The 2017 Southern Interstate Get Together (ISG2G) was held at Thekkady in Kerala. This annual pilgrimage in the south has been organised by a bunch of dedicated xBhpians. Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu take turns in playing host, while the others ride down to join the party. 2017 was Kerala’s turn, after Tamil Nadu had organised the 2016 ISG2G in Ooty.
Swaroop and Jayan from Kochi and Trivandrum respectively are the SPOCs for the Kerala chapters and between the two of them they do all the running around and organising. From finalising dates and location for the G2G, which is decided after taking a vote, to actually going to the location multiple times and finding a suitable place of accommodation, with parking and the ability to house around a 100 bikers! All this and more is what the hosts undertake, while the remaining SPOCs are busy coordinating and planning out rides with the xBhpians from their respective cities. The effort that each of these fine gentlemen put into making the ISG2G a success is commendable.
In 2013, I had been fortunate to participate in the ISG2G in Kodaikanal and had ridden there with the Bangalore chapter. On this occasion it was to be the beautiful coastal city of Kochi from where I was to ride with the city bikers to the hill station of Thekkady on a gorgeous new Yamaha FZ 25.
On Friday morning we, the Kochi boys started off for Thekkady. With just 150 km to cover, we were in no hurry. Though this being Kerala in the monsoon, even those few kilometres might take a long time to cover. But we were fortunate not to get anything more than a drizzle by the time we stopped for a hearty breakfast. After a few delays we met up with the Trivandrum riders 50 odd kilometres before the venue. A cuppa of tea later it was back to enjoying the serpentine roads of the Nilgiris with lush green hills and dark grey cloud covered skies.
There was a strike in Idukki district and all petrol pumps and shops were closed, which is bad if you are low on fuel. If not, you enjoy the traffic free roads! Always look at the silver lining on those dark clouds.
Finally we reached the hotel to find 3 guys from Bangalore already there. The Bangalore chapter always organises themselves into multiple groups of fast, slow and super slow riders. And you guessed incorrectly, as the Bangalore boys were playing out the story of the tortoise and the hare! The Super Slow Riders had reached first, followed by the slow and finally bringing up the rear were the fast guys!
The riders from Coimbatore had ridden via Munnar and in the maze of roads had lost track of each other. Regularly sighting each other at various intersections. Once again the slow boys showed their mettle, with riders on scoots being ahead of even the KTMs!
As the last of the Bangalore boys trickled in, the riders of Chennai also came in full force. 35 guys and gals had ridden down some 650 km to Thekkady. For the Chennaites every ISG2G is a marathon ride. Being on the non-hilly coast doesn’t help!
The first evening saw all the riders relaxing, unwinding and meeting up with their annual riding buddies. The specially designed tees were also distributed that evening.
The agenda for the next morning was for the entire group to ride down together to a place called Parunthumpra, around 30 km from the hotel. This scenic spot was the perfect choice for a short ride, where the class of 2017 got their photos clicked. Since 100+ bikes would have been difficult to manage on the roads there, the riders were split into groups of 15-20. Safety is always of paramount importance. At Paranthumpra a few bikers tried their hand at off-roading as they climbed a few surrounding hills.
The evening saw an introduction session, where the bikers from different states introduced themselves to each other. Like the fast riders from Bangalore, the introduction session also happens at the end! The intro was followed by celebration of xBhp’s 14th Anniversary with a cake cutting ceremony. The Kerala hosts did the honours of wielding the knife. All the SPOCs were also applauded and appreciated for their efforts by everyone present.
There were three riders present who have attended every single South ISG2G. Sriram, Remo and Ram also received a big round of applause for their consistency!
After dinner it was time for everyone to head to bed early, since most had a long ride planned on Sunday to their respective cities. Early Sunday morning saw the hardcore riders depart before sunrise, while the rest took it easy and grabbed breakfast before leaving. It was time to bid farewell to everyone and I tried to meet as many before leaving Thekkady, filled with wonderful experiences and lasting memories from there.
On Swaroop’s recommendation, the return route was a solo ride to Kochi via Vagamon. With only the Yamaha FZ25 for company and gorgeous landscapes to ride through, I counted my lucky stars for the dry weather. A beautiful end to a memorable trip
Now for the pictures to do the talking!
A few pictures of my ride, the Yamaha FZ 25