Bangalore -Hyderabad solo bike trip

I’ve always wondered what makes people do some really crazy things – which to most folks seem insane, illogical, dangerous or plain stupid.  Explorers, alpine mountaineers, base jumpers, free climbers and the like. Is it the so called DRD4-7R adventure gene featured in the recent LandRover advertisement? Maybe. Though from what I researched it is more of a marketing gimmick than scientifically proven fact.

 After reading many travelogues of bikers who went to Ladakh and other beautiful places in India, I wanted to start doing the same in some small way at least. So when I got an extended weekend for Easter I decided to start off with a trip to Hyderabad to surprise my family. As expected there was a lot of opposition from friends who asked me not to do it. But then if not now, then when? I had to start sometime – sooner the better.

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Journey begins

I finished my graveyard shift at 7am on March 24th. Had done an NEFT from another account for which I forgot the ATM pin, but it did not credit. Asked a good friend to transfer 2k for fuel. Thank god for IMPS! Withdrew the money , tanked up and started off into the already cramping Bangalore city traffic by 8am.

Braking a broke man – Courtesy Bengaluru Traffic Police

On one of the flyovers on the airport road,  was pulled over by a cop right in the middle of the road. I thought it was a random check. Then I’m told that I’ve been pulled over for speeding – 300 bucks fine. I asked him what is the speed limit and he told me 65 for bike and 80 for cars. I was doing 88. There was another cop someplace before this checkpoint who was covertly calling out cars and bikes and these guys were pulling them over. Paid the fine, told him that there should be at least some boards stating the limit.
Not an auspicious start, though I feel 65 is not practical on that road. I tried to keep under 70 till I reached the airport toll gate and entered onto the highway. . There were a few more checkposts along the way.
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Along AH43 to Hyderabad

Once I entered the highway, and crossed Nandi Hills junction, then the road was scarcely populated. The roads are extremely good – well marked , no confusion – just one straight road till Shamshabad Airport. There are shops and hotels pretty much all along the way except a few stretches. The route I took was AH43 which passes through Chikballapur, Penukonda, Anantpur, Kurnool, Mahabubnagar.

” Asian Highway 43 (AH43) is a route of the Asian Highway Network, running 3,024 kilometres (1,879 mi) from Asian Highway 1 in Agra, India to Matara in Sri Lanka. ” -wiki

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Breaks

I took breaks every 90 kms on average. Since the engine of the Fazer is air cooled this would be necessary to prevent overheating. Every break  I would have some water, biscuits and portion of sandwiches that I had parceled from office.

Interesting incident #1: My second break I stopped over at a small shack in a village close to Dharmavaram. I had a thums up which was pathetic as it had lost all its fizz. I thought I’ll sleep there for some time on the chair but the old lady at the shop said no sleeping. I was a bit peeved because it wasn’t exactly the most happening place in town, plus was in stark contrast with the general warmth/hospitality of town folk. Add to the fact that the bottle of crappy cola cost 17, which is unheard of even in Bangalore. There was a dog tied there who looked like it was extremely thirsty. Poured some water in a tea cup and dropped few tiger biscuits – that got its tail wagging like a helicopter. The dog made up for the lousy hospitality of the lady. Relieved myself, thanked the lady of unwittingly pushing me onward, and started off.

Suggest buying a packet of curd [perugu in Telugu]. It is way more refreshing.

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Reaching home

Once I reached Shamshabad, I had to take the service roads below the Outer Ring road where bikes are not allowed. Some riding through heavy traffic in the Gachibowli area and I finally reached close to home. I hadn’t told my family that I was riding down or coming home. Just gave a random call home to find out if anyone was there or if they were at church. Found out only dad was out as my brother was sick and mom stayed back to take care of him. Had a juice and rode upto the porch. Surprisingly none came out – apparently they thought someone came in by mistake , something which had happened earlier as all the houses look similar. Honked once and my mom came out. I was still wearing the helmet so she called out ‘kaun hai?’. I took off my helmet – their expressions were priceless. younger bro literally jumped onto me with joy. These alone made up for the long journey.

The Ride

Time taken: 8am-7:30pm March 24 Thursday. More than an hour each wasted in city traffic in Hyderabad and Bangalore. 11.5 hours approx. Highly suggest starting as early as possible to avoid the heat during daytime.

Total Distance: including intra-city travel was 1213.9 kmIMG_20160327_153536

Speed: My average speed on the highway was 90kmph. Very little traffic due to time of day. Top Speed hit was 120kmph on an extremely long stretch of straight empty road. Considering I weigh close to 90kilo, pretty good feat for the bike.

Mileage and Fuel cost: Sticking at 90 gave the best mileage, as I would learn from the return journey. Spent close to Rs. 1200 on fuel

Seating and ride comfort: Sitting got a bit tiring after the first few hours. Had to constantly change positions on the seat. The hot climate made it worse with the sweating. Holding the throttle was extremely tiring towards the end. I even got hard callouses on both my thumbs. For the next trip have to get something like a “Crampbuster”. Recommend the same to others. Will save you the cramping. 31wtvzqxi8l

Climate, Landscape/Scenery: It was extremely hot and since I started at 8, felt the heath throughout the ride. By noontime it was sweltering. Thankfully my jacket is a perforated mesh one. So sweating was relatively less. The landscape was pretty much arid. There were a few rocky hills along the way.

Sustenance: I carried some sandwiches which I got packed from the office cafeteria. I did not have any big meals. Wanted to avoid the possible drowsiness after a heavy meal. Carried water along. There are many shops along the way for water/food.

IMG_20160327_104444.jpgGear: 

Jacket – Scimitar Transition. Fully appreciated the mesh fabric on this ride. Was comfortable and could feel the breeze over my torso.

Gloves – Though I bought  Solace Passion gloves, they weren’t too comfortable on my hands. Took them off and wore decathalon Bicycle gloves for most of the ride.

Helmet – Studds Shifter. It was reasonably comfortable but I couldn’t feel much airflow through the provided apertures on the top of the head. First helmet so I cant compare to others. Though all the bike gear shops I’ve been to have recommended an upgrade. This will have to do for a while. The inbuilt sun-visor was quite useful against the bright sunlight reflecting off the road. But after a while I could feel some strain on the eyes, probably because of the not-so-great quality of the film on the visor.

Pants/Boots – I didn’t have any touring pants/boots. Just wore jeans and formal shoes. Got a bit uncomfortable after a while due to the heat and sweating. Considering getting a touring pant, but it’ll be quite a challenge finding one to fit me.

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The Return Trip

Started early after around 5:30am on Sunday morning. Reached Bangalore by about 3:30 pm. Took around 10 hours.  Ride was pretty much the same. Had an upset stomach so on the way stopped by an abandoned bus stand and went in the open behind it – for the first time in my life. Still laugh thinking of it. I think I now truly understand the meaning of the idiom – “when you gotta go, you gotta go”. Plus I stopped over and slept for some time because it was way too hot and I had barely slept as I attended the midnight mass for Easter.

Overall was a good trip. If I do it again, I would do it when the temperatures are milder and start as early in the morning as possible.

This was the much awaited start of my touring life.

Next up will be Coorg.

Hooah!

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4 Comments

  1. Hey brother, let me congratulate you first off on your first road trip!!As it so happens, I am also planning on my first road trip and I am looking to buy a riding jacket. I see you have bought the Scimitar Transition jacket which I have in my shortlist. What is your opinion on the same? Is it a value for money deal?

    Look forward to hearing from you.

    Give you my best!

    Rajesh

    Like

    1. Thanks Rajesh. Sorry about the delay in reply was off grid for sometime. The transition jacket is definitely value for money. I wear it both for my daily commute to office and touring. Its almost 70-80% mesh, with cordura at impact points. This makes it relatively breathable even under the sun. Comes with rain liner and thermals. Back armour is not CE rated – but its upgradeable. Build quality is decent. Some places stitches have come loose but nothing that affects the functionality. Have been using for close to 7 months. Word of caution on the size though, its best to try before buying as these are made in Indonesia. Their measurement seems to be relatively skewed to the smalled frame size compared to the average Indian size. I use a 2xl size – I’m 5’5 84 kg. If you’re located it Bangalore you can also try out jackets by Solace, they have higher lever of armour I think and CE rated back protector – I checked them out after I bought mine or would have considered buying from them.

      Good luck for your trip – are you doing BLR-HYD?
      Let me know if you need any more info.

      Cheers
      Geo

      Like

  2. Hi brother! Thanks a lot for the reply. I too am sorry for the delay in response. I finally ended up buying an Aspida Helios. BLR-HYD is not on the cards now. I am looking forward to doing Chikamagaluru trip.

    Felt great to hear from you! Ride safe, ride long!!

    Like

  3. Congrats on the jacket! It is indeed great to hear from another brother with the same passion. Godspeed for your trip. Coorg and Chikmagaluru is on my list as well. Do let me know if you intend to blog about the trip. Would love to read. Good luck

    Like

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