I was exhausted and sleep deprived - and the moment the head hit the pillow I dozed off. It felt as if just a minute had passed when I woke up the next day morning. I got excited thinking about the ride ahead. A journey of 1000+ Kms awaited me. Bangalore was Bangalore that morning - the night rain had cooled it considerably and it was just perfect.
We packed stuff and hit the road around 9AM. This time we were heading to Nice road away from the peak hour madness and the traffic was light. I stopped at a Puncture shop to check the tyre pressure. The mechanic asked me to put center stand since he could not reach the back wheel's inlet. I just couldn't do it. I tried the standing on the stand technique but the bike wouldn't budge. He helped me put the center stand. Even though the bike weights 200Kgs, I did not feel the heaviness - till this instance.
We then entered the Nice road. Paid Rs.48 till Tumkur Exit - the only Toll I would pay. Bikes ride free on NH4. For Non-Bangaloreans - NICE Road ( Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises ) creates a big ring road around Bangalore. NH4 is the double lane highway - which is part of the Golden Quadrilateral Vajpayee had envisioned.
The Nice Road was empty and I shifted gears to a good speed.. and could feel the power and for the first time I experienced wind like never before - it was loud and howling. Having a heavy bike helps I guess - I did not have to lean to offset the wind push or anything. Moment I went to high speeds I could hear the wind scream all around me - what an experience. This will continue for the next 2 days! The good riding jacket was a blessing.
Prithvi boy was very excited - and he rode with me for sometime in the front. I gave him the old helmet - which doesn't have a visor - and he enjoyed the wind hitting his face real hard. After sometime I put him back in the car - he was satisfied and was smiling like crazy!
I was plain thrilled like the first time I experienced a Roller coaster ride and did not quite think much about the ride or bike - just let it flow over me the very experience.
After taking Tumkur exit and joining NH4 and riding at various speeds - I finally realised why these RE bikers are all mad about their bikes. I don't know if I am letting out a secret of RE riders.
I was cruising smoothly and somewhere between 80 and 90kmph I hit the sweet spot. The wind was quite loud and I could not hear the engine noise. The bike was smooth and had no vibrations. I could only see the road and the sky - and the little round dash and the handle bar disappeared.
I felt as if I was flying close to the ground. I kept getting this feeling again and again throughout the trip - whenever I could hit the right speed.
I stretched the bike till 110Kmph once in a while - but felt I was going way too fast - partly because of the wind noise and also the bike started giving new vibrations, so I settled back to the gentle 80 kmph. The speedometer needle is at 12'O clock position at this speed so I could keep an eye if I was speeding. Also after half a day or so even without looking at the speedometer I knew when I was riding around 80kmph - because I will get the feeling of flying :)
Also whenever I had to over take I would raise the throttle a bit and could hear the sweet bud bud sound come and the bike will surge ahead. Felt like a kid - and I did it so many times and never got bored of it!
We reached Chittaradurga around 1:30 PM and stopped for lunch in Naveen Restaurant. Every now and then a toll will come - and I will go through the bike lane and San will get stuck up and she then had to catch up with me.
One side effect of 80kmph was Honda City gave amazing fuel efficiency at this speed. When we came from Mumbai to Bangalore we filled the tank twice. Return it was just once. I have to tally the bills to find out how much petrol we really saved.
It was uneventful till we reached Hubli. San was fighting boredom following me at low speeds and we bought few CDs from a shop for her - Kishore Kumar, mid 80s and latest. I cannot imagine a road trip without songs - but never felt the need for songs while on the bike. The bike ride was entertaining enough. It was evening and the sun was setting. For another 60 or so KMs, NH4 becomes a shared road for both oncoming vehicles. It was the good old game of over take and hide after the slow moving vehicles and this was lot of fun.
And all of a sudden the twilight sun made its appearance when I went down a hill and what a sight it was. I thought it will make a great photo shot to take the bike with such a large sun so close to the ground - but I was too busy drinking in the moment - and did not want to spoil it. Kept riding and was in awe of this Star.
You cannot time certain things in life - it will just happen by itself. This stretch of the ride was like that. Had I reached this point a little earlier or little late - I would have missed this awesome spectacle.
The original plan was to get to Kolhapur, but it was getting dark and we decided to find a place to stay in Belgaum.
Now it became pretty dark. The medians and the edges were all well lined with reflectors and they all lighted up when I pointed the headlight. The roads had no pot holes or imperfections. The entire stretch till Belgaum is a 3 laner. The road curved well, and I could lean the bike without losing any speed - and it felt so natural to ride this way. I would vote this as the best stretch of the entire trip.
We reached Belgaum around 8:30 PM and checked in to Hotel Eeffa - they also had complimentary breakfast and it was a good deal. A similar hotel in Bangalore or Mumbai would have costed a bomb.
Finally - will answer the question you all have in mind. How was my body after a day of riding? Did my back, arms, bum hurt? - Not a bit. I felt little exhausted as I was alert and excited throughout the day - but had no pain anywhere. This is what cruisers are all about I guess - can keep riding for hours at a stretch.
We slept off watching Hindi Enthiran. Remember seeing the Robot's dance last. ( To be continued..Part 3 )
|At the Beginning of the long ride.|
|2 Happy Kids!|
|More than Tolls, this guy delayed us a lot|
|Some jain temple in the middle of nowhere.|
|This is how you get on a bike!|
|Waiting at a toll|