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.
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
Along AH43 to Hyderabad
” 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
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.
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.
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 km
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.
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.
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.
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.