We have moved to our new home here thebikingdiaries.in
We have moved to our new home here thebikingdiaries.in
We left our hotel at 6.45 am in the morning, around 30 mins late than what we had planned for. The delay was due to the hotel staff packing our sandwiches as breakfast before we left. Once the parcel was handed over, we quickly left. The sunlight was still dim,the air was cold and we were zooming past the houses on each side of the road. Shohrat had told me about an amazing spot a day before where he wanted to watch the sun rising. Here is the view :-
I am yet to complete the writing about the whole Pune – Kanyakumari – Pune experience. Somehow I have not been able to generate time and inclination towards writing any new articles on the blog. One of the reason was the treasure hunt that I did for about 2 months to procure a basic but rare 20 rs stud and nut for my bike. Read further to get enlightened.
After the 4700 km Kanyakumari trip, I took my bike for servicing at the usual authorised Hero Service centre namely Gavankar motors- Kharaidi. The supervisor named Digambar knows my bike well enough as it is over 2 years that I get my bike serviced here. Normally, the servicing goes without any hassle and I don’t to have worry about anything. However, this time, it was different. I was told that the 2 studs and nuts that secure the silencer to engine head are missing and that they currently don’t have them in the stock.
Every time I see a one-way sign, I get a little restless and more cautious. The one way supposedly means everybody enters the lane in one direction and can use all of the road without expecting anybody to drive in from the opposite side.
It is not rocket science to understand and digest this rule and certainly not difficult to follow. But sadly that is not the case here in India.
Here, the one-way lane sometimes looks pretty much same as a two-lane road !
It has been 3 years since I bought Hero Karizma R and just about 2 years that have decided to stick to bike riding (limited to touring as of now) as my passion. As a kid, I was mad about cars and bikes as toys and I still have a few them preserved. Even then I would hate to share them with any other kid and I think that was the reason that nobody liked to play with me.
Now, I share a love and hate relationship with my Karizma. Even then I am not comfortable with anybody asking to lend them my bike. The below 3 reasons explain it precisely:-
1. Nobody can love my bike as much as I do:-
Everybody who has known me for a while knows my bike is my prized possession. So I use the most expensive consumables available (petrol and engine oil) and the servicing is done before the scheduled date. I get the servicing done right in front me even if it that means spending half day at the service centre.
I reach office (and other places) 10 mins before time so that I can find a good parking spot even if that means I have to walk a mile back. Every time before starting my bike, I subconsciously count the number of scratches on it. Any fresh one(s) can potentially ruin my mood and the day.
I know a few people who love their bike more than this, but when it comes to riding somebody else bike, the same folks go crazy and wild screwing the bike in all possible ways.
Hence, nobody except myself can be trusted:)
2. The fear of a crash:-
This one of my worst fears in life! Crashing the bike not only means monetary loss but also invites frustration that includes waiting indefinitely for the parts to arrive if the local spare dealers don’t have it in stock. This is very well known fact of Karizma from day one. And since the divorce of Hero and Honda, the situation has became worse.
Imagine the scenario where you had to borrow somebody else’s bike to commute while yours is at the service centre for months. Not a good idea.
I have a known a couple of folks who loved their bikes, rode them hard and as I would expect, have crashed them ruining the alignment of the fork and the frame. These bikes get mended but then they don’t feel and ride the same as they were before. It is like the bike has lost its soul and the owners eventually sell them off for good.
I don’t wish to go through any of it!
3. Your trust in your bike:-
I love touring that includes riding to other cities, jungles and other remote areas where there are no concrete structures to be seen and humans are in limited number.
I do these with groups and sometimes solo. If you don’t trust your bike enough then don’t risk to going such places. The trust in your bike is developed as it grows older with you, when you ride it every day and by each service centre visit you make.
Bike is a machine after all made of different components and each component has its wear tear and its own shelf life. It takes immense effort to keep bike in mint condition as it grows older. Moreover, you bike has certain strengths and weakness and you should know when to push it and when to stay in limits.
It’s only then you can put complete faith in your bike and take it out for a 100+ km ride outside the city. The thought of looking for a mechanic to fix an issue in a deserted area scares me to the death.
Lending my bike to another person who doesn’t understand this will be a nightmare situation for me.
So does that mean I don’t ask of other people bike? Of course not! Whenever I meet a person who has an interesting or a new bike, I request him to lend me the keys for a short test ride. I let them decide. And whatever their call is, I am okay with it 🙂
Every time I meet and greet people these days, I peek at their left shoe for a specific mark. The mark that is a sign of the left shoe being punished every time the gear is changed!
Let me explain to you in a bit detail here. The gear lever of the bikes can be of 2 types.
1. Toe and hill shifter: This has been the defacto for most of the bikes that have a relaxed riding position which includes Royal Enfields and other old generation commuter bikes in India.
With this gear levers, your shoes won’t take a toll as you can change gears either with toe or heel as required.
2. Only toe shifters: Since the launch of Hero Honda CBZ, rear set foot pegs were introduced to Indian masses and so were the toe shifters. This gave CBZ an aggressive riding stance that most of us feel in love with. These days every bike manufacturer use this setup.
So to shift gears, you press the lever down with the toe and dig your toe underneath the lever to pull it up. The latter scenario is what tortures your shoe.
Coming back to my greeting scene. If I happen to spot this mark on their shoe, I always mischievously inquire to them about it and they all have the same answer. “My bike is to be blamed for it”
Well, Bike Stuff shoe protector can solve this. Just slide it over your shoe on the area where the lever rests on the shoe and forget about it. After using it for a year, following are my thoughts:-
-It does exactly what is called. Protects your shoe from the gear lever.
-At 299 /-, I won’t say it is cheap but certainly feels so when you use 3000 /- + Nike or Clarks shoes.
-The build quality is ok. If you use it every day, it should last at least for 3-6 months.
-It is meant to be used only when you are riding. Forget to remove and walk around with it the whole day and it won’t last for a month.
– I once forgot it on my shoe while I was not wearing it for a weekend. Since then shoe has wrinkles on it.
I hope this article gets mercy to those left shoes and some piece of mind to their owners. And of course, the beautiful machines that we called bikes will be less cursed 🙂
It was less that 24 hours and I was still running around collecting small items that were required for the ride. By 10 PM, I was done with dinner but thanks to the excitement level, I somehow managed to shut down my brain only by 1 AM which is very unusual on usual days!
Shohrat on other had everything in place and was driving back to Pune from Goa (New Year Party !). He never told me but I am pretty sure that his luggage was mounted on his bike since a week before and all he needed to do was get on it and start riding.
3rd Jan 2016:-
I and Shohrat started our epic journey at 4 in the morning. The OEM lights that come with our bike were useless in the dark on the highway. So Shohrat had fitted the auxiliary lights that made night riding comfortable. He was leading and I was following.
Buying the Midland Bluetooth communication system was a good move, though it cost me half of my travel budget. So here we were, cruising on the NH4 highway and discussing how unreal it felt and that it was actually happening! After covering 60 or so kilometers, the air got cooler and we had to stop to put on our winter liners.
We started again and rode till sunrise. The view of the orange ball rising up between the mountains was ecstatic. We cruised comfortably and reached Kolhapur where we stopped for breakfast. Post that we again started riding and would stop occasionally to sip water, click pictures and rest our bum by getting off the bike.
On NH4 highway which has 3 lanes on either side, we were doing triple digit speeds comfortably. After we entered Karnataka, the 6 lane road exited leading to an old fashioned 2 way 2 lane road where we witnessed an accident. Riding through the scene was a “gentle” reminder that no matter how beautiful and exciting the time on the highway is, if you push your limits too much and start takings things for granted, the highway will surely teach you a lesson.
It was afternoon and the sun was making it difficult to ride, plus I still had the winter lining ON. We had covered 430 km and so food was the only thing on our mind. Sadly unlike Maharashtra, where you the see queue of hotels on either side of the road that just don’t end, Karnataka was different. After tired of looking for a good hotel, we decided to stop by an okayish one.
I and Shohrat had done a few rides together to the out skirts of the city. Until this day, I just knew Shohrat as a person who rides a RE TB 500, runs a business and is happily married with a kid. It was this lunch where we started knowing each other in a bit detail. Knowing that we have next 10 days to bug each other’s soul, we geared up, cleaned and lubed the bike chains and hit the road again.
After crossing Ranebennur, we exited the AH4 (Asian Highway 4)and took the SH57 (State Highway 57) towards Shimoga. The road got thinner but scenic. Honestly, after riding for 400 odd kilometers, we were tired of holding the throttle in one position and heading straight. The narrow, curvy and beautiful road got a much needed break. Soon we stopped for tea (cold drink for Shohrat) and had parked our bikes just outside the shop when the local folks became inquisitive about our bikes. We quickly finished our drinks answered their questions and started riding again. By 5.30 we reached Shimoga and checked in our hotel.
The day-1 of 630 km ride had came to an end and it was quite fun. After a good meal, we called it off after setting the alarm for next morning 5 AM.
Before I feel asleep I remember Shohrat saying, “Tomorrow, we need to start before the sunrise as the there is one hell of a scenic view waiting for us!”