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Old 8th March 2017, 15:16   #1
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Chennai
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Default Chennai to Bangalore on a Thunderbird

A trip to Bangalore

Here's my recent report on the Chennai - Bangalore trip I took on Thursday morning with return by Saturday evening. It was an overall pleasant trip. The weather was good (both ways), traffic was normal, road conditions was also good (if you ignore certain patches).

The Idea - how it all started

I have a friend who bought a Himalayan. He travels interstate with it. So when he came back to Chennai, he suggested a trip to Bangalore. That got me thinking. So we quickly decided that we would do a Thursday - Saturday one. But things weren't the way we decided.

His bike was due for its third service and it also needed a new component to be replaced. A long story short, the bike never came back. But he made it up with another friend in a Swift VDI. I put my backpack into the Swift and was riding alone. He and his friend were in the car. We agreed to maintain a steady speed of 80-90kmph on road.
So Thursday morning at 5:30 AM, we meet up and set out for this great ride.

The Bike

It’s a 500cc 2014 Thunderbird Marine Blue. Clocked just over 13k on the ODO.

The start Mar 02, 2017 at 05:30 AM

I had informed my friend that we needed an early start to avoid local traffic and jams. That really worked out because we did face some amount of container traffic at Koyembedu and maduravoyal leading upto Sriperambathur. But after that, it began to thin out and we could hit a steady speed of 80kmph. We maintained a steady speed between 80-100 kmph, the latter touching only when there was an overtake. Personally I feel on the bird, the sweet spot is 80-90 with an occasional 100. Beyond that you don't enjoy the ride. Even at 100 the bird was calm and composed. No unnecessary vibrations or anything. It was well planted even though there were many overtakes from my right side. It’s a nice feeling to have cool breeze all over you. One thing to note is that the exhaust note from my bird is modified as I have a Red Rooster exhaust and it can get unbearable if you really open up.

Anyway, we began to dismiss popular landmarks and places with speed and timeliness. By 7:00AM we were at the Murugan Idili shop for breakfast. We spent 30 mins there and then started on the way back. My friend is an avid photographer as well. So we let his magic machine capture the rich sun kissed environment in all its glory.

By 8:30 we crossed Vellore and were gaining on more miles. We halted at Ambur or near it as my friend wanted to ride on the bird. We swapped seats and I got hold of the Swift. The ride and drive was pleasant but all of us were growing wary of one issue that was affecting all of us. All of us were getting thirsty and we never thought of taking a bottle of water either from home or from Murugan Idily. We stopped again for some couple of shots on his DSLR and moved on. We swapped seats back before the Krishnagiri junction. Anyway after Krishnagiri, the next few spots came up pretty quickly as we didn’t slow down anywhere and still maintained a steady 90kmph all through. The time was 10:45AM. By 11:00 all 3 of us only had one point in mind - WATER!!. We were looking at any place that offered that either as tea or coffee or anything. But could not find anything that fit the bill. We spotted a couple on the other side of the highway - but that meant us to turn around. We ignored it and moved on. By this time (around 12:00) we had reached the outskirts of Bangalore. It was here that we found out there's a Coffee day on the same road as we were on - but 14 kms away. So we hit it, and in the process I lost track of the Swift.

I parked myself right in front of the coffee day. The shop was on my left and the right side of the highway had Sudiva college. But my friends had gone way out and had to retrace their way back. We stopped for coffee and refreshments here and spent a good 30 mins at this joint. By then it was 12:30pm. My friends decided they would use the NICE flyover and go to their respective destinations, while I moved on till I reached the Silk board junction and headed my way to kalyan nagar. I reached my home by 2:30 PM with half tank of fuel to spare. The entire ride from my home in Chennai to my sister’s place in Bangalore depleted only 3 blocks on the digital display from the top.

At Bangalore

We moved out of coffee day by 1:00 PM and I continued on till I reached the silk board junction. Traffic started to pick up but it was mostly free. There were no jams however and was smooth flowing. Only thing is there are many flyovers to get on to. The Silk road junction was new to me as I was more familiar with the Koramangala route when I come by car. But as long as you have Google with you, no terrain is a pain.

I missed my exit to the service road that leads into Bank Avenue and I proceeded straight on. I realized the main junction 300 meters ahead. This junction falls straight under the 2 huge flyovers. So I got off the main road, took the service road and cut right across to reach the right side of the service road. I should have done the way up earlier in my ride as there was a Big Bazar building in front which I completely missed.

In Bangalore, I choose to go with Uber for my commute, met up with a couple of friends and on Friday we dined out. One of the must-to-visit places for me every Bangalore trip is Cornerhouse – the famous ice cream place. I've been smitten by this joint ever since my B-I-L got me to it. And it's not too far from where we stay. Sadly, I do not understand why they don’t have any in Chennai. We've always been there as they were about to close. IMHO they serve one hell of a menu and huge proportions as well. You guys won’t believe, there was once that I came with my wife and we were already late for the station, but we still managed to get something out from cornerhouse.

Preparing for return, Mar 04, 2017 09:30AM

My friend could accompany me only on the forward journey. He was actually in Bangalore to help another friend get her first Bullet 350. So it was me alone for the return trip. I initially planned for a 11AM departure, but revised it to 9:00AM. So had breakfast by 8:30 and got ready. Left the place by 9:45AM – fully set. Fuel wise I still had half my tank with me. I wanted to see how much I could stretch by constantly doing a set speed.

It took me a good one hour to reach the silk board junction. There were multiple signals and jams –especially near the KR Puram bridge. From that junction, I turned left to continue onto hosur, went through EC toll (Rs 15 one way) and out of Bangalore. I was very very strict with speed as I didn’t want to risk being caught for overspeeding on the EC expressway (both ways). But even then I saw folks ripping the road on hero honda’s etc.

I decided that I would halt and take some shots of the scenic background and so on the return I did just that. The forward part of the journey never had any kind of halts at all. I was constantly doing 80-90 for over 2-3 hours at a stretch. But the bird held up.

It was when I passed on Hosur that I saw my fuel was down to the last block. I knew the bird had 6 liters in reserve, so that means I could still crunch some more miles. I went all the way through Krishnagiri and then stopped at the next fuel pump to fill up. Imagine my surprise and horror when the guy told me they don’t have petrol!!. I was aghast. The attendant told me there’s petrol available on the other side. So I quickly turned up the other side, went to the bunk and filled up. This bunk is opposite a saravana bhavan.

I took some good snaps on the scenic spots after Hosur leading to Krishnagiri and saw a couple of monkeys. I touched Krishnagiri junction exactly at 12:30PM. Stopped at the next exit for a water and bike break and slowly got into an ambur biriyani shop on the way to walajapet. I knew I wouldn’t last till Ambur.

I had a plate of biryani at 2:00 PM and continued on. 3:30 saw me kiss Vellore goodbye. I was making good progress and was quite content with how things turned out. But something suddenly changed….it started raining. The kind of mess that rains create by not emptying completely yet by being persistant enough to blow your fuse over!

As I was nearing Kanchipuram at around 4:00-4:30 I felt the drizzle and it became stronger and I checked into one of the coffee shops and waited for the rains to subside. But the damage was done. The roads were wet, rivulets were kicked up by faster vehicles and I had to drive slow to avoid them. This slowed my progress. Then the eternal jams and traffic situation (lots of container traffic) as I neared Sriperembathur – Vanagaram – Madhuravoyal finally saw me reach home by 6:30 PM.

Vital Stats
  • Maintaining a constant speed gives you good mileage. You also get to enjoy your drive.
  • Start early, reach early
  • With 20 lts on start, I had 10 liters at Bangalore for use.
  • The bike returned a healthy 32 kms per litre.
  • The bike felt more refined and never lethargic!!
  • Even at a fast speed of over 90kmph, it can still sprint to 130 at a twist. This was the max. speed I got during the trip, but folks behind me are advised to wear hearing protection.
Overall experience and thoughts gained.
  • Have proper sleep before your journey (whether 2 or 4 wheeler).
  • Drink lots of water and keep water bottles handy.
  • Carry all your papers with you.
  • Dress with appropriate gear for bike or for a car.
  • Check tyre pressures.
  • Drive defensively. This is something my dad taught me. It's proven to be a great help every time.
  • Follow traffic rules and use indicators generously. I've seen countless folks on the highway with scant regard for life and limb - even on this trip.
  • Understand what you want to do. Whether you want to enjoy your drive, or not.
  • Don’t take unnecessary risks. Period. It’s just not worth it.
  • Take adequate breaks. It’s not like driving a four wheeler.
I'll let the pics do the talking....

Attached Thumbnails
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Chennai to Bangalore on a Thunderbird-img_20170302_114934.jpg  

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Chennai to Bangalore on a Thunderbird-img_20170304_114315_1.jpg  

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Chennai to Bangalore on a Thunderbird-img_20170304_122505.jpg  

Last edited by GTO : 9th March 2017 at 13:10. Reason: Removing excessive spacing :). Thanks for sharing!
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