Ride to Dapoli

Posted: by Pulsurge in Labels: , ,

That's exactly what this trip turned out to be. Planned a Pune/Lonavla trip and ended up at Dapoli :)) But was a terrific ride and I thank Vinod for the plan. So here goes my log.

This time I pledged that I have to be on time. I received multiple threat calls before, that if I don't turn up on time, I'll be subject to the treatment meted out to a football on a penalty kick :) So I decided not to sleep. Had dinner, watched some super-boring programmes on the idiot-box till 2.00 in the night, then decided to give my bike some scrub and polishing - which is one of my major hobbies, which I carried out happily till 3.30. Finally time to rest... rest???? This word scared the hell out of me. There was no way I was going to sleep.

Already I had told rest of the gang to give me a call in the morning to avoid those hard hitting kicks I was to be presented with in case I would have been late. But anyway, my eyes gave up at 4.15. For backup, I set my alarm clock, which has always traited me when I've needed it and timed my cell phone alarm. This time I was lucky, got up half an hour later. Got a call from Rajesh, I told him I was already up. Freshened up, had quite a buffer amount of time, so did things aaram se. And surprise surprise, this time I was on time, I could see the surprising expressions on the faces of Vinod, Satya and Sherzad when I reached Airoli, the only thing I couldn't see was the sun rising from the west, that would be the only day when I could make it to anything on time. But thankfully nature didn't have to change its course for me to be on time, I was there and punctual too. Couple of minutes later, Rajesh and Harry arrived. Still the plan was to ride to Pune, but Vinod was emphasizing and pursuing us for Dapoli. I feel he can be a good salesman coz he managed to convince us coz no way we were going to change our plans. One of the reasons was that Sunny and some xbhpians were too riding to Lonavla for the XBHP meet, so could have rode together. We waited for him some time, these guys didn't turn up so finally agreed to Vinod's proposal and rode off towards the rising sun.

We're crossing the Airoli bridge, and suddenly a bright red roaring Pulsar zips past me. A rush of blood, group riding rules restricted me, or else I would have got behind me ;) But later I realized that I couldn't have caught him. Why? Coz he was none other than Sunny himself. No doubt he's a better rider with a much better bike (still envying his machine). We meet him and the xbhpians at the end of the bridge and convey our change of plans. He wishes us all the best and off we are again. Take the usual Thane-Belapur Road>>Palm Beach stretch. Riding happily in the mild warmth of the woke-up sun. Everything's fine till Kalamboli. We take right for Panvel when I realise that the scarf I've tied under my helmet is loosening up and slipping down blinding me. Try to push it up riding totally blindfold and suddenly I realise my bike wobbling. By god's grace, I manage to counter balance and come to a halt. Remove my helmet quick to see what the hell made me slip. And I see what.. Vinod and his bike flat on the road. Everyone just rushes to get him up and ensure he isnt hurt. Well he wasn't, not a single scratch on his body. Slipped at a very slow speed and hence no casualties apart from scratches on his headlamp lens and a broken right indicator. Case would have been worse if the speed was higher and right behind him was an ST bus. The culprit there was a wet patch of road with oil spills. However, we get out of the place, had a long way to go. Keep riding till Wadkhal naka when we decide to take a small break for a munch. In the meantime snacks were ordered, I and Vinod decide to fix up his baby's right indicator. Get the 5 Re. feviquick and some black tape, get if fixed. I click some snaps of our bikes and get into the restaurant. Tank-up ourselves and off are we again to our destination.

Vinod was leading and everyone was within the guidelines of group riding. Well done!!! No hurries or urgencies. We decide to take a second halt, exactly at the place where Vinod and I took a halt on our Mahableshwar ride. Just besides the river, for its picturesque view. Take a good long halt of about half an hour. You'll find the max pics clicked at this place. Vinod suggests a different route from here, through some local village called Ambet. But we already left that route some 5 kms back, so take a u-turn and head back. Seeing the condition of the route, it was sure that Vinodbhaiya had decided to give us some training for next year's Dakar rally or maybe operating the pathfinder on Mars. The roads were utterly bad, so bad that some of us had to ride standing on the pegs and worse thing was that they didn't seem to end. I was muttering and cursing Vinod for the idea, but for the sake of experience and adventure just took it lightly. Finally we were out of hell. Was just praying we don't encounter such a stretch again ahead and really we don't. The roads ahead were just fabulous. Imagine a race track with all curves and hardly a straight stretch. Just swinging and swaying on our bikes from one side to the other. This stretch was godsend for Satya, he just sways unnecessarily at times, here he had a purpose :))

As we were on our trip riding, so was the sun rising higher and higher making us sweat hard. But the scenery and the curves were constantly charging us up. We hit a spot which seemed quite unusual to me. It was like a mountain of just rocks. Was a construction going on for a dam. Just an adventurous bug bit us, lets take our bikes up there. But you cannot run easily ascending on them, taking your bikes is far off. Into first gear, rev to higher rpm and just go climbing, don't stop, finally everyone's up there. Take some pics happily as we've scaled the Everest peak. Looking downwards, we wonder how we got up. Anyway now that we're up, it was the time to go down and it's a true fact that ascending is much easier than descending. And it was tough coming down for us except for Harry, who just went down in a flash. Sherzad got stuck in the middle :D but anyway he made it. Now we were totally squeezed out of fluids in our body, we needed a drink badly i.e. water ;) We just had a lone water bottle and that was with me, but now lying totally empty. Got onto the ghats for some distance until we hit a small restaurant. Small restaurant, but at a beautiful place. Just see the greenery pic Vinod has clicked. We order some fresh kokam juice, good deal at Rs. 5/- per glass, we make that two for each. Cool off ourselves with splashing water all over our body, just like elephants spray themselves with while they're in a pool ;) Time to go. Keep zigzagging through the curves, occasionally stopping to take pics which I could not afford to miss, such was the beauty of the place. One more stop, but that's because of me, I needed to make a call to my friend to confirm things I had committed. Work done, no stopping till we reach Dapoli.

Passing through villages with people staring at us wondering what the hell is going on, maybe modern bandits on bikes. Me just escaped a mishap, taking a curve at 80, with Satya ahead of me, everyone fully leaning and I with my eyes fixed on the outside of Satya's line of curve to avoid ramming into him in case he brakes, just in a flash I realise something big is in my way. hell, its an ST bus. God bless that driver. I came out of it mostly because of him, he just cut to the left and stopped. And thank heavens again, I didn't panic, just flicked my handlebar to avoid hitting him. I just thought to stop and thank him and most of all apologise, I was at the end and everyone was off. So changed my plans.

Finally we reach Dapoli. We like hungry monkeys were looking around to find a place to eat. Vinod's good at asking people for places. We find a small restaurant. Small restaurant, small road, small parking space. Had to squeeze in our bikes for parking. Harry broke off his left rear indicator, courtesy it hitting my silencer parking on the side stand. After a long ride under the sun, we finally cool off under the fan with some cool drink of water. All non-vegetarians except me. Chicken and fish for them and a veg rice-plate for me. But the food was simply fantastic. Tasted very much like home-made food. Bill amounted to Rs.375/-, very acceptable considering the amount that we ate. Next time if I happen to be at Dapoli, I am definitely going to drop into that restaurant again. So food is over, now some rest.

We enquire about some place to rest, and luckily we do come to know a place which is free of cost - a local park. Ride to the spot, everyone's dead on the grass. Take rest, click some snaps. Up again on our bikes for our way home. Vinod had plans to visit the beach, some 15 kms away, but plans changed due to paucity of time. So the same route again with just a change in direction. Keep riding without stops. What is a ride in a village without a cow crossing our way and that happens very soon. We all doing around 80-90 kph on a straight stretch, a cow crossing, Satya ahead of me, sees it, gives a loud long horn, the cow stops, Satya passes, I get a big wide gap on the right, decide to take it and that cow gives me a heart attack. As I am about to pass from the right, it suddenly u-turns. My heart is in my mouth, I brake hard, but still I am about to hit him, but the cow shows its reflexes. just sways its head out of my way. Thanks to the almighty, safe again.

We ride non-stop again hitting those hellish bumpy roads on our way back. Anyway we finally touch the highway, refresh ourselves with some lemon-juice and suddenly realise a change. Gaze skywards to see it totally dark. The breeze hustling through giving signals of a storm about to come. Dead ducks we people, what if it rains, we're in a mess. No option but to runaway from the place. Resembling a scene from 'The Mummy Returns, when these people are in the balloon escaping the roaring river behind them, it was like we were having a race with the weather. Finally we managed to come out dry out of the place. We keep riding non-stop passing through some occasional messy traffic until we hit Panvel. Totally fatigued..

Decide to sip some hot tea to charge up. Considering the city traffic ahead, we decide to go slow, also it was enough of fast riding. I lead, touch Belapur, take left for Palm beach and still ride slowly through the Palm beach stretch. So finally we reach our disburse-point at Vashi. The hi's, bye's and hugs of appreciation for each other. I had to meet a friend at Vashi, so I zoom off first with the rest following. So that was the end of it. A good ride, more of a surprise package. Coz at least I visualized we riding the Khandala ghats and ripping away on the Amby Valley stretch. But frankly this was much better. A combination of everything you can get on a ride. But most of all riding through the swirling ghats was an experience, never got an opportunity to ride through so much of curves. Learnt a lot of maneuvering the bike. Luckily got out of two mishaps which could have been landed me in trouble, but anyway was part of the learning curve. Will take care of things next time.

My sincerest of thanks to all who made the trip a success. The pics HERE

First ride to Mahabaleshwar

Posted: by Pulsurge in Labels: , ,

This wasn't exactly a planned trip. It was basically an official tour. I had to collect some reports of my boss's accident from the Poladpur Police Station. Just casually someone in office asked me if I could go to Poladpur to collect the documents, I jumped up to say yes. Actually I had planned to go to the place, just for the sake of curiosity of how the unfortunate accident happened. Was short of cash, hence couldn't make it. This occasion was like godsend to me and there was no way I could refuse it. So it was fixed that I would be going on Sunday. I had discussed my plans about going to that place some time back, and as always he was ever-ready to come with me. Thanks Vinodbhai. So we met at reclamation on Saturday to plan out things and the ride was on.

Place decided as usual was palm beach road and the meeting time was 5.00 a.m. in the morning. Seriously feel bad to say it, but I was late this time too and broke all records at that, I wasn't late by 15 minutes or half an hour, but a whole 2 hours late. Courtesy, power cut at night, tv timer went off, neither did my alarm ring in the morning. I got up and saw my watch, damn it was 6.30. Saw my mobile wondering why Vinod did not call me. When things go bad, they all do. No network on my cell. I turn it off and put it on again. And Vinod's smss start pouring in 'I am waiting at palm beach since 5.00 a.m, where are you'. I felt utterly bad, immediately called up Vinod and prepared myself to hear whatever he had to say. But he said nothing. Finished off everything in 20 minutes, checked my bike and buzzed off.

Ripped all the way to Palm beach and was there within 20 minutes to find Vinod missing. Called him up and he says come 5 kms ahead, he's waiting. Finally reached there, feeling bad and sorry for him and still he didn't say anything apart from 'lets move'. Decided to ride at least 80 kms before a stop. Speed decided was between 80-100 kph to cover the lost time. I decided to stay behind him, main reason is because he is a very good rider with loads of experience and second I like to stare at his Pirellis while moving, they really look sexy and gives his bike a bigger look. I would prefer staring at his bike than at a centre spread of Laetitia Casta ;) He hasn't got a single sticker on his bike and from the rear his bike looks so clean with a small Victor reflector on his extended mud flap. Anyways we were flying on the highway keeping between the decided speed.

First stop was at Wadkhal naka. (Trip read 62 kms), to cool off our bikes a bit and to fill up our vacant tummies. Dropped in at a small restaurant, nothing special was available on the menu. Vinodbhaiya ordered Wada Misal, gobbled it and rode off. From there we were riding real fassssssst and sharp. Great stretches along the way with occasional bumps and the usual villages and cattle. Lucky didn't hit or rather touch any of them. Ride till Poladpur was great, fantastic roads with some dream curves to pump up our heartbeat at high speeds. Stopped in between at scenic places to click some memories along the way. The river being one of them. The only irritating thing we found on our way was an errant 800 driver. god knows what he was upto. But the way we were riding made us lose him in our mirrors quite quick :) Reached Poladpur (Trip read: 176 kms).

I had to meet the Police incharge there and collect the FIR report. Didn't take time, took the report, purchased some mangoes, got a good deal. Good mangoes for 20 bucks a dozen. Stuffed them in my bag. We had a cool sugarcane juice drink and jumped again onto our bikes to head for the ghat section. An occasional bumpy stretch but then the roads got better, not very good, but rideable, though the stretch was narrow and major of the places have no railings or boulders. All the way I was gazing at the deep valley below recollecting the experience my boss and his family would have went through the horrific incident. I could feel the valley was pulling me towards it and I was getting quite close to the edge at times. I took a halt and told Vinod about me feeling uncomfortable. He told me not to look down and just keep riding. Felt better after that.

Went riding non-stop till we reached the Mahableshwar toll naka. Vinod paid the toll and we headed off to Old Mahableshwar for a pilgrimage trip. (Trip read: 224 kms) Visited all of the temples around there i.e the Old Mahableshwar temple, the main temple, the Panchganga temple. It gave a good feeling that they still stood even after the British reign. All that we ate and drank down below just evaporated in the air ;D Had to have something, dropped in at a local restaurant to have lunch. wasn't special and I just ate for the sake of it. Told Vinod about me not enjoying it, he told me just keep quite and eat, cannot do anything, we've ordered it, we have to pay for it, so eat it. Ate it quietly :(

Vinod had to do some shopping, so we headed to the market area, Vinod purchased some jelly sweets and that was it. Had to head back home. Got onto our bikes and rode on our way back. I just wanted to halt for some time at the place where my boss's car fell. We took a halt under a tree at that place which was the only one there. I walked on for some distance eagerly looking down the ravine to see if I can see the ill-fated crashed car if possible. Couldn't as the valley was too steep, almost 90 degrees. Vinod was shouting from behind that we have to go, and I was screaming back, 'just 2 minutes I am coming' finally I realized I had walked a long distance. Came dot at the spot where the incident took place. Stood there for some time, couldn't think anything, my mind was absolutely zero. I realized that Vinod was again yelling from behind. Walked back, got onto our bikes and rode off. I had a problem then, I just couldn't ride, was finding hard to concentrate, yeah that accident thing was lingering on my mind. I again stopped at the same spot. Vinod got ahead and was honking madly at me. I wasn't feeling to leave the place, but had to. Caught up with Vinod to find him furious at me. Actually he was right, I was spoiling his mood to ride. But my purpose of the ride wasn't to site-see Mahableshwar, if I would have been alone, I wouldn 't have at all gone to Mahableshwar. Would have sat at that spot and then returned back.

I just let Vinod ride at his own speed and I was just trotting along at around 20-30 kph descending, finding it hard to concentrate on the road. But thank god nothing bad happened finally got down the ghats and then blipped the throttle and caught up with Vinod. Rode at normal speed till Poladpur, took a small halt and some water to refresh. Luckily I saw a nail pierced in my tyre, was about to take it out when Vinod said don't. Let it be, don't fiddle, it will be okay and guess what, even today that nail is still there. I haven't removed it. Need to change my tube, its already got a half a dozen of punctures already. MRF tubes are hard to find... Anyway then from Poladpur the ripping session was on. Very rarely did we come down below 100 kph. We were confidently riding as we had already seen the stretch while going, so we knew the curves as well. Took a halt again at a restaurant after riding for some 100+ kms. Stretched our legs and shoulders a bit, freshened up and that was our last halt. Ripping session on again till we hit Panvel.

The Karnala stretch was amazing, personally that's a record for me- was really exciting. We reach Panvel and the traffic headache starts, anyway we wriggle out through the bustling traffic and reach Belapur and take left for Palm beach. Stopping at a signal, Vinod says lets drag. My poor 150 isnt a match for his 180, but anyway my bikes wont back out and so wont I. I say ok, green goes the signal, just 0-40 I am ahead and then Vinod's bikes shows up who's the boss. He gets ahead, I check the speedo its 90 kph. Downshift in 4th and vroom go past him. God knows why he backed out. I lost him in my mirrors, still I was going in the 4th gear and decided not to get on the 5th and stretch as much as I can in the 4th cog itself. Touched 120 kph at 10,500 rpm, yeah redlining of course, bad for any bike. Looking back, no sign of Vinod yet, I slow down, put on my hazard lights, take the bridge and get onto one side and Vinod comes along. I offer him my thanks and appreciation for his company on the ride. And we part off with each other.

Was a good ride, though it brought in some painful thoughts. But frankly I've always enjoyed riding with Vinod, he's indeed a good rider, damn serious at riding and most of all a good companion to be with on trips. He always has something to say at halts to cheer you up. So guys that's it. That was the trip and my thanks to Vinod for the company and the time. Look forward to riding with him on more trips soon.
The pics HERE