Solo ride to Chail

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During the past few months I have spent a lot of time in office and the only time I spent with myself was in gymnasium.  I like to wear myself out during the day so that when I hit the bed at night I don’t have energy to think and can simply crash. As there were too many thoughts and too less of time to process them, I didn’t bother.

23rd May 2013 (Thursday), 11 pm:
It was not Friday but I got into the weekend mood, picked my motorcycle keys and stormed out. My backpack contained just a water bottle and my mobile charger. I was wearing the gloves as well as the mask which helped in holding the earphones in the right place. I had not decided where I would go yet, and simply turned on the music. The song made me pull the throttle harder and I was on the Himalayan Expressway in no time.  Learning from my last ride to Shimla, I got the tank re-filled at the first petrol pump even though I almost missed it and had to take a U-turn.

Though I was driving at an average speed in the beginning, there was no looking back after crossing the timber trail. Whether it be a truck driving on the wrong side or a fellow speedster overtaking on a curve, nothing could stop me. It was an assiduous effort to get high; as high as 2,444 m which I achieved eventually. Shimla was just 30 km away when I slowed down at a check-post and looked at the sign boards. The name ‘Chail‘ struck me as I had heard about it from my friends and probably read about it online as well. This made me realize that I had never been to Chail, and hence began my exploration.

The road got narrower and the turns got sharper but there was less change in my speed. The first few miles were easy as I was driving down the hill. As it was past midnight other vehicles were seldom met and thus I started using both sides of the road. It helped in speeding through the curves and getting the adrenaline rush used. The road was not well maintained and I almost skidded through the gravel sometimes but it was all intended. Finally I reached my destination which was a sleeping town. I parked my bike near the post office and started walking. The night was so quite, I could hear the wind playing with the dry leaves. As I lied down and looked at the stars, I started thinking and got overwhelmed with memories. I stayed there for 30 min, took a picture for my XCD collection and kick started my return.

The battery of my phone was running out so I could no longer play the songs. I was more relaxed while coming back and took halts to absorb the view. One of these stops was just 3 miles from Sadhupul where I noticed the Himalayan prayer flags tied across the trees. I often wonder what it could be that inspire the people to make these flags, climb up the tree and hang them with the rope. These flags were not put there for decoration, they carried wishes and blessings. I have always been mesmerized by them and thus continued my self-talk.

There were instances when I reached crossroads and had to search for a sign. Most of the times I just trusted my intuition as it anyways didn’t matter where I reached. I noticed later that I had used a longer route to Chail as I could take a turn from Solan instead of Kandaghat. The purpose of this ride was to get one with myself, to be alone and to spend some time with ME.

P.S.: I hope I’ll be able to follow my heart and trust my intuition when I face more crossroads in life.

New Year Ride to Shimla

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I didn’t have much plans for the new year’s eve and the only places that were open for party in Chandigarh were either discotheques or high-end restaurants. As the open DJ night in sector 17 got wrapped up early, I had no certainty about what I’ll do at midnight. I was suggested to go home and sleep peacefully, but that didn’t sound exciting at all.

I decided to celebrate the new year at my friend’s place and left with him after having dinner. We went to the nearby shop, bought some fruit juice and shared a South-Indian dish(Images in gallery). When we got to his place, his four flat-mates were already there and were watching an award distribution show on TV.
It was 11.30 pm when we got this idea to get pastries, and thus we left on our bikes to search for a place to buy them at this hour of night. Finally we found an open shop and reached back home well before midnight. Just when the minute and hour hands of the clock were coming closer we started dancing. Slowly it gained the momentum and reached its height during the final count down. We continued to dance for another half an hour.

Just when we were sharing jokes, one of them asked me to tell him when I go on my next motorcycle trip. I straight away said, “If you are interested in a trip, why don’t we leave now?”. I suggested all of them to get on their bikes and leave for Patiala to eat the well-known “rajendra ke paranthe”. After much ado, finally the two of us decided to go on our own even though we were redundantly warned about the drunk drivers and strict police.

We wore the jackets, took our back-packs and started off on separate bikes. Just when we were about to take a turn towards Patiala, I stopped my fellow rider and asked him, “Why don’t we go to Shimla instead? road to Patiala is not that fun.” He thought about the weather, speculated the chances of frost bite but finally gave in. We got on the Himalayan highway and after riding a few miles I told my friend that I need to get some petrol as my bike was already running on the reserved fuel. It took us 3 U-turns, 6 closed petrol pumps, about 10 extra miles and a whole one hour to finally get the petrol filled.
After that we took just one stop which was much-needed as our hands were aching because of the cold. We had some tea, shared one ‘parantha’ and continued our journey. All this time, we were riding past the drunkards who were probably coming back from Shimla after celebrating new year. Some of them parked their cars on the roads, played loud music and were dancing with liquor bottles in their hands. There was a lot of traffic from the other side and I had to open my helmet’s visor so that the high beams didn’t affect my vision. This made riding even more difficult as I now had to bear the cold air on my face.

We finally reached Shimla at 4 am and roamed on the Mall road while clicking pictures. There was not even a single soul there, and it was indeed a unique experience to find peace on those roads which were known for their hustle and bustle. After walking through both the upper and lower Mall Road we finally found a shop open where tea was being prepared. We also ordered some buns with butter which turned out to be one of the most delicious breakfasts I have ever had.

We left from Shimla at around 6.30 am and reached back in about 3 hours, as we drove fast through the curves and turns while enjoying the empty roads and magnificent views.

 

Speedoholic – my twitter handle

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I am writing this post to describe the word “speedoholic” which I started using long time back. While creating online accounts dedicated to motorcycling I needed an alias, and that is when this word came into picture. After realizing that my twitter handle need not be my name, the only word that I could think of was speedoholic. Though you will find it’s meaning in the Urban Dictionary it is still not a proper dictionary word.
I gave this definition to myself because it was really hard for me to drive slow as a teenager. Even today I can not promise that I won’t get another adrenaline rush and start speeding through.
I have been through accidents, I have claimed insurances and I have broken my bones. But I have been addicted to this thrill and the only thing that scared me is that I may hurt someone who wasn’t expecting any such fortuity. Though I always knew this fact, I never tried to understand it truly. There’s always been a counter question, “Even crossing a road is risky, then should we simply stay on our side of the road?”

I may be capable of driving fast without causing any accidents because of MY own mistake, but I also know that driving safe is going to cut the chances of accidents that are caused by the mistakes of OTHERS. Someone told me that one should never expect other people on road to be driving in the right way. One of the reasons being that most of the licenses that are issued are claimed to be made illegally without conducting any tests. Moreover there are vehicles like tractors, drivers under the influence of alcohol and we can’t keep slapping every other pudding head on the road.

I am able to write this post with a changed perspective because I have driven below 50 kmph since two weeks already. The reason at first was to make sure that the newly installed piston can correspond with the engine.

Motorcycle Engine work

Anthony working on the engine

I had to get the engine work done just after 29K kilometers because the engine oil leaked out during one of my long rides.
After riding with the experienced bikers like DBBR and Free Souls I am confident about driving with composure. As for pure thrill, I have found other means of living it and I would only do stunts at a place which is meant for them.

Delhi Bikers Breakfast Run (Hodal)

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Click here to visit the corresponding Flickr Set

Alarm was ringing, I was about to snooze it when I suddenly recalled I had to leave for the breakfast run. I threw away the blanket and jumped out of my bed as I was 40 min behind my schedule. After stuffing the backpack with an extra pair of clothes I left in haste. The distance (60km) which takes about 1:30 hours to cover was covered in just 50 minutes.

I was wearing a plastic sheet over my shirt and was soaked from gloves to socks because it was raining cats and dogs in the area I came from. I reached the meeting point on time and was so charged up (or rather lost I should say) that I applied the brakes at the very last moment which made my motorcycle skid in a drifting fashion. I was kind of embarrassed as it was perceived that stunts were not encouraged here at all. But I got over it as Joshua came and shook hands to welcome me. I mentioned that it wasn’t done on purpose.

Soon, it was time to mingle with other riders as I started talking about usual stuff like whether it was their first run and all. To get rid of the wetness I changed at the rear side of the petrol pump. (This is where my extra pair of clothes got utilized) This also gave me the time to arrange my regular stuff like waist bag, camera, mobile phones, earphones and wrist watch etc.

We just got the morning tea served when the Harley Davidsons and Suzuki Hayabusas drove in. It’s always a treat to eyes watching the HDs rolling. They parked the motorcycles with as much respect as they deserved and it was soon like an Auto-Expo with flashes coming from all the sides. Of course this was the time to draw out my digital camera and start clicking; and so I did:

I just couldn’t get enough of it as I kept clicking them from different angles:


My dream bike was right in front of my eyes; Hayabusa which was the fastest motorcycle (248 mph/397 kmph) in the world until the freaking Dodge Tomahawk (350mph/560 kmph) came in. (Although I don’t consider it as a motorcycle coz it’s more like a 4 tyre Quad)
Then I heard a whistle and I knew it was party time. Joshua was standing on the pavement announcing the procedure and rules. Almost all the things were already mentioned in the message we all received on facebook; except from the fact that we were being served omelette in Hodal. With all due respect to my favourite breakfast, I would like to add that I was very less excited about it, as there were some other things propelling in my mind already.

We were supposed to drive in a 2X2 fashion with the headlights set at low beam. I was lucky enough to get space beside an HD whose pillion was a kid (as much equipped as the rider); and the whole setting seemed perfect. We drove together up to the next stop which was about 40km away from our destination and it was indeed a pleasure for me.

This is where my friend Sameer joined us who suggested the HD’s logo to be clicked:

He was riding a Yamaha Fz and the helmet and gears gave him a pure wheeler look. We decided to get ahead of all so that we could record the campaign, and certainly we got a magnificent video recording (which I might be uploading after some editing). We reached Hodal in no time and managed to get these clicks:

Soon it was time to have the breakfast and we all moved into a hall where all the arrangements were already made. There I met the HD rider (whom I drove with) as he somehow recognized me. :/ He (Mr. Titus Koshy) was so down to earth and friendly that he earned my respect in no time. I told him about my trips to some hill stations like Morni Hills, Chakrata, Tiger falls and Hatkoti as he listened patiently. I learned a lot from him as well. He told me about various things a biker should take care of. I even got a picture with him while we were coming back to Delhi:

Not to mention; he was not the only one who was humble and easy to break the ice with. As Sameer had to leave early, I talked with new mates and now I am having lot of new riders in my friend list.

There was also a guy named ‘Swapnil’ who made the environment quite musical by using his guitar and singing.

After the breakfast, we went outside to enjoy the view of lake where gooses were already waiting for my camera:

And then after stretching our backs we were ready to motor again. Although some of us went to different destinations like Agra and Vrindavan there were still many motorcycles lined up all smoking. This time I made sure that I’d be the last guy to leave as I wanted to get more photographs.

Although they vanished like mountain fog I reached them in no time. As it was getting hot I decided to get back to my usual driving style as I started taking over the lots. Although I did try to drive along the royal HDs for a while I guess me and Vishal were among the very first ones to reach Delhi. This was an unforgettable experience for me and perfectly served my motorcycling ardour.

Monsoon Ride

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It rained heavily today, the parking space got filled with water, and I was supposed to move the bike outside. As I entered the water, dragging my feet towards my bike, I decided to go for a ride.  My neighbors watched me, driving away my motorcycle in such a freakish weather. The electricity was cut off, water droplets were entering my eye, and I couldn’t see clearly. Still I managed to speed up on straight roads. I was listening to my favorite songs on my i-pod, which helped in pumping my adrenaline. Soon I started jumping my bike on the speed beakers. My bike skidded many times at the turns or whenever a fallen tree came in front of me. I covered almost all the lanes of my township and kept rushing my bike for about half an hour. Whenever I saw some stagnant water on the road, I accelerated the bike to splash as much water as I could.  This monsoon ride was awesome, and I enjoyed a lot.

And just like I always say, “If you don’t ride in rain, you don’t ride!

Tips for a perfect bike ride with your date!

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  • Leave early in the morning as soon as the sun breaks.
  • Drive slow at the start, save your adrenaline for the fast one at the end.
  • Feed some soothing songs in some music player, share the earphones with your date.
  • Wear the helmet only if you have arranged one for your date as well, otherwise you may end up striking her head into your helmet every time you apply brakes.
  • Always choose the finished roads, even if the distance to be traveled across increases.
  • Study your path well before leaving and arrange some eye gears if required for that terrain.
  • Slow down or take small breaks when some scenic beauty arrives.
  • Leave the handle and ask her to handle the bike. (Note: Do so, only if you have good balancing skills)
  • While speeding, ask her to open her arms wide and inhale the fresh air as you lean down such that your chest almost reaches the bike’s tank.


P.S.=Enjoy the ride safely even if you want to drive rash. Just take care that you don’t end up with an accident!

Best of luck fellas!

Contriving mama-bhanjen trip

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Contriving a trip is quite a difficult task. I got familiar with this fact after I was asked to plan a trip by my younger brother.

One thing was final that me and my cousin brother will go to Agra on my bike(XCD 125) and meet our nephews over there. I started with searching tourist places in Agra. And here is what I got:

Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal, Agra TourismAgra is famous as being home to one of the seven wonders of the world- the Taj-Mahal. The architectural splendour of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid remainder of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid reminder of the capital in the 16th and early 17th centuries.
Agra Fort

Red Fort, Agra TravelBuilt by the great Emperor Akbar in 1565 A.D. the fort Is a masterpiece of design and construction. Within the fort are a number of exquisite buildings, including the Moti Masjid, Diwane-E-Am, Diwani-E-Khaas and Musanman Burj, where the Emperor Shah Jahan died in imprisonment beside Jahangirs place, Khaas Mahal and the Sheesh Mahal.
Itmad – Ud – Daula

Itmad-Ud-Daula, Agra Travels & ToursTo the north of the fort and across the river yamuna are several fine examples of mughal architecture. The itmad -ud -daula was build by the empress Noor Jehan as a memorial to her father Mirza Ghiyas Beg, is beautifully ornamented with pietra dura inlay and lattice work marble screens.
Chini Ka Rauza

Chini Ka Rauza, Agra TourismThe tomb of Afzal khan, the persian poet and minister at Shah Jehan’s court gets its name from the brightly coloured glazed tiles that decorate it, lies just 1km beyond itmad-ud-daula.
Sikandra Fort

Sikandra Fort, Agra Travel12km the tomb of Akbar, begun by the emperor himself and completed by his son, Jehangir. This richly decorated structure is a quaint mixture of styles.
Radhaswamy Satsang, Dayalbagh
This highly ornate memorial to the founder of the Radhaswamy satsang has been in the making for several years and is still being worked upon. It is entirely in marble, upon which every manner of ornamentation has been applied.
Sur Sarovar

Sur Sarovar is a picturesque lake located about 23 km away from Agra, in Uttar Pradesh. Also known as the “Keetham Lake”, this astounding water body has always been a favorite haunt for group picnickers and nature lovers. Its serene beauty is said to have had influenced the poetic imagination of the great Sur Das. Sur Sarovar falls under the Sur Das Reserved Forest and was declared as a National Bird Sanctuary in 1991. More than 100 species of migratory and native birds are found in this 7.13 sq km of tranquil paradise. Major bird species found here are gadwals and shovellers, bar-headed geese, brahminy ducks, sarus cranes, Siberian cranes and spoonbills. It is also home to more than 18 species of reptiles and 12 species of mammals.
Fatehpur Sikri

South-west of Agra is the deserted imperial city Fatehpur Sikri, one of India’s most alluring and breathtaking monuments. Built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, this royal city is one of a kind. Every building, pavement, and courtyard in the complex is completely covered in red sandstone. It has a wonderful sense of space and freedom; a perfect combination of intricate workmanship and architecture on a monumental scale. The city of Fatehpur Sikri is a complicated complex of palaces and courtyards, full of light and air, unlike any of the palaces of Europe where the climate necessitated closed cloisters.

After reading all this, I realized that visiting these places isn’t gonna be enough. As I am more of a traveler than a tourist, I thought that we shall go for a longer run. While I googled for the nearest hill station to Agra, I came across Dehradun. It was possible that my nephews take a bike and the four of us leave for Dehradun from Agra(381 km).

Proposed Time line:

21st June

6am=Departure from delhi

noon=Rest

evening=Agra touring

22ndJjune

5am=Departure from Agra

7am=breakfast in Aligarh

11am=time out at meerut

2pm=Lunch in Saharanpur

4pm=Search for hotel in Dehradun (mall road or landore bazar)

5pm=Dehradun site seeing (telescope at top hill by ropeway)

23rd June

5am=Leave for Mussoorie

7am=Breakfast at mussoorie

8am=Mussoorie Lake

9am=Camel’s back road which is a good for trekking and horse riding
11am=Jwalaji Temple (benog hill)

1pm=Departure from Mussoorie

3pm=Kempty Fall , Mossey Fall , Bhatta Fall , Jharipani Fall are some of the falls in and around the Doon Valley.

24th June

Departure from Dehradun similar schedule to reach Delhi before evening.

Note: This is just an approximate idea. The actual schedule may vary according to the situation.

Necessary goods:

Driving License, Vehicle documents(pollution check, insurance, RC), First aid kit, Torch, Match box, Extra Towel, Water bottle

A few tips:

Stay hydrated, have plenty of cool water at hand.

Wear helmet, sun will bake your head like a cake if you don’t keep it covered.

Cooling neck rap, soak a towel in water and wring it out. It will keep your neck and cool for hours.

Lastly carry some snacks, sweet and salty ones. These kinds of snacks will give you energy and cause you to get thirsty. Getting thirsty will help to remind you to stay hydrated.

The path to be followed:

Road directions:

1     Straight(0.7 km) on Ghalibpura Rd going toward Mata Gomaci Devi Tandon Rd
2     Continue down Mantola Rd: 0.6 km
3     Take Slight 4th Right, go 0.1 km
4     Take Slight 2nd Left, go <100m
5     1st Left (past Hotel Prince Sanjay on the right) onto NH3 Hwy, go 0.8 km
6     1st Left (past Agra Fort Railway Station on the left) onto NH3 Hwy, go 0.7 km
7     1st Right onto Kanpur Rd(NH2 Hwy), go 1 km
8     Continue down Aligarh Rd(NH93 Hwy): 14 km (Past Itima Ud Daulah Tomb on the left).
Enter Agra District at 5.2 km.
9     Continue down NH93 Hwy: 66 km.
Enter Hathras District.
Via Sadabad, Hathras, Sasni at 29 km.
Enter Aligarh District at 50 km.
Enter Aligarh at 63 km.
10     Left onto Grand Trunk Rd(NH91 Hwy), go 62 km.
Leave Aligarh at 2.6 km.
Enter Bulandshahar District at 25 km.
Via Khurja at 46 km.
11     Right onto Grand Trunk Rd(NH91 Hwy), go 0.2 km
12     Slight 1st Left onto Grand Trunk Rd(NH91 Hwy), go 3.5 km.
Via Bulandshahr at 1.9 km.
13     Continue down SH18 Hwy: 65 km.
Via Gulaothi at 19 km.
Enter Ghaziabad District at 19 km.
Via Hapur at 34 km.
Via Meerut District at 48 km.
Enter Meerut at 60 km.
14     Continue down NH58 Hwy: 54 km (Past Jagat Talkies on the left).
Via Meerut District at 16 km.
Enter Muzaffarnagar District at 26 km.
Via Khatauli, Khatauli Rural at 32 km.
Enter Muzaffarnagar at 51 km.
15     Slight Left onto NH58 Hwy, go 49 km.
Leave Muzaffarnagar at 2.4 km.
Enter Uttaranchal at 27 km.
Via Manglaur at 42 km.
Via Hardwar District at 45 km.
Enter Roorkee at 48 km.
16     Left onto Dehradun Rd(NH73 Hwy), go 1.1 km
17     Slight 3rd Right (past Brahma Hospital on the right) onto Dehradun Rd(NH73 Hwy), go 2.6 km
18     Slight Left (past Dataram Navyug Vidyalay Junior High School on the left) to follow NH73 Hwy, go 9.3 km.
Enter Hardwar District at 1 km.
19     Continue down NH72A Hwy: 56 km.
Enter Uttar Pradesh at 10 km.
Via Chhutmalpur at 13 km.
Enter Uttaranchal at 33 km.
Via Dehradun District at 48 km.
Enter Dehradun at 49 km.
20     Continue down : 0.3 km (Past Central Bank on the left)
21     Slight 1st Left (past Goyal Sweets on the right) onto Tilak Rd, go 0.8 km
22     Slight 2nd Left (past Shri Guru Ram Rai Public School on the left) onto Chakrata Rd(NH72 Hwy), go 0.5 km
23     Arrive at destination

But this trip seems to be too long for others. I am just hoping that they get permissions from their parents or they come up with a better idea.