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Old 25th November 2010, 23:22   #1
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Default On TVS apache: Pune-Chennai-Pondy-Bangalore-Mangalore-Udupi-Ankola-Belgaum-Pune

I've been having some trouble posting this so ill be doing it in parts. Me and my friend recently did a 3200km trip on the route mentioned above (in which we attempted an ironbutt as well). Hope you enjoy the pics and the read.

A 3200 km voyage through 3 states, 8 National highways and 2 state highways


1. Introduction
2. The route map
3. The ironbutt attempt-Pune to Chennai
4. The grand get-together in Chennai
5. The first stage of the return journey- Chennai to Bangalore
6. The second stage of the return journey- Bangalore to Mangalore
7. The final stage of the return journey- Udpi to Pune
8. The bottom line

Introduction and Motivation

I wanted to use this as a stepping stone for bigger and better trips, as a test of my endurance and stamina. It is my dream is to drive around the world, to participate in the Raid-de-Himalayas, and to do all this in my own car (a car that I have built); and this is a good way to test and prove my abilities.

The most immediate reason for the trip was my friend, Paarthi. I would like to thank him for his timely illness due to which he and our mutual friends (Muthu and Mishra) cancelled their diwali trip to Pune. So I decided to get 2 birds with a single stone and meet all my friends by biking to Chennai. This write-up details the great, good, bad and ugly bits of our 3200km adventure across 3 states, 1 union territory, 8 National highways and 2 state highways. Although the original plan and route was quite different, what we eventually ended up doing was a truly fantastic experience and both I and Rajesh look forward to doing better and longer trips in the future.

The route map

The route we took was: (detailed descriptions are given in the trip write-up)

NH4: Pune-Satara-Kolhapur-Kagal-Belgaum-Dharwad-Hubli-Haveri-Rannebennur-Davanagere-Chitradurga-Sira-Tumkur-Bangalore
NH7: Bangalore-Hosur-Krishnagiri
NH46: Krishnagiri-Ambur-Vellore-Ranipet-Kanchipuram-Sriperembudur-Chennai
NH45: Chennai-Guduvancheri-Chengalpattu-Tindivanam
SH136: Tindivanam-Puduchery
NH66: Puduchery-Tindivanam
NH45: Tindivanam-Chengalpattu-Urapakkam
NH46 and NH7 back from Chennai to Hosur
NH4: Bangalore-Nelmangala
NH48: Nelmangala-Hassan-Mangalore
NH17: Mangalore-Udupi-Bhaktal-Ankola
NH63: Ankola-Yellapur
SH93: Yellapur-Khanapur-Belgaum
NH4: Belgaum-Kolhapur-Satara-Pune
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Old 25th November 2010, 23:45   #2
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Default Pune Chennai

The Ironbutt attempt- Pune to Chenna

After weeks of planning and preparation, we were finally ready to set off on Sunday, the 31st of October. Although the initial plan was to leave Pune at 6:30 pm, due to some confusion and last minute hiccups, we ended up touching the highway only at 9:50 pm! The main reason was because we needed to fill up our spare fuel can, and most pumps don’t give petrol in plastic bottles.
Anyway, we took whatever precautions we could (the bag inner was lined with rubber) and on reaching Sinhagadh road (my mama’s house to fill the can with petrol from his bike), my mama took us to an Indian oil outlet who did fill up our 4 liter can to the brim (partly because packed in the saddle bag, it looked like a separate fuel tank!).
After taking the blessings of my mama and grandparents, we headed to the nearest Shell petrol pump on the Pune by-pass road at Tathawade (that was the nearest one open on Sunday). Bike tanked to the brim and tyre pressures checked, we hit the highway at 9:50pm.
Most people are averse to night driving, let alone riding on a 2 wheeler. But after having spent months checking out the road conditions and reading the experiences of several people (a special thanks to Mr. H V Kumar), I took the first plunge in April this year (when 2 of us rode to Bangalore at night). From then on, I am a complete fan of night time travel and would confidently recommend the NH4 when starting from Pune at night. Since the road from Pune to Haveri is more or less perfect, it’s a cakewalk.

Getting back to the trip; we touched the Shivapura toll plaza at 10:23 pm with the trip A reading 39.3kms, an average of roughly 71.5kmph. This is one more advantage of night riding, you don’t need to rip and brake every km or so. Stay at a constant 70-75kmph and you will actually end up averaging something in-between. Plus 70-75 was an easy task; what with the Philips 35/35W halogen providing brilliant illumination to distances of over 25 metres on high beam (would have been much better if the HID’s worked though).
We crossed the second toll plaza just before Satara at 11:30 (trip 111.6kms) and we touched Kolhapur at around 1:00am. This was where we had our first fuel stop at Konduskar’s BPCL Ghar; tanked up in 15 minutes and we were off again. We had done 256.2 kms in 3.5 hours, an average of 73.2 kmph.

On nearing Kagal there was a white Indica vista with a Kolhapur registration plate who rode with us for a few kms with all the windows rolled up. We were starting to get a little worried when the front passanger rolled down his window, and started showing us the Victory sign and giving us the thumbs-up. They then sped off, leaving us a little nervous as to whether it was some sort of trick or anything. But nothing untoward happened and it made us quite happy to be cheered on by a fellow motorist!
Forget the Mumbai-Pune expressway, those who have been on the stretch of the NH4 from Kolhapur to Dharwad will back me up on this I am sure; it is by far the best bit of the highway I have seen and is a benchmark for all other national or state highways. There are roads that are as good as this, but none that are better (The only other national highway that comes close is the NH 46; from Krishnagiri all the way up to Kancheepuram); 2 properly paved lanes on each side with an additional service lane, trees and bushes of the right height on the median to block the head-lamp beam of vehicles coming in the opposite direction, truck lay-by ‘s (and not ‘bye’ as they are spelt on the boards!) at regular intervals with toilets and water, three lanes on all the ghat sections, properly designed and installed sign-posts wherever needed, cats-eyes reflectors on the extremes of the road to show you where it curves….this is what the dreams of driving heaven are made of….in fact, on the 2-lane stretch from Dharwad to Hubli, truck drivers coming from the opposite side on seeing the headlamps of our vehicle immediately switched over from high to low beam! Hats off to each and every one those drivers.
But things can’t be rosy forever, and we finally hit the not-so-good bits of the NH4 after crossing the Bankapur toll. From here on, it is quite dangerous to travel at night; if the roads were consistently bad it would not be as much of an issue. The trouble is that the roads would be very good for long stretches and suddenly (without any warning) there would be a piece of sheet metal on which some child would have scribbled ‘diversion ahead’ exactly at the diversion. Unless you know the roads pretty well or are sufficiently cautious, you will definitely have an accident. The good stretches get you thinking that the road works are over and you start to speed up when suddenly you realize you are actually driving through somebody’s farm! For those who frequent the road, yes the level crossings before Rannebennur are still incomplete and yes, your car will still bottom out in the meteorite shower stretches of incomplete by-passes.
Despite all this, the night shift was completely uneventful (without so much as a panic braking situation or sudden swerve) and we did ride non-stop till we stopped at the BPCL Ghar pump just outside Rannebennur. It was 5:20 and (despite the bad roads), we had done 565.4 kms in 7.5 hours; an average of 75kmph!
It was then and there that we decided to try out something crazy; ever since Akshay introduced me to the Ironbutt, I have been fascinated and wanted to do it. Ideally, Rajesh and I were to be on 2 separate bikes and I was to attempt the butt. However I had to put aside that idea ever since the second bike didn’t materialize. But, on seeing the excellent progress we had made, I started to do some number crunching and it seemed possible; the first Ironbutt in India with 2 people on a bike! I had anyway ridden the entire stretch till Rannebennur, so it was still very much possible! And so the clock started ticking….
We decided to scrap all our previous plans and I found a clean spot on the pavement to catch a few winks (I mean riding almost continuously for 7.5 hours can really tire you out!). After a good 45mins of sleep, we had a quick breakfast (The parathas were surprisingly still a little warm!), emptied the spare fuel into the tank and were off again.

The sun was now fully up and fortunately the weather was perfect. The roads were still intermittently bad and I did have to do some hard braking for hardly visible speed breakers (yes, speed breakers on a national highway!), but apart from that it was smooth sailing…..till we crossed Chitradurga.

The good news was that the roads were complete after Chitradurga and there would be no more bad roads all the way till Bangalore (even the Tumkur bypass was ready); the bad news was that about 20 kms after Chitradurga it started to rain heavily. We could see the rain clouds ahead of us and decided to stop for a 15 min break (to pray to the rain gods to spare us!), put on our rain-coats and were off again. It was 8:15am and it rained continuously till we crossed Tumkur at around 10:10am. We had done 819kms in 12.3 hours, but our average had taken a major beating-66.6kmph!

Anyway, none of that was going through our minds as we entered the NICE Bangalore bypass road. This is the first road I have ever seen on which even 2-wheelers need to pay a toll (and it’s not a small amount, 42 rupees to get from one end of the road to the other! For a bike!!). Even though the road is extremely good, it still doesn’t justify the cost. Anyway, the intense rain had managed to penetrate parts of our rain-coats and shoes, and it was starting to get very uncomfortable.
Our next stop was the Shell petrol pump on Hosur road which we touched at 11:35am after covering a distance of 915kms. After tanking up once again, we got rid of our rain-coats, re-lubed the chain, re-checked the tyre pressures, changed into some dry-socks and were off again by 12:00pm. Unfortunately, luck was not on our side as we hit heavy traffic (and rains, again!) outside Hosur. By the time we were out of it all, we had lost almost 45mins; we crossed the Nekkundi toll (before Ambur) at 1:40 pm with the trip reading 1050 km.
After crossing the toll Rajesh took out our stuffed Parathas and we had (literally) a rolling lunch! It was a unique experience, the vehicle cruising at 40kmph with parathas being handed to me from the back, quite simply fantastic. I still distinctly remember the taste of my alpinestars mixed with methi! There was really just one thing irritating us right now; the cycle of getting wet and dry repeatedly! After getting drenched in Hosur (we didn’t have our raincoats on), we were getting steam dried in the afternoon heat. But guess what, Mother Nature had not had her fun yet, and just as we crossed Ambur, It started to pour again! This time we stopped and quickly put on our rain gear; we were not going to quit that easy, not after coming this far!
By the time we crossed Vellore I was dead tired and needed a break. So we pulled up beside the road, put on the centre stand and removed our shoes to let them dry. I initially rested my back against the crash guard and tried to sleep, but it was not very comfortable. So I got onto the bike, rested my back on the tank, folded my legs on the pillion seat and had a fantastic 30 min nap! It was the best power nap I had in my life, because I didn’t feel sleepy till much after reaching our destination, 8 hours later!
We restarted at 3:35pm and it was a straight dash all the way to Chennai. Once again, we hit traffic after Sriperembudur and though it was overcast, it didn’t rain (thank god!). It took us more than half an hour to negotiate through the traffic at Poonamalee to catch the Chennai by-pass. By the time we reached the Shell petrol pump at Chrompet, it was 5:40pm with the trip reading 1297kms. We had exactly 4 hours and 10 mins to cover a distance of 357kms (taking a speedo error of 3%), an average speed of 85.7kmph! I decided then and there that it was impossible to complete the butt, but we still wanted to see how close we could get.
Akshay and his mom were there to greet us at the Chrompet pump, and he told us to take the NH45 up to Thindivinam and turn left to go to Pondychery (At the time we didn’t realize what a huge mistake we were making). We left our entire luggage with Akshay and set off once again with the sun setting behind our backs. By the time we crossed Chengelpet it was completely dark, and I braced myself for my second night riding stint. Since the vehicle was considerably lighter, it pulled more easily (it was like a horse relieved of its load) and felt more relaxed. It was smooth riding all the way to Tindivanam and one advantage was that the highway was lit at a number of places, making it less stressful for me to ride.
We were supposed to turn left at Tindivinam onto NH 66 (puduchery road). However the entry to the road was under construction and we were misguided by some of the local people and ended up taking a left turn onto SH 136; it was like a war movie and I felt I was riding right along the LOC! In-fact, the roads were so bad that it would have been dangerous to ride even during the day. 2 bikes moving ahead of me had narrow escapes in 2 separate instances, all this despite being restricted to mostly single digit speeds. The trenches were deep enough to swallow whole cars, and even though I was moving at a crawling pace my centre-stand exchanged metal with the road quite a few times. The poor suspension was crying for some relief but the roads were bad all the way till the arch marking the entrance to Puduchery.
There was an SBI ATM right next to the arch and I went to get an ATM receipt to account for the time we reached. But there was a long line and it took a good 15 mins to get back onto the road. By this time, the butt was completely lost, but we anyway had to get back to Chennai, and this time we made it onto the NH66. I was cursing myself for not taking this road during the forward stretch as it was a beautifully paved 4 lane highway! We could have definitely made the butt had we known our route a little better!
But alas, there was no point crying over spilt milk and after riding on this beautiful stretch of highway, we joined the NH 45 at the actual intersection we were supposed to branch off from and rode on to reach Akshay’s home at Urapakkam (around 8kms from tambaram).
By the time our 24hours were up, we had done (and verified with google maps) 1554 kms at an average speed of 64.75kmph; 3 of those 24 hours were done in the rain, 160 of those 1554 kms were done on off-road conditions, not a single food stop was taken (everything on the move excluding our breakfast); We may not have made the butt officially, but we know that if lady luck had been with us just a little bit more, it would have been a different story altogether…..And yes, poor Rajesh was the pillion during the entire trip. I think THAT required far far greater ability than actually riding for 24 hours..
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Old 26th November 2010, 02:05   #3
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Interesting thread will look out for updates from your end. BTW what constitutes an Ironbutt, how many kilometers in how many hours?
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Old 26th November 2010, 04:59   #4
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There are different levels. The basic one is 1610kms in 24 hours..
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Old 26th November 2010, 09:50   #5
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Reminds me of my bike trip of about ~700KM.. Way too less than yours.
Waiting for more pics.
Here is mine
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Old 26th November 2010, 11:05   #6
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3200 KMs in Bike.
That too not a rigid one like Enfield.

Amazing.This is going to be one great travelogue.
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Old 26th November 2010, 15:24   #7
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CoNrOd, read the pdf uploaded by you yesterday. Quite a journey taken up by you and very well detailed!

Your friend Rajesh must be complimented for his role as a pillion during your IronButt attempt. IMHO, to ride in pillion over long distances is a exhausting (or numbing) as driving itself.
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Old 26th November 2010, 17:10   #8
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Default Great going ConRod......

Helmets off to you brother, Keep those trips happening.

BTW, is that a footrest that I see on the crash guard ?

How does it help ?Other than to stretch your legs !!!!
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Old 26th November 2010, 18:09   #9
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Good stuff there conrod. Quick question.
How was the road between Baindur and Honnavara?
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Old 27th November 2010, 17:05   #10
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Thanks guys for your compliments.

I will continue to update this thread but it will take me some time.I already have a low quality pdf write-up (the one kaushikr mentioned) ready and it is much more detailed with pics inbetween. I'll upload it with this post, so please do check it out.

BTW, is that a footrest that I see on the crash guard ?

How does it help ?Other than to stretch your legs !!!!
yes mayurpalav, it's purpose was purely to stretch our legs, but it was extremely useful and I don't think the trip would have been possible without it. let me put it this way; i'm 6ft. tall. now imagine a 6ft person riding 19 hours on the cramped seating position of the RTR, pure hell!. With this mod and the cruise control though, it was a completely different story. I could even rest my back against my backpack, so effectively it was a cruiser's riding stance I got! Exactly what you need for such a long trip.

Quick question.
How was the road between Baindur and Honnavara?
horrible! Please don't call them roads, even rally stages are better. and I am not exaggerating! there are drivable portions inbetween, but in general they are very very bad. even trucks were struggling. i'll attach a few pics to give you an idea. More pics and vids will be there during the actual write-up..

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Last edited by CoNrOd : 27th November 2010 at 17:24.
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Old 11th December 2010, 12:28   #11
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Default The First stage of the return journey-Chennai to Bangalore

The First stage of the return journey-Chennai to Bangalore

We left from Chennai on Friday, the 5th of November. Muthu had brought the Jawa mudguard (gifted to me by akshay) to our starting point at Prasanna’s home. From there, we rode to the Shell petrol pump near Guindy (just before the Adyar River on 100ft road) where Akshay and aunty were waiting for us. After tanking up and checking the tyre pressures, we found another great asset for trips, aluminum fuel cans! They looked similar to milk cans but was exactly what I had been looking for. They had all sizes (1, 2 and 5 liters) and we bought 2 2-litre cans and immediately transferred the petrol from our plastic can into these (Prasanna had managed to get the plastic can filled at a good pump near Ashok pillar). It seems these cans are supposed to be available at every Shell outlet across the country! Imagine how stupid I felt considering that throughout the trip I had been filling up only at Shell outlets!

servicing the bike at chennai

Goodbye’s said and hugs exchanged, we were off and decided to touch the highway going through Porur. We exited from the left ring of the beautiful Kathipera flyover and went past MIOT hospital, L&T (crossed another Shell), Ramachandra medical college and finally the NH4. The traffic was not too bad and we managed to cross the city in 45minutes.

One of the things that kept us entertained during the trip was the safety advice boards put up the Highways authorities. They were imaginative, catchy and conveyed their message very effectively.

The other thing was the cats-eye reflectors on every fly-over, that (coupled with the fact that there was negligible traffic) genuinely gave the impression of being on a runway. As we went up the inclines of the fly-overs we actually felt that we were taking off! (We were not high and were doing safe speeds)

The NH46 ride was completely uneventful and we took a good 4.5 hours to cross Krishnagiri; because we were late to start (3:00pm was the scheduled departure), we were too late to make it for dinner at my Attai’s place. By chance, we found a Dhaba Express at an Indian Oil COCO pump open, and stopped there for dinner. It was close to 11:00pm and we were just 15kms from Hosur. But there was no real pressure to reach home by any particular time and so we settled down for a relaxing dinner.

The food and ambience at Dhaba Express was great, and for the quality of the place, the prices were not all that high either; The 2 of us had a filling meal for Rs 220. What we loved was the real Dhaba style Khatiyas (which meant we could eat with the bike right next to us), the wooden menu cards and the pleasant night breeze. Once again, a unique experience!

After dinner, we made it a straight dash all the way to my Attai’s place at Nagarbhavi, on the way appreciating the illumination of the Hosur bus depot and the huge Ganesh statue just off Mysore road. We reached home (after some direction confusion) at close to 1:00 am and immediately hit the sack.
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Old 26th May 2014, 00:00   #12
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Default Re: On TVS apache: Pune-Chennai-Pondy-Bangalore-Mangalore-Udupi-Ankola-Belgaum-Pune

I just downloaded the pdf and am reading it now. Man, you are a true engineer! I've never gone on long rides like this and I'm hoping to go to Bangalore from Chennai soon.
This thread of yours is an inspiration! I have an Apache 160 HE with an exhaust mod. I'm not a very technical person so all I can tell you is what my mechanic told me. The mod simply takes the engine's power and delivers it to you sooner. But it also has a more steady cruising speed so I figure it should be good to go long on.

I just need to add dampeners again to my handlebars though, to reduce vibrations. I had the original ones removed when I got The Doctor handle grips. Well, the mechanics I leave my bike to are pretty good so I'll leave the bike preperation to them. I'll also tell them about your simple yet brilliant mods!
This thread really helps with preparing myself, the squishy organic bit on the bike for the trip.

So thanks a lot and do let me know when you're touring around on your own built car!
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Old 26th May 2014, 16:04   #13
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Default Re: On TVS apache: Pune-Chennai-Pondy-Bangalore-Mangalore-Udupi-Ankola-Belgaum-Pune

Wonderful narration dude, brought me back the memories of riding to Kodaikanal on my Karizma many years back. The Cruize control modification was a truly a genius work. So how many times did you use that switch.
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