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Thread: Spring Break Ride, 2009, Touring on Sbks part-N!

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    Rusted ken cool's Avatar
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    Default Spring Break Ride, 2009, Touring on Sbks part-N!

    Spring Break Ride, April 2009

    INTRODUCTION

    As the roses start to wane and fade, the grass begins to turn a dull jaded green to nearly brown and the Gulmohar begins to blossom and the Amaltas buds begin to pop, the end of spring is nigh, it is a sure sign that riding a crotch rocket with high revving four pistons displacing a full litre would generate enough heat to make one develop blisters on the inner thighs, upper calves and the ankles despite the requisite protective gear. Hence, before things got any hotter, my desire took the better of me and I jumped through the window of opportunity though I do not need much asking for such an act.

    T. S. Eliot has clearly said, April is the cruelest month. He may be right. But this time around, right through that particular week, it had rained and the heat and its cruelty were clearly kept at bay. Night temperatures were pleasant enough not to warrant the use of the AC.

    My friend had said, let us do Udaipur on the One! There was not an inkling of momentary doubt. She wanted to do it. She was the pillion. Who was I to say No! In fact, I was secretly nursing a glee. I love the highway leading to Udaipur. No. Let us be more specific. I love the highway Jaipur onwards all the way till Udaipur right through the comfortable GVK Expressway. The bad part, all joys have a downside, is I hate the NCR-Jaipur bit, particularly on the return path with bad patches, which inevitably lands me with a bad back, sore wrist and as I discovered on my way back, a leaking oil seal in the front left fork.

    The One was ready, serviced, oil and oil filter changed, injectors cleaned, battery checked, electricals checked, air pressure checked, gas filled she was ready to roll. So was Moon, my faithful companion on the One in voyage who had an off on Friday.

    Thursday afternoon it was still raining. Friday morning was our D-Day. I was a trifle worried. I do not like riding in the rain with Superbikes. I do not mind with lesser bikes that are heavier. I have ridden for hundreds of kilometres with 80 odd bhp thumping away inside 250kilos of metal in torrential rain at a steady 120kmph soaked to the marrow and my toes had turned blue. But I would not do that with 189 bhp and 60kilos lighter with pillion and luggage and expensive cameras and lenses. I checked all the weather sites that I could find and they all tried to reassure me with good kind weather smiling at me the next morning. And it did.

    The Ride.

    Winter was long gone. But thanks to the rain the 5 Oclock morning air was nippy at 20C as we glided our way through the Gurgaon Expressway. In a quarter of an hour we were out of Gurgaon and onto the Jaipur NH8. We were not exactly screaming down the road in happiness. This road in recent times has become crammed with truckers from 6 to 18 wheels. There is no running away from those much as you may try even with an R1! The 2X2 highway proves utterly inadequate today as we try to get out of this recession that has been seemingly hitting at us for a year now with hardly any semblance of a respite.

    The GVK Expressways maybe one of the most comfortable roads I have ridden on in this country, but it is not the fastest, seeing the amount of traffic you encounter on this road. Despite the patrolling and the fencing that gets frequently stolen by locals, you do often get a SUV coming in the opposite direction full steam in the left lane which pushes the slow-moving truck a bit to the right to let him pass. And while this truck manoeuvers, a Piaggio Ace Auto is trying to overtake the truck at its top speed of 45km/h. And thus all the three lanes of the Expressway are occupied and I am following sedately on my R1 for one of these manoeuvers to get over for me to get ahead. What a terrible waste of a 3X2 highway due to lack of discipline by its users. Not to forget the cows and the goats, the goatherd and of course the ambling jay walker with scant respect for anything in the world. But I was thoroughly enjoying myself nonetheless despite the madness. It only happens in India. There is a subtle humour to this seemingly endless chaos.

    After the Kishangarh toll bridge, I took the grade changer to the left and went on to NH79 towards Chittorgarh. I simply love this stretch. Not much traffic and I managed to blast through at quite high speeds all along, just stopping to refuel, rehydrate and shoot pictures. This part of the highway was built to join Udaipur bypassing the Aravalis. But there are some tempting long fast sweeping curves that will whet the appetite of the enthusiast biker trying some very fast corners at 150+.

    There are two ways of tackling a 700 kilometre ride with a pillion on a Superbike. You ride very very fast, stop very very little and reach your destination and save your back and that of your pillion. Or you ride reasonably, stop often and rest and reach in time for sunset. We adopted the former, to be able to reach in time for the swimming pool. Nothing like a cool swim after a long ride.

    Pit Stop


    On the NH 75



    Udaipur.

    The Romantic City, the City of Lakes, Venice of India, call the city what you will, but it is inadequate to describe the charm of this lovely quaint town nestled in the Aravalis at a commanding height of 680 metres, 2200 feet. A medieval town born in the 16th century, this is not a fast-paced, hard hitting, party going city. But it is a relatively modern looking city, a city that calms the mind, soothes the nerves and one can chill out without really a care in the world, holding the hand of your partner in one hand and the motorcycle in the other and spend your late afternoon looking at the reflections in one of the numerous lakes in Udaipur as the sun goes down in between the hills. A picture perfect setting as one would want it. You can print your own picture postcards from here!

    We climbed up to our hotel Hilltop Palace, at 1200hours, exactly 7 hours to do 690 kms from home! We had made 4 calculated stops for fuel, water, and photographs.

    Hilltop Palace, it was Sunny and Old Fox's abode too!


    View of Udaipur from the hotel


    The Hilltop Palace is a hotel perched as its name suggests on a hilltop with a marvellous view of the Fatehsagar Lake, a nice blue pool, a lovely garden restaurant overlooking the city and you are surrounded by sandalwood trees! Their Food and Beverage section is pretty competent in serving Indian and some continental cuisine, not to mention complimentary wi-fi connectivity amongst other modern amenities.

    After a few quick laps in the pool and chilling for a while on the poolside with a fresh-lime soda and watching my friend having fun in the water as well, we went out to discover Udaipur a bit more. This included a visit to the charming Sahelion ki bari, the garden of the Maids of Honour for the 48 girls of the Maharana built in early 18th century. It is a lovely garden with nearly three centuries old Royal Palm trees and other tropical species of plants; this is a botanists treat with fountains, creating a cooling monsoon effect with carved white marble elephants adding to the splendour of the place.

    Pillion takes a refreshing dip in the pool and relaxes


    Going to Sahelion ki bari, where the Maharana had 48 girls of honour, beautifully maintained garden


    Entrance to the Garden




    Udaipur also carries with it a richness of cultural heritage reflected in its indigenously developped miniature paintings tradition, albeit influenced by the Mughals. Near the Sahelion ki Bari gardens is a renowned painting school called The Rajasthan Art School. This school develops artists who keep the centuries-old tradition alive by making miniature paintings with crushed semi-precious stones and real gold and silver foils where needed to embellish the subject. Here you will find paintings on silk, paper, wood, camel bone, fine and expensive enough to give you ambitions of becoming an art collector.

    Rest of the evening was spent in a ride going on the Lovers Promenade, the walk and road that is built on the barrage that retains the waters of the Fateh Sagar Lake. This is one of the most picturesque places that you kind find in Rajasthan wherein you sit at a lakeside and one can actually see the sun go down between two hills and hold hands with your beloved and realise that finding paradise was not all that difficult!

    Saturday.

    This was the day when we discovered the exact spot from where Udaipur originated, within the famed walls of the City Palace, constructed nearly 5 centuries ago by Maharana Udai Singh. The evolution of this magnificent palace through the centuries is incredible; made in granite, marble, dark basalt and other exquisite stones, it is a maze of corridors, steps leading to courtyards, rooms decorated with coloured mirrors, amazingly beautiful fresco walled bedrooms, a place almost perfectly reminiscent of the glamour and glitz of a bygone era, rich in history and cultural heritage, well restored and maintained by the current Maharana Arvind Singh of Mewar, a man whose vision and efforts in modern times have enormously helped the tourism industry in Rajasthan. In this palace are also exposed some of the finest miniature paintings on paper of the 18th century and in another section an exquisite collection of rare collection from the 19th century. The entry to the crystal gallery is quite steep, but worth it.

    City Palace, Udaipur


    Another view of City Palace


    The Mirror Room


    Perched on the City Palace, one has a commanding view of the Lake Pichola in which is constructed the luxurious Lake Palace Hotel, every rich and famous honeymoon dream hotel, first time internationally showcased in the Bond flick Octopussy. Prepare to spend a good US$400 if you plan to spend a night there. It can go up to US$4000 for the Grand Royal Suite!

    The Mythical Lake Palace Hotel


    Bikers living in Udaipur have a plethora of choices within a few kilometres to go for fabulous rides. There is a 4-Lane highway going to Bombay beautifully cutting through the last bits of the Aravalis. There is another fast-straights 4-lane highway going to Chittor, the one that I took. There is yet another newly constructed 4-lane highway hewn into the Aravalis going towards Pindwara, Mt Abu with long corners that will have you going at 3 digit speeds! And yet another normal 2-lane highway, our famous NH8 going through the Aravalis yet again that is ideal for cornering. I went on this one in the afternoon to quench my desire to ride the One tight into corners. I did not get what I was looking for. My front tyre was giving way on the corners. It was probably nearing its end. She was sliding away underneath and I could not get any grip. And then the heat was beginning to build and get to me and the machine. I decided to give it up and visit Nagda instead. Nagda is a splendid group of temples going back to the 7th century. Two of the main temples, dedicated to Sas and Bahu relation remain somewhat intact with some great erotic sculptures that would entice the younger generations to exciting experiments and would turn the heads away of the older generation. This is a nice and quite place to sit and relax in the tranquility of nature, without the noise of the city, barely 20 kms outside Udaipur, watching the goatherds walk by, the village women do their washing in the lake, quaint little temple structures dot the hillscape.

    Riding through the Aravalis



    En route to Sas Bahu Temples


    The Sas Bahu Temples


    Lovely Granite Figurines


    The R1 and the Young Goatherd


    Back to Udaipur, we decided to go around the Fateh Sagar Lake and look for the path leading up to the Monsoon Palace. We found the road going through a village and then going up to Sajjan Garh, the Monsoon Palace. It is not a broad road. It is steep with sharp hairpin bends that are quite difficult to negotiate with any vehicle but very exciting since the tarmac laid out is well textured and very grippy.

    Once up there, the view of the Aravalis around with the city of Udaipur and its lakes is breathtaking. Sit here on the lawns, let the cool breeze from the Aravalis caress your hair, have a cool drink and just stare into space. The unusual R1 does attract a lot of attention. But the people of Udaipur are civilized enough and do not tamper with it unnecessarily.

    From Sajjan Garh, the Monsoon Palace




    Airstrip run!

    On the way to Udaipur, I had noticed a board saying Airstrip on the NH76. I wanted to find out this place for obvious reasons. Tank filled, air pressure checked, we headed back home to New Delhi. Chittor is 110kilometres. Beyond Chittor I found the board again mentioning Airstrip. I took the left exit. In less than two kilometres I was at a makeshift airport, a building barely bigger than Bhims xBhp dhaba, guarded by a single aged person in a white turban. There seemed to be no other signs of human life in the immediate vicinity. The lone guardian of the place did not seem overly perturbed by the arrival of an unusual looking bike with two people getting off. With a quick look around I took off on the airstrip.

    I have never been on track before. And this is the next best thing probably. This looked inviting, gorgeous this was a long straight of about 800 metres with no fear of cows or cattle or traffic or sudden breaking or potholes or jaywalkers or speedguns. The only fear I had was of a small aircraft landing in my face. I could live with that. The airstrip was with a slant. I went down the hill to the edge of the strip, took a U-turn, looked ahead up the hill, engaged first gear and opened out the throttle. I shifted to 2nd at 150+. In a matter of seconds before half the strip was over, I had crossed 235 kmph. I could not dare to do more. Instinctively I was looking out for people, cars and cattle as is our habit on the roads. That is what kept me from gunning it more. On a barren airstrip, I probably could have easily gone beyond 280. I did a few more rounds going up and down the strip. The feeling of freedom and exhilaration was unlike I had ever felt before. The rush of adrenaline got me drenched in sweat!

    On the Strip


    Full Throttle ahead. Notice the heat and dust trail behind!


    The sun was rising high and making its presence felt. The heat was becoming tougher. We had around 500 more kilometres to cover. We packed up with some regret and a light feeling of happiness, we gesticulated a wave of gratitude to the old watchman and were homeward bound.

    On the way back




    On the way back the heat started getting difficult to bear. Despite protective gear, the upper calves started getting the feeling of being singed. As we started nearing the NCR, the coolant temperatures were rarely under 80 despite a consistent highway run. I later got my radiator drained which helped a lot. Because of the various stops, it took us a little longer on the way back. As I parked the One in the garage, the reading on the Odo showed 1480 kilometres. A very satisfying run at the end of the day; a good decision to go for the ride. I held out, the pillion held out, the bike had no problems. But this was definitely the last long ride of the season. But would I be able to hold on long to outlast the summer without going for another ride? That is another story!

    Yours truly


    Text: Krishnendu Kes, aka KEN.
    Photographs: Krishnendu, Moon Das
    The Wheel was a great invention; Two Wheels with a Motor in between was even better!


    BMW Motorrad Days 2011

    Xbhp's Indo-French Kashmir-Ladakh Tour

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    Topic Approved.

    It's HUGE! Will read it in a while.
    ...in search of that perfect world - My Travel Blog :)

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    Rusted ken cool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aryan View Post
    Topic Approved.

    It's HUGE! Will read it in a while.
    Thanks for the approval. I am writing about my touring after a long while. I had stopped writing. I know a lot of us do not read. We just skim through the photographs on the surface. But I motivated myself to write after our exchange through PM since I realized that there are people who enjoy reading as well. I wanted to do a relatively good job to make it a nice read.
    The Wheel was a great invention; Two Wheels with a Motor in between was even better!


    BMW Motorrad Days 2011

    Xbhp's Indo-French Kashmir-Ladakh Tour

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    Rusted Sarvajit's Avatar
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    Whenever it gets a bit dull round here there is Mr.Krishnendu livening it up with his wonderful 'One' conquering the most picturesque locations! Even when he is not riding, he is bringing us interviews&so much of fun stuff to read about!
    Long live Ken Dada&his One!

    P.S. I loved the airstrip bit. Excellent flow of emotions&I'm waiting to get back home to see the pics too. Wonder how it felt at 235. I've never been beyond 145!
    Quench my thirst with gasoline!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarvajit View Post
    P.S. Wonder how it felt at 235. I've never been beyond 145!
    It seems someone has hit the "Pause" button, and the world around you comes to an absolute standstill!
    ...in search of that perfect world - My Travel Blog :)

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    Nio
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    Gr8 trip log and pics bro...
    Its really fascinating to read a log which was done on such a monstrous bike.. Loved the airstrip pics.. Also kudos to the biking spirit your partner shares with you

    but one doubt... I have heard that the long rides on this bike would burn the bum of both pillion and rider... Didn't you feel the heat or have you done it away with any aftermarket kits?

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    Rusted blisteringintelligence's Avatar
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    Wow ken da,, Amazing trip you had.. It was in April ??? Peaceful Gateaway...

    Quote Originally Posted by ken cool View Post
    The GVK Expressways maybe one of the most comfortable roads I have ridden on in this country, but it is not the fastest, seeing the amount of traffic you encounter on this road. Despite the patrolling and the fencing that gets frequently stolen by locals, you do often get a SUV coming in the opposite direction full steam in the left lane which pushes the slow-moving truck a bit to the right to let him pass. And while this truck manoeuvers, a Piaggio Ace Auto is trying to overtake the truck at its top speed of 45km/h. And thus all the three lanes of the Expressway are occupied and I am following sedately on my R1 for one of these manoeuvers to get over for me to get ahead. What a terrible waste of a 3X2 highway due to lack of discipline by its users. Not to forget the cows and the goats, the goatherd and of course the ambling jay walker with scant respect for anything in the world. But I was thoroughly enjoying myself nonetheless despite the madness. It only happens in India. There is a subtle humour to this seemingly endless chaos.

    Thats is hilarious put with a certain pinch. Why do people don't realize that if they utilize thier road driving skills (read commom sense), it would be beneficial to them as well as others.


    Quote Originally Posted by ken cool View Post
    I have never been on track before. And this is the next best thing probably. This looked inviting, gorgeous this was a long straight of about 800 metres with no fear of cows or cattle or traffic or sudden breaking or potholes or jaywalkers or speedguns. The only fear I had was of a small aircraft landing in my face. I could live with that. The airstrip was with a slant. I went down the hill to the edge of the strip, took a U-turn, looked ahead up the hill, engaged first gear and opened out the throttle. I shifted to 2nd at 150+. In a matter of seconds before half the strip was over, I had crossed 235 kmph. I could not dare to do more. Instinctively I was looking out for people, cars and cattle as is our habit on the roads. That is what kept me from gunning it more. On a barren airstrip, I probably could have easily gone beyond 280. I did a few more rounds going up and down the strip. The feeling of freedom and exhilaration was unlike I had ever felt before. The rush of adrenaline got me drenched in sweat!

    On the Strip



    Wow....
    sounds menacing.... Ken da the pic (above) looks awesome. Leaning on the One'..
    It must have been a sight...

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    I wonder how you managed to ride for 7 hours in this excruciating heat from the above,below.
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    Thumbs up

    Ken Da - wonderful ride you had there. I remember you mentioning about a 1400 kms ride & blisters; when we were discussing about some weekend getaway. If I'm not wrong, you were referring to this one!!

    Udaipur is surely a wonderful place. I also did that place in one day but took more than 13 hrs to reach their on my beloved P1500.
    I also laud the spirit your friend holds, it's not easy riding pillion so long.

    Nice write up........ nicer pics........ nicest to read !!!
    Last edited by Abhishek B; 06-05-2009 at 02:00 PM.
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    Ken Da as usual your narration and pics are superb and the ride of R1 on that airstrip must have been mindblowing...damn seeing the dust and heat at the rear I am simply amazed...... why dont you get your Black Beauty this Sunday's G2G Ken Da

    and yeah another pic which I like was this, its beautiful

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