Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Alone Biker 0n Royal Enfield Bullet

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming 'WOW What a Ride!'

Series-1 - Start - 0%

All this started from few weeks, i felt my life is been going cyclic process and has good achievements professionally, Now what can i give back to the society in my own better means.
So It all started with a plan, so i did my 1st interesting trip, which follows below.
Reasons and purpose of the trip will also follow below.

I can Divide the trip in below two Major stages:-
1. Preparations & Precautions
2. Trip and Observations

Before i start with the above stages let me explain my trip route, Started from Mumbai(16/12/2009-8AM) ended at Panchkula(19/12/2009 - 7PM).

Brief Route Mumbai-Indore- Gwalior-Agra-Aligarh-Panchkula. It came to about 1,760Kms.

Stage-1 - "Preparations & Precautions":-
1. Health - Yes, In this case this comes 1st, without having a proper health its impossible to
try any of such "Risky" Trips. Because you are alone on the road and you health is related to
constant concentration on the Road "Indian Roads" ( more details about the road in the below sections). I am a "irregular" jogger but still i jog :-) and when ever possible i Try few floor exercises too and i have couple of tumbles to pump my biceps too. Not only this i even did a Full regular Medical check-up from a professional clinic, the reports are very healthy "Thanks to mom and dad" :-), This healthy reports added to my positive plans of this trip.

2. My Bullet:- "I Kiss this Bullet", what a company it gives, Actually it was talking to me all my trip, not a single error from this Bullet "I can say i am very lucky with this Bullet". Yes, I did a complete over-haul of the bullet checked on oil, brakes, engine beat & papers, I also made sure bullet papers are in place, A perfect checklist for a perfect trip.

3. Helmet:- The most most most important part of the "preparation & Precaution & even Safety". I bought a helmet which will have air-vents, visor and lower jaw-part flip-up. I also got
a Full cover Mask for head, face & neck made of soft cloth. Luckily it was black so i can only wash at the end of my trip.

4. Googs/Coolers:- Having bright sun its must to have a good professional Rider coolers which
protects the eyes from Dust and Light and even sometimes the wind(Cold and Hot). Suggestion
if you are buying one please take all necessary time to choose the perfect fit to your eyes/face. This plays a major role for everyday trip, because you can't start a next day trip with try or sore eyes.

5. Gloves/Saddle Bags:- This plays a major role of protection in case of crash, this is what mostly everyone thinks, but this also helps to keep your hand clean and fresh, without a good glove hands will become dry and dirty. I had to carry a pair and also bought various types of gloves on my way, 1st i was carrying a vent(nylon/rubber) based glove which i Bought in US, this was helpful till i i was in warm climate, it was circulating air to my fingers and kept the had fresh, once i reached cooler climate i have to change to combination of leather and woolen glove to avoid any cold wind problem & Freezing during my ride.

6. Knee, Elbow, Back, Shoes - I have made sure i have all this mentioned for maximum protection incase of any crash, I had made it very clearly i Will not sit on the bullet without my protection gear on, Because a small crash also can make it worst back at work and home.
I have a very good kit for the above which can surely protect upto a speed of 100Kmph(55Mph). But still my average speed was only 85Kmph.

7. Medicine, tools, Petrol, Map, Torch - Some simple medicine for any small wounds is must and any regular medicine if you take, all those in a single pouch to avoid over luggage. A simple tool set mostly the default Bullet tool kit and a double side screw driver, cutter and nose player, incase it may be needed for you or for someone help on the way, even i carried handy a Swiss knife kit. A litre and above petrol, i thought was necessary due to various reasons of Indian conditions *****. Ohh yes Map a Brief map about the route you need to take and main name and locations, its necessary to get help on the road for directions to next locations. Yes Torch is a very important part of the such trips, power cuts or common in villages which i may need to stay or even if i get struck on highway during night its helps a lot, Even i was carrying a Lighter and Matchbox for building my own fire incase i get stranded in some remote location during the trip.

8. Water, Eatables, watch, Clothes & Toilet kit :-
Ooh Yes body made of water, i need lots of water during such long and dry trips to keep your body fluids in balance. One side of my saddle bag had a Water bottle and the other side had bottle of petrol as i mentioned above, Water for me and Petrol for Bike :-)

9. Laptop, Mobile(GPS built),Ipod, Chargers, Cash & Plastic:-
Laptop I did not see much use of my tiny Sony Vaio W series Laptop than browsing on free internet
in some hotel couple of times. Mobile and charger was very useful for communication and its GPS.
I Carrying Blackberry Curve 8900 and Ipod, the best thing is i use the same headset(3.5MM) of blackberry for my Ipod too. Even it is bad to listen music while riding, still it was fun
to hear to your favorite collections and it keeps you going. yes do not forget any of your gadget chargers, it will make you handicapped during the trip.
Also do not forget the Human created values "Money" & cards too". :-)


Stage-2 - "Trip & Observations":-

Day-1:- 16/12/2009
The day was fresh and house was calm, calm because my wife and nauty daughter are not at home, i have sent them to my home town chennai, oh yes they were not even aware i am going to try this. My Saddle bags and other gears was ready in my living room and i got fresh up and had snacks and assembled all this gear to my Bullet.

I had to stop in a near by Gas station to fill petrol(gas), I man aged around 55 a milk vendor came in a regular bike and stood next to me his wife was with him, without 2nd thought the man asked me are you going for long trip, i said "Yes". He just smiled like a full bright day and said, wish i would have done it, atleast i would like to join you, PS:-Note the entire trip has such great faces. Immediately his wife said now you are a old man don't forget. I Just smiled, The next question? are you going alone, I said Yes and i want it like that, he gave his address and asked me to meet him when i am back and they said best of luck.

Thats the best "Best Wishes" I got for the trip from a happy couple.

I traveled about 200+ Kms and stopped for Lunch, Its called Dhaba a regular high-way food joint.
I was the 1st customer for that lunch time, when i entered i just saw all the staff members were relaxing and few are on sleeping on the bench and listing to radio. I ordered for roti and chicken gravey and also for Curd(insisted for Curd), i got a great food. During my entire Lunch
all the eyes were on me from 10feet. I got a bottle of mineral water too. Once i finished i went up to the counter and asked for the bill, it came to 70Rs. I was happy to see a low bill and assumed that i will have a great low cost trip from there.

I continued my trip with new energy, the climate was not hot but still sunny, I was able to make
about another 200+kms after lunch and i had to stop because i have got my Back pain and Right side chest pain unbearable or we can call it uncomfortable. I stopped at a broad road with
a small bridge wall next to me, i went down the road by walk and leaked with great relaxation.
Just came back and laid-down on the bridge wall(flat and just can fit my width) to relax my back
and chest pain. I was trying few stretches to relax those pains. I got to see few kids playing
cricket just few yards from me. The time was around 4:45PM and sun set signs has started.

I got relaxed a little bit and started moving a ahead, my planned destination point is Indore, I am not sure if can i can make it before sunset, but i have to make it. So i started with a different mindset after the break that i have to to make it to Indore. Just around sunset i reached Indore and started asked for a hotel to stay for the night, Because i want to maintain closer reach to By-pass road instead of getting into city traffic. Couple of them said i have to go to City for a hotel during this one guy told there was a hotel called Royal Park and it was closed. Considering city but still not avoid searching i moved on with less than 500meters i say a board hotel Royal park, its already dark and the neon's are on and the hotel is towards my right so i just gone a 100 meter a head and took the u-turn and went thru the gate and i stopped which looks like a reception.

I did 570Kms for the day.

The entire place was deserted and i can see one regular bike and me the regular FM was hooked to a external speaker system so the people around that compound can hear, a young man came out of the reception and i asked for a room he said yes they have, Till that time i don't want even attempt to get out of my bullet, because my Back and Chest pain i don't want them to relax, I was worried if they so no room and i have to be ready to ride another 10 or more Kms. A old man also came out of the Reception and started asking me questions in English with bold voice Where are you from? Are you traveling alone? Are you traveling alone from Mumbai? With all my tired conditions i answered him.

They guided me to a room, I looked around again, i cant see anyone other than us. But only one room happed to have lights on but adding to my surprise the people inside are the hotel owner and his childhood friend. oops again. But still i can't help it anyone wants anything they can just take it form me because i body was not ready for any action :-), 1st room was not fine and i was ok with the 2nd room, the rooms were pretty big(double the size of a regular hotel in city). Oh yes i forgot to tell, it was already chilled at 7:10PM and dark too. There was not hot water supply in the room and i request for, they helped me with a bucket of hot water to fresh-up. I removed all my protective gear and was just on with boxers, feeling lighter and after a quick fresh-up i got charged. I inquired about dinner facility they said they don't have a kitchen and i can either take a walk to near by Dhaba or i can take a small ride to a little far restaurant,i prefer a walk rather to touch my resting Machine(Bullet).

The Dhaba was just across the road and was few les occupancy and almost everyone drunk, I was about to settle down and saw a table with two gentle above-middle aged men having there dinner, actually they were those two whom i meet in the hotel just few minutes back. I walked upto them and said hello, they started staring at me, I got shocked and gave them heads-up about my visit in the hotel, two gentle got it, they immediately offered me chair next to them and even take my order, the food came in and i was just enjoying the food, regular Dhaba roti and some interesting Chicken curry Chef Special :-), The two gentle man as i mentioned before were child-hood friends and they meet regularly and have few drinks, during the discussion i found out that the owner of the Hotel stays across the road and that hotel was empty because i has become a marriage hall sort of place. Ohh yes the dinner was on the Hotel owner(the Dhaba guys were not ready to take my money) and he promised and insisted to meet me in the morning to offer me tea from his home, reason he like my way of life and the trip i planned. He was little drunk but still be dropped me in his bike back to hotel. "About the tea in Day-2"

I managed to put my phone and Ipod on Charge and just crashed in less than seconds after a brief call with my wife. She is still not aware i am on this trip. I went into such a deep sleep that
people can steal me not just my belongings. I heard a huge/massive noise of disaster in the middle of night may be morning, i decided even the building falls i can't get out of this sleep and i continued my sleep. "About the noise in Day-2".

Day-2:- 17/12/2009
The morning was freezing and i got fresh-up, I am on with all the gear back on-me, because i am sure i will hit the highway in less than 2 minutes because, i was very close to the by-pass road. I came out of my room and checked for reception for any outstanding to be cleared. Then i asked for man there what was that huge noise last noise, he said its rain of Ice qubes, i said wow.

The owner was suppose come with the tea, but i did not bother about because it was around 8:45am and its too early to expect him, so i left the hotel and started moving. I went about 30+Kms
on the highway and decided to stop for breakfast, i into a high-way hotel which was serving Hot
Pooha, Jilabi and team. it was a great food to continue till lunch.

My next planned stop is Gwalior its about 500+ Kms, The road i started is like runway full concrete and segmented for on-coming traffic. I was full charged with the climate and food
and was going at a very smooth speed. I was watching all the way few guys were wearing a Black leather Jacket it looks very good and a nice ear-gaurd which covers from Cold wind. I passed by
few busy villages and then i decided to try for the Jacket and the Ear-guard, so slowed down near
a village and started looking out for those, finally i come to see almost every 2nd person in the village is on with a Black jacket, so i decided to drop the jacket plan just for the reason its so common. I got to a shop for the Ear-gaurd, i saw a boy aged about 12 years old full energy excited to sell gloves,caps etc.. so i picked up 1 ear-guard and pair of glove, the bill was just 90Rs.


With the new glove and better leather grip and resistant from cold wind i was doing better.
In a mid way i stopped for gas(Petrol) Filling it costed again 700Rs, In next few kms i started slow down because the road was bad and too dusty and crowded, i decided to exit that place
before i stop for lunch. Finally i manged to exit that busy long town and landed back near the high and stopped at a hotel for lunch, had a great lunch with Roti, dal, curd, yes no-non-veg :-)

During the lunch i realized i had lost my backpain and the right-side chest pain as mentioned above, surprising, just a day before i was suffering and the next day its completely gone.
I was very happy about that point and it added more fun to my trip. By the day end i managed to speed-up and reach Gwalior, i went deep into the city to get a hotel and finally stopped near a auto-rickshaw stand and was asking for a hotel a man walking volunteered and asked me are you looking for hotel, i said yes, he said it just acorss the hotel, then i realize that guy is a
employee of the hotel(Sita Manor).

I did about 520Kms.

I checked into a room it was big and excellent,comfort. The time was just 7:00pm. i freshed up and saw mails related to a con-call, surprisingly the hotel had a free wireless(unsecured) but i tried all corners of the room it was not happening with signal, so i have to say sorry to my team for the con-call.

Ordered for spicy Peanut-Masala, curd rice and veg-Makhanwala. Before the food landed i did some stretching and relaxing exercise to relax my body, it was a good feeling to relax body after a 8 hours of ride, good for blood circulation and healing for the next 8 hours of sleep. The food came in had some and need to leave some because the quantity was large for a single person like me to have all of it. Wathed TV(I love Idiot box) for some time and slowly crashed around 10:30PM.


Day-3:- 18/12/2009
It was cold, pretty cold no actually want to get out of the bed, it was good sleep and warm on the bed. Still managed to get out of the bed because i have a great journey ahead. Fresh but not had the breakfast at the hotel, settled the bill for hotel and started moving out of the city,
just before the highway i say a Lorry(trucks) joint punjabi dhaba, had a Alu(potato) parotta, it was stuffed and heavy and i like it, its mouth watering and just paid Rs.44 including tea and great service.

I am ready for long ride, but actually my next stop is Agra which is less than 150Kms, So i was prepared to enjoy a smooth ride & Relaxed Ride. But soon i touched the highway the bike was back on 85Kmph, within short distance i meet a major road-block due to big Flyover construction and
i was on a sand road and 100's of bikes around and trying to enter a railway crossing which is less than 20Feet wide road, the road was jammed for 10 to 15 mins and later it started moving, i saw couple of motorist going in a different direction parallel to the tracks, so i decided to follow them instead of getting struck in that Jam. It was interesting to go thru the station and tracks and no one cares that people are using anything a road, and finally managed to reach the high way again, this jam had almost eaten-up my 30+ mins of road time and it was too sunny too.

In next 1 hour i managed to reach Agra, I went straight to the main gate to Taj Mahal, because i never been to Agra in the past. There were few guides outside the main gate and they said its closed, I said what? how can Taj be closed, its a public monument, i did not belive then, then i went around the TAJ and was cross checking on the issue, to my surprise it was true that "Taj Mahal" is closed on Friday and i Landed on Friday, I was more disappointed, I came to know that
Taj Mahal will remain closed on Fridays for the public except for those who go for afternoon prayers in the mosque next to the 17th century monument.

Still I want to see as much as close possible, becuase i was in Agra at around 12:20noon. So i got hold of guide who said i will show you taj as near as possible. I said good. How? He said we need to travel a little bit, So removed my back seat bag and said sit, he jumped in and holded my bag, I will talk about his cost in some time. He was just guiding thru small Gallies(lanes), finally i got to go thru a Iron bridge which is just about 10feet width and is fully packed with
aggressive traffic, i managed a gentle ride in that bridge and was enjoying the tight traffic. within minutes i reached to small tea stall and this man(Raj) asked me to stop the Bullet and lets walk, i said what? because i was worried about my bags in Bullet no problem sir come no one
will touch your bags, i said good. Then we reached a ticket counter and paid for the camera and both of us for entry. As soon as we enter than place he started talking like a recorded Message and he explained me then entire story of Taj in 30 mins. In this conversation I understood that
I just bought the ticket and enter the place called "2nd Taj" or "Black Taj", which is supposed to be constructed, below link will help you all to read about it.

http://www.liveindia.com/tajmahal/details.html

So i had a well explained and experienced guide who can explained all most so much stuff about Taj and i sat in front of Taj at 2nd Taj and enjoyed the amazing view of TAJ. Raj the guide become a good friend of mine and he took be back to drop me back where i can get to highway easily, before going to highway i request Raj that i would like to buy a pair of leather glove, so he helped to go to few shops and we finally managed to get the glove at a good price Rs.250/-. But i later realized i was missing my coolers(shades), i said raj i missed my shades in one of this shops, he immediately said, sir if you are sure that one of the shops then you will get it :-) i was surprised on his confidence, i asked me how, sir this shops guys are very genuine, I said wow, lets see. I went thru the same shops again, 1st 2 shops no luck, the 3rd shop "yes" it was in the same place where it was left, i said wow, Raj was right and we had lunch together and i did little more shopping and left Agra.

Just before reaching the highway i asked few people on the road, route to Aligarh, they suggested me to take a round about highway for better road, else the regular road to Aligarh
which is shorter and has bad roads, I did not realize the level of bad the roads were, Since i am on Bullet i tought i can manage. Guys Never ever in life i can go in a road like that, it was about a stretch of 80Kms and above the road was pathetic, actually we can award that road as one of the worst road on this earth. Imagine after 30+ Kms on that road i stopped in Bullet and started inspecting my Bullet and was just astonished to see a road like that i was just standing and seeing the road, how the hell a road can be like this.


Atlast managed to reach aligarh with all this tough road journey, Since my Bullet back breaking is not good i started searching for bullet service center, Since i am very new to that place, i decided to look out for people who are using bullet. Finally i get to notice a shinning bullet
in a narrow lane. I stopped and inquired about whose bullet is it, it was a Metal machining the owner of the bullet and how are the same, he was just reading a thick book, it was one of the great epic of India "Mahabharat". I requested him to guide me to the bullet service center, as usual he got surprised and wanted to help me. He guided me to a very senior mechanic in a nearby place, Shyam pandit, without any further delay i directly meet shyam pandit and conveyed him the message that my breaks are bad and told him that get ready to service my bullet in meanwhile i will book the hotel. because it was already getting late the shops will get closed, shyam arranged for break shoes and oil change for the bullet, i rushed back after booking the hotel room nearby, Shyam and his partner are bullet freaks, the are in mid 50's and they own couple of oldest Royal enfield bullets. They patiently serviced by bullet and we talked a lot about journey, they also felt they should have done some trip like this when they were young.

After the service i reached a near by restaurant and had heavy food and reached hotel and had a great sleep with couple of mosquitoes around.


Day-4:- 19/12/2009
Morning got fresh and out on action, went to nearby ATM and got some cash, ooh yes that was the dirtiest ATM ever i have seen in my life till date. As i was going out of the city there was no eyes has not left noticed me till i was out of Aligarh. I like that :-)...

Since the Aligarh was like in the middle of bad roads and dust i decided to have the breakfast once i reach the highway. Finally managed to get out of that interesting dusty city and landed near a highway restaurant and had filled by fuel(breakfast). The journey started with a bright sun light and cold breeze. As i was travelling the wind started colder and colder and i got a new diversion in my trip, i was suggested by few travellers to take a different route to Chandigarh,which i my next destination.

Wow, what a road and what a journey, That was the best road of the trip and may be the best lengthy road i have seen in my life apart from regular highways. It was all filled with either
yellow mustered flowers or sugarcane crops in both side of the roads. It was a combination of Black road, yellow flowers, lush green crops and Blue sky. To be specific almost no dusty stretch.

After a very long trip on a good road, i get to see an interesting sand landscape. After sometime i reached the Main Highway, So called express highway To Chandigarh, this road was flat
but had the maximum patches i have ever seen in my life, also few stretches had traffic jams, i even jumped out of road and was riding the big in the side of the road. Once i was on this highway and it was chilling i decided to zoom so that i can reach the destination before dark, i was at a speed of 120Kms per hour and i notice all the car or going behind due ot my speed. Wow
the worst yet to come :-), I was very happy at that speed but not late i see a police barricade
They stopped me for over speeding. I went near the 1st set of cops and stopped my bullet and asked me why, they said i was over speeding, i said i have to reach destination before night and explained in short about my trip. But not to any help they said i was under rador scanner and i cant escape, It was funny after all this they asked me what was my speed, I asked what? don't tell me that you guys don't have my speed in your radar, they communicated to the radar post and said i was above 80 and i said wow... :-) having worst of the road and systems i still got to pay the bill and got some advice not to speed too much from the cops. But actually it was NGO based group and regular highway cops.

As not much late reached the freezing chandigarh and to be specific reached Panchkula, checked into a hotel on the highway to Shimla. Guys it started freezing to nervous. Ordered lots of food to fight the cold. I spoke to few people in the hotel about the ride to Manali and they said its all closed and very risky & slippery roads. So i have decided to stop my journey and slept with all good dreams.

Next day I packed and when to nearby packers & movers and sent my bullet back to Mumbai and i reached Chennai to meet my Mom, Wife, kid and rest of family.

This was one of the great journey in my life.

Series-1:- End 100%.

Series-2: To be continued Soon once i complete the rest of the trip this year.


Observations:-
1. When life routine becomes normal people at there bottom of heart think about what
they want to do and what they have missed, most of the time most of the thoughts goes un-noticed
when you see someone doing it, it comes out of the grave.

2. I just crossed about 100+ Kms out of Mumbai, i started having back pain and a muscle pain(right side chest). The back pain was normal because i not used for that posture and impact for longtime but still it was really hard but Hurting. But the chest pain was just unbearable
i use to get that time of pain while workout of long flight travel, it needs some sort of arm rotation and gentle breath-in or even just relax on the floor for a while. But i can't try any of this while i am at 85Kmph on a Bullet. I just kept going.

3. Save Power - I have noticed that all the smaller Cities, towns and Villages are consuming much and much lower power in they day to day system. The shops i had Breakfast,lunch and dinner had almost less than 10% power consumed compared to a city based shop and few shops had Zero power consumption(Radio is an exemption).

4. Child Labour - The trip gave the insight of how child labour is been taken as a default standard outside major cities, almost most of the food joints has a child labour in practice.
The boys at the shop get there food for survival and they feel thats how the life is. Its sad to
see such a large scale of child labour issues under our belt.

5. Manpower - Very interesting and simple part of India, since we have it lot, but surprisingly the manpower consumed in the cities are too high for a given situation, like for example the Dabhas i seen or the regular shops in almost all towns had less manpower and that guys is running from table to table, and even he address and serves a standing customer, most of this places had only one person, he manages morning, evening and even for dinner, i did spoke to this guys on the info. I did see crowd pilling and pilling and yelling, things are moving and moving with the same manpower. It came to my understand, the reason for more manpower is 1. better/quicker services during peak hours, but most of the time cities started over hiring to keep in the internal competition on so that the pay is under control and show the system that redundancy is more than required and the cities started encouraging more manpower to migrate for "Villages and Towns", which they did not realize or they accepted the fact as it is a part of living.


Warning:- Any info in this blog is not to encourage any risk like this. If so its only on your own risk.

5 comments:

  1. Hey KP good one ,i never new that ur into biking as well.
    Great Enthu!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Arun, Yes indeed i am a crazy biker few years back and it got buried acorss time, just digging them out on professional biking "not for crazy biking".

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi KP, Nice post, glad to see you are spending some time on giving back. Can't wait to see your trip observations.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Byna, got to update on Day-1. more observations to come in next couple of days on day-1.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Bro,please add photographs and videos of the trip :)

    ReplyDelete