Hyderabad-Mumbai-Bangalore and back: Day 3 – Traffucked



Same routine as always. Drag yourself to the washroom, stay alive on the pot, put your gears on and ride.

Unlike always, I had a plan this morning. It was a bad plan, as in it was badly planned, but a plan nonetheless. The plan was to go to AH Helmets in Andheri, then Garage 52 in some jungle, then Moto101 in Bandra, and then back to base. Even though I had lived in Mumbai for some 4 years, I had never gone to Andheri, or anywhere north on the western/central line for that matter. couldn’t be bothered, I don’t care much for places close to me inside the city, it’s always the distant ones on the highway that are fun.

I had no real idea what road to take to Andheri. A quick Google search said go on the JVLR, but it got rather messy after that, so like a true explorer, I gave no shit about it and promptly got lost somewhere deep inside Jogeshvari’s asshole.

It was so fucking hot.

I wear contact lenses, the hard kind, which means I always wear goggles, dark in day, clear at night. It also means my visor is always closed, which means at most times I can only see 50% of where I’m going, thanks to the fogging.

With the humidity and the crawling traffic, I found myself watching the world like I was looking through a shattered piece of glass that a dog had licked and then shit on. Stopped a few times to gather my strength, check the route and then go again. The KTM Duke 390 is probably the worst bike for this kind of riding. Your legs are being constantly blasted by hot air straight from the exhaust of a Boeing 747, your hands are paining because of the hard clutch, shitty front brake and rough throttle, and your balls get crushed every time you brake because your hands have no power to stop you sliding forward, and your legs are opened wide to stay away from the engine.

Somehow I managed to keep going, pushing as hard as I could in empty stretches to get some air going through me and the engine. The air was hot, but anything to take the sweat away was welcome. I finally found my bearings, and things were starting to look good, until I found the shop and pulled over in front of it.

It was closed.

Apparently the owner, unlike every other decent human being to walk this beautiful planet, kept his shop closed on Wednesdays. What kind of day is Wednesday to take a break on? Do it on a Monday, or the weekend, what’s the logic behind resting up in the middle of the week?

I was too tired to be angry, so onwards we go to Garage 52.

In case you aren’t aware of it, Garage 52 is a tiny little garage in some ungodly little village next to the posh Bandra suburbs that’s always filled with bikes of all sizes and kinds. It’s a joint venture of a number of guys, with Josh being the mechanic, Lendl and Alistair being the shop guys, and Vir and Harsh being the mad riders. Vir and Harsh run Helmet Stories motorcycle tour company as well. It’s a brilliant place to be at if you are into bikes, it’s one the manliest places you can be at, with oil everywhere, open engines lying around, and talks of distant lands and beautiful women interspaced with exhaust notes of exotic 2 wheeled beauties.

Josh is a rather serious fellow who was too busy working on some big engine to give a shit about me. Lendl and Alistair spoke to me at length, and were soon joined by the abominable snowman that’s Vir Nakai. Vir is easily 4 times my size, I look up at him like a Pomeranian looks up at Michel Jordan. He’s plenty chilled out, maybe a bit too much. He was trying to show me some framed photograph of something that I don’t remember now, and then flung it towards the table to get talking again. The frame had other ideas, and calmly slid across the desk and hit itself down on the floor, shattering into a million tiny pieces of glass.

Let’s make this garage a glass free zone, shall we?

Everyone agreed.

After the guys helped me fix my broken phone mount, I was off to Moto101. Moto101 is a shop located at a rather good location that’s run by a guy called Rahul. Either he was unwell that day, or that’s how he always is, but I found him to be a bit gloomy, unhappy. It’s the kind of feeling you get from a guy who has been fighting the world for too long, and just wants to catch a break for a while, but can’t seem to find one.

Or maybe it’s just me who’s a dick.

After saving some time not going to AH Helmets on the account of it being fucking closed, I thought I’ll go to the Outdoor Travel Gear store nearby. By then it was late afternoon, and I knew if I waited any longer the traffic would bite me in the ass. So I gave up, and started the return journey to Powai.

The place where JVLR starts, there’s always traffic. There’s always traffic not because there’s some problem with the road or there are cows mating in the middle, there’s always traffic because of the bloody traffic police. They randomly stop traffic, mostly in the fastest, right most lane, and create jams all day long. I have no idea what their logic is, and what they hope to achieve with this fucktardery, but damn it’s annoying to be on such a wide and beautiful road, only to find your scrotum being melted because you are stuck in a traffic jam created especially for you by the esteemed traffic police.

Back home, it was time to rest up a bit and then we were back to Dunkin to meet friends. Sherman came in, and if you don’t know Sherman, you just got to. If you took him to a neurologist, I can guarantee they’ll do some MRIs on his brain and tell you there’s something awfully wrong in there, but then the fact is that most interesting people in this world are fucked in the head. There are no interesting stories that start with good ideas, and it’s people who eat, sleep and live stupidity that I enjoy the most with.

This was probably the only night in the last few days that I was not already dead before it was time to sleep. Had a small chat with Shrey about life and girls and the meaning of life, and then it was time to say night night.

Tomorrow was going to be yet another long one, and all I needed all the rest I could get before it was time to dance again.

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  1. Rahul P

    “talking about bikes, women and distant lands.”

    in other words, everyday biker speak!

    So if the Duke 390 is such a pile of dogshit, why not get a less thigh roasting pile of horseshit, like say, a Splendor ? :p You won’t see much at night, brakes will take a train-length to stop you from a fast 36km/h , but you’ll get 69km/litre ( yeah, 69 was deliberate! Tharki sala ! ) and you’ll be able to have children.

    Ok, serious question – is the Duke 200 then a better commuter than the 390?

    1. AK

      Far better!

  2. Kameshwar Choppella

    What you doing suffering like that..get the slipper clutch and bigger radiator the new dukes come with.

    1. AK

      Yep, waiting for this clutch to burn out.