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Pune->Bangalore->Pune over the weekend

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  • Pune->Bangalore->Pune over the weekend

    Monday March 30, 2009 (How it all started)

    It was a usual very blue Monday in office. I kept on thinking about how to trudge through another week in office. My usual first ritual in office is to access Gmail once I log in to the work station.
    As I logged in to GMail, I notice the subject of the first mail,
    "saddle sore, now or never"
    It was a mail from Nikhil (xBhp ID: niks_devil666).Interesting...
    So Nikhil here thinks he isnt getting any younger and proposed that 10-11-12 April (10th April being Good Friday) would be a good time to attempt a saddle sore.
    I dont know what I was thinking, maybe it was those Monday blues, I just reply with a "Count me in".
    All's good uptil now but then finally after some time the full implications of the message hit me. Damn, saddle sore! 24 hours,1000 miles. I hadnt even done half that in a day.
    But now there was no turning back for me. It was now or never for me too.

    Needless to say, my mind was completely off work for the rest of the week. We kept on discussing about how to go about this. And as always, there were naysayers. People kept telling us, we're nuts. Yes, may be we were but at that time I dont think any of us cared. After meeting the coming weekend, the plan was finalized.

    There were to be three of us,
    Me (RTR 2007)
    Nikhil (P-220)
    VJ (old xBHp ID : vj_rulz) (P-200)

    The route was pretty obvious, just follow the NH4 to Bangalore. Once we have done about 800 Km , turn around and follow the same path back. Simple as it gets except that we must do it within 24 hours.

    Now NH4 is part of GQ and is one of the best roads in India. There should be plenty of service stations and fuel stations on the road. Maybe this wasnt going to be so tough after all.

    Its the middle of summer and naturally one of the major concerns for us was heat. That was a major factor in all the decisions we made.
    We would leave for Bangalore from Chandani Chowk, Pune at 4 pm , Friday 10th of April. Near Bangalore, one of our friends,Sandhu, was going to meet up with us.

    Now we were also aware that doing this may get recognition from the Ironbutt association but they require proof in the form fuel or ATM reciepts from the owners credit-debit card. So we decided to look for fuel stations that accept credit/debit cards whenever possible. One would think that this shouldnt be a problem on of the best and busiest highways in India. One would be very very wrong...

    Friday, April 10, 2009

    The day finally arrives. I didnt have an official holiday on the 10th but had taken a casual leave. Getting leaves is generally not a problem in office for me. (Touch wood). Whatever rides I had done, I always started in the morning when I am nice and fresh. But this was different. I woke up and went through the normal everyday routine. As the day wore on, I started to feel a little lazy. But I couldnt rest yet, I had a saddle sore to finish off. So I suited up. Just normal jeans and a light T-shirt under the mesh jacket and gloves. My tankbag was empty, all the stuff for the road was bought by VJ and Nikhil and I was to go Nikhil's place and pack up.
    It was 1 pm when I left from home for Nik's place. I could already feel the searing heat but I was relatively fresh and didnt have long to go yet. I was little anxious and of course very excited.
    I reached at Nik's place around 2 pm. Nikhil was just putting his bike through a final few checks and VJ was taking a nap. VJ had to pickup his bike from the Bajaj workshop where it was for repairs and parts replacement (fuel tank etc). After packing up, the tank bag was almost bursting at the seams. We had taken a few Red Bull cans, a couple of Gatorade bottles, nutribars,biscuits, wafers and I also had taken some apples.

    Nik's tank bag

    Me and Nikhil ready to leave.

    Nikhil had gotten his old camera and I had a handy Nikon digicam. This wasnt going to be a photo-feature trip by any stretch.
    Me and Nikhil left for Chandani chowk while VJ went with a friend to the Bajaj workshop. He was to rendezvous with us at the HP petrol pump near Chandani Chowk. We left from Nik's home at around 3:30 and reached CC in another 15 minutes. The bike was looking in good health. Not long after we reached VJ arrived. We all topped up our tanks and swiped our cards. After taking the reciepts, every one jumped on their bikes. There was not a second to lose now. The clock had started.

    Just going over the plans

    The Journey towards Bangalore

    First Leg : Pune - Kolhapur - 234 Kms - (4:15pm - 6:50pm)

    Nikhil was the first to leave. Me and VJ left a few minutes after. It was 4:15 on my watch.Leaving Chandani Chowk and entering the NH4, we really let it rip. But I was feeling a little uncomfortable, the helmet was shaking like crazy, I initially thought it must have been the strong crosswinds but that didnt seem to be matter, soon I realized that I had forgotten to fasten the chin strap on my helmet (Damn). 10 minutes in to the ride and I l aready needed to stop. We had decided to take breaks every 200-250 kms. I thought I could make it till KP in this shaky setup. Meanwhile, we caught up with Nikhil who was stuck behind two buses going side by side using up both the lanes. Since we came from behind, we had a better view of the situation we were somehow able to find away ahead of the two hulking old machines.

    The shaky helmet was causing me a great deal of discomfort. Finally , decided to just pull over and fasten the strap. Just of the double barrel tunnels near Katraj, I pulled over, fastened by strap and was back on again. It must not have taken me more than a minute but VJ and Nikhil were already out of view. I had to catchup and now that everything was in order I really let the bike fly and she responded with great aplomb.The road is nice , wide and straight and you dont really have to slow down (except for those pesky toll booths) and the traffic was also very sparse. I was doing good speeds (100-110). It didnt take me long to get to the toll booth before Khambatki ghat.

    Now even though there is one way traffic on this road, the road is quite narrow and the traffic somehow increases for this stretch. I was relatively slower over this road owing to the traffic and of course the ghat. But this doesnt last for very long and I was soon back on the four lane high way.The weather by now had calmed down. It wasnt hot, it was a nice mild summer evening and slightly cloudy. Both sides of the road now offered fantastic visual vistas. But there was no time to scenic views. I pulled my eyes away and got back to looked at the grey stretch of tarmac(?) that seemed to just go on and on. I reached Satara around 5:35. Then the most unexpected thing happened, it was cloudy for the last 20 minutes but now it had started the rain, the rain steadily got heavier. The rain continued even after I had left Satara, but there were also strong cross winds to contend with. I knew then that the rain would last for too long but still the rain and wind did slow me down a little. Looking at the bright side the rain must have brought a bit of comfort for the engine and me of course.

    I had left Satara behind by about 30-40 kms and the rain had ceased as well, the traffic was not almost non-existent. I would rarely come across another vehicle. Most of them would just let me pass (must be all the gear) so I was able to do really good speeds. I was eating up miles like crazy. The road was straight and in between I would ride fully tucked in. This would not only help the bike go faster but also give me a bit of rest to the back.

    Finally as it was just beginning to get darker, I reached KP and as I was asceding the Kolhapur flyover I was greeted with the welcome sight of VJ and Nikhil who had pulled over for a much needed break. They had reach around 5-10 mins before me.After doing a bit of necessary photography and gulping down some red bull they decided to leave. Meanwhile, I too had a few biscuits and a Red Bull. Made a few calls. The first leg was over. No problems so far and no fatigue yet. But now the tough part would start. Riding in the night was one of the things I worried about and to add to that I wouldnt have the comfort of being behind the visor. I geared up and was back on the saddle. Next stop, Hubali.

    VJ posing with the mile stone


    My turn to pose

    Second Leg : Kolhapur-Varur (about 20 km ahead of Hubali) - 227 Kms (7 pm - 10:15 pm)

    It was already dark as I left from Kolhapur, Nikhil and VJ had already gone ahead. It was dark and so the visor was up and speeds were now going to drop. Just outside of Kolhapur,while my two lanes were empty, I encountered heavy traffic in the opposite lanes. As is customary on Indian roads, not many motorists care for the high beam-low beam discipline and irrespective of what kind of lights your bike has , once your eyes are lit up you cant see much. So I had to be careful as I left Kolhapur behind, steadily doing 85-95 kph. The traffic thinned out after Kolhapur and now the road was all mine, I was able to build up good speeds. I was looking for any cars that may be doing some decent speeds so that I could tail them at a safe distance. I had some good luck in that regard. The road was very good and after a found a pilot car, I was cruising nicely. The night also offered some nice scenery, the distant road, lit up slightly by the moonlight. On another day , I would pull over and snap a few.I was now quite comfortable with riding in the dark. My bikes headlights were doing a decent job and when I had a car it was just a matter of following the red lights. Also, the road was very very good.

    That was until about 30 kms from Hubali. I noticed that the fuel meter was down to the last bar. But Hubali was only 30 km away and there would be shortage of fuel stations around there. And on this assumption I passed up quite a few fuel stations that had come before this. Now from here on the road all of sudden became a two lane one with no division in between. This completely changed dynamics and now I had to be careful every time while overtaking those slowly moving trucks. So now the speeds dropped even lower about 10 km into the two lane road, I noticed a Pulsar pulled over to the left side and as I came closer I saw the saddle bags and realized it was VJ. I pulled over and found out that VJ had run out of fuel. He was surprised that the bike had run out so early. I got down and helped him tip the bike over to the side to get some fuel flowing in. Well it worked and he was able to get his bike started again. He started blazed off again but only to stop after another couple of kilometres. Again the same drill, again after a couple of Kilometres the bike ran out. But this time even tipping it didnt help. It looked like the tank was completely empty now. VJ was trying to call Nikhil but Nikhil hadnt answered yet. VJ told me to go ahead and look for Nikhil and of course a fuel station. I was another 19 kms from Hubali. I thought this shouldnt take too far or too long. So I rushed off keeping my eyes open for any kind of fuel station.

    I could by now see the lights of Hubali in the distance, but even after riding 17 kms I wasnt able to find a single fuel station. Amazing. The last bar of my fuel guage now had started to blink. Now I was worried about my bike too. On reaching Hubali, I didnt see Nikhil anywhere. Just out of Hubali, I pulled over, tried to call Nikhil but he didnt answer. I called to check on VJ he answered and told me that he was able to get in touch with VJ and that Nikhil was getting some fuel for him. Seeing no point in waiting , I decided to move ahead. I still could not find any fuel station. I was really beginning to worry now, anytime my bike would come to Reserve and then it would be critical. But then just in the nick of time, I found a sidy old Indian Oil petrol pump (near a place called Varur) but it was on the right side , so I had to cross over. I chose this to be my break.
    I topped up the fuel. I didnt have much of a hope , but I asked that guy anyway if he accepted debit cards. The answer as expected was no. I didnt really care much at that stage. I just paid him in cash and was thankful for being able get some fuel just at the right time. I gulped down Gatorade, I was really really thirsty by now.Clicked a few pictures. And was ready to go again. The open face night riding had taken its toll. I began to feel a bit a fatigue creep in already. Only halfway there. The next scheduled stop was Chitradurga. Compared to what was to come, the journey so far had been an eyes-closed walk in the park...

    Sorry for the shaky cam

    Third Leg : Varur - Chitradurga - 180 Kms - 10:20 pm - 1 : 20 am

    Now that I had the fuel fully topped up , I was really bouyant and was doing good speeds. The number of cars seen on road had dropped significantly, I would encounter a car or two after 10-30 kms, that too a slow moving one. There were lots of truck though and a few buses. I was just following the white strip on the road and after doing some 50 kms, the line just disappeared, the divider as barely visible. There was nothing by the road side as far as eyes could see. Doubt clawed my mind, had I gone astray somewhere? Did I miss some fork in the road? It seemed like a scene straight out of one of those slasher movies. Anyway, further ahead I saw trucks on the road, that gave me a little bit of hope that I may be on track after all. The road wasnt bad but compared to what I had been riding on thus far, it was quite bad. It was difficult to see too far ahead and no cars in sight.I had slowed down a little but still was doing 80-90 kph and all of a sudden I noticed something really different up ahead, I couldnt make out from the distance. It looked some mounds of sand etc. As I came closer, I realized just in time it was a diversion. Wow, the sign was barely visible. I had heard that small patch of NH4 was under construction. This was it alright.
    Thus the road went on, I must have crossed countless diversions. I had to keep my eyes peeled for even the slightest abnormalities on the road. To add to the misery, the road was really dusty and with the visor , my eyes were really taking a beating. I came upon a couple of very oddly and hazardously placed speed breakers. Thankfully I spotted them early to slow down enough.
    The road progressively got worse.

    I soon came upon a smallish town through which the road passed, crossing a couple of railway crossings. I slowed down a couple of times just to ask whatever few people there were on the road (it was 12 am) whether I was heading the right way.
    I almost ran into a stone placed on the road by the crew of a truck that had broken down. A sight we saw very often here onwards. The road to Chitradurga seemed endless, this journey had really taken a lot out of me. The road was hard to follow but trucks served as a good indicator. I saw a few open motels on the road and thought of just stopping for a while, but I just wanted to be done with this little road so kept on moving. Atlast, after what seemed like an eternity , Chitradurga finally arrived. There were a few fuel stations here, I thought of stopping and swiping my card. To my dismay, a lot of the petrol pumps had closed down or didnt accept cards. I took a very small break ahead of Chitradurga. I expected the road to be better from here.

    Fourth Leg : Chitradurga - Tumkur - Outskirts of Bangalore - 170 km (1:30 am - 3 : 50 am)

    The road ahead of Chitradurga was still quite dark but a little better. That didnt last long though, soon I came upon a well painted, fenced , four lane road. This was such a wonderful sight and I knew this would last till Tumkur. I really opened the throttle now. But after a few kilometres, I felt my cell phone vibrate. I just recalled I forgot to call home on my last stop. So I pulled over at the next milestone. It was actually Nikhil who had messaged me. He had caught up with me and was only a 15 kms behind me. I made a few calls , had a few biscuits and a Red Bull. Now, the next stop would only be after I hit 800 on the trip meter. I took a few snaps and was back on. Now, I was doing really good speeds. There wasnt much traffic on the road but I had a new problem to contend with. A problem I least expected when I set out, cold. It was 2:30 am in the morning and I was litterally shivering. I hadnt expected the weather to be that cold. I was feeling it real bad. But I kept on going. Tucking myself behind the bikes fairing offered little but precious protection. I was only thinking of some hot coffee or tea at Bangalore right now.I knew , the earlier we reach the more time we will have for a break. After about 140 kms , the fine four lane gave way to a modest road. Ah not again, I grimaced as I got stuck behind a line a trucks. Somehow, crawling through the little gaps, I moved on. I was in human civilization now, but the streets were deserted. The cold was really getting to me now.
    Our friend Sandhu was supposed to meet up with us at some plaza about 40 kms from Bangalore. So once I reached Tumkur, I started looking out for any activity. My trip meter had crossed the 800 km limit, by now. I passed a CCD on the highway and also a Kamat restaurant with a petrol pump.But nothing that looked like a plaza to me.
    Finaly after looking around for another 5-6 kms I decided to pull over and wait for Nikhil and VJ, since Nikhil had a better idea about where Sandhu was waiting for us.It was a much needed break.It didnt take long, about 10 minutes after I pulled over,I could see the P220 projector closing in on me.

    The place where I pulled over on the highway near Tumkur

    Bangalore : All hope fails

    It was great feeling of relief and accomplishment.Finally,about 12 hours after we had started from Chandani Chowk, Pune, we had finished half the distance for the saddle sore.This was much better than I had expected.
    Nikhil called up Sandhu, who was incidentally waiting at the Kamat petrol pump we had already passed. Now we needed a debit card reciepts as proof before we turned around. The problem was, the petrol pumps in the area would only provide reciepts with location as Tumkur, whose registered distance from Pune is less that 800 km, we needed a fuel station that would provide reciepts with location specified as Bangalore. So Me and VJ moved ahead towards Bangalore in search of such a fuel station. Unfortunately, even after riding another 15-20 kms we didnt find a suitable fuel station. Most were closed or didnt accept cards and some didnt even have petrol. The roads also seemed to be under construction and had lots of diversions.It was 4:45 already,
    time was running out for the saddle sore. Me and VJ finally pulled over, having been unable to find a fuel station.

    By 5 am, Sandhu (in his car) and Nikhil finally met up with us. We had to take a call on whether we should continue the search. It would give us the proof we needed, but what good would be a proof if we didnt finish the saddle sore due to the time lost in searching for the proof. We could instead do a saddle sore sans a formal proof for our own accomplishment. This I feel is one of the biggest problems of doing a documented saddle sore in India.Currency cards are not as widely accepted. The Ironbutt association considers these as the ultimate proofs. Surprisingly, there wasnt even an ATM near by, which would also suffice.By 5:15, we had finally lost hope and decided to just turn back and head to the CCD for a break and then the return journey to Pune.
    On the way back, we crossed a toll booth. We tried a final time to see if the toll booth would give us a reciept, but he said he would only issue reciepts for cars and this was no use to us.

    The search for proof was aborted, we decided to head to the CCD and take a break.Before we parked ourselves though, we again filled up the bikes at the fuel station adjacent to CCD.We parked the bikes at CCD. Moved all the stuff inside and finally just crashed into the comfy chairs.
    We got out of the riding gear completely for the first time in 12 hours. The three of us were a sight. Eyes all read and sleep-deprived, face all covered with dust. It took me a lot of time to get all that dust out of my face and eyes. We ordered some food and some hot coffee.

    It was 6 am already,the light was now beginning to grow. There wasnt much of a chance now of finishing the trip back before 4 pm. But we wanted to finish the journey today itself. I had office on Monday and I needed the break on Sunday. But surprisingly, after finishing the coffee, I suddenly felt very drowsy. I thought I would just catch a bit sleep on the couch. After a mini-nap of 10 minutes , I was back feeling more alert.We started gearing up.
    We were soon to start off towards Pune. I was just out taking a few pictures.Everybody was relaxed and mentally preparing for the long ride back.
    But fate had other plans for us. A thing so signicant was about to happen , we would have to drop all plans for leaving that day.We wouldnt be leaving Bangalore until Sunday....

    Sandhu and VJ

    Red-eye effect

    Finally, some good food.

    The trip log for the return journey and our stay in Bangalore, coming soon.

  • #2
    Topic Approved.


    • #3
      Oh yes.... oh no !!


      First I thought that another saddle sore been done. Alas !! luck didn't favor you this time..... anyways must have had a good experience which will be dear in next attempt.

      Log was very nicely written & bravo for atleast tryin it.... Good luck for next attempt & probably a successful one.



      • #4
        Awesome! Those small towns you encountered with railway crossings were Haveri (where the bad road starts), and outskirts of cities like Davanagere. These are the only bad stretches between Mumbai and Bangalore : NH4, now
        All new Royal Enfield 'Tripping' ads here -->


        • #5
          The kind of read one needs when we start a fresh day at the office.Thanks for sharing the log and pictures hyperion.
          Join xBhp On

          My photography page: Gourab Das Photography


          • #6
            Ashutosh, when I saw the pics on Orkut, I felt that it was just another ride. Looked at TURZ community, found nothing there too. I had absolutely no idea that it was a saddlesore attempt.

            Sad about the way things went. More disappointing to see the reason why it did not happen eventually. But let me say 'never say never'. I wouldn't surprised if you guys make another atttempt. You now know what it takes. Little more research and planning.

            Waiting to see your return trip log. BTW is Sandhu the RXZ guy?


            • #7
              One crazy ride!

              Originally posted by rockrider View Post
              Ashutosh, when I saw the pics on Orkut, I felt that it was just another ride. Looked at TURZ community, found nothing there too. I had absolutely no idea that it was a saddlesore attempt.

              Sad about the way things went. More disappointing to see the reason why it did not happen eventually. But let me say 'never say never'. I wouldn't surprised if you guys make another atttempt. You now know what it takes. Little more research and planning.

              Waiting to see your return trip log. BTW is Sandhu the RXZ guy?
              Well you don't know yet why we had to stop there

              and Yes Sandhu is the RXZ guy.

              It was a great experience , I will be posting my logs after 10th.Next attempt would be with the certificates
              sigpicThe Moto Cafe - India's first bike theme cafe @ Chandni Chowk

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              My Youtube channel



              • #8
                Hey guys, .. nice attempt.. and good log too!.. Just remember that the first 12 hrs /daylight are the easiest. So aim for atleast 900Ks in that duration.
                Just a few tips reading what you guys have done..

                1. Plan on doing more than 1600. The actual distance for IBA is 1610 kms on the map (not odo), so plan on doing 1700 on odo atleast. During my run I headed to Lonavala and turned around at Nelamangala (to avoid traffic) and back to Pune. BTW.. almost no outlets to get an electronic slip at Nelamangala.. I finally got an electronic slip at the HP petrol pump next to the CCD you guys stopped at.

                2. Plan on a better start time based on which direction you want to head in. Ideally, Haveri-Chitradurga is best done during daylight in both directions given the road situation. So, if possible, a good time to start is somewhere mid-night.

                3. Take pics of your electronic slips against odo/GPS etc. That's official time so that should substantiate claims better. Make sure that location, date and time are clearly visible on the slip and in the photograph (esp, at night when you use the flash). So, review the photograph once you take it. Or just click a few at different angles.

                4. Stay full on fuel. Fill up the moment your tank hits half. Don't wait till you hit reserve or close to reserve. With the tank atleast half full all the time, you can decide if you want to ride further at any point. Atleast in a time of desperation, you won't need to hunt for a petrol pump, or fill at one which won't give you a slip.

                5. If you take a longish break (20-30 min), check oil-level! (important)

                6. The ATM slip needs to have location, date and time. So use the card for any little task. You can even have failed transactions or just check balance. As long as you get a slip with above information, it is fine. You can even buy little items off the card. I had even filled fuel for 10 bucks just to get a slip

                7. Get a ciggie lighter attachment on your bike and get an electronic air pump. If you have a puncture, fill in air and keep rolling (and repeat it) till you are able to get the puncture fixed. That should save a lot of time.



                • #9
                  Awesome ride, awesome log,
                  no need of Pics, log is enough,
                  best of luck for your next officially successful saddlesore,
                  and waiting 4 your log niks


                  • #10
                    @Praveen :Thanks for the tip(s), this was more of a recce ride for us before we actually go full guns blazing .That ciggie lighter attachmet will also help in charging the phone and the obvious

                    P.S. Can you guide to the place where I can get this fixed?and get the pump?(BTW , tubeless won't cause issues and pump won't be required I guess)
                    Last edited by niks_devil666; 04-30-2009, 01:02 PM.
                    sigpicThe Moto Cafe - India's first bike theme cafe @ Chandni Chowk

                    The Moto Cafe video -

                    My Youtube channel



                    • #11
                      Awesome ride and trip log so far.. waiting for the rest of it !
                      2009 Yamaha YZF-R15
                      2009 Ford Fiesta 1.6S

                      Fuel Your Motoring Passion!


                      • #12
                        Good long ride there Niks..!!

                        Btw, what happend to you here..!??



                        • #13
                          You guys rock!!!

                          Waiting for the return story...
                          Click Here To Visit My Biking World


                          • #14
                            Great ride.. waiting for the return trip
                            ShoGun -- Offerings to the GOD of SPEED

                            My Life on 2 Wheels :)


                            • #15
                              great log...awesome ride....
                              2002 - Pulsar 150 Classic (Still owned)
                              2005 - Pulsar 150 Dtsi (Still owned)
                              2006 - Eterno (sold)
                              2008 - Dio (Owned)
                              2009 - Pulsar 220 DTSi