I did this ride in the month of August’2014 and in a way this ride proved to be a precursor to all my rides!!! Be it the Leh Ride or Bhutan Ride. And it was from this ride that I took up riding seriously and understood the joy of bike riding.
This ride was also first for MH700 aka Mihir Kulkarni, who badly wanted to do a ride. He wanted to open his account and add few chapters to his Highway Diaries blog. And last but not the least, my Leh Ride! Yes, I wanted to see if I could do 250+ km on a single stretch/day. I had decided that the Leh ride is a must and wanted to prepare for that. I badly wanted some amount of confidence when it came to my backbone (including the other BACK). I wanted to test if it could withstand a long bike ride.
The plan was simple – start early and reach home by nightfall, covering 300 km. The location was Talakad, which is quite famous among the Bangaloreans for a short one-day trip. The title of this blog could have been different, but thanks to my friend who at the last moment failed to lend his bike. I had no option but to take out my TVS Apache 150 cc for this ride. On the other hand, MH700 managed to get Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 cc from his brother. And here we are, 150 vs. 350! The ride between TVS Apache & RE Thunderbird, the battle between David & Goliath ….who wins? Don’t even guess!
And you can also compare Me & MH700 to David & Goliath (comparatively)!
I arrived at Mihir’s home around 07:00 in the morning and he was shocked to see me! Well there were two reasons for that. First, my Apache bike (he too owns an Apache). And second, my attire. I had come with track pants and a pull over with an open face helmet which wasn’t really a helmet! Looking back, I myself laugh at that scene. Mihir quickly changed my helmet with a Vega open face helmet, as I prefer wind blowing over my face. From there we headed to Hannubhai’s temple aka Lord Hanuman to take his blessings. Mihir is a die-hard devotee of Lord Hanuman and he never misses his weekly appointment with Him. And thanks to him, even I get to visit the temple. The one thing that is common between Mihir and Hanumanji is the physique! Any fight, we friends can always put our very own Hulk in front and be rest assured that the opponents will be scared at least for a moment.
From there it was a test for my Apache to keep pace with Thunderbird. But the old 150 cc engine cried and added to that my carb diaphragm had ruptured which ensured that there was a lag in the acceleration. Around 08:00 we pulled over at Bidadi for some mouth-watering and smooth Thatte Idli. No matter what the occasion is, if I pass through Bidadi I taste these delicious Thatte Idli. I was on my Apache till we reached the junction where you have to take a left for Talakadu. I was literally pushing my Apache, and the bike was behaving as if somebody had held its throat and asked to run a marathon!
We pulled over at the junction to have a cup of tea at the local shop. As we were sipping the tea, I could see at least 10 – 20 RE bikes passing through. The weather was good and added to that it was Sunday, which made our destination a perfect get-away. I handed my bike key to Mihir and requested him to drive. This guy is Hulk when it comes to appearance but his heart is just like the Bidadi Thatte Idli!! He happily sat on my Apache bike. On one side I was happy to get RE and on the other hand, Mihir sitting on my bike was nothing less than Lord Ganesha sitting on his vehicle (rat)!!!!
I was zipping with RE and touched 100 kmph on the speedo. But had to slow down after touching 100, not because of Mihir who was not to be seen in the mirror! But it was because of the vibrations that RE’s Thunderbird makes once you reach 100 kmph. I particularly did not like the console and the way it was vibrating. As I write this, I am also scared that this might be a common sight to me in the coming days!!!
Just before you reach Talakadu, you come across picturesque locations. Sleepy villages with clouds overhead and lakes running parallel to the roads. This was perfect place to take some pictures. As I was taking pictures, I could see Mihir staring at the bike. Somehow I felt this pic will be great with Mihir staring at the bike as if a small kid staring at a toy. And once we went back home and saw the pic, it indeed was one of the best pic for Mihir. This pic now sits as cover page on his blog!
We reached Talakadu around 13:00 and parked our vehicles to take a walk across the river. As soon as we got down and started to click pictures, I get a call from my friend who badly wanted few blood donors. Next 30 minutes we lost time in arranging for donors. From there we headed to Vaidyeshvara temple.
Then we headed to Mudukuthore temple which was Mihir’s suggestion. He had previously come here with his colleagues. The view of river Cauvery from top of this temple is breath-taking. One can clearly see the turn, the river takes.
And then it was Shivanasamudra, which is quite famous among many people. The majestic Bhara Chukki falls was in full glory. The pictures justify why this place is a regular get-away for most of the Bangaloreans. It started to rain as we left and pulled over for some time.
From there it was all about reaching home. But before that we needed something for our stomach which was growling and the noise was more than our engines!!! We stopped at Empire restaurant on the busy Mysore-Bangalore highway for dinner. The food at this restaurant is amazing and a must visit if you happen to come across this stretch. I was in no mood to let go RE’s Thunderbird and Mihir who rarely says NO, was happy to look at my Apache. As we started our ride back to Bangalore, it started to rain and I had to pull over. Thanks to the 350 and 150 power difference, Mihir was not to be seen. Added to that my mobile battery died and I had no option of calling him. Only option was to reach home and wait for him. It was 20:00 when I reached Mihir’s home and after 20 minutes Mihir also came with my bike. A difference of 200 cc and 20 minutes delay? I said, not bad! David probably couldn’t defeat Goliath but did keep up my pride especially with a torn carb diaphragm.
Our faces were beaming and anybody could have fixed a bulb to tap some light from it! The joy and happiness after the ride was palpable. I was happy and confident that my back can withstand 250+ km ride. And Mihir was happy that he finally took his Harley jacket from the closet to complete his first bike ride!!!