Aahh.. feels so good to be writing a travelogue again after such a long time! It’s not like I’ve not ridden much these past few months, but then my interest seemed to be more towards writing pointless controversial articles than sharing the serene experiences from my journeys. Well, fuck it, I’m in the mood now and that’s what counts!
This is the travelogue of my 11 day long (25th Dec 2014 – 4th Jan 2015) coastal Karnataka ride from Mumbai to Banglore and back, with long detours through Karwar, Gokarna, Udupi, and Manglore. Half of the ride was done with my LOST friends, and the other half was solo. This was probably the most unplanned trip of my life, and also the most fun down south (pun intended).
I resigned from my job just after the Bhutan trip, and am serving the insane 3 month notice period as we speak. You can’t take leaves in notice period, not that I was left with any after Bhutan! What I was also NOT left with after Bhutan was money, that shitty piece of paper that everyone loves and I hate. Top secret planning for the trip in LOST had begun by November, and I had clearly said there’s no way I can join this ride.
I’m very greedy to see new places. I’m also very greedy to do things that are fundamentally wrong in every sense. I could see that this trip would be physically and economically impossible to pull off, and that’s exactly what made it so much more enticing. With each passing day I found some new excuse to go for it, this is how it all panned out:
Day 1: No money, no leaves, no ass, I can’t go!
Day 2: Can’t go man, absolutely can’t go!
Day 3: No way I can go! Can I?
Day 4: Hmm, my ass has healed rather quick. Why am I not going again? Oh yeah, money and leaves.
Day 5: Hmm, what happens if I take leaves in notice period? Oh they deduct my full salary for all of those days you say? Shit, I can’t go.
Day 6: I gotta see Karwar and Udupi man. Tell you what, I’ll go to Banglore from there to see the missus and it’ll all be worth it.
Day 7: Hmm, what about money then? Oh we are staying at friend’s places throughout the trip? No cost of hotels and shit?
Day 8: No man this is stupid!
Day 9: Hmm, so I’ll loose about 10,000 bucks from my salary but then not pay anything for the stay. Sounds like a good deal! Or does it? Do I have money for petrol and food?
Day 10: Fuck it. I’m going.
I hadn’t told any of the LOST riders that I’ll be joining them on the ride. I can’t say it was a planned surprise, since I wasn’t even sure myself till the last second if I’ll go, but then it turned to be quite fun in the end! Max, Shrey, Sachin, Manisha, Puneet and Adrian were in for the trip, with Adrian starting an hour later than the others. I called him up a night before the ride and told him about my plan, and we decided to meet up near my place at 6 to start.
The other guys had decided to start at 5 AM, but they got delayed and pushed off around 5.40 I think. Me and AD started at sharp 6 and I was expecting to catch up with the pack soon. However, as we crossed Panvel without any trace of them, seemed like they were riding far too hard, and we were riding far too easy.
I had imagined pulling up behind Sachin and Max, connecting to them on Scala, and dramatically say “What’s up?”. Sadly, that wasn’t meant to happen, although it would have been pretty sweet if it had! We were approaching Lonavala and it was colder than a witch’s tit. We were riding at around 70 kmph, because anything above that would’ve frozen our balls into fine dust. As is also expected in cold, we were peeing out more water than we had consumed in the last 3 years, which meant long hours of keeping your thighs tight shut and then really pleasurable urinary sensations.
Pune arrived quickly, and so did amazingly disoriented traffic. I had a near miss just before a flyover, where people standing in the middle of the fucking road to take a lift caused me to swerve sharp to the right and into the path of a speeding truck. It was supposed to be a holiday, and it was so early in the morning, still there was a huge jam just after crossing the city! AD told me others are waiting for us at the McDonald’s on the way, and so we off-roaded our way to the destination.
Everyone was surprised to see me! Nobody had expected to find me there, they thought I was going somewhere else and found AD on the way. Met Shreyas for the first time, had a few pancakes and a coffee, fueled up and then hit the road! But before we talk about the ride, let’s talk about the riders. Here’s a brief intro to each of the 7 people who were a part of this journey:
Probably the nicest guy I’ve known, works as a senior manager in Accenture, rides a Ninja 650. He’s the one who had arranged this entire trip, his relatives were the people who we were going to bug in Karwar and Udupi. I’ve known Max for quite a while now, but never got a chance to ride with him, given his job profile that takes him places on a regular basis. He’s known to be an aggressive pilot, and I was looking forward to sharing some 2 wheeled time with him!
Puneet holds the distinction of being the youngest member of LOST, is doing MBA from Pune, is the son of a Police officer, and rides a Duke 390. I had never done a long ride with him before this, although he and Sachin have been pals since years before, even doing Ladakh together. He’s well known for his traffic filtering skills which I found during the course of the trip to be dangerously exciting. You can tell by his demeanor that he doesn’t really give a shit about anything, much less some random guy blocking his way on the road.
He’s the guy who I’ve ridden with the most in LOST after Sachin, is always found doing night shifts, and rides a Ninja 650. We have done some crazy long rides together, which were made even crazier by the fact that he hadn’t had a single wink of sleep the night before. We always ended up pumping him with coffee and bullshit, which didn’t help much. This was the first time he would’ve had a few hours of shuteye before hitting the road, which was awesome.
I’d never met Shrey before this ride, didn’t even know he existed, even though he was apparently friends with me on Facebook and had read my articles! I’m really surprised sometimes to see the kind of people who enjoy the shit that I write. He works at Deloitte, although frankly I’ve never seen him care about that at all. He pilots a Ninja 650, which I’ve been told was involved in a mystery crash. I thought Puneet was the hairiest rider that I would see on this ride, but Shrey was destined to show me a hell of a lot more of balls munching situations as the ride progressed.
5. Sachin Nair:
Sachin Nair is a motorcycling celebrity, instantly recognizable anywhere across India, rides a Ninja 650 and occasionally a Karizma. I met him through Facebook when he asked me to join a LOST ride to Tamhini ghats, and we’ve done more than 20,000 kms together since. Sachin Nair has a lot of interesting chemical properties, one of which is that he’s stable only as long as he is on his bike. The moment his feet touch the ground, some circuit trips in his brain and all hell breaks loose. He’s a Kawasaki fanboy, who is obsessed with touring, and listens to unbelievably vile and disturbing Bollywood songs.
6. Manisha Nair:
Sachin’s better half, quite literally, she shares his passion of motorcycles, although probably not willingly. Riding a motorcycle is uncomfortable and tiring, sitting behind one is just plain torture. You have nothing to do, nothing to focus on, nothing to help you forget the pain. I have no idea how she manages to be an exceptionally well-behaved pillion for 15+ hours a day over and over again, that too behind not such an exceptionally well-behaved rider. I take out my helmet and bow down to thy glory.
7. Akhil Kalsh:
You already know me as the stupid, attention-slutty, useless piece of used tampon that I am. You also know that I ride a Duke 390. What you may not know is that a solo riding enthusiast like me has been totally converted into a group pussey by LOST, so much so that I am kinda scared of riding alone now sometimes. Although I don’t enjoy the waiting and the following and the thinking that comes with group riding, the sheer fun duly compensates for the shortcomings. Anyway, who gives a shit.
So, now that you know who all was riding, I’ll share the details of the trip starting tomorrow! Ciao.