaywada road NH9 was in pathetic condition and should be avoided at all costs!! Instead, they all wanted us to take the route some of them had rode off on that morning, towards Ongole, through some State Highways!! Wanting to avoid any bad roads, we changed our plan to go to Vijaywada and decided to ride to Ongole instead!! After a much delayed start from Vinod’s house, and a much more delayed breakfast in Hyderabad, Talib took us to a Bullet Mechanic there to get the bikes checked for the road ahead!! There was really nothing wrong with any of our machines, but everyone was just wanting to get them checked just for the heck of it!! We also saw 2 awesome Royal Enfield 500 CC Twins there, and all of us drooled over them for a while!!
I remembered the cracked fuse capsule on my bike and decided to replace it while we were all at the mechie’s!! As I opened up my fuse box and removed the fuse, there was a spark in the wire and I let got of it. The Wire touched the body of the toolbox, got earth, and before we all knew it, my whole bike was smoking up!! My entire wiring loom was burnt!! The mechanic ripped open my battery box and pulled the battery wire off to avoid further damage!! I was pissed and mad as hell!! First the un-necessary delays since morning, and now I needed a new wiring loom that, the mechie said, would take about 4 hours to replace!! I guess what has to go wrong, does go wrong!! While my bike was getting a new wiring loom, we roamed around the city and treated ourselves to another huge serving of Biryani at the famous Paradise Restaurant in Hyderabad!!
My bike was ready by the tike we got back at the mechie’s, around 7:30 PM!! We asked the mechie about the Vijaywada road again and he told us it was as smooth as a mirror and we should take it with no problems at all!! We decided to stick to our original plan and ride to Vijaywada that night!!
By 8:30 PM we were out of Hyderabad City and roaring on the the beautifully smooth NH9 to Vijaywada!! We all wondered why the Wanderers kept insisting that the road was terrible!! We stopped 30 Kms down the Highway at another A1 Plaza for tanking up again and by 9:30 we were on the road again!!
JANUARY 19TH: THURSDAY: DAY 2: Part 2-Near Death Experiences
The smooth and easy ride on NH9 soon became a battle for survival for us all. Though the road was awesome, that only made it more dangerous because of the terrible traffic on it!! Being one of the busiest highways in the country, NH9 has Volvo buses coming up and down at breakneck speeds with no regard for other road users, bikers be damned at all costs!! And night riding was still posing a huge problem for us all this time!! After an irritating run through the crazy traffic, we all halted around 11:30 at a Dhaba for dinner before heading on!! We had barely covered 100 Kms in 3.5 hours, and the traffic showed no signs of thinning out!!
We were done with dinner by 12:30 AM, feeling a bit sleepy and tired from constantly fighting the traffic, but none of us wanted to halt before we reached Vijaywada!! On we rode through the night with Volvo buses roaring past us full speed from both ways like death angels waiting to devour their next prey!! Nikhil and Ruchir took the lead this time and zoomed away into the dark highway!! Behind them was Rajesh, with me behind him and Gurdeep, Mandy and CP last!! Rajesh too zoomed off into the distance after a while and I rode alone for a while when my first close call came!!
As I was negotiating an easy curve on the road, doing about 65 Kph, a Volvo bus overtook me at atleast 110 Kph and as it passed me on the curve, the bus slightly fishtailed me and pushed me off the road with no time to react, and I rammed my bike into a pile of Cement blocks on the side of the road!! The bike toppled over to the right with fuel spilling all out of the gas tank!! My first reaction was to check if I was ok!! Nothing hurt or bled on me, but my bike had a broken front brake lever and a cracked headlight!! I pulled the bike up, and pushed it about 20 Metres outside a farmhouse where I was well away from the highway under a few lights and safe from the Volvo buses, still speeding with no signs of mercy towards anyone!! I was a bit shaken up, but ok!! Gurdeep, Mandy and CP caught up with me after a while and I narrated the episode to them!! I had got my bike running again by the time they had reached there, and in about 15 mins we were all ready to ride on again!! They halted there for a while while I decided to ride on alone ahead at a slow 50 Kph!! My headlight was fine, but the front brake was gone!! I found Rajesh waiting for me about 15 Kms ahead and we decided to ride together till Vijaywada from there!!
On we rode with Rajesh behind me through the 2 lane Highway!! Almost 2 AM!! The dark of the night and the blinding flashes of the speeding Volvos still unrelenting!! I got the hang of stopping comfortably without the front brake after a while, and I throttled up to a constant 60 Kph after a while on the 2 lane highway when all of a sudden, without me even realizing it, I found myself riding on the wrong side of a 4 lane highway with the blinding lights of a speeding truck directly in my path not more than 100 Metres away!! I panicked and realized that this was the end of the road for me!! The truck showed no signs of stopping, and my hands were frozen stiff on my handlebar to make any move or decision at all!! In half a second, half of my life gone by had flashed before my eyes, in the other half of the second, I remembered my parents, closed my eyes and waited for the collision with the truck not more than 20 Metres away now!! I heard the roar of the truck come closer and then a loud screeching sound of brakes and then felt the wind from the huge vehicle passing me, missing me by a few inches!! I stopped my bike, got off it, white as a ghost and shaking in my boots… feeling reborn twice in an hour from 2 near death experiences!! It was nothing but 2 miracles and the blessings of all my family and friends that saved me from certain death twice in an hour that night!! Rajesh pulled up behind me, after witnessing the entire drama that I had been through, and looked more scared than I was!!
After a 15 minute halt to regain our breaths, we decided to take it real slow from there on!! The road was 4 laned, and the Volvos had started to thin out!! Almost 3 AM!! And now, I was more than ever to end that days ride and reach Vijaywada no matter what!! I had survived twice, and there was nothing that could stop me now!! My fatigue and sleep were replaced by a burning ambition now to make that ride!! I had to enslave the highway that was trying to beat me down!! Rajesh and I rode on together, precariously now, till the next Toll Plaza, and stopped there for a couple of snaps from my new life!! By this time, Nik and Ruchir had crossed Vijaywada and were lodging at a Lodge in Guntur, about 40 Kms after crossing Vijaywada!! Rajesh and I still had about 100 Kms to go!!
As the clock struck 4 AM, I had a feeling in my heart that the bad day was over, and at 4 AM, a new day had begun!! As we entered Vijaywada, we were awestruck to see a massive 120 Foot tall white marble Shri Hanuman Idol magnificently standing guard at the gates of the city on the banks of the Krishna River!! I thanked the God for saving me twice that night!! After Vijaywada, we crossed massive bridge built on the River Krishna and made our way towards Guntur, not more than 10 Kms away!! Gurdeep, Mandy and CP had stopped riding and had taken refuge from the death highway at a Motel about 100 Kms behind us!! Im glad they did!!
Rajesh and I reached the Lodge at Guntur by 5 AM, and within no time at all, I was snoring away safely in the arms of sweet slumber, feeling lucky to be alive!!
JANUARY 20TH: FRIDAY: DAY 3: DESTINATION CHENNAI
I was woken up at around 10:30 AM by Rahul, ou Member who had started out on his coastal ride tour that would take him from Nagpur-Vishakhapatnam-Kanniyakumari-Goa-Nagpur 4 days before we had started out from Nagpur!! We were scheduled to group up with him again in Vijaywada, and we were right on schedule!! He had heard of my experinecs from the others while I was asleep and wished me Happy Birthday twice as I woke up!!
After a little chat, I was all ready to ride again by 11:30 and Rahul and I decided to ride off first and get my bike fixed somewhere close by!! Luckily there was a Royal Enfield Spares shop and mechanic at Guntur, and by 12:30 my bike was fit for the ride to Chennai!! Rahul and I got on to NH5 and rode on together till Ongole, where we stopped for Lunch and waited for others to catch up!! The others crossed our restaurant at Ongole and stopped at another restaurant about 2 kms down the NH5!! By that time Rahul and I had finished with our Lunch!! We informed the others that we’d ride ahead while they had their lunch and meet up again somewhere on the highway!!
NH5 turned out to be a bikers’ paradise!! Rahul was still running in his Brand new ES500 so wasn’t going beyond 80, but the road was too tempting for me to resist!! I raced way past the 100 Kph mark… 105…110…115…120 Kph and locked my throttle there down the smooth and empty 4 laned Highway…20 mins later, my throttle was still locked at 120 Kph, and I had seen neither another vehicle, nor a dog on the road!! On this highway, our mighty 500 CC engines seemed inadequate, and it all got boring after a while of doing speeds between 115 and 125 Kph!! I took a 20 min halt at one place, besides other liberal halts for taking pictures, and regrouped with Rahul at a Reliance A1 Plaza for evening Tea, about 120 Kms from Chennai!! 6 PM!! We had covered about 320 Kms in 5.5 Hours including all the liberal stops for pics and discussions!! Another half an hour of wait brought the rest of the pack to the A1 Plaza, and we spent some more time there before starting for the last 120 Kms to Chennai together!!
We reached the Chennai City Central railway station at around 10, and had a dinner at a South Indian restaurant there!! Around 11:30 PM, I had a talk with Yatin who gave us direction for wherever we were all supposed to stay for the next 3 nights!! We met up with Yats at the rendezvous and made our way to the Private beach Bungalow he had booked for Inddie Thumpers and Wanderlust MC’s stay during Rider Mania 2006, about 5 Kms from the Venue at Casuarina Bay, Kovalam!! The 8 of us were welcomed by the Thumpers there as we roared into the bungalow, and after a few introductions and rounds of whiskey, I finally ended the night with a rocking acoustic Guitar session of some Classic Biker Songs!! By 3 AM, we all were sound asleep!!
JANUARY 21ST: SATURDAY: DAY 4: RIDER MANIA DAY 1
Around 9 AM, I was woken up by Varun, one of my best friends in the Biking Community!! The first thing he asked me was if I needed a back massage, and I said “yea, sure buddy”, in my sleep!! In a few seconds I was wide awake under Varun’s gigantic feet on my back!! What a massage man!! I felt recharged!! Getting outta bed, we all straight away dived into the swimming pool and just relaxed!! Varun gifted me an awesome belt buckle with “HELL ON WHEELS” written on it, while Gautam Da gave me a Tiger bone pendant!! Bilal played the guiter next to the pool while we all had a great time there!!
By 11AM, we were all ready to ride to the Rider Mania venue, Casuarina Bay!! With Yatin in the lead, we were all there in another 20 minutes and were greeted by the Mad Bulls!!
After registrations, the party began full swing in no time!! Awesome bikes were riding in and out and all around the venue, the beer was flowing endlessly, meeting with old friends and brothers from the road!! The party was on!! Half an hour later, Aman lead the Road Survivors in with full Punjabi Panache!! Then the Beasters came roaring in like a Motley bunch in full party mood!! The brotherhood and camaraderie between of this kind is only possible between clubs and bikers in India!! No rivalry and gang wars between clubs like they happen in the West where 2 members of different clubs don’t even see eye to eye with each other!! The Bulleteers’ Community of India is what being true biker’s is all about!! Peace, Adventure, Camarederie, Friendship and Brotherhood!! It’s all just too good!!
By Lunch time, everyone had found their own corner in the party and the festivities went on!! I rode with the Beasters to Mahabalipurm for Lunch and on the way we passed a crashed Red Ferrari!! OUCH!! That must’ve hurt!! After lunch, I came back earlier to the Venue and caught up with more old friends and made some new ones!! By Sunset, the DJ was playing Remixed Madrasi Trance in full swing!! While all of us were in total culture shock of the Music at first, we all got used to it after a while and the DJ churned out some groovy music to dance the night away to!! After the DJ stopped, I got my guitar out again and we had an acoustic Rock Concert with me on Guitar and Vocals for about 3 hours!! I had had about 300 beers by then!! After the guitar session, I rode back to the Bungalow and dozed off!!
JANUARY 22ND: SUNDAY: DAY 5: RIDER MANIA DAY 2
I got a call from Sachin around 10 AM that the Custom bike Judging was about to begin!! In another half an hour I was back at the venue checking out the awesome bikes lined up there!! After the Bike Judging, we all roared down the ECR towards Mahabalipuram for the Traditional Rider Mania Group Ride with all the clubs together!! Coming back from the ride, I caught up with Victoria, and we both cooled off with a dip in the Sea, the Bay of Bengal!!
Later I had a shower in Jayagopans room at the Venue and was back in time for the Arm Wrestling event!! I won the first round, but lost out in the second!! It was all fun and in good spirit anyway!!
After the Arm Wrestling, it was time for the Screening of the Clubs’ Videos and Pics for everyone!! The screening started with an awesome clip by Royal Enfield that made us all feel proud of owning these awesome machines, followed by a Video by the Roadshakers!! Then Aman took the stage and announced the screening of “The Mother Of All Rides” by the “Most Happening Club”, the Road Survuvors’ Ladakh Beckons 2005, which had 19 people and 4 Females!! Umm.. ok!!! The Road Survivors’ presentation was awesome and inspiring and was greeted by many well deserved Cheers and applauding!! They certainly took the cake with their visual treat!! Then, RTMC came up with the icing on the cake with their visual presentation which was simply mind blowing and fun filled!! Just awesome!!
After the Visual presentations, it was time to give out the awards!! Karna received the “Varun Spirit Of Life Award” for being the youngest rider with an outstanding achievement of doing all 29 States in 39 days!! Well deserved!! Road Survivors’ couple Dushi and Simi, celebrating their first wedding anniversary at Rider Mania, both won the Male and Female Arm Wrestling events, and then came the controversial part… the best Custom bike award which was given to a bike from Chennai!! On what grounds was Nitin Jadhav’s bike not chosen as the best remains a mystery!! Though the bike that actually won was a fantastic piece of art, it was nowhere close in comparison to Nitin’s bike which was clearly a hands down winner and the crowds favourite at the meet!! Nitin Jadhav lost it, coz it was clear injustice, and took the stage by storm , claiming his right as the winner!! What he did, fighting for the injustice done, was right. The way he went about claiming is prize was wrong!! But that clearly explained his love or his piece of art that he had so painstakingly done up beautifully to the minutest of details!! After a while, a public opinion was asked and Nitin was announced the joint winner along with the other bike!! Everyone happy!!
Then it was time for all club Moderators to get together and decide the venue for the next Rider Mania!! We all had a group discussion for a while, very well conducted by Varun, during which Royal Beasts, Wanderers and Wanderlust MC expressed the willingness to host the next RM!! After some more discussions and exchange of ideas, our club, WANDERLUST MC were chosen as the hosts of RM07 in Nagpur!! This was the most ecstatic moment of Rider Mania 2006 for me!! Nikhil, Ruchir, Gurdeep, Rajesh and I were overjoyed and congratulated by Moderators of all other clubs who also pledged their help and support to us in organizing a Kick Ass event next year!! Aman then announced it to the entire meet and lifted me up and I was overwhelmed by the cheers and applauding that followed the announcement!! I then took the mic and thanked all the Moderators who had found us worthy of entrusting upon us the responsibility of organizing the next RM in Nagpur, and pledged to do our best in making it a defining Bikers Meet next year!!
The Madrasi Trance exploded again from the speakers connected to the amplifier connected to the DJ’s console, and the bikers danced the night away till dinner time amidst warm farewells and “see you next year” and “see ya on the road” and “ride safe” kinda stuff!!
After the DJ was packed and gone, I was called with the guitar once again!! My throat was hoarse from the dust and the 3 hour singing session the previous night, and I tried to sing and play the best I can for another 2 hours till, fittingly at the end of a song called “The End” by The Doors, I broke the G String of the guitar, bringing the party at Rider Mania to an end!! After that, Bilal and I hung out at the Venue with the RTMC guys with KJ of Cramster fame literally having everyone in splits with his humour!!
Around 2 AM, I rode back to our Bungalow and dozed off!!
Rider Mania 2006 was over!!
JANUARY 23RD: MONDAY: DAY 6: AUROVILLE AND PONDICHERRY Day 1
I slept off liberally till late that morning and woke up around 10AM!! By that time, Nikhil, Ruchir, Rajesh, Gurdeep, Mandy and CP had all started back for Nagpur!! But my post Rider Mania tour was planned much earlier along with Bilal!! We had decided to ride to Kanniyakumari after Rider Mania and see where our roads went from there!! Just go with the flow!!
By 11AM we rode off to Pondy and joined Dipesh at a restaurant halfway between Chennai and Pondy on the ECR!! The East Coast Road is another delight to ride on!! The 3 of us reached Auroville in about another hours riding time and met up with my friend Victoria there!! After a bit of searching we found accommodations to suit our requirements there!! In a couple of hours, Sid from Roadshakers and Rahul from Nagpur also joined us, and we all went about exploring and partying around Pondy that evening!! We met up with July and John from Beasters there and after lotsa beers and Dinner, and episodes we all swore never to mention to anyone, we all headed back to Auroville!! What Happens in Pondy, Stays in Pondy!!!!!
Chalo baaya, chalo!!
Later that night, Victoria and I strolled down to Auro Beach and spent the night there talking about the strange Love between the Moon and the Deep Blue Sea!!
JANUARY 24TH: TUESDAY: DAY 7: AUROVILLE AND PONDICHERRY Day 2
Next day again we all, Sid, Bilal, Rahul, Dips, Victoria and I hung out together for the major part of the day and evening, checking out the beautiful Visitors’ Center in Auroville, the Aurobindo Ashram, the French Architecture and traces of French Culture still present in Pondy, the Bazaars and the Restaurants before heading back to our rooms!!
Earlier, Bilal and I had a discussion about where to go from Pondy!! I wanted to go to Kanniyakumari and then back to Nagpur, but Bilal wanted to cut across Bangalore, straight to Mangalore [as Dips had suggested] and ride to Goa and then back to Bombay!! After some discussions, I decided to chuck Kanniyakumari and do the Bangy-Mangy-Goa tour with Bilal!! Rahul had already left for Tanjavur that morning, Sid had left for hs own Solo tour and Dips had decided to stay back in Auroville for some “Peace and Quiet”!!
Bilal and I decided to ride from Pondy to Bangalore and ride as close to Mangalore as we could, and possibly make it to Mangalore by night!! 650 Kms!!
Chalo baaya, chalo!!
JANUARY 25TH: WEDNESDAY: DAY 8: DESTINATION TUMKUR
After some hugs and goodbyes with Victoria and the Road Survivors gang we bumped into at Auroville, Bilal and I rode out towards Bangalore via Thiruvannamalai!! After some road searching through the villages, we finally got on to HN66 that took us through Thiruvannamalai with it’s magnificent Temples, Krishnagiri and Hosur and finally brought us onto NH7 that would get us to Bangalore!!
We reached the outskirts of the Bangalore City on NH7 by 5 PM and stopped for some tea and pakoras at a restaurant there!! On the road again by 5:30, we found ourselves caught in the worst traffic we’d ever seen!! After 2 hours of bumper to bumper riding towards Bangalore, we finally pulled off the road and called up KJ and told him where we were and that we planned to ride to Goa via Mangalore!! KJ saved our tour by telling us that the Mangalore way to Goa wasn’t only longer, but a pathetic road as well and that we’d be better off taking the Bangalore City bypass to Tumkur and staying there for the night!! The next day, KJ said, we could ride from Tumkur-Shimoga-Sagar on NH206 all the way till Gersoppa on NH17, and then ride Northwards from there towards Goa!! Im glad Bilal and I took KJ’s advice and did as he told!!
We got on to the Bangalore City bypass towards Tumkur, still snaking our way painstakingly slow towards our destination for the night!!
We took a 5 minute halt in one place where I had to buy a pair of night riding goggles to cope with the wind and dust from the road!! Riding on for another 10 minutes from there, we came across the scene of an accident that had happened barely 5 minutes before we reached the site!! A Van being driven at full speed had collided head on with a speeding truck in the wrong lane, and when we passed the scene, people were still extracting live and dead bodies from the Van!! A woman’s body lay on the highway, another man a few feet away from her and another man’s body being brought out of the mangled heap of junk that used to be a Van!! The truck driver had fled with the truck!! A million things raced through our minds as we quietly passed the scene of the accident!! One thing that came to my mind was these words from “The Ghost Song” by Jim Morrison, which defined the scene of the accident perfectly!! “Indians Scattered on Dawn’s Highway Bleeding, Ghosts Cloud the Young Child’s Fragile Eggshell Mind”!! Bilal and I both felt so much negative and morbid energy at that place, that, without a word to each other, with disturbing images of the accident scene, and the feeling of those dead peoples’ ghosts just freaking out on the highway there, we carefully rode on till we saw the first A1 Plaza on the Highway and decided to halt there for the night, about 20 Kms short of Tumkur!! Watching the scene of the accident, we were both pretty shaken up, and though we didn’t speak about it till much later, neither of us had wanted to ride further that night after that episode!! The traffic on the road too was so horrible that it had taken us 4.5 hours to cross that 40 Kms patch on the Bangalore bypass!! With lumps in our throats, we had a silent dinner at the A1 Plaza, and went off to sleep on two of their cots there that they offer for free to travelers!! A very disturbing day of riding was over, and we wanted no more of it that night!!
JANUARY 26TH: THURSDAY: DAY 9: Part 1-Road Rage
After a chillingly cold night’s sleep at the A1 Plaza before Tumkur, Bilal and I woke up around 8 AM and after Showers and Breakfast there were on the road on NH206, hoping to reach Karwar by night!!
We crossed Tumkur and Shimoga and reached Sagar by late Afternoon, had some tea and pakoras there and made our way towards Jog Falls!! After Sagar, NH206 is just the most beautiful ghat road ever, smoothly curving and winding it’s way through a National Forest Sanctuary with fantastic twists, U turns and hairpin bends all along the way, more than we could keep count of!! A couple of hours of riding brought us to Jog falls!! We spent about 10 mins there, took a couple of snaps and got back onto NH206!!
Riding Easy, Feeling Free and enjoying every moment of it, our ride suddenly came to a screeching halt when, while negotiating a slow U turn on the Highway, Bilal suddenly found himself in the same situation I was in a week earlier!! A mini truck, with a drunk driver coming full speed on the wrong side of the highway on that same U turn that Bilal was taking!! Even Bilal thought his number was up!! He jammed on his brakes and missed the truck by barely a few inches… shaken up!! I witnessed the whole thing happen and it was indeed a miracle by the Gods the way Bilal escaped a tragedy at that moment!! As Bilal got off his bike, I lost my cool, rode ahead towards the truck and blocked the truck’s path on the single laned forest highway with my bike!! “Get the bastard outta the truck”, I said to Bilal!! We both pulled the truck driver out and gave him a sound thrashing of slaps that he wont forget for the rest of his life!! Later, our tempers still raging, I picked up a palm sized rock and smashed both of the truck’s Halogen lights!! A piece of glass made a deep gash in my right hand thumb, that started bleeding real bad, but still was the last thing on my mind!! Then Bilal took that rock and smashed the truck’s Windshield!! What did we achieve by doing all that?? That reckless driver will think many times before driving rashly like that again, and that’ll probably save a life or two on the highway!!
After the semi-demolition of the truck, Bilal and I again got on our bikes, and sped off towards the next Village for First aid for my bleeding thumb that had soaked my glove in blood and was dripping!! 5 Kms on, we stoped and Bilal told me to pour some Petrol on the wound as an antiseptic!! As I did that, the truck driver came sitting pillion behind another motorcycle rider to fight with us!! We lost our cool again and were about to smash the trucker up for good when the motorcycle rider intervened, sided us, threatened to take the truck driver to the cops and took him back!! Just at the same moment, another mini truck pulled up and enquired as to what had happened to the smashed truck 5 Kms behind!! Bilal and I got on our bikes and rode on, very precariously!! Though we didn’t speak of it, we had this feeling that trouble wasn’t over yet!! Like bikers stay united united, truckers could be too, and with this truck right behind us, we were prepared for anything now!! We rode slowly, and as the second truck approached us from behind, we both rode off to the side of the road and let him pass. I said to Bilal that we’ll both ride behind this guy, and not overtake him again, just incase he gets any ideas!!
Soon, the trucker took a different road, and within 10 more Kms of riding we found ourselves on NH17 on the outskirts of Gersoppa!! The first thing we did was find a Doctor to get some first aid and dressing for my wound!! I also opted to get a Tetanus Injection, just to be safe!! Bilal got me the injection saying, “You got hurt for me, bro”!! I just said, “Well, we’re Blood Brothers now”!! I also realized that coming unscratched from 2 dangerous situations earlier, I really was destined to bleed on this tour, and had finally bled my share!!
JANUARY 26TH: THURSDAY: DAY 9: Part 2-Sleeping Where We Fall
“Where are you two headed?”, asked the Doctor!! We told him we were going to Karwar and then Goa from there on!! The Doc said Karwar was around 100 Kms, and it was 8 PM by then!! He told us that Gokaran was around 60 Kms, and that rang a bell!! Gokaran… OM BEACH!! Bilal and I decided to head towards Om Beach for the night!! Another hour and a Half of riding brought us to Gokaran, and we rode on the winding Mountainous dirt road towards Om Beach and reached there around 10 PM!! We finally found a place to park our bikes, unloaded our Cramsters and slung them on our shoulders and made our way to the first Shack that we found, the Namaste restaurant!!
We walked into the place, and every eye turned towards us!! All foreigners there!! We put our Cramsters down, and ordered for a couple of beers and the house speciality in seafood for the night!! We got a couple of Prawn Sizzlers that turned out to be the best sea food we had ever had!! Just juicy, succulent and cooked to perfection!! Very well deserved meal after the ordeal we had been through with the truckers’ episode!!
By the time dinner was over, all the places at Om Beach were past their closing time, and I was really drowsy coz of the doubled effect of the Tetanus Injection and the beers!! We asked the restaurant owner for accommodations and he said that every place on Om Beach was filled to capacity!! We slung our saddlebags on our shoulders again, and walked out onto the beach, barely taking 50 steps when fatigue, sleep and drowsiness gripped me!! I couldn’t take another step and just put my saddlebags on the floor and said to Bilal that here’s where Im sleeping for the night!! Bilal told me to stay put while we went ahead and looked for some possible accommodations!! He walked a little way ahead and found a shack with a lantern burning and someone sleeping in a hammock!! As he neared the shack, a few dogs started barking at him and a dark as spades Indian girl with dreadlocks scary enough to give Medusa a run for her crown arose from the hammock, and scared the shit outta Bilal!! Terrifeid he asked her about accommodations which she said they had none!! Walking on he read a sign board on the beach that said, “Many people drown each year in Om Beach. We hope you’re not the next”. That scared the hell outta Bilal who’s afraid of Ghosts!! Walking further ahead on the beach, he suddenly came across 2 white men, and the 3 ended scaring each other even more!! He thought the place was haunted by dead souls and came running back to where I was sleeping on the sand saying, “Lets walk a little further to where there’s lights and people around”!! I was too tired, but still managed a few steps and then again plopped on the sand saying I could go no further!! Bilal’s idea was to stay close to people, just incase we get attacked by Ghosts, and my idea was that if we were to sleep on the beach, it’d be better if we slept un-noticed and away from people, so no one bothers or vandalizes us!!
Soon after, Bilal gave up trying to convince me, and put his Cramsters down, made a pillow and tried to doze off as well!! The rhythmic sound of the waves was like a lullaby!! Suddenly, a cold wind started to blow sand all over us, and I suggested we over our faces, eyes and ears with Bandanas or Balaclavas!! After another short while, we were both sound asleep under a trillion stars, by the seashore, on the beach with our gloves and boots on to protect us from the cold and with our Cramsters as pillows!!
I woke up with the first rays of the Rising Sun the next morning, and saw many people walking around, staring at us in awe and amusement at the same time!! It was the best night’s sleep I had had on this tour so far!! I also rememberd the lines from Metallica’s “Wherever I May Roam” that go like, “Anywhere I Roam, Where I Lay My Head Is Home”, and realized that while every biker idolizes that song, and gets inspired by it, Bilal and I had just lived two lines from that song by sleeping where we fell that night!! Rock And Roll!!
I looked around for a bit, just taking in the sights of the Arabian Sea when I saw two familiar faces coming towards us!! Imran and Sachin!! Talk about the world being small!!
I woke Bilal up and we all made way to their Shack where the Nomads and Roadshakers were putting up for the night, and told them of our adventures over cups of tea!!
JANUARY 27TH: FRIDAY: DAY 10: Palolem Beach, Goa
After a chat and cups of tea with Nomads and Roadshakers, Bilal and I again slung our Cramsters over our shoulders and started walking on the beach towards our bikes!! Our plan was to reach Palolem Beach in Goa in a couple of hours and spend the day there!! We started towards our destination half an hour later and were soon joined by the Nomads and Roadshakers pack riding towards Goa!! Bilal, Imran and I took a brief halt near Karwar for a few snaps on the Road cut between a mountain!!
Another 2 hours of riding brought us to Palolem Beach in South Goa, and after a bit of searching we found ourselves a nice beach hut on stilts at the Inn Joy Resort there!! The first thing we noticed were two gorgeously hot Aussie babes as neighbours we had at the resort!! After dumping our bags in the room and getting out of our leathers into comfortable beach wear, we went for some sightseeing on the beach and came across a Tattoo parlour where Bilal got his Tribal guitar Tattoo modified with some more lines designed around it!! I too wanted a tattoo, but decided to get it just before leaving Goa so I could spend some time in the water as well!! By the time Bilal’s tattoo was done we got a call from Sid saying he was near Palolem and asking where we were!! After a couple of Beers we went out to fetch him from the market and got him to our resort as well!! The 3 of us then spent the rest of the evening just hanging our around the Palolem Beach market, at the music shop there where I played a few songs on the guitar and attracted an audience as well, and later at a restaurant which was visited by a confused looking cow that just stood in the middle of the shack for an hour staring at people eating there!!
After dinner we went back to our cottages and dozed off around 2 AM!! Being a High tide, the waves kept lashing the beach with loud roars all night!!
JANUARY 28TH: SATURDAY: DAY 11: Part 1-Arambol/Mandrem, Goa
The load crashing of the waves fom the High tide on Palolem slowly got muffled by the sound of people and gradually fainted into the sweet sound of early morning music playing at the resort!! After a while I realized that it was a Lounge Re-Mix of the Gayatri Mantra playing there!! Beautiful!!
We all got up and got ready for the ride to Arambol where we all decided to stay for the second day in Goa!! Sid got a call from Roadshakers that they were all putting up at a bungalow in Vagator, and rode on to join them!! Bilal and I, after 2 hours of Riding reached Mapusa and lost our way somewhere only to come across a German lady in her late 30’s riding a sweet looking Enfield with Springer seats!! She told us to follow her, and was it a pleasure to ride with her!! She led us fantastically well and was riding, taking sweeping turns and giving us hand signals like a true blue biker till we reached Mandrem, thanked her and saw her ride off and disappear down the road!! A while later we reached Arambol where I searched almost every guest house for accommodations, but found not a room vacant!! We then came back to Mandrem and found a beach shack at Riva Beach resort, the Venue of Rider Mania 2004, the place where Bilal and I had first met and became friends 2 years ago!! Lounging on the beach of the Riva beach resort we both realized that our brotherhood had come a full circle since we first met at the same place 2 years ago!! Later, I also realized how my personal Association with Rider Mania as an event and the Bulleteers’ community had also come a full circle in 2 years!! In January 2004, I was a lone rider to Riva Beach Resort at Rider Mania 2004, without any club to back me up!! And two years later, I was back at the same place, with my club to back me up at home, and was gonna ride home from the venue of RM04 back to my hometown to organize the next Rider Mania 2007 there!! Full Circle!!
JANUARY 28TH: SATURDAY: DAY 11: Part 2-The Art of Kicking Ass
After Lunch and many beers at Mandrem beach, Sid joined us and the 3 of us decided to check out the Saturday Night Flea Bazaar at Arpora!! I was ready for my tattoo now as well!! While the 3 of us rode together towards Anjuna and Arpora, I told Sid and Bilal to ride on towards Arpora while I checked out a few tattoo parlours!! After a bit of searching, and no luck as most of them were closed by 8 PM on Saturday evening, I found myself in Tito’s lane in Baga!! I saw a Sign Board that said “DRAGON TATTOO PALACE” and decided to check it out!!
I walked in the Dragon Tattoo shop and had barely taken a step in when Tattoo artist who owned it said to me in a rude tone,”Keep your shoes outside”!! I realized my mistake as I hadn’t noticed the sign outside and told him that when he again, throwing more attitude this time, said, “The sign is outside for all to see, plus other people’s shoes as well”!! I was a bit annoyed by his arrogance, but since it was my fault, chose to ignore it!! The tattoo parlour owner looked like a Goa based Indian, who definitely seemed racist towards other Indians judging by the tone he was addressing me in!! Taking my shoes off outside, I went in again and expressed my desire to get a Tattoo!! “My Charges are Rs.1000 per Square Inch”, he again said arrogantly!! “Can I see some Designs??” I asked. He just pointed to the pictures all over his walls and said, “They’re all here.. choose whichever you like”, and got back to his conversation with a foreigner babe smoking some hash sitting in one corner of the tattoo Shop!! Disgusted, I decided to walk out of the place without a word!! I went outside, put my boots on again and was about to walk away when I realized that I hadn’t come riding 3000 Kms, survived 2 near death experiences, bashed up a truck driver and smashed his truck and slept out in the open on a beach for one night to take attitude from this racist motherfuckin’ sonofabitch!! I strode into the shop again, this time with my boots on, and before the bastrad could realize what was happening, I grabbed him by his collar and pulled him up to his feet, after which our conversation went exactly how it’s described below:
Him: What the hell is this??
Me [In an angry and low growling voice]: Shhh.. just shut up and listen!! Don’t make a move!!
The white girl started to get up asking what was going on.. I just looked at her, tigthtened my grip around the ass hole’s collar, and with a mean look in my eyes said to him..
Me: Tell the bitch to stay where she is!!
The girl sat down again… lookin’ shit scared!!
Me: Now, repeat after me!! “Sir, how may I help you??”
Him: Lemme go!!
He tried to grab my wrist with one hand, instead, I gripped his fingers and twisted them hard, making him squeal like a little girl in pain!!
Me: Do as I say or Im gonna break your fingers first, and then your face, and you’ll never make another tattoo again!!
The bastard literally shat in his pants and started to vibrate!!
Me: Say, “Sir, how may I help you??”
Him [trembling like a motherfucker]: “Sir… h-how may I help you??”
Me: “Sir, PLEASE leave your shoes outside!!”
Him: “PLEASE leave your shoes outside!!”
I further tightened my grip on him…
Me: NOW say, “Sir, these are my charges, would you like to see designs??”
Him[Looking more scared than ever now]: “Sir, these are my charges, shall I show you designs??”
The bastard was on the verge of tears by this time and ready to piss out his attitude and racism in his pants when I let my grip loose on his collar and gave him one tight slap and said, “NOW listen, you piece of shit… next time you mis-behave with another Indian here, or anyone else for that matter, you’re gonna remember this episode!! Im a biker, and I have friends from my community coming to Goa all the time!! I’m gonna tell this incident to all my biker brothers and make sure they all come here and kick your ass as hard as they can. So make sure that you’re on your nicest behaviour the next time someone walks into this shit hole of yours!! Don’t forget… we’ll be watching!!”
I gave the bastard another mean look and stormed out of his shop, slamming the door behind me!! Ok, my brothers… time to have some fun with this ass hole in Goa the next time you go to Tito’s Lane in Baga!!
That felt GOOD!!
Sid and Bilal came and joined me there while I went and had a chat with Sumit and Gautam from Delhi, whom I had earlier met in Nagpur, and then again at Rider Mania and now again in Goa!!
After that, Sid, Bilal and I decided to ride to Arpora and rock the Night Market there!!
JANUARY 28TH: SATURDAY: DAY 11: Part 3-Rockin’ Hard at Arpora
The 3 Bulleteers, Sid, Bilal and I, reached Arpora around 9:30, and immediately started drowning rivers of beers there!! We had a gala party time socializing with total strangers there who all treated us almost like stars after seeing our club patches!! There was The Prem Joshua Band playing some awesome live fusion music there with a Master of Ceremony called Shelly, a spunky and good lookin’ British lady in her mid 30’s, who was as entertaining with her wisecracks as the band was with their music!! Bilal bought a Wind Blown horn there which we honked at every shop that quoted us an insane price for whatever it sold!! We were having a ball there, and guzzling beers by the gallons!!
We went back near the main stage where the band was still playing some awesome fusion music!! By that time, Bilal and I had had too much beer to care about anything but Rock and Roll, and I said to Shelly, “How `bout some Rock `n’ Roll now??”, to which she announced on the mic, “We have bikers here who wanna rock, but we gotta tell them that Rock `n’ Roll is dead!! This is 2006!! The age of Trance and Fusion!!” She meant it all in good humour, and we all knew it!! After sometime, she announced again, “The Bikers are here to Rock `n’ Roll and Strider’s gonna take the mic now to show us what bikers are all about!!” Bilal had told her that I was gonna sing something with the band!! I strode up onto the stage, took the mic and announced, “I’m f****’ drunk and f****’ pissed right now and I’m gonna try and screw this song up as much as I can!!” I asked the band to start playing “ROADHOUSE BLUES”!!
The guitar player got the song going, the rest of the band joined in, and I sailed through the first verse of the song with full Rock Star Flair and Panache!! Around the Chorus, Bilal got up on the stage and grabbed the other mic, and dropped it on the guitar player’s processor, turning it off… the band kept playing on…after another funny screw up, Bilal jumped off the stage and literally stage dived into the crowd!! The hippies and Trance music lovers there were going crazy and dancing their asses off to Roadhouse Blues being played beautifully to perfection by the band that was backing me up!! After an extended Lead Guitar Solo and a mid Vocal Solo section, the song ended with loads of cheers and applauding after a near 11 minute Jam!! Rock And Roll was Re-Born!! I thanked the audience, got off stage and saw Shelly coming towards me. Hugging me tight and giving me a peck on my cheek, she said, “You were f*****’ brilliant!!” I kissed her back, winked and smiled, and said, “Rock And Roll never dies!!”
After the Bazaar, Sid went back to Vagator, and Bilal and I decided to ride to Arambol and check out the party at the Surfers Club there!! After about 40 mins of riding in the freezing chill of the night, we were at Arambol, but found out that the party there happens on Sunday nights and not on Saturdays!! Almost 4 AM by then, we ordered some dinner at the only shack open in Arambol at that time, and by 5 AM came back to Riva in Mandrem and plopped into our beds and dozed off even before we realized it!!
JANUARY 29TH: SUNDAY: DAY 12: Starting on the Journey Back Home
It was decided the day before that while I stayed back in Mandrem for another 2 days, Bilal and Sid would start back for Bombay on Sunday morning!! Sid came from Vagator to Mandrem around 9:30, and Bilal too was ready and packed to leave by 10AM, while I slept on!! By the time Sid and Bilal were ready to leave, I joined them for a breakfast at the Riva beach resort, where we were staying, and also to see them off!! While discussing things over breakfast, I realized that I was having too much fun on the road with my brothers to stay back alone in Goa and I too decided to pack up and ride on with them till wherever our roads went together and start on my homeward journey from there!! I told the guys to give me half an hour while I got ready, and by 11:30AM, I too was packed and ready to ride on with Sid and Bilal!!
We decided, on Sid’s suggestion, to Ferry our bikes across the river from Arambol which would save us about 2 hours of Riding time for the day!! As we made our way through Arambol, I was stopped by a young guy on the road!! Stopping my bike I instantly recognized him!! A few days before the Rider Mania 2006 tour had started, I met this young guy from Israel who had landed in Delhi, bought a 500CC from Rishikesh, rode all the way to Kathmandu and was riding Southwards through Nagpur on his way to Goa!! I had helped him out in getting a place to stay for the night and also helped him get his bike fixed!! He saw me riding around in Arambol and stopped me!! Great to meet another biker brother from the road!! The World really is a small place!!
After a couple of pics there, Sid, Bilal and I made our way towards the Ferry and got on to it, bidding Goa farewell with heavy hearts!! Getting our bikes off the ferry on the other side of the River, we found ourselves in Maharashtra again, and rode the NH17 through Sawantwadi and Hatkumbha all the way till Chiplun, where Bilal got a new front tyre and we had an evening Snack at a Restaurant there!! It was almost 6 PM by then, and while we were eating we decided that the three of us would be together till Puladpur, where I would halt for the night while Bilal and Sid would ride on and hope to reach Bombay the same night!! My route from Puladpur was via Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani-Wai-Pune-Aurangabad-Nagpur!! Sid called up Kamal and asked him about the appropriate thing to do and Kamal suggested me not to try and do the Mahabaleshwar Ghat alone at night, as it was a bit dangerous!! I took his suggestion and decided to stay at Puladpur for the night!!
Riding on from Chiplun and easying our way through another Ghat on NH17, we came across a rider and a pillion by the side of the road awaiting help with a broken down Bullet!! A little light on their faces revealed, again, Gautam and Sumit from Delhi!! This was the fourth time we had met in the last 18 days by sheer co-incidence at the most unlikeliest of places!! Their Throttle cable had snapped, which they had replaced, but were having trouble with the Carb functioning properly!! We all tried our hands at it, almost around 9PM, till Bilal called up Anton who guided us on the phone and the bike was ready for the road again after a few minutes of tinkering!!
The four bikes rolled on together through the Ghat till we all reached Puladpur, and that signaled the end of the tour for us all together!! This is where we were to part ways!! With sad and heavy hearts, Sid, Bilal and I wished each other safe rides home, and while I checked into a lodge, the other 3 rode off towards Bombay!!
I went into my room, freshened up, and dozed off after a while of studying the map for the ride next day!!
JANUARY 30TH: MONDAY: DAY 12: Puladpur-Pune-Aurangabad
I woke up fresh around 8 AM and was packed and ready for the ride through Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani all the way till Pune, get my bike checked there, and then Ride on till Aurangabad to stay there for the night!!
The 40 Kms Mahabaleshwar ghat was a treat to ride on, with the Mountains covered in mist and smoke in the distance, and little lakes and rivulets shimmering in the Sun and flowing by the side of the road!! An hour and a half later, I took a halt in front of the Mahabaleshwar Boating Club and treated myself to a delicious serving of Fresh Strawberry and Cream, my breakfast for the day!! Later, riding through Panchgani and Wai, I got onto NH4 with about 110 Kms to go till I reached Pune!! My motorcycle timing going a bit advanced, and the bike running a bit heavy because of that, I did an easy run till Pune without stressing the bike out too much, and reached the City by 1 PM!! I got in touch with Kamal who said that Shammi was on his way to meet me and take me to Kailash’s place to get my bike checked!!
In a short while, Kamal too joined Shammi and me at Kailash’s Garage and we all had a good chat about my ride so far!! Later, Nauzar and Sameer too joined us there, and after a very satisfactory job done on my bike by Kailash, we all said bye to each other, and Shammi led me till the McDonald’s joint somewhere near Nagar Road and Koregaon Park!! I said bye to Shammi there, parked my bike and walked into McDonalds for a meal!! As I walked into the restaurant, with dust and oil stains all over my Leathers and Denims, a hush fell over the place and I felt every eye in the McDonalds joint upon me, like they’d never seen a biker before!! I just ordered my meal, and pretended the stares didn’t bother me, while inside I was just feeling irritated and felt like exploding!! Another verse from a Rock And Roll song had come true!! Turn The Page!!
I got out of McDonalds by 5 PM, and getting on the Nagar road, made my way out of the city and onto the Highway towards Aurangabad, my destination for the day!! By 7 PM, I was again struggling to keep my vision through the blinding lights of the oncoming traffic all along the highway!! I finally reached Aurangabad around 10 PM, and checked myself in a Lodge near the railway Station, and after a hearty dinner at a restaurant nearby, I plopped into my bed for the night and was sound asleep by Midnight!! The next day I had a 520 Kms ride to do from Aurangabad till Nagpur!!
JANUARY 31st: Tuesday: DAY 13: Like A Bat Out Of Hell
I woke up around 8 AM, fresh and ready for the last day’s ride of the tour, and I wanted to make it to Nagpur by daylight!! I had about 520 Kms to ride and I was packed and ready to get on the road again by 10 AM!!
As I gripped my handlebar, my knuckles went white with desire under my leather gloves, and like a Wild Bat unleashed from hell, I roared out of my Hotel Parking lot and onto the highway!! The bike was running beautifully now, all thanks to Kailash and specially to Shammi and Kamal, who had take me to his garage!!
Leaving behind a cloud of dust and smoke, I rode on without a halt for the next 190 Kms when I took my first halt for lunch at Chikhli!! 25 minutes later, I was on the road again, swerving and bouncing my bike through the State Highway good and bad in patches till I finally reached Khamgaon and touched NH6!! Not stopping for anything there, I rode on and reached Akola in a short while where I took another 5 Minute break for Water!! Next stop would be Amravati, 90 Kms from Akola!! This was the worst patch on the Highway, full of bumps and patches that the road authorities had covered the potholes on the highway with!! I reached the outer City limits of Amravati in another 110 Minutes and took another 5 Minute break there for water and a Pic on the beautiful Amravati Bypass road!! Riding on, blazing a trail of smoke and rubber on the bypass, my well balanced Cramsters and the wide handlebar keeping the bike steady and the Leather Wanderlust Patch half Jacket on my back fluttering in the wind like a leaf in a storm, I took my last halt at a petrol pump around 60 Kms before Nagpur, when my bike came into it’s reserve fuel capacity!! Riding on from there, I had made good riding time, and reached the City limits of Nagpur by 6 PM, and riding slow and easy in the city, finally reached home around 6:30PM!! All in all, 531 Kms in 8.5 hours of road time!! Taking away the collective 40 mins breaks I had taken, I had covered the 531 Kms in 7 hours and 50 Minutes of riding time, with an average speed of 68 Kph!! My personal best solo riding time so far!!
I roared into the gates of my house, put the sidestand on and got off my bike, only to give it one huge hug as a “thank you for not letting me down throughout the tour”!! It was emotional!!
After a warm welcome back home with loads of hugs and kisses from my parents, I called up Nikhil and Sagar to inform them that I was back home safely, and told them to come over… beer was on me!! Mom, dad and I spent the next couple of hours in my room with me telling them stories of my adventures and all!! They both felt proud of me!! This was the BEST trip EVER!!
I took a hot shower around 8:30, and welcomed Sagar, Nikhil, Ruchir and Rajesh home around 9!! We spent the next few hours sharing stories and experiences from the road, along with a few beers, till finally, at around 2 AM, I dropped Sagar and Nikhil home, came back and fell into the sweetest slumber you could possibly Imagine!!
In the past 14 days, here’s what my statistics were:
2 near death experiences
A Wild Rocking time at a Kick Ass Biker event
Watching the Sunrise on the East Coast Bay Of Bengal
Watching the Sunset on the West Coast Arabian Sea
Riding on the best Ghat ever. NH206 from Sagar till Gersopa
Bashing up a reckless truck driver and smashing his truck
Getting a bleeding wound on my thumb
Having the best Sea food ever
Sleeping on the beach with no accommodations to be found
Acoustic Jamming in a music shop in South Goa, shaking the lights out of a racist tattoo artist in Central Goa and Re-Introducing Rock and Roll to the Hippeis in North Goa all within 2 days
And finally ending the tour with a Kick as personal best riding time of 531 Kms in 7 Hours and 50 minutes.. a tour like this couldn’t have had a better finish than this last day’s ride!!
Rockin’ Hard, Ridin’ High and Livin’ Free, I was Back home from a tour that all bikers only dream of!!
And I’m Still Craving for more!!
Wanderlust!! Insatiable Forever!!
See you all In Nagpur for RIDER MANIA 2007!!
Cheers and Safe Rides!!