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Thread: LoneWolfRides® : Re-Initiation to Biking

  1. #1
    Rusted Praful's Avatar
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    Default LoneWolfRides® : Re-Initiation to Biking

    Prologue

    It was the 3rd of January 2010, I was riding back from Pune to Bangalore. The past year had been super eventful on the biking front. I had to been on numerous different trips and a 2 week sojurn to Ladakh too. My riding abilities had considerably improved and I was a on a all time high. Just a week before I had done a successful Bangalore-Mumbai run covering about 1000+ kms in around 13 hours comfortably. And I believed the return ride would be boring, but a cakewalk.

    That was not to be, lady decided to frown upon me that fateful day. For a day that started out riding with 16 other bikers from Pune it ended up being one of the worst days of my life. Me and my dear friend Veda split up from the group of 16 others after breakfast and we headed on our way south towards Bangalore. I was doing speed in excess of the 80 Kmph speed limit close to 110-120 kmph. But the visibility on these arrow straight roads was something that din't let me down. About a kilometer away I spotted a lady with a bunch of wood on her head wanting to cross the road. I immediately lowered my speed to a much more controllable 60Kmph, and after started alternating between the horn and pass light to indicate my coming. I had two fingers on the front brakes too just a precautionary measure. As I neared here, what happened in the next 3-4 seconds is just a blur of images in my head. The lady actually ran across the road at the last moment, there was little time that I don't even remember hitting the breaks. I went and hit her head on at probably 50-60Kmph.

    What happened from then on was just a blur, from villagers threatening me with machette's, to whirlwind tours of a village police station, hospitals and district courts. It was a horrible time, and thanks to the support some really really helpful people around me I managed get out of there the next to next day. I was mostly unhurt except for a few bruises here and there, my bike was rideable too, me and Veda took a quick call to ride back to Bangalore. I would have had too come back later for the court hearings and all the mess in life that these things bring with them. But I was happy that atleast nothing extremely major happened, to the lady, to me and to my ride. But even that miniscule amount of happiness was short lived.

    On way back we stopped over at Davangere, about 250Kms short of Bangalore for lunch. Here we got pulled over by cops and detained by police on account of being terrorism suspects. It was just a stupid move just to harass us. To think about it, why would a terrorist turn up in a flashy bike with riding gear completely standing out of the crowd. Anways 2 hours later with mind completely irritated on two counts, 1. Mindless harassement by the police 2. Delay caused due to this meant we ride in the dark, and my bike did not have a headlight post the crash. But still atleast we were free and on our way back home. I had just about had enough of seeing the indoors of Police stations. Again lady luck was frowning on us....

    A few kilometers out of Davangere, an errant state transport bus took a U turn from the extreme left lane to cut across to the other side much to Veda's surprise who was in the process of overtaking the bus. I was just a few meters behind Veda and I actually saw him TBone the bus at 80Kmph in slow motion. All I could do is scream inside my helmet. I rushed to pick up Veda from the crash site and put him on the side of the road. Riding gear saved him mostly, except for I could see visible see that he had broken his left thigh bone. Cutting a long story short, my worst nightmare had just gotten worse. Again without the help of some wonderful friends I would not have made it through this ordeal. Veda was sucessfully operated a few days later at an hospital in Davangere, he now has an steel reinforced thigh bone.

    The next few weeks were trying times for the both of us, Veda had to deal with an all new way to live life going forward. I had to deal with the mess of our Legal system, Healthcare system and worst still the Police force. It took me about 2 more visits to the place where I had crashed to wrap up the legal and healthcare matters. It would not have been possible due some really wonderful people out there in Pune who extended so much help to me. A special thanks to Alok aka Inflammable, Vishwas aka Trustvishwas, Rohan aka TenHut, Niranjan Vaidya and Praveen aka Hydroxide. No amount of words can express how grateful I am to you guys for being right there through the worst days of my life.

    It was a slow progress for me going forward, the shock of these 3 incidents had left me too scared to even cross the road, leave alone riding a bike. It took me a few days to get back onto the bike, it took me even longer to get back to riding normally. About 4-5 months after the incident I did a small group ride and I could feel my confidence return partly. It took another ride with about 80 other fellow bikers to completely get comfortable with riding my bike with as much ease as before. But still something was missing, I was still scared to ride the way I usually rode. Hard and fast, but not rashly and above all doing this alone on a highway.

    Finally after 7 months of staying in hiding I decided its time I break the shell and fight back all my fears with one shot.....


    ...And Coorg Happened!!!



    550 Kms....12 Hours.....Yummy Food...and a bit more...
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  2. #2
    MG
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    Topic Approved

    Good to see you back on the saddle
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    My photography page: Gourab Das Photography

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    Rusted navnish's Avatar
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    nice write up Praful .

    Good to see you back in action.

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    Mik
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    @Praful: Its really good to see you back in action. Had heard about the accident but didn't know that the ordeal only got worse for you and Veda further down the road.
    I have taken a few falls myself and mostly have taken away something from it. Like triple digit speeds are not advisable, even on the best of highways. The other object(human,dog,cow,bus,crazy car/bike wallahs) can suddenly decide to stray right in our path, for no foreseaable reason.
    Wishing you lots of safe rides and waiting for the Coorg updates

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    The Ride

    Life was out there and calling out, I choose to hide behind my office desk for a few days. Then took the first step by riding my friends bike to work, the next step was biker meets. And finally it was riding out with my biking buddies. Went there, did that... It helped a LOT. But did it fix my broken biking spirit and the fear in my hear, nope! Not completely. The only fix for this was to be found in forgeting the past. Move On! was the tagline from Fastrack watches and that is precisely what I did. I moved on. I wanted to ride to a destination I am comfortable with yet at the same time gave me enough to see if I still had it me.


    26th July 2010: I started later than my usual starting time, went to an ATM looted cash from it for fuel for my "LoneWolf" and me. As soon as I moved out onto the highway from the busy streets of Bangalore I immedieately felt at home on the highway. It was smooth crusing from here on Mysore road till I reached the place where I was to take the short cut to cut across from SH17 to SH88. In the middle of this shortcut I decided that I must not push my now untrained backside too much, so I took my first break 150Kms and 2.5 hours into the journey. The traffic on Mysore road till here (Srirangapatna) had eaten up the average speed quite a bit.






    I sat down here and realized the first cardinal sin in biking that I commited today, I did not carry water. But it was ok, I was riding, just me, my bike and the open road. Water could be arranged at the next village that would come up. I sat down on the 'culvert' and reminisced about my last ride on this route. I chuckled to myself rememebering that last time I took my first break on the foot hills to Madikeri after taking almost the same time as now. Quick check up of things actually showed I was faring decently well, this was helping repair my dented ego to a large extent. Time to start and start blasting again. The roads hadn't changed much this past one year, they were still as pock marked as they were before. The moment I was on SH88, I was very comfortable with relatively emptier roads that lay in front of me. Stopped at a small shack by the road for a bottle of water, but that was just a small break in my almost non-stop run.

    It was all coming naturally to me, yes there was a little fear. Especially if I'd see someone trying to cross the road be it on foot or in a vehicle, instinct would trigger an almost knee-jerk reaction to slam the brakes. It took some time and a few kilometers under my belt to calm my senses get back to riding in India. This ride was not about photography, nor was it about exploring new places. The excuse for this ride was to devour some authentic food availble at these places, but the real intention was to repair my dented biking spirit. Somewhere post Hunsur, came little drops of rain and with that out came my rain gear. Now this is what I call upping the game. Rain is nemesis of many bikers, I on the other hand "Love" riding in the rain. And this emotion was buried deep inside, under a blanket of fear. With my rain gear on I gingerly started my bike, and slowly increased the pace. I was comfortable again, wat started after this was mild showers and it was like phoneix being reborn.... I could feel the last strands of fear disappear into oblivion as the pure joy of riding in the rain took over like the cold wave rushing throughout my body with the cold droplets of rain.

    The rain went as soon as it had come, but it had done exactly what I had hoped for, I cleansed my from deep within. I was felt free again, I did not feel like holding back anymore. Gunned the throttle wide open the moment I saw a stretch of open road. I felt completely in control, I felt safe and most of all I felt relieved that I could still ride the way I ride. Then I heard a distant rumble, my worst fears just got confirmed. My stomach was sending a SOS signal to my brain. Bylakuppe was just around the corner and there was this lovely little restraunt which served pretty authentic Momo's and that was the first stop for breakfast for the day. But before I turn into Bylakuppe. I took a small break to click some pictures.








    With a rain gear over all my riding gear, pulling out an SLR out of a bag and then clicking pictures is something that requires oodles of patience and planning before one stops for a picture. I should have actually just bought along my P&S for this ride to ease out things. Even now I regret not doing that. After this short break, I turned in towards India's second largest Tibetan settlement to do deep inside all the way till the Golden Temple. Visiting the temple was not on my agenda as I had been there on two occasions earlier. But devouring some authentic momo's was definitely on the agenda. Pulled into a tiny restraunt that goes by the name Olive, my last visit here in Feb'09 was a mouthwatering visit and had decided last time itself that I'd make a re-visit to this place soon. Soon took almost 17 months to happen. Since this was only supposed to be breakfast and more mouthwatering stuff lay ahead for me in Madikeri. I stuck to Chicken Momo's and din't go all guns with the Thukpa as well. A family siting on the next table would throw curious glances at me once in a while as I looked like an alien and did alien things like clicking my bike's pictures, clickng some abstract pictures of a pepsi bottle. Finally momo's arrived and out came my camera again to click some pictures of the mouth watering steamed delight's. The lady on the next table could not hold back her curiosity any more and asked me if I was from some magazine.LoL.











    Finally the MOMOS




    50 bucks for a plate of yummylicious momos, absolute paisa vasool breakfast. I'd say, I paid up and left the place. It was not raining in this region but it would drizzle lightly once in a while. As I moved away from this place to get back onto the highway to Coorg, there was one place where I just had to stop to take pictures. It is here I learnt another lesson in biking about, loose objects, wind and cow dung.LoL. I had left my gloves on the seat loose when it was really windy and my bike was parked right next to a freshly laid lump of green watery cow dung. I did see it and ignored it thinking I can't be that unlucky. Lol. As soon as I moved away from my bike, a strong gush of wind came and the inevitable happened. Splat, right into the dung. Out came a bottle of drinking water to wash off this important manure. Finshed my entire bottle to cleanse the glove of this. This was the spot where I had stopped.





    I had'nt removed my rain gear despite the very mediocre showers, for ahead lay some heavier showers. After the town of Kushalnagar the roads usually go from bad to worse, but I was pleasently surprised to see freshly laid tarmac here. Immeadiately after the landscape changes as you begin the upward climb towards Madikeri, the route goes through forests and coffee plantations. It was really beautiful with the rain in the atmostphere.




    It was really beautiful, but could not capture any further because of the rains and moreover I didn't intend this being a ride for photography. The climb to Madikeri took a lot lesser time than usual thanks to the butter smooth road. As soon as we enter Madikeri town which is on the other side of the hill its feels as though one has entered from a rain shadow area. Rains were lashing down hard on Madikeri, I just directly headed down the to the only restraunt in town that served authentic stuff. I was trully a funny sight as I entered in the restraunt, but the owner was courteous enough made some space for me so that I din't soil his restraunt 'Coorg Cuisinette' too much. Pork was on my mind and pork was ordered swiftly. The rains had abated a bit, and took out my camera for a sneak peak view of Madikeri town from the restraunt.








    Soon enough my order of Pandi (Pork) Curry, Pandi Chops, Akki Otti (Rice roti) and lemonade made from Coorgi honey arrived all at once. Burp! The momo's had just been digested, but it looked too tempting to even stop to think. As I gobbled down my first pork chops I realized that I had not clicked a picture of this, so with half greasy hands and a half hearted attempt I clicked a pic of this...




    After a hearty meal of pure Pork bliss, I had to sit down for a while for all of it to settle in. It was nearing about 2PM when I had polished off all the pork in front of me. Paid the bill, geared up and headed into town for some shopping of coorgi honey and pandi curry masala. Sadly the market was under renovation and I was in no mood to walk around in rain gear+riding gear. So I ditched this plan, did a quick round of the town and stopped just get this one picture.






    Left town not with a heavy heart but a heavy stomach. Took a small break to get the last of my pictures of the rain swept ghats.







    The down from here was pretty uneventful and almost non-stop in nature. I stopped only once to shed my rain gear as the rains had stopped beyond a certain point and the mercury started soaring.


    I knew this was most probably the last break I would be taking and rightly so, after this break then next stop was only once I reached home. This ride did a lot for me in terms of bringing back my confidence to ride and even to a large extent a belief in myself and my ability to ride. I realized yet again, that shit happens. There's is no point in holding back in life for such trivialities, one must learn what such events have to offer and learn to "Move On" "Fight On" & "Live On"..................





    Epilogue

    Nothing really... There is no end to the 'madness' of biking and I hope I can continue to keep on riding till the bones in my body can't take it anymore.
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    dude... I knew about your January crash but didn't know its aftermath... and about the other incidents... it took me a while after my extremely similar accident in March and am still shit scared about any pedistarian crossing the road. and I still don't think my riding has reached its pre accident peak even after 5 months though the PUNE g2g rides have helped a lot...

    anyways... I haven't read your triplog yet.. will do that in a bit. going by your reputation... it has to be good... anyways... ride long.. ride safe..

    BTW why the I'd change?
    Advice is a form of nostalgia.
    Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

    Antz Travelz!! | South India Exploration Ride | Leh Triplog (Work in progress)

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    Dear Praful bhai,

    Absolute stunning log with equally magnificent pictures. I agree to your statement over here

    "There is no end to the 'madness' of biking" hahahah its so much true for all of us. Coorg has been a real good destination for bikers during rains. I have always noticed you dont upload pictures of yourself so much in the log, whats the reason yaar?

    Btw i am moving down to Bangalore as i promised to you in the Pre G2G next week. Once i settle down with the accommodation, when are we riding together? And when did you buy a new lid boss?

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    @praful - Good to see you back..so is this the unlucky incident that you mentioned over phone..
    met swagat at the chandipur G2G..it was nice to see him after so many years...

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    Good to see the lone wolf back on the road. I know the trouble u went thru during ur crash.... As they say - "Everything happens for a reason". I have always wanted to accompany you on a ride. Hope that happens soon!
    Democracy is when 2 wolves and a sheep meet to decide who is for dinner. Liberty is when the sheep has a gun.

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    Rusted Praful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MG_Biker1806 View Post
    Topic Approved

    Good to see you back on the saddle
    Thanks bro!

    Quote Originally Posted by navnish View Post
    nice write up Praful .

    Good to see you back in action.
    Thank you dude. Wish I'd known you're in that region, would have given you a call for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mik View Post
    @Praful: Its really good to see you back in action. Had heard about the accident but didn't know that the ordeal only got worse for you and Veda further down the road.
    I have taken a few falls myself and mostly have taken away something from it. Like triple digit speeds are not advisable, even on the best of highways. The other object(human,dog,cow,bus,crazy car/bike wallahs) can suddenly decide to stray right in our path, for no foreseaable reason.
    Wishing you lots of safe rides and waiting for the Coorg updates
    Updated the thread

    The most important takeaway for me was, "Expect the Unexpected... Always!". Speed was not the issue, I was doing 60 kmph on a 80 kmph road with visibility going almost a kilometer ahead. I was even prepared to hit the brakes too, but she ran. If she'd walked across I could have done something, but because she darted across the road I just could not react in time.

    Quote Originally Posted by antz.bin View Post
    dude... I knew about your January crash but didn't know its aftermath... and about the other incidents... it took me a while after my extremely similar accident in March and am still shit scared about any pedistarian crossing the road. and I still don't think my riding has reached its pre accident peak even after 5 months though the PUNE g2g rides have helped a lot...

    anyways... I haven't read your triplog yet.. will do that in a bit. going by your reputation... it has to be good... anyways... ride long.. ride safe..

    BTW why the I'd change?
    Don't worry bro, take it from experience... It gets easier with time and kilometers under your belt.

    The id change was something that I'd been wanting to do for a very long time now, just been lazy to not get it done!

    Quote Originally Posted by yatishankar View Post
    Dear Praful bhai,

    Absolute stunning log with equally magnificent pictures. I agree to your statement over here

    "There is no end to the 'madness' of biking" hahahah its so much true for all of us. Coorg has been a real good destination for bikers during rains. I have always noticed you dont upload pictures of yourself so much in the log, whats the reason yaar?

    Btw i am moving down to Bangalore as i promised to you in the Pre G2G next week. Once i settle down with the accommodation, when are we riding together? And when did you buy a new lid boss?
    Thank you so much for the appreciation buddy.

    I don't upload pictures of myself because the LoneWolf is a bigger and better poser than I am Besides, I usually am better off behind the lens than in front of it.

    Settle down, we shall ride soon! Lets make the best of this weather. Its not a new lid, actually its my old lid had taken a decent hit when my head hit the median. I have just got it in a new avtaar for a few weeks before I pick up a new helmet.

    Quote Originally Posted by mandeep2183 View Post
    @praful - Good to see you back..so is this the unlucky incident that you mentioned over phone..
    met swagat at the chandipur G2G..it was nice to see him after so many years...
    Mandeep, bro... Its been a long time. We should meet sometime. Remember in college we used to just dream about owning/riding a good bike. The time and day is here. Lets see if destiny makes our biking paths cross sometime

    Quote Originally Posted by Aparajith View Post
    Good to see the lone wolf back on the road. I know the trouble u went thru during ur crash.... As they say - "Everything happens for a reason". I have always wanted to accompany you on a ride. Hope that happens soon!
    Hope that happens before the 3rd of September!

    We shall ride someday for sure buddy. My plans for Nagapattinam and Tranquebar are still unfinished!
    Last edited by Praful; 08-03-2010 at 12:43 PM.
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