I had found yet another reason for me to wander out onto the highways, away from the life in the city, its hustle bustle and this time, the reason was the iconic IMRG(Indian Motorcycle Riders Group) ride to Mahabaleshwar(Special thanks to Mr Anil Shankar and Mr Sukant Gupta who was kind enough to give me his bike). It was just the kind of break I had been looking for. And my excitement reached its zenith because I was going to be riding the Indian Scout, the bike that is in itself drool worthy.
With a motive of finally getting the motorcycle up for a real long ride of approximately 2,000kms to and fro and even though Saji and Prashanth had just ridden 550kms from Cochin to Bangalore they still helped to get the bike checked for the next day’s ride. That just speaks of the honour code of the biking brotherhood.
I was staring at myself in the mirror. The water I splashed on my face left a trail of refreshing sensation. I was slowly getting aware of all my senses. I had fallen asleep before midnight and had woken up an hour before the meeting time. Eager to ride the Indian Scout, I opened the bedroom door and started walking past the hall when I suddenly realised that summer had already arrived and how hot it was inside. I went towards the balcony door and then went out. The cold fresh air of the dawn was a relief. The dark sky had still not faded to loose its colour. I stood there for a while, eyes closed, breathing in deep breaths. My rebooting was complete.
I stepped back in and freshened up. I put on my jeans and knee guards, laced up my boots, wore my armoured jacket and my gloves and with my clothes and essentials already loaded up in the saddle bags the previous night I descended down to the basement in the elevator. I pulled out my phone to check the WhatsApp group if everyone had left their homes towards the start location. I approached the beast that awaited me in the basement. It lay still. Unlocking it, I switched its engine on and it sprang to life. I pulled the throttle and its roar echoed in the silence of the early hours. Letting it warm up, I cleaned up the bike. I climbed upon and shifted its gear from neutral to set it in motion. Coming out of the apartment and onto the road outside, I felt a breeze of fresh air greeting me. The road was decorated with the leaves fallen from the trees that stood on the sidewalk. I knew I was set for the long ride towards Mahabaleshwar. I knew just the road to take to meet the other riders on the Tumkur road. The Nice road has always been my point of exit out of the city to mainly avoid the traffic. Once on the Nice road, I could see the grey band of asphalt in front of me stretching till the horizon. I shifted gears and sped up.
Soon enough the other riders passed by us and both of us quickly joined them. I was awe-struck riding behind 10 of these big beautifully crafted machines with oodles of Chrome and their incredible names definitely match their profile like The Roadmaster, Dark Horse Chieftan, Chieftan and the Scout. It not only left me awe-struck but also all the people around us that were magically in a trance not knowing what these machines were called. They could not take their eyes off them.
|Biker Swag 🙂|
Like always I order my favourite the Pudi ghee roast dosa and some coffee, while the others had their share of breakfast too. It was time for briefing and getting to know the fellow riders, quick ice breaker before we got back up on the saddle.
Padded up and buckled up tight, keying it on and turning the throttle, the 11 riders (Anil, Saji, Suresh Nair, Prashanth, Rishan, Manish, Ranganath, Satish, Bernard) were all set to hit the highways, with their 1200cc and 1800cc machines thumping as they were all lined up together in a single strand, a hand waving to proceed and we were on the road again one behind the other, all at once onto the Linking road, what a tingle of Goosebumps I felt. A sight to wait and watch for when passerby’s in their cars gave way to the passing caravan of Indian Motorcycle Riders.
It was a typical morning, with the chill in the air and the surrounding hills and fields covered in mist. I should have stopped to take a picture, but I was enjoying the ride so much that I didn’t feel like stopping.
|The guys sharing their ride experiences along with a drink|
|At the Ghar Dhaba. Hubli – Belgaum Highway|
They suggested that we ride 30kms ahead and stop at Ghar Dhaba for Lunch. We were all exhausted and dehydrated as we got there, so we had a glass of butter milk and then roti’s paneer and dal.
After a hearty lunch and some biker talks, we were told that our next stop was the Mariott Hotel after Belgaum.Once we got there because of the amazing services offered by their friendly staff, what was supposed to be a coffee break turned into an overnight stay.
After a good nights rest at the Hotel, early morning swims for a fresh start and a scrumptious buffet breakfast. We were all set to ride from Belgaum to Mahabaleshwar from the Fairfield by Mariott and there was something special about today, I couldn’t control my excitement as I was getting to ride the Dark Horse Chieftan (Courtesy Saji)for the next 300kms. A quick petrol stop and off we went. I had a grin on my face the whole journey, listening to some country numbers on the very loud speakers of the bike. All the people in their cars catching up to me so that they can get a shot of the bike and maybe me 🙂 … this bike definitely gets all eyes on you. Also, it’s not only about the looks but the power of this beast that gets you all pumped, It’s like riding a black stallion all mighty and beastly.
|More tender coconut water …|
|The mighty black stallion|
|Women at work, using this machine to cut sugarcane into small cubes, which are used for re-planting|
We took a short butt break and after the left turn starts the climb up the Ambinadi ghats for 40km !!!to Mahabaleshwar. We took nearly an hour and a half to cross that 40km, because of the breathtaking views at every hairpin bend with superb roads.
|Whole lotta fun events and concert lined up for us|
|The children all happy with their new bags and toys|
All along the way back from the school to the resort, I saw basket’s full of strawberries for sale at the side of the roads… Such temptation!
|Soon as I reached the resort I went straight to the restaurant and got my very own bowl of strawberries and cream…Yummalicious!|
|Spectacular view of the Canyons from the viewpoint|
Back to the resort where we were free to either relax and use the facilities available at the resort or go out riding and explore more of Mahabaleshwar.
|Spectacular view from the Brightland Resort and Spa where we were hosted.|
|Chilling by the pool|
|Everyone needs a relaxing spa treatment after all that riding…|
|Knights in shining armour|
An energetic start to the evening by these talented girls on the drums/dhol, followed by bands playing these latest numbers to the prize distribution.
Wonderful three days spent with all the fun-loving and friendly Indians. But like they say all good things come to an end.. Until next time!
I woke up at 5:00 am as we had an early start to the day and since we had to cover almost 900kms back to Bangalore. After a while when I was all packed and ready to meet the other riders for breakfast, I couldn’t find my riding boots and then I realised they were out on the balcony.
While I sat there tying my laces, my eyes suddenly caught something magical. The rising sun with its orange and gold hue above a distant lake in sight. I could sit there for hours but I had to rush 🙁
|Sunset in all its glory|
Fuel, chai, lunch, coffee and after a couple of pee stops, we were back in Bangalore by 9:00 pm. Riding the Scout for 2,000kms I know now that “Sunsets are red, Baguette is just bread, this little Indian Pony, It’s a thoroughbred”.
Thank You Gaurav 🙂