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Old 13th August 2015, 14:30   #1
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Default Lone wala to Lonavala - Solo ride on my Thunderbird

This is my first travelogue. In fact this is the first time I have written something apart from the awful business letters and boring office emails. God knows what else my Tanda would advance me to do.

The era of long drives were long gone for me, in fact decade ago with my Cheetah, Bajaj Pulsar 150. Once he was gone (ditched out of the home, rather), literally there was no biking. Then comes my Tanda, Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 after 15 years, my dream ride since childhood.

Wifey & Kiddy not in Edifice + dream ride after 1st service = A spectacular long drive to the nearby hill station.

This last weekend my family was not in town and I was given a chance to get my dose of ecstasy with my Tanda. Like a disciplined army jawan, did all my chores on Saturday and gave Tanda for the 1st service after completing 500 KMS at Ram RE Service center at Nerul.
On the D Day, I wanted to start early to experience the bliss of early morning drive. But, you know discipline is a one day affair for the sloths like me and couldn't start as per the plan. Started from Chembur at 9.30 AM after breakfast at 0 KM and thanked Rain God for nor interrupting my mission. Few minutes on the road, rain God slowly smiled at me and later laughed at me heavily. I hopped on to my rain gear and zipped past Navi Mumbai and the villages on the way, but cautiously within the 2.5-3 RPM scale.

The odo was tickling slowly but steadily near the 100 KMS mark which is when I decided to have a break exactly at 100 KMS on the odo. But before even I could realize, Tanda was trekking the hill and I had to break my break rule before the odo kissed 100 KMS. Stopped to this and did the customary click and embarked to continuing my mission.

Lone wala to Lonavala - Solo ride on my Thunderbird-20150802_111934.jpg

This scene gave an adrenalin rush and re-affirmed that I am up to a good place on earth.

Within minutes, a beeline of Chikki shops announced me that I have reached my destination at 11.15 AM. But wait, “The Destination”?? So where should I go now? Did not do much rather, any research on the places to visit or things to do since my trip was not intended for that. So kept driving further straight and randomly stopped at the Wax museum. Why the wax museum? The moment I entered Lonavala I had already decided to bring my family here and wanted to preview this place so that the kiddy is not bored when I show her. There were near about 40 wax models of personalities of various genres and most of them were really looking very real while others were so-so.

Lone wala to Lonavala - Solo ride on my Thunderbird-20150802_114327.jpg

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It was 12.30 PM; I came out of the museum and in a dilemma to have lunch at that time or not. My urge to go to a good viewpoint helped me to decide to have lunch at a place with good views.

Enquired a local guy on the viewpoints who suggested me to Lion’s point and dutifully informed me that it would be very good. Took a left turn in between the Chikki shops towards the INS Shivaji. The road to INS Shivaji were crowded with vehicles and looked like a snake with uneven bulges. After a famous view point, there were not much vehicles and the traffic eased out. Tanda climbed further atop past the INS Shivaji and we reached another view point with very little crowd. By that time I was famished and I decided to have lunch. I had lunch there in a place with views. But their menu card had only limited options of Corn, Tea & Tiger biscuits. Yes, there were no restaurants at that place I had to convince my belly with a packet of Tiger biscuits and a couple of good teas.

Still not convinced to halt and not knowing what was in my heart, I did not take any photos of that place at that time. A fellow traveller informed that the road further ahead leads to Amby Valley and the road are good for a drive. The later part of the sentence sounded good to me and I climbed up above the hill so high. And this is what welcomed me.

Lone wala to Lonavala - Solo ride on my Thunderbird-20150802_140004.gif

Oh yes, I was loving the drive...Tree covered roads, alone in a bike, slight drizzle, listening to my Tanda’s singing, it was bliss!! After sometime this is how it looked.

Lone wala to Lonavala - Solo ride on my Thunderbird-20150802_140632.gif

And moments after that it turned out to be like this.

Lone wala to Lonavala - Solo ride on my Thunderbird-20150802_140611.jpg

The weather was on a mood swing and the entire afternoon she showed us her teary face and smiley face one after the other. Reached Amby valley and to my disappointment, found out that there is nothing much one can do there without a membership or ownership or whatever. Nevertheless the drive was very pleasing to eyes and the machine was pleasing to the ears.

Returned back to the corn and tea restaurant to check out the view from there. It was a mesmerizing place. Later learnt that it was also a sunset point. It looked like this.

Lone wala to Lonavala - Solo ride on my Thunderbird-20150802_152213.jpg

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Lone wala to Lonavala - Solo ride on my Thunderbird-20150802_152745.jpg

It was 3.00 PM and I decided to leave with a heavy heart since I wanted to hit the sack early keeping in mind about the Monday slogging. Did the customary Chikki shopping and started back to the base. And yes, the Rain God played with me till the end of the journey.

At the beginning of the trip, in fact till that day I was of the opinion that riding in rain would be awful. But during this trip I changed my mind and now I love to ride in rains and looking forward to many more such rides. It was disappointing since I could not cover/see many places in Lonavala as a tourist. But it was a very satisfying long drive with my Tanda as a traveller clocking 230 KMS on the odo at the end of the journey. The weather made this trip a fantastic one and I made a promise that I would be back with my family very soon before the monsoon ends. Now, I would like to introduce to my partner in crime, Tanda.

Lone wala to Lonavala - Solo ride on my Thunderbird-20150802_151850.jpg

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Lone wala to Lonavala - Solo ride on my Thunderbird-20150802_152055.jpg

Lone wala to Lonavala - Solo ride on my Thunderbird-20150802_140021.gif



Regards,
Neel.
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Old 14th August 2015, 14:30   #2
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Default Re: Lone wala to Lonavala - Solo ride on my Thunderbird

Really nice and light read. I think us Mumbai and Pune residents are very lucky to have Lonavala nearby. It has become rather commercial now, but still offers some great sights along the way. A little chai, some corn bhajiyas with some light rain = bliss!

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At the beginning of the trip, in fact till that day I was of the opinion that riding in rain would be awful. But during this trip I changed my mind and now I love to ride in rains and looking forward to many more such rides.
As the saying goes, one who does not ride in the rain does not ride at all. Light or heavy, the rains challenge a bike's grip, a rider's trust in his machine and his own abilities. On our roads, it's quite a risky choice, but also the most fun.

Last edited by Tushar : 14th August 2015 at 14:31.
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Old 17th August 2015, 11:49   #3
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Default Re: Lone wala to Lonavala - Solo ride on my Thunderbird

Lovely photos. Brought back a lot of memories! Thanks for sharing!

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Originally Posted by Tushar View Post
It has become rather commercial now, but still offers some great sights along the way. A little chai, some corn bhajiyas with some light rain = bliss!
Sadly this is true for almost all the good destinations/routes nowadays. Sometimes I feel, we Indians do not know how to behave at a public place. Somehow we feel since it's outdoors, anything goes.

In olden days, Pune Lonavla, in fact Pune Mumbai was a thoroughly enjoyable drive. I used to drive a Bullet then and I have only excellent memories from all those rides.

Nowadays, I prefer either Pune - Lonavla via the expressway, take the Lonavla exit, take the loop to come on back on the expressway on the other side and back to Pune. I don't even bother getting inside Lonavla.

My other preference is Pune - Mulshi, enter Lonavla from the Ambi valley side, get on to the expressway and back home. Not that I am saying I do not encounter idiots on this route, but the advantage is that I do not need to put up with them. Once you cross over to the other side of the tailwater near Tamhini, you leave all the restaurants and tourist morons behind.
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