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Old 7th February 2013, 16:01   #1
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Default Pune - Bangalore on a Yezdi : The Long Way Down

School’s out. For good. And like any good kid, I want to head home. But home isn’t just down the road, it’s way down the highway. About 850km down. Catch a bus man, simple. Airavat never disappoints. It is cheap. I could very well take a bus, yes. But the lady friend wants to travel with me, and she gets really bus-sick. But she does like the monsoon breeze, the scent of the ocean, the soothing sprinkle of afternoon rain on her face. All these can only mean one thing. The NH17. We decide to ride the NH17 home.

The good lady is always ready for a ride. She’s been with me on numerous rides through the years, so like a seasoned traveler she gets her kit ready in no time. Well, three days time. Most of her favourite essentials to pack aren’t available in our neck of the woods, so they must be begged, borrowed and stolen from friends and well-wishers. Females, I tell you!

So it is decided that we leave on the third day of September. Two days prior, the city is inundated in the great Indian monsoon. Now monsoon breeze, soothing sprinkle and all is perfectly nice. But what do you do when the damned monsoon is rattling your window panes through the night, hurling tree trunks across your lawn and turning Baner Road into Brahmaputra? I spend the night with my head wondering – jacket or swimming trunks? Someone calls with a news report of landslides at Khed. But we decide: If it isn’t raining at 4am, we leave. Get some sleep now.

September 3rd, 0330hrs. I pop my head out of what was yesterday a window. No rain. Go eh? Hurriedly I get dressed and run downstairs. Strap my backpack onto the pillion seat with some cheap bungee. Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon…shut up man, let’s go!
0415hrs, the odo reads 14127 and we’re off! Pune to Bangalore down the soggy NH17! And I haven’t the foggiest what’s in store!

Disclaimer: This'll be a short one and I've got hardly any photos, no videos/audio/GPS tracks etc of this trip. But I'll still go ahead for the sake of sharing the ride with you. Hope it works!

Last edited by voodoochild : 19th February 2013 at 20:14.
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Old 19th February 2013, 21:04   #2
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Default Re: Pune-Bangalore: The Long Way Down

I take my regular route out of town, via Chandni Chowk. The air is crisp and chilly, with that rich smell of wet earth. As I get into Pirangut, the chill makes me stop for a "bio break". It is 0500hrs, Pirangut is dark and ghostly. Even the insects around the steetlight halos have retired by now.

And then it starts to rain. A mild drizzle turns into a roaring downpour by the time I can put my helmet back on. I linger at somebody's dark doorway, wondering if it'll stop in 5 minutes. Ha! This isn't 4pm in Bangalore! I have 1300km to go, better get moving. I run back to the bike and hop on.

5 minutes later: The cold rain has soaked through the textile Cross gloves, and there's that tingling raindrop travelling seductively down my spine, touching me in all the wrong places!

As I head towards Mulshi, the rain does a Portnoy solo on my helmet. And that voice in my head asking me if I've thought this through. Well, no I haven't.

The road takes a sharp right at the southern end of Mulshi lake, to follow it up north again. As you approach this turn, the road slopes down a bit, with the hills surrounding you. Its dark, rainy, I cant see my own headlight beam, and I've got the dark hills suddenly looming all around me. Not a good time to wonder if all this was a good idea. But I cant really stop at that point to turn around. You see, I'm wading through two feet of overflow from the lake!!

A while later, its getting light. I'm starting the climb up Tamhini and I hear flowing water. I stop to take a photo of my beautiful companion beside the waterfall
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And the valley to my right
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Hey, stop complaining about the bad photos! Atleast my cellphone survived the 3-day soaking!

Last edited by voodoochild : 19th February 2013 at 23:08.
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Old 19th February 2013, 21:34   #3
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By now, the rain had penetrated my best defences. I give in. Yield completely to the joyous, liberated feeling of drenched undies. It is now time to sit back and enjoy the show.

This rockface to my left has a curtain of water flowing down it, onto the road. Park for a quick shower.
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To my right is a valley. It doesn't seem so in the photo, but the various shades of green here are really quite something!
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I stop gawking and move on. Progress becomes tedious. The Tamhini Ghat has a reputation as a bone- and bike-breaker. As this thought creeps into my head, I come upon a truck parked with its driver lying under the front axle. He hears me approaching and crawls out. Why not stop to inquire? He has this incredulous look on his face while I park. Turns out the right front U-bolt has come loose and he has no tools. He looks completely stumped when I pull one out from my luggage! What the hell is a lone biker doing on this road?? While we fix up the bolt, he asks everything from my name to the size of the bike's tyres. You're going to Bangalore? On this road??? I get a road condition update, an unopened Bisleri bottle and a grateful smile before I move on. Oh bleddy, I wasn't carrying water!!
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Old 19th February 2013, 23:04   #4
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Default Re: Pune-Bangalore: The Long Way Down

Minutes later, more rain! It has gotten much heavier since the truck stop. Visibility isn't low, but it isn't too clear either. Every biker knows this halfway position of the helmet visor that enables you to see but doesn't get the rain in your face. It helps, but not when buckets of it are flung at your face.

I dare to take a photograph, but keeping the phone in its plastic wrapping. Trust me, it wasn't much better in person.
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I get down the Tamhini Ghat without incident and stop for a quick systems check on the bike. Chain, tyre pressure, cables, my travel companion is holding up admirably as always! As I grab a piping hot tea and stale bun at the end of the MIDC Road, the rain starts in full force again. I don't know it yet, but this rain will continue till my third day.

The MIDC-Nizampur-Mangaon road is in utter shambles, with some multi-laning work going on. The rain washing thick mud into foot-deep potholes doesn't help either. Every time I get up to 60kph, I have to slam the brakes at humongous trenches in the road. The land is mostly barren, trees cut down for road-widening, soil washed away in torrential rain, progress is excruciatingly slow and boring.

Finally signs of a larger town appear, I'm in Mangaon. There's a shop that looks filthy enough to have tasty pakodas, so I stop for a bite and directions to the petrol bunk. Layla is giving good mileage, probably because of the cold weather but safe definitely better than sorry. Quick detour north of Mangaon to tank up, and I head south down the 17.

Ah, the 17! Traffic is absolutely nil due to the rains, and the road is all mine. We weave through lush greenery, with the hills in the distance playing hide-and-seek behind the clouds. Everything is green, lots of little waterfalls stain the hillsides. I settle into this calm, comfortable pace with the bike doing a lazy 70-75kph. You gotta love the 17!!

Suddenly, I'm shaken out of my fantasy. There's a stretch of road just before Poladpur where the vegetation thins out into just grass. Lack of trees means the wind blows freely. Powerful, nasty crosswinds that will blow a motorcycle off the road, and how! This will sound like a dirty lie, but I actually have to lean off the bike in a Rossi pose to hold it straight! With a slick, soggy road I hold not a candle to this storm, I need to stop somewhere!

Last edited by GTO : 22nd February 2013 at 16:47. Reason: PM coming up
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Old 20th February 2013, 10:40   #5
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Default re: Pune - Bangalore on a Yezdi : The Long Way Down

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 20th February 2013, 11:04   #6
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Hey so this was the trip you were telling me about last October. Man hats off to you. Riding in the rain, alone and on a Yezdi. Where most bikers tend to stand under the bridge and wait for the rain gods to calm down, you decided to carry on braving the rain. :thumbsup:

Thats some crisp narration there. Since its All India bandh today, any chance we get to read the full story by dinner time? ?
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Old 20th February 2013, 11:34   #7
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Default Re: Pune - Bangalore on a Yezdi : The Long Way Down

Woohoo! Nice that you finally got to writing down this RR!

Damn interesting ride and well written. Like the post above says - bandh day - I am getting out my popcorn and hope we can watch this ride unfold before the day is done
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Old 20th February 2013, 13:32   #8
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Default Re: Pune - Bangalore on a Yezdi : The Long Way Down

Nice writeup. I must however tell you this. A friend of mine, rode from Mumbai to Ladakh and back in 2011 and then to Sikkim in 2012 on his trustee (pun intended ) Yezdi. I think you have company.
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Old 20th February 2013, 13:46   #9
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Default Re: Pune - Bangalore on a Yezdi : The Long Way Down

Quote:
Originally Posted by Parthasarathig View Post
Since its All India bandh today, any chance we get to read the full story by dinner time? ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by naveenroy View Post
bandh day - I am getting out my popcorn and hope we can watch this ride unfold before the day is done
Sorry boys, no bandh for me. They're me today as well! The photos are all at home, so we'll have to wait till after 8pm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by satan View Post
...Mumbai to Ladakh and back in 2011 and then to Sikkim in 2012 on his trustee (pun intended ) Yezdi. I think you have company.
Pune-Arunachal (Tawang), two Roadkings, 120 kilos each of tools and spares (brought back from remote areas for throwaway prices), no roads and misadventures with guns and black ice. I'll have a friend write that up some day. Meanwhile please do ask your friend to share his ride log with us!!

Cheers,
Rahul
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Old 20th February 2013, 15:03   #10
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Default Re: Pune - Bangalore on a Yezdi : The Long Way Down

Bravo !!!!!!!
Well done sir. Its one of the rare breeds of travels. It was my dream to ride this bike even since i learned riding and on your travel i can say; only the brave souls amongst us can dare to breach the protocols and do something as you did.
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Old 20th February 2013, 16:35   #11
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Default Re: Pune - Bangalore on a Yezdi : The Long Way Down

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Originally Posted by Shiv_1984 View Post
Bravo !!!!!!!
Thanks Shiv! Trust me, its no real biggie when you know your motorcycle can handle it. The Roadking has been on so many rides that she's been fine-tuned perfectly. Any given trip, I would take more time packing my stuff than thinking whether to take her or not. Or even prepping her for the ride! She's always ready!

However, I hope my next travelogue will have pictures of a certain green Jawa instead

Stay tuned for more here.

Cheers,
Rahul
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Old 21st February 2013, 12:01   #12
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Default Re: Pune - Bangalore on a Yezdi : The Long Way Down

There's a covered temple courtyard ahead, so I pull in and park. Finding good footing for the mainstand is nigh impossible in the soft squishy muck. There's three old men taking shelter there, shaking their umbrellas dry and talking in rapidfire Marathi. I get the usual incredulous and half-suspicious look. One of them musters the courage to ask me what the hell I'm doing here on a motorcycle, and scoffs that I can't get any further as the road out of Poladpur is closed. Landslide! Had somebody called me about that last night? It seems so long ago!

But as we continue talking, the oldie seems to soften up a bit. Looking at my muddy camo pants, he says "Maybe you can just continue through the roadblocks saying you're an armyman. Hey, are you an armyman??" He then proceeds to give me directions to bypass the actual landslide and get to Khed.

When the gale stops, I move on and dead ahead is a line of trucks leading to a roadblock. Sure enough, camo fatigues and boots get me right past the miserable-looking policeman. The diversion arrives, I take it. The road for a while is a nasty single track with potholes galore and a liberal dose of fist-sized rocks. It evens out later, passing through peaceful no-name villages. As the rain stops for a few minutes, there's a beautiful hedge of little yellow flowers along the road.

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The rolling hills to my right. Photographs (with crappy mobile phone) don't do justice to this place. The grass was actually as green as you see in postcards from Ireland or wherever!! And you can just about make out the tiny flowers in the foreground. Bah, next time I need proper camera!

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Old 21st February 2013, 12:11   #13
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Default Re: Pune - Bangalore on a Yezdi : The Long Way Down

Nice narration voodoochild like the way you lead us through the actual journey. But to you for attempting this drive that too during the rainy season.
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Old 21st February 2013, 12:28   #14
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Default Re: Pune - Bangalore on a Yezdi : The Long Way Down

Man, what an adventure. It takes a lot of adventurous spirit to just hop onto the saddle and ride away in such weather.

I usually avoid riding in the wet since i hate to see my baby covered with muck. I always plan my rides to the T and am often amazed at how people just gather their guts and ride with such an adventurous spirit. Takes a lot to do something like that . Even when i had my Fiero i rarely rode out of the city, since i did not want a puncture on those tubed tires to spoil my rides. The actual interstate rides were triggered only after the ninja made an entry and after the required necessities like puncture kits were procured.

Helmets off to you Sir and wishing you many more such adventurous and safe rides. Keep Revving !!!
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Old 21st February 2013, 12:34   #15
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Default Re: Pune - Bangalore on a Yezdi : The Long Way Down

Steep ghats and bad roads follow, with a sprinkling of rash Scorpio and Tavera taxis. On one ghat descent I'm crawling down in first gear and the rear wheel is still stepping out! And this circus is not on a road, its on wet jellystones the size of my face! I come upon a roadcrew watching their precious labour being washed away in the deluge while their tractor lies forlornly in a ditch. It seems to have skidded off the road! Oh man, I need to get out of this place! I mean, its so very picturesque and serene, yet there's these spooky gloom&doom things in my head! Not cool man!

With a heaving sigh of relief, I see a group of cops. Hey, when have you ever felt like saying such a sentence? It looks like I've reached the highway again. Stopping for a breather, I notice my mainstand has taken a hit on the bad roads. The S-shaped bracket holding the stand up is a bit loose, and the stand isn't staying up. Bending the bracket back into place seems to work, so I get moving. Asurde passes in a blur and I start feeling a bit hungry. A small dhaba at Chiplun has biryani prices that bring me back to reality, so I eat and scoot.

Hathkhamba comes up. I had estimated that I'd have to stay the night at Ratnagiri, but as it is still 3:30pm and Panjim is just about 230km from here so lets just keep going. Big mistake not thinking twice!

Although the clouds clear up for a short while and I get some nice views of the sunlit hills (my first since I left home), I need to push on to Panjim. By the time I'm at Kankavli, the sun is already going down! The headlight insects wake up. Tinted visor at night means no visor, and no visor means bugs in face. And oh, did I mention rain? I have to stop before I do something stupid. A smoke-shop guy in Kudal is only too happy to assume that I'm a fellow Mallu, and offers to get me a room at his friend's motel. Costs me 300 bucks! I'm hardly bothered though, as my only thought is the 3 inches of rainwater sloshing around in my boots.

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Last edited by Rudra Sen : 21st February 2013 at 14:44.
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