Independence day ride to Lonavla

Posted: by Pulsurge in Labels: , ,

Most of the guys were not aware, but we (Kiron, Satyajit and myself) went out on a Mumbai-Lonavla Ride on Independence day. The ride was at short notice and was decided on Saturday evening with Kiron on Yahoo IM with a suggestion for a ride. It was time to leave from office and hence didn't put across a mail. People on the list were Kiron, Satyajit, Anand, Vinod, Prannoy and myself. Called up other members, but most of them were pre-occupied with other commitments. Kapil was willing to come, but I suggested he stays home- it was his birthday. Please send in your belated wishes :) I thought six bikers were good enough for the ride, but the blocks started coming out. Anand's dad was not keeping well - he was out. Prannoy - pulled out, Vinod - well he's a proud uncle now. Congrats to him, was such a great occasion, he had to stay home. No problems. But the ride was onfor definite, no change of plans whatsoever. I had already informed Kiron that if nobody turns up, we both would be riding to Lonavla.

For the second time in the history of my trips with the group, I was up on time. Got my bike out of the house clean and shining- had spent more than 4 hours cleaning it on Sunday and prayed hard overnight that it doesn't rain the next day. But maybe someone somewhere would have prayed much harder for the rains. So the almighty answered his prayer rather than mine. Bike was in a mess within a km of riding. All my previous day's efforts gone down the drain. Reached our default meeting place i.e. under the Airoli intersection flyover, at 7.35 a.m. Was surprised to see the most punctual rider Vinod not at the place and neither was Satya present. Decided to wait till these guys come down, gave numerous calls to Satya and Vinod, but neither of them picking up, thought would be riding. The only thing to do apart from waiting for them was to wipe off the accumulated dirt of my machine. Got onto the job straightaway, but never got it clean as it was some minutes back. Its 8.30 and still no sign of anybody.

Thankfully after a few minutes Satya arrives. The first news he gives me is that Vinod is not coming, coz his relatives were expected that day. Later came to know that his sister has given birth to a baby boy. God forbid he doesn't grow and become like his mama, says 60 and rides at 80 :)) Was time to leave as Kiron would be waiting at Palm Beach. So we get our bikes on the move with the sun
just out from behind the hills, our visors pulled up to feel the mild warmth of the sun and the pleasing cool breeze across our faces, thankfully the rains had stopped then. We cross the Airoli bridge and Kiron calls up to inform he reached Palm beach and waiting for us, we say we'll be there in 10 minutes. Ride on through the terrible Thane-Belapur crater-stretch, take right to the flyover for Palm beach, stop at an IOC bunk, me for petrol and Satya for air. Two minutes later we catch up with Kiron waiting for us.

Just as we touch Belapur, taking a curve I suddenly feel my rear wheel wobbling, it wasn't late to realise that I had a puncture. Stopped immediately to make sure I don't end damaging my tube, though I was carrying a spare one. Got the bike on the centre stand to find a nail right in the centre-groove. Still had sufficient amount of pressure to ride it till the puncture-repair shop. Pulled out the big bad nail out of my darling's shoe and threw the culprit in the gutter so that others don't fall a victim to it. Hit the highway keeping the speedo needle under the pre-decided 80 kph mark. Not much traffic owing to Independence day. Ride on very smoothly till Panvel and stop at the same usual place where we generally have the hot vadas. But this time gave it a skip coz of the spreading news to avoid outside food. But at least sipping some hot tea was on the cards, had some, in the meantime we called up Kapil to wish him on his birthday. Next decided was to make a final stopover at Khopoli before starting for the ghat section.

Satya was leading as usual from the starting point and
this time was no exception. Slowly by slowly we started getting to the top, the roads were good except for some gravel scattered around at the start, rest was normal. The picturesque scenery was forcing us to stop time and again for an eye-treat. Seriously, the thing we were missing most was a camera, at least a phone-cam would have done the job, but we had neither :( So our stop on the expressway was the last. Kept riding till Lonavla and took a right turn for Bushi Dam and Tiger Point.

Being a holiday in continuation to Sunday had made the place more crowded. Came across a bit of traffic till Bushi Dam, gave up the idea seeing the crowd at that place and got rolling for Tiger Point and that's where the real treat was. The place after Bushi Dam was in a total cloud cover, visibility was a mere 10 metres, though there was nothing to get scared about, was a new experience - headlights in full beam with indicators in hazard mode blinking all the way. Visibility was so less that we couldn't spot vehicles approaching just some distance away even with their lights on. Satya as usual a dare-devil rider was just riding away without any concern, I suggested that Kiron, a much more sedate rider leads the way to be on the safer side. Had to stop on a number of occasions to ask people if the place was Tiger Point, coz wherever there was a crowd, we thought that was it, was tough making out due to the foggy condition.

The visibility improved a bit and finally we reached our place. It was a weather
and climate never felt before, had removed my jacket to feel the cool breeze, but immediately had to put it back, the breeze wasn't cool but shiveringly chilly. The climate was absolutely romantic, I could have written a long poetry sitting there. Anyways, what's better than having hot vadas and pakodas in this weather, we get them right away. Four vada pavs, a plate of onion pakoda, enjoyed eating it. But we were shocked when paying for it, he says 70 bucks.. What???? 70 bucks for 4 vada pavs and a pakoda plate. Satya got annoyed and asked for an explanation to which he replied with all silly reasons. Very well could make out his policy of "make hay while the sun shines". Had a mood for tea as well, but was wise to ask him the price before gulp it down and pay a dear price again. 7 rupees was the reply, went ahead for three of it.

The climate again was in a bunch of clouds. Well Kiron hadn't been to Amby Valley anytime with us, so decided to give him a site-see of that place :) Though the main reason was to ride on the thrilling curves on the way through, but this time it wasn't as easy as before coz of the rains. But thankfully came across some dry stretches and gave my bike a rip for some exciting thrill, reached Amby Valley in no time. Satya and Kiron followed. As usual spend some time relaxing outside. Met a biker with the new all-black 180 DTSi. Satya being a die-hard pulsar fan was excited on seeing it. He couldn't stop giving valuable running-in tips to him and frankly the rider was obliged coz he had no idea of what running in was. His bike had just completed 700 kms on the odo and had come to Lonavla from Pune with a pillion at 100 kph. Was killing his bike absolutely. So while he left I could make out that Satya's words had hit his mind, he got off the place riding at normal pace.

Was about time for us to leave too. Satya's parents were expected from Nagpur, had to reach home before dark. This time while coming back, had to wriggle out of some heavy traffic. Fortunately got to spot a silver Hayabusa while coming back, stuck in traffic. The number plate seemed very familiar, I immediately recollected its pic being posted on The rear tyre was just hyper-thick, as thick as a truck's front tyre. If this sight wasn't enough, we had something more in store, guess what an ATV vroooming away through traffic - boy did it look hot and the exhaust noise was just awesome. Missed the camera this time too. Kiron and Satya wanted to chikki-shop and later have lunch. I wasn't hungry enough and hence decided not to eat. So finally was about time to say good-bye to this lovely beloved place. Took to the usual route for two wheelers passing through the expressway tunnel taking the Khopoli route, riding non-stop before taking a final halt at Panvel for some tea. Riding ahead via the Mumbai-Panvel stretch till Belapur before taking left for Palm beach. Satya goes straight for Kalyan via Thane. Kiron and myself took left for Bandra. Kiron head to head home and I had to meet Prannoy and Parimal. I apologise to them for not making it. Got wet in the rain and plus was a little tired, hence made my way home.

So that is it.. my triplog. Enjoyed riding at Lonavla in never-seen-before
conditions and tried to enjoy every bit of it.

Unfortunately no pics on this trip- didnt carry a camera :'(