Ride Date: 16th February, 2014
Often we move into Hibernation, and sometimes we get so much deep into hibernation that it becomes difficult for ourselves to get out of it. This Hibernation coupled with worldly responsibilities tend was killing me bit by bit, something had to be done about it, and it needed to be done ASAP.
This period of the year is not my usual riding season as I ride mostly in monsoons and also I m not a huge fan of winters, but still it had been 6 months since I had ridden with my longest standing RTUE ride partner, Ashutosh, Since he got his KTM Duke 200 last year. Now where to ride to??? Since it was just Ashu and Me, we didn’t plan anything and planned to meet at Khed- Shivapur McD at around 8 and then decide where to head out to.
I set my alarm at 5:00 A.M. expecting to start by 5:30 from Mumbai and reach the meeting point by 8:00 A.M. I didn’t get much sleep last night owing to my delayed arrival in bed. I got up on time and as soon as I started out I felt like cancelling the ride. Not because I was getting a bad feeling or so but it feels that I had developed an inertia which I found difficult to shake off.
Somehow I convinced myself to start and rode through thick smog with visibility limited to a few meters. I took the JNPT bypass and then I stopped again, thinking should I continue or not. Somehow pushed myself again and then again after crossing the toll booth after Panvel I stopped yet again. This was the point I felt that I had pushed myself the maximum and should return to my bed. I texted Ashu, that ‘I feel like returning’. I stood there for another 15 minutes, I was looking for all possible reasons to cancel my ride, I kept saying to myself: I haven’t got enough sleep, my vizor is dirty, it’s too cold, it’s pretty foggy an visibility is poor, I need to stay home and complete and complete so many pending errands, and then I remembered something which Navendu had said “You will have a thousand reasons for not riding, but one single reason would be enough to make you ride”.
That was it, it was that moment that I decided that I am riding to Pune, will take a call once I reach there. I started riding at pretty decent speeds and in no time reached Khopoli, further ahead the Khandala Ghats made sure I got into the groove. Next time I stopped was at Kamshet at around 7:00 A.M. Nope this time it was not my mind that made me stop it was my eyes…. This is what I was looking at and hence helplessly had to stop and take out my camera and yet again attempt to capture the magnificent sunrise hues.
I kept riding at nimble pace through the mild traffic and stopped at Chandni Chowk for a hot Chai break. All the while from Lonavala till Chandni Chowk I was travelling with chattering teeth due to the cold, I guess Mumbai has made me extra sensitive to cold. The first sip of the hot tea seemed to have transferred to a different world instantly.
Soon after I meet Ashu, just after the double barrel (katraj tunnel) and headed to McD. McD parking at that moment had turned into a studio where everyone was posing with the multiple superbikes parked over there. Over breakfast we started discussing where to go now, but still couldn’t decide any particular place, and then decide let’s do what we do best – Explore.
Soon we took off from the highway on a barely existent dirt track, as usual Ashu was leading and I kept following him. There was a small hill that we were approaching and once we crossed it we saw a couple of factories and kept riding ahead. As we looked ahead, it seemed that the road would end soon. To our surprise there was a road ahead also, barely used by anyone, we rode down to an area scattered with loose stones all around and stopped for the first photo break.
It was around 10:00 A.M when we started back, Ashu wanted to ride back and as he had spotted a good spot for poser pics… but then we decided to ride ahead and check out where the road leads us to. Going ahead we realized that we would be joining the NH4 soon and so did we. Then we decided to ride further towards Mahabaleshwar and once we crossed the Khambatki ghat we could see some wind mills and decided to head over to their base.
Ashutosh, has been on this route a few weeks back, and he didn’t want to do the same route, so we decided that we would try to cover every trail that comes our way now. We explored a lot and took some real trails sometimes easy to ride on and sometimes difficult very little margin of error and we eventually ended up in a dried up waterfall.
Ashu then suggested riding to Mandardevi, as I have never been there. Soon we were on our way to Wai. The road was super awesome with ample number of twists and turns to keep the rider engaged and busy and entertained. Soon we reached a point where we crossed NH4 perpendicularly and headed to Wai. En route we saw a bad accident; we stopped for a couple of minutes on the accident site and then moved ahead. We decided to have lunch at Mandar Devi. We stopped at a picturesque stop, with the hills and Dhoom dam as the background, on our way and did some time pass with the camera.
It was already past 1:00 P.M. and we decided to have lunch. Over lunch we discussed Ashu’s plan to buy the Big Bike. Rs 160/- was the total bill for lunch for both of us with cold drinks and water. We then headed a bit ahead and took some pics of the huge valley that lay ahead us. The ghat section looked super tempting and it was a delight to know that we would be taking that route on our return journey.
The afternoon phase is the phase when I love riding in winders, the breeze blowing across my face was still having the freshness and chill of the morning wind, it made me feel fresh.
We started our return journey by around 2:00 P.M. We had planned to take the route via Bhor. I expected to be in Pune by 5:00 P.M. as I was almost sure that I won’t find any other reason to stop , barring a couple of photo stops , if at all needed.
While on our way to Bhor, after a few Kms both me and Ashu stopped and we looked at each other and asked “Shall we do it?”. That’s the exact same thing that was there in our minds. What were we talking about??? Well we just saw a kind of broken road going uphill on our left, both of us instantaneously stopped and asked that to each other.
Well the answer was pretty obvious.
To be honest both of us expected that the road would extend to not more than a couple of kms, given the quality of it. We passed through a small village and everyone looked amazed and shocked, I guess that was because they are not used to see fully geared riders and bright colored bikes in their near vicinity.
To our surprise the road didn’t end as we had expected, we kept moving on and as always decided to ride till we come to the end of the road, or else find out where this road would lead us to.
As we kept progressing the amount of tarmac on the road went on decreasing and soon we were riding on a dirt road. I like riding fast on these kind of roads, but I am never able to do so, majorly because of the surrounding vistas that keep distracting me and force me to stop. I could spot a water body and just behind it was a hill. Don’t know why but the entire hill was having a blackish texture, may be coz of that’s the texture of the rocks or may be because of burnt grass.
We both spent a lot of time clicking every possible angle of everything worth clicking. Moving ahead we came to another village and unfortunately that was the end of the road, so we had no option but to retreat and join the Bhor road.
On our return ride to Pune we stopped once to click the ghat roads. I don’t know why but I was now feeling sleepy, this rarely happens when I am on these country roads, but I guess the lack of sleep last night was showing its effect now. Ashu was leading me, soon we came to NH4, there was a minor traffic jam, and we got separated. I don’t know why I started feeling that Ashu was now behind me, so I started riding real slow now. I was riding at 30 kmph for around 2-3 kms. Then I stopped and called him up, but there was no response. So I decided to move ahead slowly. After about 15 mins Ashu called me and informed me that he has reached the split-up point. I guess I was still 25 kms away from it, so I told him to move ahead, but he insisted that he would wait for me. I rode as quick as possible and met him and bid farewell for the day and proceeded to Mumbai.
With every Ride to The UnExplored, I feel rejuvenated, I feel Alive, I feel that yes I am doing a better job than just surviving.