2008 Shirdi Ride

Posted: by Pulsurge in Labels: , ,

"People don't take trips . . . trips take people." - John Steinbeck

This was a thanks-giving ride to Shirdi to thank Sai Baba for having answered my prayers. Like in the past, Shirdi trips were never planned- they've just happened. Just a day before I decided I'll be riding next morning. Being stuck with a ceased block-piston again and my bike in running-in, the ride was still on. Heartiest thanks to Alkesh who without a second thought and with full trust handed over the keys of his P220 for the ride. Sought Amit's company just 7 hours before the ride and to my delight he affirmed within ten minutes.
Reached Amit's place at 05.30 morning and we were off. Thought of taking via Malshej, but then with the return being on the same day decided the conventional route. NH3 was ok and with construction work going on, there were lot of diversions from one side of the highway to the other.
Took our first tea stop before the Igatpuri ghats:
Igatpuri was packed with lot of trucker traffic and pilgrims taking to Shirdi on foot. Crossed Ghoti in no time and took our first stop on the lovely route- though this time the road had taken some battering.
Fully exploiting the 15x optical zoom on his H50, Amit took this wonderful shot.
Another stop for a shot with the hills in the background. Last time I was here for the Ratangad trip, this was lush green with waterfalls rolling off the edges.
This was one of the surprises on the trip- no idea when they were put up.
Amit poses with the mills in the background.
Another stop after enjoying a few twisties on the Ghoti-Sinnar stretch.
We finally touch the holy place of Shri Sai Baba.
Amit and myself on garland shopping.
I've never missed having food at the Prasadalaya. You do have to queue up for an hour- but the experience and taste of the food is something so different and I enjoy to the max literally wiping off the plate :)
As efficient and systematic serving you can get.
What a meal that was! Through with everything and we already running into extended time due to the long queues both for darshan and food, we started off on our return journey. Struck bad luck at Sinar towards Ghoti- the road absolutely packed with vehicles not moving an inch. Had masala tea amidst the chaos.

Took via internal roads to touch the highway and lost the route completely i.e. reached Nasik instead of Ghoti. Carried on with the ride and occassionally missing out on the diversion signs ended up riding on the wrong side of the road. Reaching home in a hurry wasnt on the agenda, hence cruised comfortably taking ample tea stops.
Spotted this babydoll at a restaurant having tea. She was too sweet to miss a click.
In the meantime, we had our share of tea and pakodas.
Another stop for a dash of Limca and the last shot of the ride at Padghe.
Took an hour to reach home and that was the end of the trip. Thanks to Amit for the wonderful company- specially for the continous chit-chat about bikes for almost 4 hours standing in the Darshan Queue :)
Now for some statistics.
One way route: Thane-Shahapur-Igatpuri-Ghoti-Sinnar-Shirdi: 231 kms
Hit a top speed of 130kph on the P220 and despite the high speed riding all the way- got a decent 40kpl.

How more can we take???

Posted: by Pulsurge in Labels:

Nothing to do with bikes or biking, but couldn't resist of posting it up here. 

Our city of Mumbai- call it a mirror that irrespective of the regional indifferences accepts and reflects the images of everyone in itself. The very mirror being shattered by a bunch of cowards with our hapless and egocentric politicians passing the blame monkey into one another's lap. Its become a ritual of living under the gloom of terror unaware of when bad luck strikes you.

Lots been reported all around and any more comments would be just a repetition of similar citations in different words. Its been said by an unknown author "Have the determination of a mirror. It never loses its ability to reflect, even if it is broken into thousand pieces". Hence...we will go on, we will fight back, we're not giving in to the guerilla acts of terror by a few bunch of fanatics. It has been a wakeup call- a call to be more alert, to be more responsible for the city we call home. 

And as for the bunch of crookheads ruling us "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!"

Mumbai to Kolhapur and back via Amba Ghat

Posted: by Pulsurge in Labels: , ,

One day's exposure to mountains is better than cartloads of books....John Muir

Well this ride wasn't planned at all. For a change decided to ride a bit further on Saturday night and be back home by morning. But as a routine, post-discussion the distance gets pushed further and further. Hedvi, Velneshwar, Jaigad were thought of and would have landed wherever time permitted. The first rule before the ride...no staying at a hotel or a lodge. So carrying sleeping stuff was expressly understood and made way into our luggage.

Reached Revel's place in Vashi around 6.30 p.m. after spending the whole day of fixing up the Avenger coil on my P150 to complement a brigher bulb i.e. Philips Xtreme-Power 55/60W- though again it didnt work this time too is a different story altogether. But a good addition on my bike was something I sorely missed on all my rides- a ciggy lighter adaptor. Now least worries of my N95 running out of charge while on GPS exercises. Revel was to be a pillion on Glen's ZMA, but he was all charged up on the first ride with us. Gulped down two glasses of Tang offered by Revel's mom and we were off.

Excellent climate and deserted roads and engines humming their favourite tunes, we were the Kings of the road. The Palm beach link to JNPT was deserted as usual and with absolute darkness, my HID was lighting up the road like anything. Glen was a bit slow to start with and even me deciding not to go above 80 kph, there was a huge gap created between us. Took a stop at Khopoli for them to catch up.

Another stop at Lonavla for tea as the temperatures started dropping with distance. It was an extended halt as Glen helping out a local female rider whose bike was simply refusing to start. In the end he did manage to turn on.....the bike I mean. Left Lonavla and suddenly found Glen into the groove- he wasn't lagging behind anymore. Was wondering if it were the multiple kicks that warmed him up or....well. Had to stop again at Pune as Revel ran out both of patience and tolerance- the ZMA's pillion seat was too hard for his liking. Cushioned the seat with the bedsheet I was carrying and that improved things a bit.

Carrying on with the cruise stopping over at Khambatki for tea and later gave our backs a respite by the highway after riding non-stop from Khambatki till the outskirts of Kolhapur.

We had tea again after getting up and as per the plan, we had to halt somewhere in Kolhapur. It was 4 in the morning and a misdirected advice from a local shopkeeper landed us nowhere. In the end manage to find a spacious shed and we were into deep sleep not extending more than an hour and a half..courtesy the tradition of playing some loud and lousy songs whenever there's a wedding function in a village. Revel and me had managed to sleep even in the noisy conditions, but poor Glen had a torrid time.

Its past 6 and we're up for the rest of our journey. Stopped over for tea at a village after Panhala and headed straight towards Amba Ghat. The Ghats hadn't even started, but the quality of the roads were beautiful.

I was trailing owing to stoppage for a few clicks here and there.

There's this small S-Curve between two cut sections of a mountain and as they're over my eyes were left wide open. It was something like being shot out of a canon right into space. 

We just couldn't get over with the scenery, the breeze and the sight of the wonderful roads that we had yet to roll on. Clicked the maximum pics of the ride here.

A few poses at the cliffs

Some rock climbing exercises

And doing what we love doing best...taking curves :)

Thats Revel doing a twisty run

And here comes Glen

Then finally its me

How about syncing it up! (Thanks to Revel for timing the shots well)

Mr. D'Souza somehow found time for a quick nap amongst all the bustle that was going on.

Had a treat of our life riding through this wonderful stretch of Amba Ghat. Clicked a couple of snaps in between though wished if could have captured each and every corner of the heavenly roads- but then would have missed out on the riding pleasure.

All good things have to come to an end and so did the blast that we had on this section. 

Hit NH17 with Glen and Revel deciding to head home and me heading to Jaigad Lighthouse.

Roads are great from Nivali for 30 kms towards Jaigad, only the rest 12 kms is in horrible shape. The temperatures started to rise as I started approaching Jaigad. A complete barren land with JSW setting up a steel plant and a jetty for future operations.

The water in the background unlike pale as it seems in the pic was so blue, it felt like a painting rather. Unfortunately couldn't capture the real colours.

Clicked a pose of the bike besides the monstrous 35 tonner capable of a payload of 80 tonnes!!!

Spotted the Jaigad Lighthouse in the distance and started finding a way for it. Unfortunately even the locals had no clue. It was just a few hundred metres away, still I couldnt find a way through. Riding through tall grass and bumping into rocks- it was a failure even after 5-6 alternate attempts. At one point of time thought of giving up and riding back- was extremely thirsty with no water left and temperature just seemed to rise with every minute. One last try I said to myself- and luckily found a lose and muddy path right through. 

Another shocker, the board outside says visiting time 3 to 5 pm, vehicles not allowed inside and  photography strictly prohibited. I wasnt going to back out on these instructions. I had seen quite a few pics of the lighthouse and that too with bikes inside. Slowly opened the smaller gate and started walking towards the lighthouse. Had never seen a lighthouse so upclose in my life and though it was not as big, but wonderful to watch.

The place was literally haunted, but then suddenly I heard someone's voice. If am seen, I would be asked to get out and clicking opportunity would be gone. Took a few steps back, and let the cam do its work. Stood there gazing at the lighthouse for a few moments, strolled outside the gate clicking the sea and it was about time to head back.

Returning back it was a bigger headache to ride on the broken roads. Went speeding over those bumps before hitting smooth tarmac and finally exiting on NH17.

Left Nivali and took a lunch halt at Hotel Abhishek, Chiplun.

The sun started setting and thereon just ripped away till Mahad, after which traffic started sucking out the energy as well as the patience out of me. Restlessness and a stiff bottom forced a tea stop at Wakan.

Through traffic it was a slow and tiring ride back home- not before stopping over at Revel's place who seemed dog tired after the ride.

So that was the ride- surprisingly I felt tired, maybe coz of the traffic. Those orgasmic twisties of Amba were still afresh and the sequence played on till my eyes could stay open.

Missed the rest of the gang.

GPSed Mumbai to Kolhapur and Amba to Mumbai.

Here's the complete set of pics.

Riding through Bhor & Varandha

Posted: by Pulsurge in Labels: , , ,

You Don't Have to Die to Go to Heaven...... Derrick Sweet

Heaven it was......Vinod (P180), Glen (ZMA), Amit (P220) and myself (P150) went on circling Mumbai-Lonavla-Pune-Bhor-Varandha-Mahad and back to Mumbai. The three caught up with me at Chowk Phata near Khopoli, I was on my office Picnic at RiverGate Resort Karjat.

Faced heavy showers right from the word go and thick fog as soon as we touched Lonavla. Took a first tea break on NH4 diversion from Dehu Road.

A high speed cruise took us till Kaapurhol and no sooner did we take right towards Bhor- it was an amazing experience. Breath-taking scenery all round.

Experienced the misty gush of the Bhatghar river on the way and went for a site see around Bhatghar dam.

The scenery kept getting better with roads cutting through the hills and rivers following us.

Thick fog and rains added to the thrills.

Took a short chai stop on the breath-taking Varandha Ghats.

This chap ran away with Vinod's gloves- but not very far.

Thrilling steep descends brought us down pretty quick from Varandha. Taking NH17 we were back home by 10.30 p.m. My confidence in NH17 took a beating when my bike hit a pothole at Vadkhal making a complete mess of my front rim and shattering 7 spokes in the process. Except for this bitter experience it was an amazing ride. Not to mention I missed my girlfriend really bad :) She loves adventure and would have been more thrilled on a trip like this...unfortunately didnt work out :(

Surely will be going again after rains. Enjoy a few memories HERE