We had turned in late for the night in Lucknow, once again buoyed by the promise of the brotherhood that they’ll be there to see us off out of the city. And they sure were, getting in a tad earlier than us while we were yet to load our stuff into the back-up Fortuner. The Benelli’s were pretty eagerly inspected now as we had arrived the previous day only after dark. And the reactions, especially to their build quality, looks and very especially to the TNT 300’s aural music were memorable. Soon we were riding in formation back to where we’d met them the previous evening. Motorcycling as a common bond brings up a strange familiarity even with the ones we have not spent much time. The very fact of sharing a life on two wheels breaks the ice, the barriers and brings forth a comradeship that’s hard to beat in quality and quantity anywhere else on life’s varied canvas. The goodbye’s said, we headed back to our tryst with Kanpur on the vastly smoother side of the highway. Crossing the bridge an hour and a half later had us riding smack into the middle of that dreaded jam! The queue of trucks ahead seemed endless and we felt blessed to be on two wheels that do not demand much space to wriggle past stopped vehicles. Still it took us more than a half hour to do that 2 km stretch, take a right again from under the flyover and climb up to ride above and beyond the usual Kanpur rush. There some road widening work going on for some 60-70 odd initial kilometres which leave the route pockmarked with diversions and so interruptions. But thereafter the diversions get progressively less and we started making good time homewards. There though that proverbial slip between the cup and the lip to be contented with, especially on the road and it showed up in all its glory at a fuelling stop. The 899’s key broke and got stuck inside its tank lock! Wow! No refuelling and no starting the bike. The slips and cups notwithstanding, where there’s a will there’s a way they say and so it was. Out came the tools and a bit of ingenuity peppered with a dash of struggle and the tank lock was open. We removed it from the bike and Sunil rode off with Mohit as pillion to find a key-maker in a small town’s weekly bazaar that happens to be on a Friday. An hour and a half later they rode back not just with the key but the key maker too sandwiched between them both! The ignition lock happened to be built with levers on both sides unlike the tank lock and our man for the day conjured up a twin-sided key in another hour and sent us on our way. Needless to say, we paid him handsomely and dropped him off at his village in the air conditioned comfort of the Toyota Fortuner. 3 hours lost on a 570 km day means we needed all our experience and ability to make up for the lost time. Lunch happened at 5 PM with an old-time xBhpian Abhishek Gupta driving in from Agra 80 km away to give us company. Bodies and bikes refuelled, we rode towards Agra where Abhishek saw us off at the start of the famed Yamuna Expressway. Heaven was ahead now – beautiful world class 8-lane highway all the way to Greater Noida and within touching distance of home. It was a great home run befittingly on one of the best roads in the country and the ride had a welcome break for a couple of days before we hit the road again for Pune to complete the full circle.