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.

Delhi Bikers Breakfast Run (Hodal)

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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.