“Monsoon has arrived early” was in the news. Our well planned Goa ride was in danger to be scraped. Goa and parts of Konkan reportedly have received more than average rain fall in just few days.
Fri, 02 June 2006 – Day before the D’day
In the morning checked with all the 7 gladiators (riding in this weather was nothing less than going on a war) about the ride, most of us were all set except for some who wanted to check the latest weather condition in Goa. By noon 4 warriors have surrendered to the weather gods but 3 of us were determined to go ahead.
Arpan then decided to use his Management skills to best and started to check for room availability, surprisingly most of the resorts were full. We then considered to drop the Goa plan and head towards Tarkarli but unfortunately MTDC at Tarkarli was also booked. So with no other option left we decided to head to Goa only and stay at Hotel Ac’anoa on Calangute beach. Rooms were booked.
I have already got my Fiero serviced, replaced the worn out rear M45 3.00×18 with a brand new Zapper ‘Q’ 90/90×18. This was going to be my long ride on Fiero after a long time. Have decided to take Fiero as the ride is falling on the eve of 6th B’day of the baby. Also Bullet awaiting for the faulty coil plate to be replaced and CBZ needing a urgent visit to service station.
In the eve meet with Roy. Discussed the trip, he gave some nice suggestions about the route and was feeling very tempted to join in for the ride but had some plans for the weekend. Sadly for him the planned work was more important than the ride.
So finally me on my Black Fiero and Arpan with Alok (as pillion) on Alok’s Black Pulsar 180 DTSi were ready for the ride.
It was the eve before another good ride. Packed my camster. Cleaned my visor. Went down to give a nice coat of wax to the baby. While trying to sleep, I was not able to sleep in anticipation of another ride. Finally around 2am I went to sleep.
Sat, 03 June 2006 – D’day
We have decided to start by 5am but by the time I warmed up my bike in parking it was alredy 5:20. The roads were wet from last night rain and it was dark as well. My first stop was at RTO gas station to tank up. It was a difficult start for the ride. The oncoming traffic was on high beam in the city making it impossible to see the road ahead in Fiero’s headlight. Also the bike was feeling nervous on wet surface. Around 5:45 after tanking up I started from RTO. Reset the trip meter on Sigma. It was a bit day light by now. Pune roads are never so empty in day. I headed towards Chandni Chowk from where I had to take the Mulshi route to hit NH17 at Kolad.
Took the right turn from Chandni Chowk and it was day by now. Was going this side of town after a long time and I was in for a surprise. The narrow bumpy road has now been replaced by a nice wide two lane road. Wasn’t sure how long it would last but I was in for a surprise. The road were still wet and everytime I used to go in a curve bike was felling nervous, making me thing again about the possiblity of going back and taking out the Bullet.
So far it was a scary ride. Confused about what to do I crossed Manas lake. It was now too late to head back and I decided to carry on, showing faith in god and my bike. By the time I reached Pirangut, the nervous feeling has reduced a lot. I wonder it was possibly due to the wet roads and some mud on it, got by moving traffic.
The wide road lasted till Mulshi (its already wide road from Mulshi onwards) and uptil now the weather was awsome, will lots of white and gray cloud all over the place. It started to drizzle now.
Riding a bit more towards Thamini and I could see clouds on and around road. As I was riding through this amazing scenery, didn’t realise that I have almost reached Thamini ghat. Around 07:15 stopped next to the place from where one can peek into the valley. It was filled with clouds, could not stop myself in getting busy with camera.
By now I was not alone on the road. Tourist and local’s have started to come out on road. I never get bored riding down then Thamini ghat, today was no exception either. By now the bike was holding well onto the clean wet roads and taking those curves was feeling good. At 07:35 I once again stopped to capture some images into my camera.
By the time I came down the ghat I was in two mind, to take the same old route to Kolad or to take the road to Mangaon. Decided to go by Roy’s suggestion that road to Mangaon is recently made. This would not only reduce the distance but would also let me ride through some more scenic route. The road was smooth and almost empty and it was nice cruising on it. By now I increased my speed upto 70-75. Soon the rain again started. It was short spells of rain all the way till I hit NH17 at Mangaon.
NH17 was as busy as ever. Nearing Mahad I could see the Savitri river flowing in full flow and it again started to rain heavily. Having removed my pant of the rain suite earlier, my body’s lower half was nicely drenched.
At 09:05 I reached Poladpur, our meeting point. Pulled over at a nice looking hotel and sms’ed Arpan about my location. Around 09:30 Arpan also reached and it was time for us to do some food munching.
After a over 1hr break we resumed the ride at 10:15. I took the lead with Arpan following me.
Down the ghat, it was back to normal clear skies for sometime before it used to rain heavily again. Crossed a couple of more small ghats. With rain washing the road the bike was handling well in rain as well as on wet roads. All my fears when the bike was initially feeling nervous were gone.
Took a small break at Khed as Alok needed to call up his home, since he dropped his cell phone somewhere on the road. We decided to next stop for lunch only. So we kept on passing town after town until we stopped at Hotel Swad right after Sangameshwar at 13:00.
Again after almost an hr long break we resumed at 13:55. The destination was not too far away now. NH17 in rains is one awsome rode to ride on, which we all were experiencing first hand. Riding through sessions of white skies, heavy rains and dark skies we crossed Ratnagiri and soon reached Kankauli. Just before entering Kankauli we rode through one of the heaviest rain we faced so far. Around 16:45 we stopped for a small tea break. By the time we were done with the tea break the rain which we have passed, arrived at Kankuali as well and without wasting anymore time we resumed at 17:10. Goa was not too far away now, just over 100km and we were very optimistic to reach Goa for the first time in day light.
Right after we overtook rain clouds one more time, my bike came into reserve and took a small fuel break at the next Reliance gas station,
It was till day light when we entered Savantvadi just before that we manage to run into a intra town street racer on a pulsar 180, when Arpan decided to show him how to ride a bike, zooming past him on every single straight even with a pillion behind.
Enter Savantvadi and the roads got narrow, the speed again came down until we crossed it. Goa was within striking distance now. The pace was upped for one last time. Around 19:00 we crossed Mapusa and were heading towards Calangute beach when it started to rain once again. It was a bit dark now, while we were trying to reach our hotel. Riding in rain with every single moron coming from the opposite direction with high beam on was very difficult.
At 19:30 we managed to safely park our bikes at the hotel and checked in. It was now time to relish our first entry to Goa in day light and we partied till late into the night.
Distance Covered: 546.42km
Riding Time: 10hrs 17min
Avg Speed: 53.53km/hr
Total Time: 11hrs 45min
Max Speed: 89.7km/hr
Average to refill #1: 40.43km/lt
Sun, 04 June 2006 – Rest day
Thanks to partying till late night, got up late and the moment we got up all the plan of riding to Jog falls, etc were cancelled.
So this was one lazy day to be spend in Goa. After a lazy breakfast in nearby hotel we decided to hit the beach but red flag was put up there, means no chance of going in the water. Then decided to go for a small ride. Went to Panjim and then towards old Goa, once again I rode on this bridge few feet above sea level. When stomach decided enough is enough and it need food, we headed back to NH17 to pick some munchies for our stomach.
Post lunch, Arpan asked me to take a small ride on Alok’s Pulsar 180 DTSi, while they both rode on my Fiero. Though it was a small ride till our hotel, the difference in power, between Fiero and Pulsar 180, made me feel live again. Decided right after that enough is enough, I’m buying the next poweful bike getting launched, as I’m not getting young either.
Evening was spend on the beach, still red flag so can’t enter the water. So enjoyed the view. Luckly the whole day was almost dry but the clouds in the sky were giving ominous signs for next day.
Came night and once again we were looking for options to feed ourselves. Decided to hit a dhaba kind of resturant near by. Service was a bit slow but the food was descent. Nothing like what he had in lunch or prev night. Tried to hit the bed early, as we were planing to start back early morning, but all in vein as everyone was troubling everyone else.
Distance Covered: 43.94km
Riding Time: 1hr 01min
Total Time: 6hrs
Avg Speed: 43.59km/hr
Max Speed: 80.6km/hr
Mon, 05 June 2006 – Ride back
Forced to get up early by Arpan. As we guessed prev eve, it was raining once again. Lazily started to pack stuff and got ready to hit the road. We decided not to return back via the same NH17, instead we will hit NH4 via Amboli and then Arpan & Alok will go Bombay via Pune.
After loading luggage and checking out in rain, we started our ride back at 07:00 from the hotel. Weather was nice and it was feeling nice, having spend a weekend away from all the hurried life back home. We decided to keep the avg speed higher this time around but the moment we came on NH17, skies opened once again. Just after coming out of Goa stopped to click some pics.
Just after we started, bike again came in reserve. So decide to tank up at next pump as the gas in this part of country is very cheap, as compared to Pune.
Roads were wet and almost empty when we started the climb to the ghat to reach Savantvadi. This was the first time I was climbing up a big ghat on Fiero (since I bought Bullet) and realised that just having oodles of torque is not enough, gearing needs to be right as well.
Since we were to ride via Amboli, we have to take a right turn after Savantvadi, so kept an eve on the turn. The road, last time I rode there were good, was wondering how they will be now after heavy rains. After taking the turn the roads are full of twisties and is a dream to ride when roads are dry. The surface hasn’t gone bad even after rains and soon we started the climb up to Amboli.
The view into the valley was beautiful. During the middle of monsoon this place is gonna be heaven, can’t wait to return back during that time. the view into the valley is such that you might land up stopping at each turn to peek into the valley.
Amoli ghat climb confirmed my thoughts I had before about importance of gearing. On my last visit on Bullet, I was climbing the ghat mostly in 2nd and 3rd gear, hitting 4th very less frequently. This time on Fiero, except for some tight turns (taken in 2nd) most of the climb was easily done in 3rd and 4th gear, even when Fiero got less than half torque as that of a Bullet (yes bullet weight much more than Fiero).
Just before entering Amboli we came across this “big €? waterfall. People were stopping and running to take a shower in it.
Took a small break for breakfast in Amboli at around 09:40. Saw that there is a hotel also here, in case anyone wants to spend a night here, which I think will be worth a lot. After Amboli we had two options to take, one is carryon on the SH to Belgaum and then enter NH4 or go off the SH towards Kolhapur. With overall distance to Kolhapur coming shorter via the direct route we decided to leave the SH after Amboil. We started from Amboli at 10:05. The road after Amboli is in ok condition and goes through not too dense forest but ya its full of twisties.
After crossing Ajra on this twisty road we had two options, one was to hit NH4 near Sankeshwar via Gadhinglaj (taken by me in past) OR hit NH4 near Nipani (more closer to Kolhapur) via Uttur and Bahirevadi. I decided to take the other route, which turned out to be a good choise and the road were better and some great view as well.
This road goes for some distance almost on the top of a hill, from where you can get a nice view of the city ahead. We came on NH4 right in the middle of a downhill of a ghat there. It was all dry, with no sign of rains. Seeing wide 4 lane empty road Arpan upped his pace leaving me with my slow old bike struggling to keep pace but he used to slow down couple of km’s later realising he is all alone. Nearing on kolhapur we once again meet intra town street racers on a Pulsar 180 (with pillion). This was tempting enough for Arpan to toy around with them, I tried to keep pace for some time but those bikes were fast for me. So I was left to enjoy the wide open roads on my own. This time I realised that Fiero has become very stable in heavy winds and crosswinds on open road all thanks to the rear 90/90×18 Zapper ‘Q’.
After Kolhapur we reassembled once again, when they have stopped to inform their parents. I decided to carry on as I was not going above 80.
Once again Karad proved to be unlucky for me as we somehow missed each other and instead of stopping for lunch there we carried on to regroup on road few km’s after the town. With Satara hardly away, we decided to carry on till Pune for lunch.
The NH4 has become so good now that anybike is going to feel underpower and I just can’t wait to start my patrolling of NH4 astride my new bike. It was a bit warm, as compared on NH17, and a much needed break was taken just before Khambatki ghats. It was almost 14:38 now and we were all set to enter our cities in day light. After a small break, we resumed our ride at 14:55. I was posibbly riding down the Khambatki on my Fiero for the second time (since its made) and the rear 90/90×18 Zapper ‘Q’ made the bike “rock €? stable in the curves.
Pune was just few km’s away and we were not cruising towards the end of a memorable ride. We were so happy that we almost forgot about the “great €? Katraj ghat. As usual when we reached there, there was a mini traffic jam, with everyone trying to pass other on those broken/non-existing roads. I was lucky to get a nice opening to be able to cross the ghat smoothly. Slowed down after crossing the ghat for Arpan to catch up. I was now feeling hungry and with its not even 4pm I floated the proposal to him that lets end the ride (for me) at Chandni Chowk over few rounds of Veg Cheese Sandwitches and Coffee. Which hungry Arpan agreed to.
Around 16:10 we reached Chandni Chowk to mark the end of ride for me. To celebrate another successful ride, we ordered a round of Veg Cheese Sandwitches and Coffee. After food I departed with Arpan & Alok near Wakad turn off to head towards my home sweet home.
All in all it was a nice ride. The first one this year for me in rains. Was happy to do it on the eve of 6th B’day of my first love.
Distance Covered: 445.50km
Riding Time: 7hr 36min
Avg Speed: 58.94km/hr
Total Time: 9hrs 10min
Max Speed: 107.4km/hr
Average to refill #2: 44.52km/lt
Average to refill #3: 38.35km/lt
Total Distance Covered: 1,035.86km
Overall Mileage: 41.10km/lt