A Long Solo Nonstop Night ride

Bangalore to Kerala (Thodupuzha)
22.02.2007

Last Thursday was the day saw the heights of loneliness. Though I’ve been staying alone for years I’ve never felt this much lonely ever in my life. I did a solo ride to Kerala from Bangalore on my bullet. Always I ride in group, no matter it is a group of two or three or a big one of 30 to 40.

I decided to ride home this time. Though driving the entire stretch is not new to me, a ride, that too alone and 75% at night would definitely be a different experience altogether. My Bullet has never seen Kerala before. And I haven’t ridden such a distance alone too. The issues I had were the severe heat at day time and the loneliness of solo riding. Somehow I’m confident about the bike. The reason, I don’t know though… I still remember the incident when I had a flat tyre on reaching Bangalore after a long ride of around 350km. I can’t even imagine what could have been done if it happened in any of the deserted areas through which we rode. A narrow escape…

Issues with the KL ride: Heat and the sun.

Solution: Ride at night. Chandra gave me the idea, long live Chandra. And there is no solution to the loneliness issue, so just bare it.

But I always had that concern… How will I be able to ride alone… I expect someone to talk to and crack jokes when I stop... Even before starting I visualized myself standing all alone on the roadside looking at strangers and passing vehicles like a kid got lost in a crowd. I felt pity for myself… Ohhh this isn’t the time to have such thoughts… Suddenly reality stuck me and I’m back to normal.

Around 3:30 I felt the heat got settled a bit and got the idea to reach Mettur by sunset and take the first stop there. Full tanked from Reliance in Tamilnadu (saved Rs.2 /liter) after which I never felt like stopping for tea or food (if it’s a group ride we stop every now and then for coffee and chit chat). I remember reaching Mettur at 6:50 I didn't even want to stay there for a minute. The place is filled with all kinds of small flies and bugs, when I rode I could hear the sound of those senseless (or may be poor is the right word to use here) creatures smashing onto the headlamps. And the real stop happened later, forced to take a break at 9:00 by cops at Perumthurai in Tamilnadu.

That was funny experience indeed. Highway cops, 3 of them waiting near a speed breaker with a quails, stopped me with high expectations. Someone with Karnataka registration bike, Cramster bag on tank and back, two extra fog lamps… as a whole a different genus, worth stopping…

The first question when stopped… “Enthada ithu… ange ingeyellam romba light ellam fit panni… enge poneda…” (All these extra lights here and there… where are you going)

Sir, from Bangalore to Cochin…

Alright, show the documents… I started a conversation with one of the cops asking which place that was and how many km to Coimbatore from there etc. (just a diplomatic approach) while another one went on talking in tamil about different offences I’ve committed which I couldn’t understand fully. Few which I could catch with a lot of probing were…

1. No black eye sticker on the headlamp…

Sir, this rule is no more there in KA and KL.

No no, its still there in TN

2. Extra fog lamps which are not permissible…

Antha Bangaloru full romba fog sir…. Cant ride without fog lamps…

3. Over speeding…

Oh my goodness, what would I say… Don’t make me speechless…

“Appadiyellam sollath sir…” I am riding all the way from Bangalore to Cochin and if trouble comes on the way, how will I complete this with peace of mind… What I need is encouragement from you all. I'm sure I could do a good dramatization and did deliver all these in a typical tamil movie tone. That worked, I could sense smiles with respect on them… Now I don’t see a Mullaperiyar or Kaveri barricade between us. One cop himself folded and put the vehicle documents in the cover and handed over to me. They wished me a safe ride and I left the place happily exchanging lots of “Nandri”.

I remember passing Trissur at 11:50 and close to Angamali bike got reserved. Ooops, that was something I forgot to keep in mind. Reserve is only 1 ltr and failing to find an open bunk in the middle of the night is the definition for disaster. Thad didn’t happen, found one Indianoil pump before Perumbavoor.

The guy who came out to fill petrol looked at the KA registration plate and then looked at me and asked me if Im riding all the way from KA. When I said yes he stopped for a while and tried to pass on his concern… why don’t you come by bus…

Oh... that’s fine and I like to ride and I do ride a lot.

Hmm... How much petrol did u fill?

I said one tank full got over and now I’m filling from you.

He did a quick calculation and exclaimed… oh god, petrol worth almost Rs. 800. !!!

Again his instincts couldn’t stop him deliver a few words of advice… asking me to come by bus next time, riding such a distance is dangerous… that too at night…

I will remember his face for a very long time, I’m sure.

Finally…

544 km

10 hrs and 10 min

16 ltr petrol

6 bread jam sandwiches, 2 boiled eggs, one black tea and one ltr water

Almost nonstop

At 1:40 I reached home.

Route: Bangalore- Hosur- Krishnagiri- Dharmapuri- Thopur- Mettur- Bhavani- Coimbatore- Valayar- Palakkad- Trissur- Angamali- Perumbavoor- Muvatupuzha- Thodupuzha.

Thanks to Bullet, she once again proved herself reliable and trustworthy.

Now let me think about riding back to Bangalore…

The bike’s given for service today morning. Here we have someone called Mr Willi, respectable person for all the bullet owners here in the town. Though he doesn’t do the job himself anymore for health reasons, the job is still done by his disciples.

The gear box seal has taken the toll and is broken… can see grease leaking… will be ready before the return ride back to Bangalore.


7 comments:

Anonymous said...

JO, thazt really a ncie ride.. man, i want to ride down to kerala once... last week my friend rode dwn to ottapalam, and came back today mng. Solo rides r fun :) wish u all the best for return trip. if u have time, take the bandipur route.
aNoop

jsr said...

excellent, nice ride and nice writeup. good luck for your return ride to Bangalore.
--
jsr

Biker BT said...

Hi Jo,

Nice blog...Riding solo has its own joys along with the risks !

Cheers,

Thump on!
BT

Mustang said...

neat write up mate.

* Use a reflective jacket (the ones that the cops use ). It helps identification by oncoming traffic while riding at night.

Ride hard, ride safe !

Cheers
mustang

Kam said...

Nice post buddy, and a nice ride!
Keep riding Jo behenji :P
Cheerz!

Sriram said...

Jo, I must compliment you for doing such a challenging ride. And a fantastic write-up too. Well, my advice to you for the loneliness bit - find a girl or get married or find a girl and marry her :-)

Joy said...

thanks for the great write up, jobin. the route brought back some wonderful memories from the past. me and vipin did a 4-day trip to kanyakumari, with the ongoing journey thru kerala and the night halt was at ottapalyam. still remember the great ghat roads and the excellent kerala paratha with chicken curry...

-joy