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Old 15th July 2009, 17:48   #1
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Default 9-5-Floored from Cochin to Bangalore (via Wayanad)

It started off as a dream. It was the night after I saw the first “superbike”, five years before I rode anything with an engine. An ’88 Gixxer 750.

Fast forward twenty years, and it is a cold Friday morning. I am off, on my way to Cochin. Excited. The train chugs along and I recall the events of the past few months. Talks with parents, arranging finances and calculating EMIs, it was slow, confusing and a test of patience. I was helped by many fellow bikers which made my road easier to travel through. The short talks I had MG (from xBhp), Ken_Cool (from xBhp), Ananth and netchef. The long talks I had with Sumit, Manson, Aadix. Special mentions go out to Praful and Dev, who helped me out immensely. Thank You.



Fast forward twenty hours, and I was ready. Bike was tanked up. My pillion, Dev, readied himself too, for what was going to be a road trip of a lifetime. Two first time bikers (atleast to superbikes) getting ready to take the bike from Cochin to Bangalore via Sultan Bathery - Wayanad. With the deal done and the ex-owner of the bike gracious enough to arrange accommodations where we could crash for the night, and with whatever hours of slow riding here and there around the deserted streets of 12 am Cochin, we armed ourselves with 2 bottles of water and some GoodDay packets.



Cochin – Thrissur:

Time: 6:30 AM. Tripmeter set to 000. All geared, we headed out slowly towards the NH-47 exit. The empty stretches of roads were very enticing, but with a level head and a lot of self control, the itch to twist the wrist was overcome. Not even an hour into the trip, my arms and lower back was already giving symptoms of aggravation. Well, just another 570 kms to go, I thought. I was still getting used to the gawking, the slowing down of cars beside us, the “Hayabusa!!” or “R1-R1-R1!!!” or the “hey nice modification maaan!” comments. Some of the times, it was just plain irritating because I didn’t want to lose focus, something I think is very necessary while riding these machines for the first few times. I stuck to 80 kmph, sputtering speed really for this bike in the top gear. Honda’s acclaimed PGM-Fi driven mileage indicator flashed 16.6 kmpl at that constant speed.

Roads were anything but good. Potholes, nay, craters lay before me. Monsoon had taken heavy toll on the highways, and we were duly warned by people of this route. But stubborn ‘ol me had to take it. And yes, progress was extremely slow. Riding on a fully loaded 954RR with an aging front fork seal, I had literally had to stop before going over every single speed-breaker. Progress was slow, but we made it to Thrissur in 3 hours. We made a quick stop at a Indian Oil bunk to tank up. Distance Covered: 78 kms. Fuel drunk: 4.25L Mileage: 18.3x kms/litre. Mighty impressed! I was expecting anywhere from 11 to 15.

Thrissur-Kozhikode:

Time: 10 AM. Around 90 kms done, and we had just gone through the morning hustle bustle traffic in Thrissur town. It was pretty confusing, but short stops to ask for directions meant losing another half an hour in that small town. The first “mileage kitna?” question I encountered, was here, and it was memorable! When he asked, I replied with a big grin in my face “18”, but then I was quickly put to my senses when he, with a stifled look, said “ONLY???”

The state highways from Thrissur-Kozhikode were non-existent. Gravel tracks for some good stretches of 2-3 kms or so at a time, my back and arms were killin’. Dev, by this time, was also having a good workout of his posterior. And to make things worse, I felt the soft drops of misty rain hitting my face through the open visor. These soft drops, within a span of a minute, turned into full fledged thunder-shower and we had no other option but to park beside a closed shop nearby.



After a quick respite from the weather gods, we slowly geared up and started off along SH39, only to be blasted again. Ahh. Monsoon. No stopping this time though, as time was short and progress was slow.



After traveling a hideously treacherous 20 kms of ‘earth’, we just had to stop for brunch. Arms were aching, back was complaining, time was 11:30 and odo read 115 kms. Another 450 kms. Great. This break was very necessary because at this point of time, both me and Dev were absolutely famished and tired. I knew it was never going to be easy, but the roads were just unbelievable, I thought. And the truck traffic in the small bi-lanes were crazy. We spent a few good minutes talking to the restaurant owner there, who told us the bad stretch was over and the good stretch was just beginning. I see some silver lining.



Re-energized, re-filled and re-committed, we headed off along SH69 towards Kozhikode and yes the roads were getting better. There were fewer bumps and fewer potholes, and my speed was picking up as well. The funny thing about these SBKs is, the faster you go, the less tired you become. Atleast, that’s what I felt. With small breaks, here and there, we reached Kozhikode quite quickly, comparatively. Unfortunately, we met rain again and it had been 134 kms without a fuel stop, so we decided to stop in Kozhikode for X-Tra Premium.
Distance Covered: 134 kms. Fuel drunk: 8.1L Mileage: 16.54 kms/litre. Not as good as before, but still very good, I thought.


Kozhikode-Wayanad (Sultan Bathery):

I was pretty confident about most of the roads till Bangalore now. I had done a Bangalore – Wayanad - Bangalore trip back in April, and the roads were mighty impressive in and around Wayanad. I wasn’t too sure about the roads from Kozhikode to Wayanad though and had a heard of set of 9 hairpin bends. I just hoped it was tarred.

I took a respite from riding, as I could not feel my back now. Dev took over. NH 212 was beautiful to ride on. Lucky Dev got to ride a good stretch of 30-40 kms. Meanwhile, sitting pillion, and Dev riding a comfortable pace, I didn’t need to crouch down and hold the tank, and I was enjoying every second of respite my arms and back got. The pillion seats of most modern superbikes are a joke. Luckily, the 954 seats offer more cushion than let’s say than the newer 1000RR. Still, its not easy to sit on for long durations, and I was wondering how Dev was managing it.

Darn! Just as the roads were getting beautiful, we were blasted again by strong thunder showers. We could have carried on, but now visibility was an issue. So we had to stop. We found a well maintained service station there, and decided to re-lube the chain with the spray we had brought along. Meanwhile, I couldn’t help but admire the beauty of the 954. It is the one of the few wild-child that Honda has ever produced. Hondas are known for their somber engines and attitude. But this one, weighing in at 168 kgs dry, with a short wheelbase and lots of ponies, gets crazy and looks mean.



It was 3:45pm and I was getting worried now. The forest reserve Bandipur National Park closes at 6pm so we had to cross that. The pace at which we were going and the stoppages, we would never make it on time. I was refreshed from the pit-stop and now quite focused on reaching all the way to Bangalore. Dev, too, urged me on, and with both of us committed, we knew we were going to reach Bangalore, by hook or crook.

After a good 10 kms or so of fast (80-90kmph was fast for us ) riding then we encountered the ghat sections. The 9 hairpins, to my horror, were truly and totally pathetic. The tar had come off with monsoons playing havoc, and taking sharp U-turns in a fully loaded sportsbike in such roads was a nightmare. Finally, we were up in the clouds in Wayanad. The view of the coast from the ghats were majestic, but sadly, we were too much in a hurry to stop and take pictures as we had to cross the state border before nightfall. The road after Vythiri was beautiful all the way till the forest reserve. Maintaining steady speeds of 80 kmph we reached the check points of the forest reserve just in time (5:45pm). We did see some vehicles coming from the Karnataka side so we were safe, I thought. We stopped for a small photo session. The fresh smell of soil after the showers grew on us. Not too far now, I thought.





Distance Covered: 95 kms.

Wayanad-Mysore:




Dev took over the riding duties again, as I was preparing myself for the night riding and the home stretch. The roads around the National Park has unexpected and unmarked humps, so we were quite careful riding in and round those roads. After we exited the National Park, the roads till Gundalpet were quite pleasing, except for some HUGE speed bumps. There were beautiful flower farms on both sides of the road, and sight was extremely pretty.



By now, we were already having some locals following us on scooters or TVS Champs. Getting to hear comments like “Soooooper, saar” made me feel more close to home, in Karnataka .





By this time, our hungry stomachs had started growling again, and the weather was starting to get very very cold. What better place to have a hot sip of coffee and get the liners on the jackets other than Coffee Day? We made our final food-stop in Coffee Day, Gundalpet. We talked about the days that went by, how I had taken a step at a time to get what I always wanted. Y’know normal Coffee Talk. Meanwhile, I saw the Coffee Day staff taking pictures with bike, and one fellow even started to sit on it, to which I immediately objected. I wouldn’t want an unfortunate small incident in Coffee Day to spoil what has been an awesome road trip so far, would I?



I took over riding duties again, it was 7:20PM and now the roads were really flowing. So was the traffic. Like crazy. Anyone who has traveled the Gundalpet – Nanjangud – Mysore stretch at night knows that 4-wheelers/buses rule at this time. Some buses were actually nice enough to stick to their own lane. But most were a**-h**es that came directly towards me in the wrong lane with High Beam on. But what was more disappointing was going over the unexpected, unmarked, unlit, sudden speed-breakers that didn’t help me, Dev and most importantly, the bike. With the front fork leaking oil, and aged fork seal, I could hear instances of forks pitting, hard. I will have to check that out first thing after I go back, I promised myself. I was worried for some time but that slowly disappeared with very careful riding for the next 50 kms or so.

It was quite evident that we wouldn’t be able to make it to Bangalore by midnight. It was 9:20 PM and it was a perfect time for a fuel stop. We stopped at a nearby BP petrol bunk. The staff there seemed mesmerized by the bike but there questions towards me were more mesmerizing. “Modified pulsar kya?” and “Modification kitna liya?” were the pick of the lot.

On to serious things, it was there we heard developments of a curfew going to be imposed in Mysore city from the locals. Wanting to avoid all the possible obstacles, dangers especially with drunkards/policemen on Saturday night, we decided to take the long way around from Mysore (via the Ring Road) to catch the Mysore-Bangalore Highway.
Distance Covered: 115 kms
Fuel Drunk: 12.2 L
Mileage: 115 + 95 (Carried over)/12.2L = 17.21 km/litre (I can absolutely live with that.)


The Home Stretch: Mysore-Bangalore:

Taking the Ring Road turned out to be a plus for us since the traffic there was minimal and so were the humps’n’bumps. Though we had to travel a lot of kms extra, I felt it was worth it, as mentally and physically, it was less tiring that riding around in city conditions.

As soon as we hit the Mysore Bangalore highway, I felt the need for speed. Roads were, of course, very good, except for some speed breakers, but those too were well lit and able to easily spot from a distance. Speeds climbed to 100kmph plus and I registered a top speed of the whole trip - 125 kmph!!! (Please don’t laugh at me guys, it’s my first time riding a sports bike ). At this point, Dev complained that continually crouching down was a pain, and he wanted me to slow down to comfortable speeds. I did oblige the man with the Iron Butts, and upon taking a quickie stop for rest, we were joking how he should be getting an IBA Certificate just for being a pillion on a CBR on those roads for 16 hours.



This part of the trip was a mixed bag. The roads were beautiful, and with quite less traffic, it was a dream to drive on but I was tired, energy cells sapped, and I couldn’t wait to reach home. Upon entering Bangalore city, I dropped Dev at the Bangalore City Corporation Building, bid him goodbye and many thanks on accompanying me and being the toughest pillion I have ever encountered.

I reached home at exactly 1:30 AM. It had been 19 hours. Gruelling. What a crazy ride, wouldn’t it have been better if I had just brought it by a truck or train? I glanced at my ‘Blade and smiled – ‘Not a Chance!’ .



Distance Covered: 182 kms

Total Odo Reading: 604 kms



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Last edited by Jaggu : 15th July 2009 at 18:13. Reason: No external hosting of pictures please. Thanks
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Old 15th July 2009, 19:20   #2
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Congratulations on your superbike Pranay! That was one good write-up.
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Old 15th July 2009, 20:42   #3
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Congratulations pal, love the way you have put this whole experience. One question, how much dabbu did you pay ?
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Old 15th July 2009, 21:15   #4
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Awesome write up Pranay! I wish to do a similar run Delhi Dehradun soon on my CBR 1000RR.

Do share the after effects of this journey and also how often is it required to re-lube the chain etc? You spoke of a spray what's that all about?

Congratulation once again.
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Old 15th July 2009, 21:24   #5
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You could have saved your precious half an hour @ Thrissur if you had given me a missed call.. would have loved to help you at any time.. he he.. And you took 3 long hours to cover the distance of 78kms, from Cochin to Tcr? that too in the morning? I have never taken more than 1.5 hours on my RD to cover the same distance.. and i do ride at around a max speed of 70kmph only
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Old 15th July 2009, 22:44   #6
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congratulations - made an interesting read.
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Old 16th July 2009, 09:00   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sudhirbhan View Post
Congratulations on your superbike Pranay! That was one good write-up.
Thanks, sudhirbhan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjstyles69 View Post
Congratulations pal, love the way you have put this whole experience. One question, how much dabbu did you pay ?
Thanks, rj. Let's take it the dabbu Q over PM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maxj2005 View Post
Awesome write up Pranay! I wish to do a similar run Delhi Dehradun soon on my CBR 1000RR.

Do share the after effects of this journey and also how often is it required to re-lube the chain etc? You spoke of a spray what's that all about?

Congratulation once again.
Thanks, max. I hope you all the will power in the world. You will need it in that long trip.

Yes, I Will keep posting the ownership details. Well, I re-lubed it quite often during the trip back the roads were quite bad while traveling. But normally, I guess there is no fixed specific time frame, it depends on the current condition of the chain. I would do it every 1000 kms or so in dry weather and every 400 kms in wet. The spray I talked about was a standard chain spray I used to clean the chain in Nanjangud.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aruncheloor View Post
You could have saved your precious half an hour @ Thrissur if you had given me a missed call.. would have loved to help you at any time.. he he.. And you took 3 long hours to cover the distance of 78kms, from Cochin to Tcr? that too in the morning? I have never taken more than 1.5 hours on my RD to cover the same distance.. and i do ride at around a max speed of 70kmph only
. RD is still baap of all in Indian roads, arun. Progress was slow, definitely. But I didn't push or want to push the bike so soon.

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Originally Posted by MuraliR View Post
congratulations - made an interesting read.
Thanks, Murali.
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Old 16th July 2009, 10:00   #8
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Default Pranay- Well Done!!

That's a lovely machine- you finally did it! Happy for you, Mate. Great write up and pictures...and obviously, ADVENTURE!!

Ride safe and enjoy her.
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Old 16th July 2009, 10:17   #9
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Congrats!!

Nice travelogue. You should have taken the Coimbatore road instead. It takes 12 hours max with decent pace and breaks.
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Old 16th July 2009, 11:49   #10
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Nice ride, an awesome travelogue.

You have the right temperamant to own a SBK here in India. Riding at 80-90 kmph may seem a lot less on a SBK, but in India these speeds are perfectly sane in the hands of a new rider. Kudos for knowing you and your bikes limits and staying within them.

Now how will you tackle the road tax issue in Karnataka? I am guessing the bike is a KL registered one.
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Old 16th July 2009, 12:04   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by netchef View Post
That's a lovely machine- you finally did it! Happy for you, Mate. Great write up and pictures...and obviously, ADVENTURE!!

Ride safe and enjoy her.
Thanks, netchef. Yes, I did it - finally!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatienceWins View Post
Congrats!!

Nice travelogue. You should have taken the Coimbatore road instead. It takes 12 hours max with decent pace and breaks.
Thanks bro.
A little birdy told me to take the nice scenic Kerala route with much less truck traffic in Saturdays. Otherwise, you're right, the Coimbatore roads are in much better condition. All's well that ends well though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spitfire View Post
Nice ride, an awesome travelogue.

You have the right temperamant to own a SBK here in India. Riding at 80-90 kmph may seem a lot less on a SBK, but in India these speeds are perfectly sane in the hands of a new rider. Kudos for knowing you and your bikes limits and staying within them.

Now how will you tackle the road tax issue in Karnataka? I am guessing the bike is a KL registered one.
Thanks, Spitfire. As you said, I definitely didn't want to push my limits.

Road Tax issue in Karnataka will be sorted out and shouldn't be a problem. The only problem is the recession scenario hitting the MNC industry which might see me going somewhere else.
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Old 17th July 2009, 12:41   #12
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Splendid ride report, and a spectacular title to match that.
So Pranay, how is the entire emotion of finding that first bike settling down?
I am glad that you have found what you had initially sought, and the bike 954 looks great in yellow with the coded gear.
Its good that you did not go nuts on your first ride, you already seem to have a fair idea what a wild child of a bike the 954 is and your log suggests how mature your entire approach has been.
Ride safe mate, keep the shining side up. Have fun.

manson.

p.s. For the uninitiated, this is the fourth 954 on the forum, and the first yellow one.
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Old 17th July 2009, 12:57   #13
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A brilliant ride and a well compiled report.

Would be great if you posted some clearer pics though
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Old 17th July 2009, 13:02   #14
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Hey Pranay,

lovely ride report. If you wanna group to ride with, gimme or rajeeve (netchef) a shout.

Vijay
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Old 17th July 2009, 14:29   #15
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Pranay, this may be a little overdone a bit too soon. But knowing your budget, how about a gold-chrome windcsreen, yellow wheel stripes and a tail tidy kit. These would really show-off the character of the 954.
For the forkseals and other consumables, eBay - The UK's Online Marketplace is your best friend.

manson.
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