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Old 3rd March 2012, 23:32   #1
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Hi all

This is my experience traveling from Chennai to Gurgaon for the Rider Mania event that was organized in January.

I have been riding for more than 15 years but have never tried something as crazy as this. I belong to the Madras Bulleteers motorcycling club and have been riding with them for the past one-year and own a classic 500cc, which is less than a year old. When the rider mania was announced I had decided that I will try to ride one way at the least as the leaves will not be forthcoming for more than a week (blame it on my profession) and the blokes working along with me will never understand which also includes my chief. On the negative side I donít know any technical aspects of the bike to fix if it stalls on me. After some contemplation got the permission from my better half but the leaves were a big question. Had booked the return flight from Delhi and decided to go by flight if I donít get the leave or my nerves donít hold. Had an issue of oil leak while I got it serviced from the REB service center and I was informed that the head gasket was loose and they have sorted the problem. (How naÔve I was to trust the idiots)

There were four groups plus a solo rider (from Trivandrum) and I choose to travel with the group, which was planning to go to Rann of Kutch (ROK) as it had been one of my dreams for quite some time. All the groups were planning to meet in Udaipur and ride together to delhi as one of the senior members was having a family function for which the whole club was invited. The route that was planned was
Chennai Ė Bangalore Ė Thane Ė Ahemedabad Ė Little Rann- Greater Rann Ė Udaipur Ė Rider Mania. Total of 4000kms in a duration of 9 days.

Before the ride began lost a week of sleep thinking over what if something goes wrong. Even if I exhaust myself the procrastination of what could go wrong took its toll and often I ended up staring at the ceiling while everybody else in the family were in lulu land. The group I choose to travel with is a well-set group with everybody in sync with each other and trusted one another on the road to do the right thing with me being the odd man out. All of them lived by the code EAT - SLEEP Ė RIDE HARD. I discussed with couple of guys in the group so that I donít be the sore point for them. These guys were on a tight schedule and I donít want to be the reason for any delays.

So with everything packed and ready we started from Chennai on 20th of January around 5PM and the plan was to reach Tumkur and stay for the night before the hard ride the next day (Tumkur to Thane nearing 1000km). Since the whole stretch was familiar after the December ride to Bulls of Shimogaís first anniversary we were on a roll. Took a break in Mcdonalds before Bangalore and reached tumkur midnight. Before entering the NICE road an idiot just ran between the lead rider and the first person in the group. It was a close call from where I saw and the rider neatly braked and sweared to avoid a near crash and we went our way. I was shouting obscenities while I crossed the idiot who will find a lorry some day in the road to carry out his will to die but I am sure it was not the right thing to do. One rider who joined us from Bangalore had already booked rooms for the night and we all crashed to catch a few winks, which after a week of lack of sleep was very welcome for me.

Started from Tumkur around 6AM in the morning and to say I was ravenous with hunger pangs would be an understatement. First pit stop was in a tea bunk were I learnt my first lesson. If it isnít boiled bread with caution. I gobbled two buns before another rider pointed the worms crawling on the buns. Nauseous to the core washed it down with hot tea. As we entered the land with lots of windmills we took a break in a roadside dhaba for some hot aloo paranthas. Another lesson learnt ďyou might be hungry but if you eat your fill you will be in troubleĒ. After the windmills the landscape was so uninspiring I had to keep my mind active by playing games but that too got boring after some time. I told these guys to zoom ahead as I plugged in my headphones mainly to cut down the wind noise and if I get really sleepy to play some music till I am fresh. Another lesson learnt is never to listen to music while you are riding in a group as I found out to my disadvantage. At one point when the stretch was totally straight with no traffic and the landscape was so dry I started getting sleepy and switched on the music. I missed the signal of the rider following me and when he over took me I panicked and very nearly ran of the road. Again I rarely listen to music while riding a bike and the danger is the thump of an over taking bullet might not be heard if you are playing music loudly plus you might underestimate the speed at which you are traveling. So no more music and the headphones were used only to plug out the wind noise (should have bought ear plugs). I chewed on a pepper to refresh myself and held another pepper beneath my tongue to chew on if I get really sleepy before the next stop. I told these guys that I will follow at a leisure pace in the rear and then soaked totally into the ride that I did not get sleepy after that. Expect for an episode where a trucker was screaming down me in the wrong lane while I was doing 100kms/hr the rest of the ride was uneventful till we took a break 100kms before Pune.

We met couple of other riders (nick named 7.5) from our group who were going to break it in Pune after proceeding to Daman and we were contemplating should we stretch ourselves more. By then I guess we would have done close to 750kms and we had another 200 to 250kms more. Majority decided to ride on as far as possible and call it a day when even one rider was not comfortable to continue. I told myself that I will not be the reason and mentally prepared myself by repeating its only 250kms more. Another mistake on my part as these guys can do longer distance than me and I am sure they would have accommodated breaking the ride a little earlier if I had requested. I was alerted not to take the expressway as bikes are not allowed through the expressway by the lead rider and if I tail the group and get into any trouble update the base contact and stay put. I tagged for the most parts with the group but I am yet to get comfortable around the bends where these guys will zoom as they would on straight roads. It was wonderful to watch till the sun went down. I did not know what these guys have planned when they neared the tunnel. All these guys have changed the silencer to glass wool goldies and the thump was awesome. Two of the riders (one with no core) zoomed into the tunnel and I unfortunately found out never to follow them again into the tunnel as the sound reverberating in the tunnel is deafening to say the least. Couple of cars got out the way pretty fast as these guys zoomed out while I slowed down to save my ears which still had the headphones (but no music). I was instructed to cut down the gears to slow down instead of hard braking in the bends as we climbed down and I was doing it and at one particular bend which came out of the blue (my inattentiveness) I cut down the gear at a rapid pace and will be paying the price for the act the next day.

We took break at lonavala but decided against staying there. I had completely gone outside my comfort zone of riding and was a bit edgy. Called home to report to my better half and was updated with some not so great news which further bogged me down. Without realizing I had started snapping at my fellow riders. Thinking back I think I had exhausted myself and instead of taking stock of the situation I started blaming the lead for putting me in the predicament though it was totally of my decision. We rode further and finally called it in at Panvel. Experienced the reality of Mumbai from the receptionist of the hotel, a small kid in his teens. While one of the riders was explaining what we were doing to knock of a few hundreds from the charges the guy had the expression, which said it all. No nonsense, straight, want it pay up or get lost kind of expression. The security guard (another kid) showed us a safe place to park the bike as if we park in front of the hotel it might miss a wheel or two by the morning. Again after reaching the room without realizing I had snapped at a fellow rider who told me to get lost in not so many words. Realized what is going wrong and quietly went to the room to nurse my broken ego and calm my mind (reading Robert frostís work). Though the fine fellow apologized I knew I was exhausted physically and mentally plus the weight of certain family issues were bogging me down so quietly excused myself and retired to sleep skipping the dinner.

Next day was a new day and my better half cheered me up with a wake up call and she has managed to sort out the issue at home. A fellow rider sharing my room told me that when you ride I have to let everything else out of my mind and focus on the experience of the ride. I found it very sensible advice. Went to the other room extended my apologies which were not expected and after a nice hot bath and breakfast was all set for the day. One fellow rider managed to loose his key (thankfully he had another) and broke his oil seal. I noticed oil leaking again from the head of the engine and checked the oil level. Another fellow rider told me that as long as I maintain my oil level in the engine there is nothing to be worried. The CL500 riders were pulling the legs of the TBTS owners with the amount of oil their vehicle was consuming and the amount of oil they were forced to carry with them. The plan was to reach ahemedabad and rest for the day before we go to Rann of Kutch. We would not have covered 50kms before my CL500 started jerking weirdly. Stopped and checked my engine sound, nothing, as we rode again the jerks returned and a fellow rider rode next to me to listen to it. Another fellow rider asked me to pull over at a safe place as we had already entered ghats and luckily we found a wide place in front of what used to be a waterfall. He told me my sprocket is busted and he proved right. Damn, one thing I did not want to happen was any sort of delay due to me and now it has happened. I was surprised to see these guys getting down to business, as I was sure we had to ride to the next town before we can fix the sprocket. The rider who told me to stop carried an extra sprocket with him as did another two riders. I was surprised and on questioning was told that he had the same problem during the last rider mania and so he carried an extra sprocket. It took one hour to sort out the problem and after literally cremating my sprocket (with a guy chanting mantra) we started towards our destination. The traffic became less as we left Mumbai behind and roads were better. While crossing Surat I was shocked to see so much smoke from the surrounding industries and I am sure that by the time we crossed this zone I would have inhaled close to 100 cigarettes worth poisonous substance. At one point a nut driving a Mercedes Benz slowed down on the parallel lane and was gesticulating wildly for ne reason and he was apparently pissed of with us. I did not understand and every time we accelerate he caught up with us and was again shouting away to glory. We encountered a 10km jam where this guy in Benz got stuck while all of us thumped away. Later I learnt that couple of our riders overtook the Benz and that had ticked this guy of. When will these guys learn that we are not on the roads to race against other vehicles?

Enjoyed thumping on these roads and reached outskirts of Ahmedabad before nightfall and rested. We could not find any decent hotels and ended up staying in a dump to say the least. I shudder even now to think of place we stayed. I slept with my riding clothes (balaclava and shoes included) on, as I did not want any part of body to touch the mattress. As we were proceeding towards Ahmedabad, I was in the lead and noticed a small crowd standing in the middle of the road. As I went near I saw a monkey dead on the road and another guy in his early 20ís sprawled across with one pulsar lying 20feet away. The guyís head was caved in with blood spilling all over. Being a doctor my first instinct was to go in and help but I was limited by what I could do. The guy has already been moved around from the center of the road to the side and the locals have informed the ambulance. Before we could turn the bend I saw the ambulance and I hope the kid made it while everybody else learn to wear helmets. It was crazy to see lorry speeding at 80kmph with the locals tagging the lorry with less than 2ft space between them to escape from the cold, disaster waiting to happen. Another rider joined us in Ahmedabad and we proceeded towards Little Rann.

I know Little Rann is a flat dry area and have drooled over images of riders in Rann in REB showroom but did not research too much into it as I wanted the experience to surprise me. Surprising me would be the least of what Little Rann can do to me. The plan was not to take the trail commonly used by the locals and instead to navigate across it to reach adesar. Before we entered Rann two of the riders ensured all of us had water and some goodies to munch on if we get lost inside and have to wait for some time. I was like how the hell can we get lost on a flat terrain where you can see miles of emptiness all around you. Before we did enter one of the riders bike got stuck in mud and it took six of us to haul it outside and it was a warning to me to be really careful. We went in and when I looked back I could barely see the place where we entered. I was told it was 30 to 50kms across rann before we reach adesar and this comforted me since I was confident I could do 30kms across this terrain.

The lead again told us that if we get lost to inform the base contact and stay put and wait and I was thinking this guy has lost his marbles enroute. He also instructed not to ride on the path made by previous rider and to follow at 10 to 20 feet parallel to the track at all times. Then we started riding across rann and my heart rate quickened at a pace that was astonishing. The terrain is hard dirt and the bike was wobbling all over and I was always at the edge of losing balance and spilling over. When I caught up with the lead rider, who had stopped checking the GPS, he advised me that to tackle this terrain I should not slow down on hard dirt and I did not absorb the rest of his statement as a fellow rider took a spill riding at low speeds. We proceeded and I could see the wild Asses galloping away with the sunlight glowing of them and for a second I fooled myself into thinking I am watching unicorns. The beauty of that moment can never be erased away from my mind. Then I got shocked to reality when I saw all the riders so far ahead of me and I could see only the dust and at some point I canít make out any tracks made by them. I skipped looking for tracks and started riding towards the dust and after luckily missing couple of near falls managed to catch up with the group. Again the lead was referring to his GPS and he with a fellow rider zoomed ahead checking the route asking the rest of us to wait. They returned and informed that we have to circle around as the present route has got too much mud and itís likely for the bike to get stuck again. He switched over to Plan B (Till that point I did not know there was Plan B) and we followed suit. I realized that the sun is going down and if it sets we have to spend the night in Rann and I gulped down my fear as I pushed myself outside my comfort zone and started focusing on the lead and riding.

For the most parts of the ride I was terrified of falling down, getting lost or stuck and having to spend the night in a Rann. Then I pushed all the thoughts away and focused on getting both of us (me and my bull) in one piece across and then procrastinate or contemplate. Two other riders sprawled down and luckily nobody was hurt as we were traveling in low speeds. One of the riders had a SLR camera and lenses, which were worth around 3lakhs and fortunately when he had a fall nothing happened to him or his gadgets. Just before the sun can call it a hard dayís work we scrambled to reach a small village road and stopped. The feelings rushed in and I was feeling dizzy in my head like a total drunk. What I had done is against everything I practice and stand for in my clinical practice. While I ensure safety in clinical practice and have given enough lectures around in the last 2 years I have broken my own rule to play it safe and was exhilarated to the core. I was also sure I will not require any treadmill test to evaluate my heart in the near future as all through the ride my heart was in a permanent state of excitation reaching crazy rates which it was never accustomed to and that to for a whole 3 hours. A 30 km off roading track has taken us 3 hours to tame. Seeing this dusty road has made my day. While everybody was laughing I was so secluded with my thoughts I required time to sort it and identify what is that I am feeling. We started towards Bhuj where we would be staying tonight and will be hooking up with a group of fellow riders based in Bhuj.

Few of the snaps from the ride to RM2012.

Cheers
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Last edited by GTO : 5th March 2012 at 14:04. Reason: Adding pictures to the opening post
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Old 4th March 2012, 15:19   #2
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Wow Doc, thatz some trip you have taken, tuned in for more. Top it up with Pics please.
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Old 5th March 2012, 10:52   #3
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What a writeup, i could feel the emotions as i was going through the writeup talking about your emotions of what goes through yours and other riders mind. Congratulations on completing this physically challenging drive.

Good to see you have learn to keep the Ego aside when riding, when you ride together in a group i can understand the kind of ups and downs one goes through. On the Merc incident, i would say there are many of those types around on the highway, the racing genes in them make them blind to see the obvious dangers of racing on the streets and its best to keep as much distance as possible from them.

Finally, more pictures please, and also continue the writeup.
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Old 5th March 2012, 11:30   #4
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Very nice write up. Looks like you learnt a couple of new things about yourself. Riding does that. Makes you fall in love with life.
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Old 5th March 2012, 14:48   #5
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Superb narrative, waiting for the rest. Sounds like a great experience overall.
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Old 5th March 2012, 16:38   #6
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wow amazing spirit and energy to do this kinda of a trip. Doc hats off and an excellent write up that gives us a clear picture of the hardships you went through and how you enjoyed the same as well.

Love the RE any day. I have booked one and been waiting waiting and waiting. Hope some day i get it on hand.
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Old 6th March 2012, 20:12   #7
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Hi
I did not have time to complete the write up. Here are few more snaps from the ride.
Cheers.
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Old 7th March 2012, 20:04   #8
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Continued...
I was totally exhausted by the time we reached Bhuj and meet the riders from the club Bullet riders of Bhuj. We rested for the night and once again I was too exhausted to celebrate and just crashed out. The next day couple of riders from the club accompanied us to visit white Rann and the surrounding area. Started the ride a bit late due to busted tire for a fellow rider. The lead rider decided to take it easy for the day and relax and that’s exactly what I needed. Riding casually across narrow neatly laid village roads is a perfect treat. While proceeding towards white Rann I came across a particular area filled with birds. I was told that during season time you would see around 2 lakhs to 4 lakhs of birds in that particular area. Regretfully, there were no flamingos. I came to know during the last year season flamingo was considered a delicacy and some of the locals started hunting them but swift police action made sure it does not happen again.

We crossed Tropic of Cancer to reach white Rann. The lead rider tried a few pranks to scare me but I know what it is to be young and stupid and played along with him. Though it was beautiful to watch it was nothing like the experience of Little Rann. We had authentic Gujarati lunch in a village, which was arranged by the Bhuj riders. Post lunch we went to Khala dungar. The road twists, turns, dips, raises and curves in all possible direction uphill to reach the small temple. We were watching the sunset while we were told that there is a peculiar custom of the place where the jackals come in droves to eat the prashad of the temple. We waited to see and finally caught glimpse of a dog eating away the prashad and no jackal turned out for that day.

After sunset we started riding down and I choose to tail the riders till the plains. I was riding alone as the others zoomed ahead and the feeling was one of total solitude. When I reached the plains there were two roads diverging and I did not know which one to take but before I could ask a little girl came running pointing to the direction, which the other riders took. Left the small hamlet with a big grin on my face. I pushed my bike and soon caught up with the gang and during the next break took an early start to ride alone. It was absolutely dark, straight road; the powerful night breaker headlight was more than bright enough and there were no sounds except for the muted thump from the bullet. Somebody was flashing light in the opposite direction and I slowed down to see a herd of 20 and odd camels crossing to the opposite side. Apparently this was a routine in this particular stretch and I was just thankful for the guy who signaled for me to stop. At some point I saw jackals running helter skelter and then a tree burning in the total empty darkness. I slowed down to watch the burning tree that was very enthralling and switched of the light for couple of seconds to embrace the light from the glowing tree.

Reality check, realized I might run over one of the jackal and slowed down and cruised to reach the police check post. The other riders joined me and I requested one of the Bhuj riders to direct me to a local handloom shop. If I go back home empty handed I am more than likely to be sleeping on the streets for some time. He accompanied me with a fellow madbull to a local shop and I learnt that the shop was kept open for our sake at his request and on top got a 20% reduction on the total bill. I was really impressed what the Bhuj riders did for us without knowing any of us before this day. I am also sure we would return the favour if any one of them decides to visit us some day. Though I just wanted to retire to my room the newfound friends from Bhuj had organized a dinner party for all of us and we just could not refuse. Had more than sumptuous feast of chicken and by the time we finished with the starters we did not have any space for the main course.

On a happy note we bid farewell to the excellent company the next day and proceeded onto our next stop. We debated going to mount Abu but ditched it as it might delay us from reaching the function at Udaipur and decided to ride to Udaipur straight. At one point I was riding in the lead (which I had not realized) and a police jeep travelling on the parallel lane signaled me to pull over. The police officer started politely talking to me in Hindi enquiring why I was travelling so fast and where I am coming from and I told him in English that I did not understand one word of what he is speaking (some of the riders use this tactic to get away without any trouble and this was the first time I am using it). The guy sitting next to him spoke to me in clear English and I did not have a choice but to answer the questions. He told me that I was travelling at high speeds and this route is dangerous and advised me ride a bit more cautiously. He said if he catches me travelling fast again he would seize my bike. I don’t know whether he could do it but did not want to run the risk of testing it. My feigning ignorance for Hindi had not worked. I started riding again and this jeep was following me for close to 20 kms before he honked and turned into a village. The other guys caught up with me and we halted for a short break.

When we started riding again I asked a fellow rider to ride parallel to me and clock the speed and to my horror I was informed later that my ride was clocking 15kms less than the other rider. For the first time in the whole trip the Google map misdirected us and we lost the way. The route, which we had planned, turned out to be a narrow non-existent footpath and I would not be surprised if it curves and runs through a few houses. We wasted lot of valuable time and finally resorted to something better than the Google map, asked for directions from local help. The people were really helpful and couple of guys travelling in the opposite track stopped and crossed over to point the right direction to us.
The whole route was strewn with dog carcasses and one of the riders made his contribution to the lot helped by a truck following him. It was sorry state to see a young pup being crushed like that and yelping with pain. One of the riders thought the lead riders knee guard had fallen down and slowed down to pick it up and was he surprised to see a knee guard yelping. As we were riding another riders silencer came loose and luckily it was noticed before it completely came loose and we had to stop to fix it. Two other riders who had zoomed in the front were told to book rooms for staying in the next town. As the others got down to business I chipped in to help by holding the light, the least I could do given the circumstances and my technical expertise. One guy managed to start a small campfire with the straw and logs lying around and though it did not warm us enough it did give a boost to all our spirits. We started riding again and we managed to reach the next stop earlier than expected.
Now the dilemma whether to go ahead and try to reach Udaipur or stay put and have an early morning ride. I wanted to ride ahead but another fellow said he has had enough for a day and wanted to stop. Unfortunately we had another complication, which we did not foresee. Gujarat being a dry state is something we know and had anticipated but I did not know that we can't even carry any goodies with us. Though we assured the hotel receptionist we will not party, the mad fellow did not agree and asked us to vacate the rooms immediately. The rider who joined us from Ahmedabad tried talking them out of it but these guys were not flexible. We were contemplating to find another hotel to stay when a rider’s friend who is meeting us for the first time invited us to his home for staying the night. We were not very comfortable as we did not want to be any cause of discomfort but he insisted and assured us repeatedly. We went to his home and his whole family chipped in to help us. Taking our luggage upstairs to a room, which has been cleared in a hurry to make way for beds and mattresses for all of us. Needless to say the family was very hospitable providing us not only boarding but took care of all our needs. Had a sumptuous dinner and were waken up early morning with hot steaming coffee. I don’t know whether I could do the same, only time will answer.
To be continued...

Last edited by drrajasaravanan : 7th March 2012 at 20:07.
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Old 11th March 2012, 18:06   #9
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Hi
I am planning to complete the write up today. Hope you guys enjoy reading it as much as i enjoyed writing it. Cheers
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Old 11th March 2012, 21:28   #10
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Continued...

We sped along and the roads were pristine to say the least. I think the roads in Gujarat and Rajasthan were the best and the National highways in southern states definitely pale in comparison to them. As we rode along there were the usual perks of travelling on the highway such as a bunch of school students who wanted to test our panic breaking technique, mini vans jumping lanes, cattleís lying on the middle of the road, fortunately we were tuned enough to take it in the stride. As usual once the curves came the others zoomed ahead and I slowed down. At one instance in a totally straight stretch I watched the sun arise and I felt as if my fellow riders are zooming ahead to touch it before it rises high into the sky. The golden light spreading everywhere was like a blessing from the heavens. The others riding in perfect-stacked formation with me in the rear bathing in the golden glow was breath taking in the least. We stopped for a break and asked the guy in the teashop to conform the route and we were told that the moment we see a liquor shop on the left we had crossed Gujarat into Rajasthan, and though we laughed we found out that the joke was on us later.
We reached Udaipur and checked in to the hotel where other madbulls were staying. We freshened up for the function and soon after went out for sightseeing. The classic car collection, city palace, lake palace and finally travelled by the winch to see the sunset. I decided to do some shopping and few of us left early after watching the sunset. We were informed there is an informal party that night and to come as soon as possible. I managed to finish the shopping fast and as we were walking to the venue when I realized I had left my helmet in the shop and to my dismay found it to be closed. Now was in real fix as we were to ride out early tomorrow to Gurgaon and I donít have a helmet. Managed to find the shopkeepers number and on calling him was informed that it is not possible for him to come immediately but he was willing to come and open the shop next day at 7am. He warned me that he did not see me walking in with a helmet but I was sure. I was so angry with myself I did not enjoy the party and was totally withdrawn. When I told the guys regarding the issue a couple of them told me that I can wait till 9am buy a helmet from the local shop and ride with another rider who is also staying late since he had to get his battery fixed.

Every rider who has come on this trip has had his own share of misfortunes, near misses and close calls. Few of them tried to cheer me up quoting their own mishaps such as loosing mobiles, purse, cash, key and one rider had to return back home half way since his mother had suddenly fallen ill. I understood all of that but I was not able to voice my displeasure right out in the open. Everything said and done, the group I had been travelling with till now consisted of seven people and none of them were even part of any solution. One fellow told me that all of us can wait till I check out the shop at 7am and if I donít find my helmet start riding till the next nearest city and buy one there but he was quietly shushed by few others and they dropped me like a hot dish. Of course I know I am at fault and would not expect others to be delayed because of my foolish mistake. If somebody else had been in this state I would have offered to ride with him or her even if I am delayed, but itís a long stretch to expect others to do the same.In all my previous rides I have always seen the group wait till the trouble is sorted out and nobody was left behind. One of the riders from another group (7.5) offered his helmet till I get one and few of his buddies offered to stay back till I sort the trouble out. I decided not to trouble anybody and if worse comes to worse ride alone. 650kms in my consideration is totally doable (or so I thought). One of the riders had arranged a half face helmet of his father for me to borrow. But I was not confident of riding on the highway compromising the safety as I have already once experienced a near death scenario without a properly strapped helmet.

Next day I woke up early but stayed in the room till everybody left and not one single person from my group enquired what was my plan. Surprisingly the other group, 7.5, came to my room and told me that they have decided to wait till I check the status of my helmet. The shopkeeper came on dot at 7am and to my dismay my helmet was not in the shop. I cursed myself and with the number of shops I had visited I was not sure where I could have missed it. My beliefís that for every bit of fun you have, you end up paying the price somehow at some point. I was paying the price now and I hope this is the worst I have to face (again, how presumptuous I had been). I went back to the group that was waiting and told them I will ride with the half face helmet till the next city and buy a new helmet there. There were cheers and hi-fiís but there was again somebody else who was being left behind. Another rider had battery problem and had to wait till 10am for the mechanic to sort it out and he was hoping I would be riding with him. Though he did not show it and told me to ride ahead and he will catch up later I was still confused as it would be better for me to get a helmet and ride with him. Another rider suggested that I start out with them as they are planning to visit the rat temple and he can catch us up at that point. It sounded sensible and I started with the group. I was riding a bit slow than the others and the visor of the half face helmet was rattling so badly and rubbing my nose I had to stop and sort it out. I stopped near a roadside shop and purchased scarves, which I put to good use trying to insulate myself to the noise and the wretched visor. After sorting it out we were riding pretty comfortably and with the wind noise reduced to a large extent I was able to do pretty decent speeds.

As I was riding I glanced to check the rear rider on my rear view mirror and I saw a black bird about to hit him and slowed down. Then I realized it was not a bird but my luggage, which had got loose and was trying a frontal assault. Luckily nothing happened and we again stopped and sorted it out with lots of hi-fiís and cheers. This groupís enthusiasm is pretty infectious and I was quickly getting out of yesterdayís absolute downer. After a short break we decided to do a long stretch and break for lunch after crossing Jaipur. But again I did not realize I have not yet paid the price for last 6 days of exhilaration and fun. No sooner have we started from the dhaba, there was a lot of clanking noise from my engine and it stopped. Everybody stopped and one experienced rider did diagnostics and told me the bike is not fit to be ridden. He said there is lot of oil leak from the head and there is a major mechanical damage to the vehicle. There is no second opinion required as this chap has worked in REB R&D and always right on dot. The first thought in my head was ďmaybe this happened to protect me from something far worse down the road against which this half face helmet will be of no useĒ. We quickly found out a GATI outlet in Ajmer and I decided to ship the bike and ride pillion or halt at Jaipur and catch a bus next day early morning. So the fellow riders decided to take turns to tow me and my ride till Ajmer. Another rider rode ahead to locate the GATI showroom and sort out the formalities. Again fate was having a field day with me. Two of the riders had to fall behind as one of them had a puncture. Couple of cars slowed down and offered their help but we did not need any. At one point we had stopped to confirm directions and a maruti car stopped next to us. A fellow asked us whether we are carrying any drugs and when I said no he offered to sell some. He did not leave us and running out of options I told him I am a doctor and itís against my ideology to abuse drugs. I donít know why I told this but this fellow accepted and apologized to us.

One rider with only a short break managed to tow me for nearly 110km before we realized we had missed the turn and have travelled an extra 30kms towards Jaipur. From that point we had to travel 250 and odd kms to reach the venue and these guys were contemplating towing me the whole distance. I had noticed a lot of Mahindra pickups on this road and on enquiry found out that these vehicles were being driven from Bombay to Delhi for sales. One fellow on requested told me that he can ship my vehicle till Dharuhera for 2500rupees. I asked another driver and he quoted me 1500rupees and then both these guys started fighting with each other. I stepped in and told the first driver that he is stinking of liquor (which I realized as I was asking him a quote) and I will not ship my bike in his vehicle and preferred the second driver. That seemed to settle the issue. The fellow riders told me that they would follow the vehicle till the drop point and then tow me to the venue. I told them that it is madness to do it as this vehicle cannot do more than 70kmph and they should hurry to escape the cold. So these guys zoomed ahead and I cursed my luck and sat in the pick up. I saw quite a lot of riders (I guess from Indie thumpers) overtaking me and a few of them acknowledged me and rode ahead. I guess I will be meeting most of them tomorrow. Though I was pissed off initially I slowly clamed down and started enjoying the road and relaxing. Another pickup over took ours and signaled us to stop. The driver of the other vehicle told us that one of the cords tied to the bike is loose and the bike might fall down. They did not ask for my help and both these guys sorted it out. As I was waiting another driver who was enquiring about the bike went ahead and purchased tea for all of us and on top did not expect me to pay. Thatís something I have not seen a lot.

We again hit the road and pretty soon it got pretty dark and coming from a land where we experience only one season all through the year, summer, the cold hit me pretty hard. I had to wear my riding jacket and on top another jacket to escape from the cold. Still it did not help much and I was freezing. The driver seeing me struggling to cope up with the cold told me that I can put paper sheets in-between the layers of dress and to my disbelief it worked. 1000 rupees thermal wear, 5000 rupees jacket, another 2500 jacket on top was no match for a 2ruppee local daily. At some point I had slept off and woken up by the driver for dinner break. I did not count the number of rotiís I had but the owner of the dhaba refused any money for the food. Apparently he came to know my plight from other drivers eating along with us. 50km before we reached Dharuhera the driver said he is getting sleepy and if its not an issue he would grab some sleep in the next dhaba. I consented (as if I had a choice) though I was tempted to drive the Mahindra pickup for a while. I called other riders and found out these guys were all put up in a place 50kms from where I had stopped and asked them whether anybody can come. I was told that most of them were not in a position to drive (read tipsy) and plus the few who are of sound mind are not willing to ride in this cold. I was told to drop the bike in some nearby petrol bunk, catch a taxi and reach the venue. To say I felt let down was putting it mildly. I called the base contact and he agreed that there is no point in calling other riders and he updated my position to the organizers. He told me that irrespective of the time there will be somebody from the organizing club at the main junction to help me and asked me whether I can persuade the cab driver to drop me another 20km ahead. The driver thankfully obliged and I choose to allow him to grab some rest before we start travelling again. Pulled up a couple of chairs and after some effort I gave up and crashed into a cot requesting the owner of the dhaba to charge my mobile. After 2hours (which felt like 5mins) the driver woke me up with hot steaming tea and my mobile was charged. As I was confirming the venues address the other drivers had a campfire going and I joined along with them enjoying the moment. What is a campfire without some music and the strangers did a pretty good job though I did not understand any of the songs they were singing.

I found the venue of the rider mania in Google maps and directed the driver accordingly. As we were travelling the members of royal beasters motorcycling club caught me in the highway and escorted us to the venue. They hauled my ride to the repair area to sort out next day if I choose to fix it. I gave the driver more than he bargained and he left happy. They had provided me accommodation in a dormitory and I crashed to grab a couple of hours of sleep. The next two days was about partying hard and I decide not to elaborate any issue with anybody. But two of my friends who had come by flight saw me, they understood and I did not have to elaborate anything. Apparently they had warned me subtly and I choose to ignore their hints. I requested them not to be subtle and blast it straight to my face. We ended up laughing about everything and got into the spirit of the event.

Had two days of absolute partying and met lots of interesting people from various clubs. One of them a paraolympic champion really impressed me with her achievements and her struggles. After two days of fun and partying as I was packing one of the riders called me requesting me to hurry to another dormitory where a fellow rider has become unconscious. I rushed and to my dismay found the rider dead. I did not have a choice but state the obvious. The organizers took over and I later heard that the rider was shifted to medanta for certification and to transport him to his native place. Returned home by flight with few of my friends after shifting my bike by GATI and my run of bad luck seemed to continue till the last point. The driver who was loading my luggage into the car missed out a bag which I realized after I reached home. Hurried back to the airport cursing myself and found my bag which had been handed over safely to the airport manager. Finishing the formalities I got the bag (which had all the stuff I had purchased for my family) and returned home to share each and every bit of what i went through with my better half.
Cheers.
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Old 18th March 2012, 20:06   #11
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Default Re: Rider's Mania 2012 - Chennai to Gurgaon

Hi
A few more snaps from the ride. Hope you guys like it. Cheers
Attached Thumbnails
Rider's Mania 2012 - Chennai to Gurgaon-393955_10150624070962952_721627951_11146800_1057484270_n.jpg  

Rider's Mania 2012 - Chennai to Gurgaon-395230_10150588947397357_681882356_8921441_1477312799_n.jpg  

Rider's Mania 2012 - Chennai to Gurgaon-402364_10150588935822357_681882356_8921405_861901996_n.jpg  

Rider's Mania 2012 - Chennai to Gurgaon-405547_10150588950842357_681882356_8921454_825647943_n.jpg  

Rider's Mania 2012 - Chennai to Gurgaon-417511_321523947883960_100000790726251_787028_652013306_n.jpg  

Rider's Mania 2012 - Chennai to Gurgaon-425318_10150588929102357_681882356_8921348_1132522417_n.jpg  

Rider's Mania 2012 - Chennai to Gurgaon-426174_321524394550582_100000790726251_787030_786027496_n.jpg  

Rider's Mania 2012 - Chennai to Gurgaon-432107_10150588961062357_681882356_8921490_594762528_n.jpg  

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Old 22nd October 2013, 02:19   #12
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Default Re: Rider's Mania 2012 - Chennai to Gurgaon

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Originally Posted by drrajasaravanan View Post
Hi all

This is my experience traveling from Chennai to Gurgaon for the Rider Mania event that was organized in January...

Cheers
Hello Dr. Rajasaravanan,

It is definitely quite late to quote this thread, but after reading your nice and most authentic, on your face, write-up, I felt the urge to express my feelings.

Being part of a group, has its advantages and disadvantages. We prefer to ride in a group for the obvious advantages in mind. Never ever do we consider "what if?". Reading your inputs, have really opened up my eyes. What if I get stranded and the members on whom my confidence rests, deserts.

I, just got my own bullet (Amun-Ra), and like all other enthusiasts , plan to be a member of a group, to ride places and ultimately travel all the way to my home town from Pune. But now, this calls for a rethinking. Is it worth? No, I am not talking about the rides, but the "brotherhood". Offcourse, like you have mentioned, you received help from members you hardly knew, whereas members with whom you travelled all this distance, stood at a distance. Is this what we expect from travelling in groups?

To be very frank, probably now you are having a very good relation with all of them, probably I am wrong in my understanding, but your narration is so authentic and vivid, it compels me to voice my thoughts.

Anyways Dr. Rajasaravanan, I really liked reading every words written by you and every sense you wanted to communicate and I would like to thank you for sharing this with all of us.

Best regards,
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Old 27th October 2013, 13:35   #13
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Default Re: Rider's Mania 2012 - Chennai to Gurgaon

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Originally Posted by Majumdarda View Post
Hello Dr. Rajasaravanan,

It is definitely quite late to quote this thread, but after reading your nice and most authentic, on your face, write-up, I felt the urge to express my feelings...

Best regards,
Hi
Nice to see your reply and thanks for your kind words.
Nearly two years since i rode to gurgaon and in the past two years covered more than 20 thousand kms riding all over india with the Madbulls of Chennai but i choose not to ride with the same group that i rode with to Gurgaon. I learnt my lesson and i know my limitations.
The group is good but there are few sour apples who i dont ride with. It is fun in doing solo ride provided you know to troubleshoot your machine. Fortunately the remaining rides were more fun as i did choose the right group to travel with and my REB CL500 has never let me down.
Why dont you come to Rider Mania 2014 happening in Chennai, organized by my club.
Have fun, happy thumping.
Cheers.
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Old 28th October 2013, 10:17   #14
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Default Re: Rider's Mania 2012 - Chennai to Gurgaon

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Originally Posted by drrajasaravanan View Post
Hi
Nice to see your reply and thanks for your kind words.
Nearly two years since i rode to gurgaon and in the past two years covered more than 20 thousand kms riding all over india with the Madbulls of Chennai but i choose not to ride with the same group that i rode with to Gurgaon. I learnt my lesson and i know my limitations.
The group is good but there are few sour apples who i dont ride with. It is fun in doing solo ride provided you know to troubleshoot your machine. Fortunately the remaining rides were more fun as i did choose the right group to travel with and my REB CL500 has never let me down.
Why dont you come to Rider Mania 2014 happening in Chennai, organized by my club.
Have fun, happy thumping.
Cheers.
Hi,

I am waiting to get introduced to the members of Roadshakers, Pune. I would have definitely loved to participate at the RM 2014, but have some other plans for the year, for which I need some real long leaves. Let me see how things turn up, how are the Pune team members going, and if possible, offcourse I would love to be a part of this event.

Best regards and drive safe
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