4 May 2008

My First Serious Road Trip

I can think of it as my First Serious Road Trip. I started on Wednesday from Hyderabad and came back just a few hours back (today is Sunday). I have done a few other trips before this. But I have always wanted the trip to not end when we return. This trip is an exception -- I was not too sad that the trip ended soon.

I left Hyderabad and rode my Unicorn to Bangalore. I met a couple friends and spent the night at Chenthil's place. Next morning, we rode over to Wayanad from Bangalore: me on Chenthil's Justforkix, Chenthil on his 650, and Poo on his Maximus (a Thunderbird). That was my very first time on a Royal Enfield. Like I expected, the bike was brilliant: it was a pleasure to ride. A few tiny problems here and there on Justforkix and the 650 made the day more interesting :-)

I met most of Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club people. I must say it was very much fun staying with them. Everybody in the gang was "somebody" and they had something interesting to say or show. For example, Sam drove a Maruti Esteem at real high speeds in the roads around Wayanad. I was just amazed by the way he handled the car. He got a new nickname which was a hilarious event. To cut short the story, a lot of interesting things happened and I enjoyed being with them.

Me and Chenthil rode back to Bangalore on Saturday. We were keeping good speed (good speed according to my standards -- Chenthil was riding slow on his 650 so that I could follow him easily). Suddenly Chenthil stopped his bike and told me that it was going to rain. We wore our rain wear and got ready to face the rain. Within a couple second after we started to ride back, rain started pouring. I was surprised how Chenthil figured that out and happy that I was ready for the rain. We kept riding in the rain albeit slowly. This is the first time in my life to drive this far in rain. Thanks to my jacket and helmet I didn't get drenched. We reached Bangalore in daylight and everything went alright.

I didn't want to miss the opportunity to taste my favourite Corner House ice cream. I went out and picked up ice creams and food for the night. Started sleeping happily at around 11pm. By that time I didn't know the next day would be more eventful and interesting :)

I left Chenthil's house at 5.25 in the morning. It took a good 40km ride to reach NH7. After driving for about 70km in NH7 I fell off the bike[*] and managed to break the front brake. Somebody helped me lift the bike. Thanks to my riding gear there was not even a bruise in my body. Front brake had failed completely -- it didn't respond at all. I drove slowly to a nearby village and asked a mechanic to help. After looking at the brake he said there was no brake fluid in the brake and refilling it would fix the brake. I remembered brake fluid dripping off after the fall. He told me that I can get it fixed only in Penukonda (which was about 40km from there).

In Penukonda, another mechanic examined the brake and tried to fix it with all the tricks he knew. The brake was adamant and refused to work. After spending about 30 minutes he gave up and asked me to try changing the brake pads (which cannot be the problem as the brake pads are only a couple days old). I had to drive the bike till Hyderabad with only the rear brake. To compensate I learned a few braking tricks.

After writing them down those tricks look very simple -- but I learned them all after making small and big mistakes on the road. No need to say, I had my life on stake when I first learned those tricks. (Gear braking was the hardest: I didn't correctly release the clutch for the first two times. Oh boy, I was scared to death when my bike was running fast behind a lorry going at 40kmph.) Slowly I got used to those tricks and started riding fast. In less than an hour I was proficient enough to overtake (which includes slowing down and getting behind the lorry if suddenly a bus appears from the opposite side).

I never wanted to call this an adventure trip: but the last day was indeed kinda adventure (at least in my definitions). So that's about it -- the trip was a lot of fun, and I want to do more of it :-)

* Why did I fall down? My Unicorn has a very good front brake -- it's one of the safest disk brakes I have used. Since it's safe to hold it, I apply slight pressure on the front brake even when I just have to slow down. On Justforkix (a Thunderbird) I did something similar subconsciously and I was on the ground the next moment :(

1 comment:

  1. coolio!!! nice write-up.. hope to bump into u on the road again. this time on the bike for sure...