Chapter 3 – Goa to Bangalore and meeting a friend:
I had planned to start from Goa early, but not too early. I think starting at like 5 in the morning has the following disadvantages:
- It’s dark, so I have to put my clear visor on and clear goggles, which after an hour or so I have to change to iridium visor and dark goggles. It’s too much work.
- There’s barely anybody out there on the road, so if you are lost, you are lost. I don’t trust GPS much.
- There’s nobody to make you breakfast, and I hate riding on an empty stomach.
- Waking up that early means that there’s no way you can take that morning shit, which in turn means that you have to hunt for a suitable place later in the day, or compromise on the level of cleanliness, or shit in the open.
Considering these points, I woke up at 7 in the morning, and was happily ready to bounce by 8. Called up the housekeeper, called up Gavin, thanked them both for putting up with me and was on my way by 8:30. I had written down the way till Margao circle, and after that I knew I had to keep going straight.
Directions have such relative meaning in India.
State Borders Suck Balls:
It was Sunday morning, that too in Goa. The hungover locals were either still sleeping, or walking around like lazy zombies. There was the best kind of traffic on the road, which is none. I knew I had to go towards Hubli and stay away from Belgaum, but apparently those 2 destinations go hand in hand till about halfway. I didn’t know that.
After a few wrong turns trying to stay away from Belgaum, I finally hit the highway. Saw an MH registered Bullet guy in front of me and thought he was going the wrong way. He stopped on the side so I asked him what he was up to. He said he was going to Bangalore, and was surprised to see me following him.
The Goa Bangalore highway is brilliant, apart from a small stretch on the border that is totally fucked up. State borders in India tell that real story of how much we love each other. Be it Bihar, UP, MP, Himachal, Punjab or whatever, the 20 odd kilometers around the border is like a quarantine zone, like there’s an Ebola infection running around and the government couldn’t sacrifice enough workers to get the job done.
Superbikes, 390 and brotherhood:
Saw a few superbikers on the way, one S1000R and the other a Hypermotard. In the stretch where I didn’t take a single stop, I saw them taking 3. Can’t be easy to ride a 200hp machine hunched over for hours.
A few kilometers ahead I was starting to get hungry. Saw a big restaurant out front and thought I’ll go in. As I was about to take the turn, saw like 40 Dukes parked outside. No thank you! Crowds make me sick.
After a while I chanced upon something I hadn’t expected to see on a highway, a railway crossing! A guy was riding with a pillion on a Duke 390, so I got off my bike to kiss their balls.
390 is not a comfortable machine, and sitting pillion on it can be used as a replacement for waterboarding at Guantanamo. Just make the terrorist sit behind the rider for half an hour, he’ll tell you things he himself didn’t know he knew.
Saw a Street 750 guy there too, looked kinda lonely. I’ve noticed that Harley guys generally look down upon the 750 guys as some kind of glorified Bullet owners. You can read one Harley owner’s experience of this so-called “brotherhood” here. I’ve never really understood this brotherhood bullshit anyways, I mean if I find a biker stranded on the road I will go and help him, no matter what make his bike is. It already has a name, it’s called compassion. Why call it something else and then wave it around like some kind of flag that apparently makes you the bigger man?
Me and the 750 guy both nodded to each other, and then went on our way. You don’t need to be overly nice to anybody, you don’t need to chat up with every biker you see on the way, you don’t need to prove that you are a biker at every little chance by forcing your goodwill on other unwilling bikers.
Some people take movies too seriously.
Empty stomach and broken wrist:
I’ve always been a quick rider, quick not in the sense of speed, but quick in covering distances. I don’t go over my limits as far as kmph goes, but I always find myself going over my limits of hunger. And I hate that. The way it works is that I just don’t want to stop, so I keep making excuses to keep going.
We’ll stop when the fuel tank is half empty.
Now the tank is just slightly more than half empty. Let’s wait till it’s totally empty.
Now I’ve just fueled up, let’s ride till the tank is half empty and then eat.
And thus the cycle goes on. Again, it has to do a lot with the bike. By the time I decide that this restaurant looks good for food, it’s already a kilometer behind me, so I keep pushing. It’s stupid in many ways, but then that’s the way it is.
The distances were being covered with great dexterity though. I was really enjoying the road, and the people too. There were kids lined up on the side of the road, stretching their hand out, waiting to be high-fived. I tried my best to satisfy all of them, but then like always, some overenthusiastic dude comes along and hits my hand so hard the wrist nearly snaps. Then I just nod and carry on.
But no matter how much it may hurt, nobody ever high-fives you in a car.
RDs and Harleys:
I was more or less alone all the way, overtook some Bulleteers, giving them the thumbs up. Soon it was time to hit the Pune – Bangalore highway, and that’s when the bike traffic started to pile up. A buttload of assorted Harleys, a Ducati Monster with loud pipes, a lot of Dukes, and even an RD350 gang.
I’ve never ridden an RD before, although I’ve heard a lot of its glory. There were 2 RD guys riding with a Ninja 650, and they were constantly doing 130+, with relative ease! I had trouble keeping up with them, and there was no chance of overtaking them at all, at least not safely. That’s one oldie that I’d like to hump someday.
There were too many Harleys, more parked on the side than actually riding. I think they were all part of one group or the other, but then somebody would get lost somewhere and then everybody would stop. Or their obnoxiously loud exhausts caused their ears to bleed every half an hour or so, and then they were forced to rest.
God I hate these Harley tractors.
Riding is not always fun:
The final dash from Hubli to Bangalore was quite uneventful, like that entire stretch is from all the way from Pune. Riding like a machine for hours on end without any tangible reward or satisfaction is one of the non-glamorous sides of riding, but then sometimes it is not about the ride, it’s about the destination.
I did do another stupidity on the way, like I’ve done many times before. I was riding, and I could see the fuel was going to run out soon. In my laziness, I just kept pushing on. I thought well, sooner or later I’ll find a pump on my side and I’ll stop and refuel. I’m quite aware of the inadequacies of the Duke as far as range on full tank go, and I also knew I was pushing the limits.
I found myself in a stretch where there were no petrol pumps on the left of the road, everything was on the right. I would’ve crossed over, but the stupid divider was in my way. Kept pushing my luck, till I finally ran out of it.
The engine stopped.
I was like fuck, finally it did happen! Stopped on the side, took off my helmet and gloves, and called my friend that I’ll be in Bangalore in 2 hours. The place where I had parked had nothing around it, no shops, no bus stops nothing. I looked around and it almost felt deserted. I went towards my ViaTerra Velox saddlebags to remove the extra liter of fuel I always carry, and when I turned back an old villager had spawned next to my bike.
He was just looking. Not talking, not listening, just looking. I said Hi and carried on with filling the fuel up. A few seconds later some village biker stopped over, and he joined in on the looking game. Here I was, on one of the best highways in India, parked in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by 2 unknown, curious folks, for no particular reason.
Meeting people is fun:
Made it to Bangalore around 4, and them promptly got stuck in a jam. No matter what day, what time, what place, Bangalore’s throat is always choked with the thick and slender dick of traffic. Even though traffic sense in there isn’t the worst one you’ll see in this country, just the utter lack of infrastructure and the overwhelming number of users is the problem.
Took an hour to make it to Marathalli, and then finally it was time to get my ass off the seat!
The following days were spent in sloth. I just love to not get up early in the morning, especially when you get to watch someone else do it! I did one good thing though, despite my incredible laziness, which was to meet a friend I had talked to on social media since long.
Krishna Prasad. Biker. Blogger. I’ve known him since quite a while. When I first started RiderZone, I REALLY wanted it to be popular, so much so that I didn’t give a shit about what I had to do to get there. In one such frenzy of insanity, I contacted Krishna and more or less attempted to force him to work for me. He refused, and thank God he did.
We met in the evening, in a McDonalds that we found nearby. Topics of discussions ranged from our riding history to our controversies to our passions and of course rants. He is much younger than what I always thought he was, and I enjoyed the few hours we talked, even though the Bangalore rain tried its best to fuck up.
I don’t know why I didn’t meet random biker strangers before, it’s a very uplifting experience. It’s hard to find people who have the same mental disorder as you, the worst thing you can do is try to shut yourself in, vainly attempting to control your surroundings. This is one thing that I’m really looking forward to changing this year. I’ve been very lucky till now that all the riders I’ve met have been exceptionally cool people, I’m sure I’ll meet somebody someday who will take out his frustration about my articles on me, and I’m sure that’ll be fun too.
See you next time when I share the story of my ride to Hyderabad, one that I thoroughly enjoyed!