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Thread: Mini saddle sore - Ninja 250R - Navi Mumbai to Nipani and back.

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    Default Mini saddle sore - Ninja 250R - Navi Mumbai to Nipani and back.

    Mini Saddle Sore


    My job only allows me one holiday per week, so this was special as I had Sunday and Monday to myself. Sunday went by doing the usual chores around the house. In the evening the only thing worth mentioning is the 7.5 km walk I took to awaken my muscles.

    Now I know some people feel that going sport touring on a bike is a pointless, almost silly exercise. This is why I do it- First, I love the feeling of speed and being in control while I am at it. An air plane may be several times faster, but in the sky there is no reference of speed. And while I love cars too, the main difference here is that you sit in a car and the car wraps around you, while you sit on a bike and you wrap around the bike. Second, the feeling of independence it gives you does not match with anything else you can do so easily. Third, as I have a desk job which makes me sit at a desk 10 hrs a day, biking provides a welcome relief from it. Lastly, it makes you forget your worries and concentrate on the job at hand.

    When I woke up on Monday morning, it was 9 o clock. This is early for me on a holiday and I decided that I could go on a ride. I went to the local restaurant and had a Club sandwich. I picked up five 200ml packs of juice/soya milk and a packet of chocolates that I could have on the way. I took my backpack and packed in a bottle of water, a cleaning cloth, a rope and a hand sanitizer. I asked my cousin, who lives in Pune, if he would like to join me but he had to go to work.

    I left CBD Belapur (Navi Mumbai) at 10:55 AM and headed toward the usual Mumbai-Pune old highway, on the way cursing the transport department why bikes werent allowed on the expressway. I was averaging 60km/hr and reached Lonavala around 12:00 PM. There I fully tanked up at an HP pump and checked the tire pressures to 32 psi front and 37 psi rear. These are higher than the 28/32 recommended but, the higher pressures feel so much better. The bike just tracks true to where you want to go and feels very stable while taking long sweeping corners. However, this also has a downside which I discovered later. I was stopping every hour or so and consuming my stock of juice and chocolates. In another hour or so I reached the pune outskirts. I took the bypass which is a longish 30km stretch and sometimes a bit crowded till the Satara road starts. Next stop was at Mc Donalds to have my lunch of Filet o fish and coke. Half an hour later I was on my way again. It was around 2:00PM. The afternoon sun does not make matters easy for a rider, but one has to keep moving on time is precious. Now this road used to be very good, but after the last monsoon, there are quite a few undulations on the surface which makes it bumpy. It is now that I decided that I had to try and go for my previous best of doing 800 kms in a day on my Pulsar 180. Alas! I did not plan well, I should have left home in the morning at 6:00AM. I left 5 hrs late. Nevertheless, I journeyed on.

    I decided to increase my speed and was now touching 150 160 km/hr at times. Now this can be hairy on a road with less than perfect surfacing and this is when I got my big jolt. There was a small crest on the road surface which I was unable to spot in time. The front wheel went over it and the steering wobbled violently, but mercifully corrected to the straight ahead position. I had my heart in my mouth as this happened at around 150km/hr. A crash at that speed.. I felt so helpless, so not in control of things.

    I realised that the road was only good for around 120kmph and also that increasing the tire pressure at the front would have worsened this situation but continued without changing the tire pressures.

    The next event took place in the ghats that come up on the NH4 before Satara. Everytime the bike went over a small bump it felt as if there was something loose somewhere in the steering/front forks. At first I just ignored it but something told me that this wasnt some thing that can wait till the trip is over. So after crossing the ghat I pulled over under a tree to have a look. The big centre bolt on the handle bar that attaches the handle bars to the frame and the front forks had come loose. I took out the toolkit and tightened the bolt a bit with the spanner supplied. After going for some distance the problem came up again. This time I decided to tighten the bolt aggressively. So I used the lever supplied with the spanner to gain additional leverage and tightened the bolt. After this the bike just glided over the bumps. At least the front did. The rear does what it does, you cant really do anything.

    Now it was already 3:30PM and I had to decide whether to go on or to turn back. And then, the cemented road starts. There is a sign saying Dream project of golden quadrilateral- Satara Kolhapur section. This road seems completely unaffected by the monsoon. It feels as good as new. Even if I turn back now I cant avoid riding in the dark, plus there is no chance of any rain so even that should be manageable. That was it. I decided to go for it. I gunned the engine and was doing 130-140kmph. On the way I saw a couple of superbikes parked on the side of the road.

    Next I stopped only after crossing the Karnataka border at a company owned BP fuel pump. It was 5:00 PM. I did mention earlier that I did not plan this trip well. I also did not carry enough cash with me. I only had a couple of Rs. 500 notes left and the pump was not accepting credit cards at the time. So I also had to worry about finding an ATM. And with the sun going down, time was also not on my side. I filled up only Rs 500 worth of speed and continued, still heading south. Next I passed a small town of Nipani. Now this is new territory for me as in the previous trip I did a couple of years ago on my pulsar 180 I had turned back before this. The scenery is just beautiful here. Wide open spaces, with mountains showing afar, the beautiful road snaking through, bathed in the slanting rays of the evening sun, and huge windmills on top of nearby hills. It makes quiet a scene. On top of that, the feeling of being so far away from home.add to that the tingling sensation that comes when you suddenly realise that soon it is going to be dark and I need to go back homemore than 400kms. The feeling is quiet something.

    I eventually turned back after going for some more distance till the stone said Bangalore 550 kms. It was 5:30PM. The stone on the other side of the road read- pune 297km. Half the job done.

    As I was riding back towards Kohlapur, looking for an ATM on the side of the road, doing about 100kmph or so, I heard a throbbing exhaust becoming louder and louder and then it passed me. It looked like a Harley Davidson. And that was followed by a scream of an inline 4, what looked to me like an R1 which was followed by a CB 1000R. I tried to follow these guys for a while. They were doing about 140-160kmph max, so I could keep up for some time after which I let go. I would later on discover that they were the well known Club Of Pune Superbikers or COPS.

    I then stopped at the Mc Donalds at Kohlapur where the COPS had also taken a break. I had a Chicken burger with a cold one and left in a hurry after making a call home. I had to find an ATM. The helpful guy at Mc Donalds had told the directions to the ATM, which was about a km inside the town. By this time it was completely dark.

    The ATM was easy to find and soon I was on my way again. Before heading on the highway, I made sure my helmet visor was clean and clear and so were my headlights. The hand sanitizer that I was carrying was put to good use here. Now the cemented road is a boon for riding in the dark due to its lighter shade of grey. It reflects light well, improving visibility. As there are small bushes in the centre of the road on the divider, the usual problem of the glare of lights from oncoming traffic is greatly reduced.

    Now began the search for the petrol pump. I had noticed a company owned HP pump on my way to Kohlapur earlier and decided to fill up there. When I got there I was informed they didnt have Power with them and suggested another pump. This was a BP pump where I filled up with speed to the brim and set on. I noticed a Volvo bus, maintaining a healthy speed on the highway and decided to follow it. It is advised that a half tired rider follow some larger vehicle in the night as it feels very safe and comfortable.

    I was now feeling the mental exhaustion of the ride. Even though I was doing okay physically, the thoughts about not being able to reach home or something untoward happening arise, especially at night while riding alone. This was further worsened by the thoughts of super Sic Marco Simoncelli and what happened to him. If a Moto GP rider riding on the track, wearing the best protective gear money could buy was not safe, how safe can we be, that too on Indian roads, where, as it is, bikers are mostly considered to be a menace. So I decided to plug in my earphones and listen to some music while riding. This instantly made me feel better. Now I am aware that not being able to listen to ambient sounds can be dangerous, but as most of the signalling happens through lights at night, I figured this was not a problem, plus I kept the volume low so I wouldnt be completely deaf to outside sounds.

    The COPS were back and overtook me and the Volvo bus one by one. I decided to follow them. This increased my speed considerably and I almost felt like I was part of the group. Now these guys may be fast riders, but if they run into traffic they slow down right away and follow proper road manners. Eventually one of them pulled up at a petrol pump and they all stopped. I carried on.

    Satara came and went and I started thinking about where I should have my Dinner.
    At around nine oclock I pulled up at a conglomerate of roadside dhabas and restaurants where I chose one called AARAM. They had a buffet going for Rs. 125/-. I had the veg buffet which was so-so, picked up a bottle of water and was on my way in half an hour. This time I tailed a fiat Punto which had the Navi Mumbai registration. I thought that may be I could follow him all the way home. I must also mention that the weather was pretty cold which I had not expected. Even though I was wearing my riding jacket which is known for making one sweat, there was a small amount of air passing through the neck opening. But still it wasnt too uncomfortable.

    The journey up to Pune was done by tailing several cars and went without much trouble. Once there was an overenthusiastic wagon R driver, who came up from behind me while coming down from the hilly section just outside pune. He came up very close to the rear of my bike flashing his lights. I wanted to give him side but since there was some dirt on the left side of the road I gave him a hand signal to wait. But he seemed to be in no mood to listen and almost forced his way through making me go on to the dirty part of the road. I got furious with him for not caring about the safety of bikers and the next opportunity as soon as the road cleared of traffic, I blasted past him while he was doing some 130 or so.

    At the last fuel stop that I had taken just outside Kohlapur, I had 350 kms to reach home. Since the bike has a range of 400kms on a full tank it wasnt much reason to worry, but to be on the safer side I decided to fill up once again at Lonavala at the same pump where I had filled up in the day. But then I realised that by the time I reach there it would already be midnight and the pump might have shut down, so instead I filled up on the pune bypass at a large HP pump. They didnt have power and I was forced to fill up with only Rs. 200 worth of regular petrol.

    Lonavala was mostly deserted when I reached there at midnight. The foggy night and the deserted roads made a scene which would not have been out of place in a Ramsay horror movie. I decided to take it slow while descending the ghat as there would be no one to pick me up in case I fall.

    The road from there on to home is a very standard affair for me and was done in less than 40 mins eventually reaching home at 12:40 AM and clocking a total of 844 kms in the process. Total time taken 12 hrs 45 mins (including breaks)

    After settling down at home I realised the following-
    The man -If the right food and drink intake is taken the body is quite capable of doing such rides, now here in this case, had I planned this properly and left at 6 oclock in the morning I could have done a 1000kms easily. Even the actual iron butt saddle sore ride of 1600kms does not feel out of the question. It is only a question of finding the right roads to ride on.
    The machine - Seemed like it was when I started the ride, so no big deal for the bike then. It could probably go around the world without needing much maintenance.

    Other learnings from the ride
    For long distances it is best to ride as a group of two or more riders.
    The wind resistance on the body gets very bothersome at speeds above 130kmph hence investing in a good windscreen is a very good idea. I would personally rate this higher than a new padded seat for this bike.
    When you duck down on the tank, which I did for a lot of time on this ride, you feel the footpegs should be placed further backwards or be adjustable.
    Most of the four laned highways feel safe up to 120 kmph, after which you either need a perfectly surfaced, traffic free road or concentrate very hard. This also has a lot to do with the average speed of traffic on the highways.
    The usual pain areas of neck muscles, lower back, shoulders need to be exercised and strengthened before such a ride.
    The weather plays a very important role in any long ride, a cool day is ideal as it saps much less energy because of less perspiration and the body not needing to fight to keep cool from the heat.

    All in all the experiences that one gets from these types of long rides are invaluable as they add to the maturity and confidence of a rider.


    Rider: Akshay Patil
    Ride Date: 07-Nov-2011
    Date: 11-Nov-2011
    Ride: Kawasaki Ninja 250R
    Total ride distance 844 km
    Odometer reading (after ride) 18342 kms
    RIP - Super Sic- Marco Simoncelli #58

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    Triplog approved
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    Good ride there, well narrated.. And glad you got home, back safely
    .... I will rather ride my Bike thinking about God, then sitting in a Temple thinking about my Bike.. ..

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    Nice Informative Ride! Good to hear that you made this trip recently! I'm anyways planning to go next month for a quick long ride with my Joel'ed P220! !
    Just Need some info about the condition of Roads till Nipani and wat's the average distances of the fuel stations on the NH4...?!? plus what was the total cost of fuelling up for the trip?!? I reside in Borivali Mumbai....so kinda need to get the right budget!

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    Amazing job done. Wind mills greenery I am sure you would have enjoyed it to the core. all the best for u'r future trips to.
    BALLS...
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    Quote Originally Posted by rachitkohli View Post
    Good ride there, well narrated.. And glad you got home, back safely
    Thanks Rachit.

    Quote Originally Posted by qwerty_rm View Post
    Nice Informative Ride! Good to hear that you made this trip recently! I'm anyways planning to go next month for a quick long ride with my Joel'ed P220! !
    Just Need some info about the condition of Roads till Nipani and wat's the average distances of the fuel stations on the NH4...?!? plus what was the total cost of fuelling up for the trip?!? I reside in Borivali Mumbai....so kinda need to get the right budget!
    Hi, I have replied to your PM.

    Quote Originally Posted by speedester View Post
    Amazing job done. Wind mills greenery I am sure you would have enjoyed it to the core. all the best for u'r future trips to.
    Thanks. The scenery in karnataka especially around these small villages on the highway is quiet awesome. These images stay in your mind and make the ride very memorable.

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    Nice ride there Akshay ! I guess a longer ride with a break would have been the icing on the cake

    Take Care & Ride Safe

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    Precise and crisp log. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and photographs.
    Regards,

    Adhip Varma

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    Quote Originally Posted by ridermax View Post
    Nice ride there Akshay ! I guess a longer ride with a break would have been the icing on the cake

    Take Care & Ride Safe
    Yes, would have ideally liked it to be a 1000kms ride, but unfortunately did not plan well.. had to go to office next day

    Quote Originally Posted by adp228@gmail.com View Post
    Precise and crisp log. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and photographs.
    Thank you! It is these compliments which are the fuel for penning these articles.

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