First Rain Ride of 2009

My first decent rainy ride in more than 2 years, turned out to be a really good and satisfying in the end. Though I have ridden to Mumbai in the very first rains of the season, it was more of a high speed run on near perfect piece of tarmac.

In search of a decent resort in or around Mulshi, for a family outing next weekend, I decided to visit there on a motorcycle.

By the time I got kitted for the ride it was lunch time, though the normal routeto Mulshi is via Chandni Chowk – Pirangut – Paud, I have been on that stretch so many times that today I was just not feeling like riding on the very same stretch. So, I head out in opposite direction on NH4. After filling more than enough fuel for the ride at Shell pump (a rare thing for me, I often land up filling lesser fuel than needed for the ride and then searching for one later) I headed towards Lonavala. After having covered some 10 odd km’s, I got bored of the tarmac and got onto a road through villages and headed towards Pavana dam.

It was a bumpy, slow ride all the way with lush green scenery all around me. Though it was bone dry in Pune, as soon  as I got on this road rain god welcomes me with heavy showers. All my plans of stopping to capture greenery were put on hold, thanks to rain.

Enjoying every water filled pothole, occasional good section of tarmac and gravel, I reach the dam. Disappointed to see it not yet fully filled. A small stop and I was heading towards Paud. Just as I started to climb, the beautiful view of Tung fort made me get off the road for some offroading on slush + green grass stretches.

The ride till Paud was kinda monotonous with no rains and no great view that would made me stand up on brakes. Road conditions deteriorated soon after Paud and I was already in no mood to repeat the Paud – Mulshi stretch on my way back.

After finishing the inspection of all the probably resorts, I was feeling hungry so pulled over for a pit stop around 3:15. Missal Pav it would be for the near empty stomach. While having food I decided to head towards Lonavala. It was almost 4pm and with bike’s chain a bit loose for my comfort and rear sprocket having a bit of play (may be rubber bushing/bearing gone), there was a distinct possibility of getting stranded in a jungle. All part and parcel of adventure on two wheels, I said and got on the bike and headed towards Tamhini.

The road was bit better than before but the non-stop rain was giving very little chance to bring out the camera. Just after crossing Tamhini village, I got off the road and got on the offroad section towards Amby Valley. After a decent stretch initially, consisting of broken tarmac and some gravel I got on a stretch that was mostly a layer of stones, almost till the end. With rain, jungle and hardly any civilization, I wasn’t complaining much about the road surface. After all I didn’t want to go berserk on near perfect tarmac.
It was disappointing to see not too many sections of road under water, not enough water streams or over flowing rivers, as I encountered during my last ride on this section.

Before it got anywhere close to dark I was on the tarmac section near Amby valley, twisties at its best. It was tempting me to push like crazy in search of scraping my knees against tarmac. Alas, if wishes were horses I would have been on a 223bhp machine and not a 223cc machine. In no time I was riding in thick fog, with near zero visibility, so all plans of pressing that “red” button were put to rest. Though the pace was really slow, still it was fun. After all I was still out of city limits with not much traffic to deal with.

Soon the dream run came to an end, as I approached Bushi Dam. With no fog and rain around, I switched from fun mode to reach home mode. After a initial struggle to pass the long queue of cars, I somehow managed to come out on NH4. The traffic is diverted and I came out just next to the turn for Rajmachi. It was very very tempting to take the turn but with clock well past 6, it was just too late for my comfort. So, it was time to slot into top gear and finally press the “red” button to head home before it gets dark. In the end, just managed to park my bike in garage before it was pitch dark to end a much needed and entertaining ride.

When: 8th Auguest 2009
Route: Pune – Pavana Dam – Paud – Mulshi – Tamhini – Kundalika – Amby Valley – Lonavala – Pune.
Distance: 213km’s
Time taken: 6hrs 35min.

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