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RM ’06

*** Please note all opinions expressed herein are my own and I don’t care what anyone else thinks about it. Some details are hazy and I don’t remember quite a few things thanx to being high most of the time. If you do remember and have anything to add just go on and let me know or leave a comment :) Haven’t proof read it either so all corrections are welcome. ***

This was my first ride on the Bullet, on the highway that is. It had me nerves for quite sometime before the ride. Only my toes touched the ground and I was worried about handling the weight especially considering the luggage too. Then there was the question of spares to be carried and an over all check. Thinking back now the tension that week before the ride was high.
Got the seat lowered a couple of inches, over all check done, visor of helmet changed and spares picked up. All this done I started wondering if I forgot something. Kept questioning my decision to ride a bullet. Will I manage? Will I survive? Will I make a fool of myself? And a lot more questions had me all jittery and getting little sleep through the week.
Then came Friday, I was yet to pack and go to Sarovar too. And then to top it all Dosai was to meet me at office and his meeting too all the time in the world so instead of leaving office at 5:30, I finally left at 7:30.
Got home took the bike to tank up and check tyre pressure. Returned and went off to buy all required. Once back finished packing in about 1/2 an hour. By 9:30 I was in Sarovar. Met all the guys, sipped some beer from some bottles, met some of the guys from the north and left at 11:00 to get some sleep. The nerves were still there and the day had been bad as I was feeling nauseated and had not eaten much. Got home, had a cup of milk but didn’t get much sleep.
Finally woke up at 5:30 to have a bath and was freezing. Went out to check the bike and weather and decided to wear a sweater. Got ready and sat down to change the visor and dishoom the current went. What timing. Changed the visor in candle light. Was tough. By then Rupal got home. Caught up with general gossip and home stuff. Headed out to start bike and warm it up. While I put on the saddlebags Rupal came to see me off with all the other stuff I was to take. So she went about giving me all the stuff one by one. First sweater, then jacket, gloves, balaclava, helmet and finally waist pouch. She then saw me off from home in one piece. She’s a darling :) (For all men who now wanna meet Rupal – there’s only one way, through me and there’s a price to pay :D)

Starting Odo – 05232

Day 1
*****

Reached Raheja Arcade in Koramagala at 7:20 cursing the roads. I though I was late as the meet time was 7 but voila quite a few were late. Slowing people trickled in. Vicky was all ready there, soon Ashok and Sukku got there. Prashy, Dosai and gang arrived at 8:30ish (after getting lost and all).
We finally left at about 9:15. Took ages to get through Hosur road traffic, these guys bajaoed and Vicky (sweet fellow) tailed me through it all. Stopped at the HP petrol pump for breakfast and regrouped with all the guys.
Was enjoying the feel of the bike. On the Bull 80 felt like 60 on the Yam. I couldn’t seem to raise about 80 as there was a distinct wobble in the back wheel after that.
We then regrouped at Krishnagiri and Dosai tailed me. Missed the turn on the Vaniyambadi road and Prashy caught up to redirect us. Until here the roads was 6 lane but now then got bad. With the bull was a little difficult to manage as it wasn’t easy for me to maneuver the bike.
We stopped for lunch at Thiruvanamalai and then headed out again. Tindivanam was crazy with a small lane as a highway and people walking on like it’s their pop-in-laws road. Even dogs and animals respond to the horn better.
Finally reached Pondy at about 5:30 and stopped to figure out where to stay. The prices of some of the resorts seem high so while some of us had chai, some went to find a place to stay. By 7:30 or so we installed ourselves in Jai Aruna in the middle of Pondy city. Had bath and all and headed down to the bar. Had some beer and then went to eat dinner, had Kothu Parata (means Torn Parata)(which is mashed paratha with eggs and onions and all) which was good.
Headed back and slept but didn’t sleep well. The mattress had bed bugs I think (mosquitoes added to the trouble) and I kept waking up, finally at 6:30 woke Sam and asked him to move in a bit, then slept till 8ish in peace.

Day 2
*****

We left for Mahabs at about 10:30. Tanked up at Pondy as fuel was only some Rs.42. Next stop was Mid-Way on the ECR. No breakfast was available as it was past 12 so had coffee and headed to Mahabs for lunch at Moon Rakers. At Mid-Way the RM guys did some chamak video recording and all (not to forget Dosai trying quite a bit to pull a wheelie). The ECR was a good stretch to ride on. Straight roads with some nice curves. Ahhh touched 100kph at one point after which I chilled and cruised at 80. Last time I did this stretch was as Shamz pillion this time I rode and it felt good. Brought back some memories too :).
Had a great lunch at Moon Rakers. I had some beer, prawn curry, fried prawns and rice. Also went shopping for some banyans or such, didn’t find much and had to settle for some cotton top and some spaghetti thingy. Hrrrummmp…
We then headed to Casurina Bay. Saw this Red Ferrari (Spider I think) on the way. The guy had done a 360 spin and managed to cause the back to go up in flames too. Touched my first Ferrari (so what if it wasn’t whole :P).
Got to Casurina Bay and parked. First thing was to register so went ahead and did that. Then parked the bike and went to dump the luggage. The room allocated to me was locked so dumped stuff in another room, changed and headed out. Met Dipsy (he’d had an accident and was a bit bruised, he was riding Subash’s bike) and Bala who was heading out to sea again the next day (ahh… to be sailing the high seas, to hear the gulls cry, reminds me of ‘Sea Fever’ by John Masefield). Did some catching up and went ahead to the beer stall.
Picked up a beer and went down to the beach where all the boys were sitting. Sashidhar (this guy who came with us from Bangalore but not sure who he was) had got his bike onto the beach and it had got stuck, not sure what he trouble was though. While sitting there we conned Max with an empty bottle and then went one step ahead and started fooling people with a beer bottle filled with salt water. We fooled quite a few people who took big gulps 😛
Settled down to some drinking and dancing. The track pants I was wearing were getting to be a big pain so borrowed Dosai’s shorts a little later and used the belt ;).
Danced most of the night away, when we finally headed to dinner outside the resort at about 11 and got back the music had stopped. Bala left once we got back and we headed to the room to see what everyone was up to considering hardly anyone was around. I would have got comfortable and gone to sleep but the guys kept waking me up. We decided to take a walk at about 2am and after walking talking and all that, we got back at 4am. Managed to convince Dosai that it wasn’t a good idea to ride back, Ravi didn’t need much convincing (he looked like he would go to sleep just about anywhere). At 4am didn’t seem like a nice thing to wake up the couple (Rakesh and Nisha) I was to share the room with so just crashed off with the boys.

Day 3
*****

Woke up at about 7ish to be greeted by mist outside the windows. Couldn’t see beyond 10 feet. The thought of the sea with mist rolling over it came to mind. A beautiful picture painted in the mind and I contemplated walking down to gaze at it but sleep got the better of me and the thought of the cold outside didn’t help. So went back to sleep, wish I had walked down :(
Finally woke up at 9 or so. Changed into my swimsuit since the sun was out and it was nice and warm. I intended lolling about in the pool for some time. Got out of the room and decided to have breakfast first, so headed out of the resort with Ravi on his RX135 (which sounded a wee bit funny without glass wool in the chamber but so what an RX is an RX and I was home again). Had Motte Dosa (Egg Dosa) and tea. Ahh filling it was and I started wondering if I had eaten too much considering I wanted to go for swim. But then well I can’t say no to food. Met Burny who was just arriving and got to know that Bala had got out of the resort, parked his car and slept right there. That was good considering he was quite tun and in my opinion not in a state to drive. He had left the radio switched on though and woke up in the morning to find the battery drained and had to be rescued :).
Once back at the resort Ravi and I met the RD Boys, took a look at the mod bikes on display and then parted ways. I headed to the pool, there was just another person in there and so I got in and settled down to float around a bit. Met Burny and Kim here again and we chatted a bit. Soon Sandy and Sukku got into the pool, followed shortly by Anil and Sid and finally Rakesh. We noticed a loose light fitting in the pool with Risk of electrocution written on it. Had a good scare and a laugh. Took some snaps at the fountain with Rakesh giving some scandalous poses. Got back into the pool once we got chased off the fountain by the caretaker 😀
I hung around a bit more and let loose my hair to enjoy the feel of it flowing free in the water, ahh the feeling of weightlessness.
Finally got out, discussed hair tips and tricks with Max and then headed back to take a bath. Took quite sometime washing out the dirt and chlorine. Dried my hair a bit and headed out to lunch with Dosai and Soup. Went to Kovalam nearby and had a Kushka. Was a mozi joint with typical mozi fare.
Got back and headed to the beach once I had picked up the beer coupons which seemed in short supply. Ravi left at about 5:30 or so, saw him off, wondered why Bala hadn’t turned up (guess he was too busy with last minute stuff before leaving). Settled down by the sea with the rest of the RTMC boys. Well down to the sea for my usual ritual of getting my feet wet 😉 got back to a futile attempt of the boys trying to make me drink salt water. I noticed the bottle wasn’t cold and realized the trick but stupid me I didn’t notice the lack of froth.
Took a walk with Rashi along the surf talking about anything and everything under the sun. We got back just in time for the customary RTMC photo. Super number of bottles were there. Wonder if anyone had actually counted how many. (Anil was saying about 75).
The boys started to play football in the beach and before we knew it people started getting thrown in. Rashi, Nisha and I sat collecting phones, wallets, camera and the like. Should have just left with the loot. Almost everyone got dipped. Just about when my turn came Ranga and Dodo created a diversion and I scooted off 😀
When returning from the room encountered all the wet, dripping boys returning and got threatened about being thrown in at night (now they’re nice boys, aren’t they, they wouldn’t do that to sweet me) 😀
Anyway I went ahead and picked up another beer and returned to the room for something (can’t remember what it was, maybe to use the loo??), sat there for sometime, took a tentative drag from a joint (no clue why I did this, I’ll just blame the impulsive me), found it light and of course got a little light headed. Had some nonsensical conversation with Rashi, Ads and Grease and then headed back for the presentation.
The first presentation was by RoadShakers about a ride to Panjgani I think, followed by RoadSurvivors on Leh and Zanskar and then finally RTMC. (Ahhh… what a beauty). The tension would be felt when it started with the presentation saying all the things we don’t… But then it all dissolved when the photos started rolling (not to forget the glimpse of Pamela Anderson) and of course the climax, whoa… that took the cake, eeeks… the beer I mean!!!
Presentations done, they announced that Karan won Varun’s – Spirit Of Life Trophy for the youngest rider of the year (finally, if you ask me he should have got it last year but technically on paper he wasn’t the youngest and so someone from Pune who rode only till Bombay got it) after which the prizes followed. Did I say prizes, oops… prize was all it was. There was supposed to be a prize for best technically modified bike and another for best cosmetically modified bike. But in the end only one was given (no idea why). Any way a bike from Chennai won. Nice bike (forget what it was called), blue and black flame tank, smooth rear, mono-suspension, duel seat but god help the pillion. On the whole a beauty.
Now this led to the owner of the bike from Gujarat getting very upset, and saying quite a bit on stage. He kept asking for justification regarding the decision and when the call for the judges was made, funnily no one turned up (though I saw two of them a few minutes later). Anyway Sachin pacified the guy for a few minutes by declaring it as a joint prize between both the bikes. Didn’t last to long coz after a beer he was back on stage demanding for a reason. (Did I tell you all of this was accompanied by a lot of booing).
Hmmm… then me Punter Rani on the way to get another beer encountered the guy and Smart Alec that I am I spoke to him for a couple of minutes in Guju (there wasn’t any other topic so just said politely how nice this bike was etc.). Alas how should I know that this would lead to him keeping a lookout for me (or so I felt) and trying to make conversation every time (I had to escape-maadi one too many times).
Got back to the dance floor however the rhythm didn’t last long and got bored so got off and sat with Goldie talking. Then went in search of the other guys as they suddenly disappeared. Found all of them sitting near the dinner pavilion and I settled down there, except for some songs when I just had to get up and dance :)
Somewhere in between met Karan who wanted to speak to some babe, so off we went to find her, next thing I know Karan and the babe disappear and am standing there talking to some other guy who was with the babe being discussed.
At some point later started to feel hungry and had dinner. Dinner was sponsored by RE and there was Biryani. Finished dinner and just sat around talking. The DJ had stopped and by demand Anukaran started singing along with playing the guitar.
Ahhh I curled up on the sand, resting my head on Dosai’s knees. The songs started and oh super they were but then at some point sleep got the better of me. (Well biker songs are lullaby’s for a biker :D, so it’s not all my fault). In between started to feel a bit of the chill, Dosai gave me Big Moe’s jacket which I wrapped up about me and went to sleep again. Woke up at the end of the session and we headed back (must have been about 2:30am), was really tired. Dosai left for home I think, I only remember crashing on the bed and was gone to the land of nod in less then a minute, no idea what came after :).

(The guys later told me they had got to the room at about 3am and were waking up people and almost mistook me for Max, luckily for me they realized in time else I would have been nicely kicked awake, see now you know why I cut my hair :D)

Day 4
*****

Woke up quite late in the morning. Must have been about 8:30 or so. Stretched a bit and all and then headed out to make sure the guys hadn’t left. Found Prashy changing the shocks on Flyin Flea (have I told you, she looks neat, a cafe racer-the first one I’ve seen). Our loo was blocked so check if Prashy and Vodkas room was free. Rishab was just leaving and the room was free so headed in to get ready. All morning jobs done, I got dressed and packed. Was feeling kinda lazy so actually paid the Rs.75 and had breakfast at the resort, phah…
All done took the luggage off to the bike along with Easha, got Grease to help me pull out the bike from the sand we parked it in. Started her and left her to warm up before putting on the luggage. By this time we got to know Prashy’s bike had a problem (others understood the problem, I didn’t :))
We moved towards the gate and settled down. Or at least ‘I’ settled down to watch Prashy fix the Flyin Flea. I think he removed the points from Dodo’s bike and put it on his as his boyer had blown (someone please correct me if am wrong). while this was happening I asked Easha for a Band-Aid (had cut my finger quite badly the night before), then went in search for water with Karan, rested in the shade a bit and also finally got the chain (bullets inner chain) I was looking for; for quite some time from Karan :) (thanx Karan).
Prashy, Adrian and all decided to stop from breakfast so Easha and I moved on towards the Sri Perambadur track as they would catch up soon. We thought we would meet Dodo soon as he was towing his bike back, but we didn’t find him on the way. We soon reached Chennai and had a field day getting from one end to the other. Passed Le Meridien and it reminded me of the last time I was finding my way through Chennai with Musafir, also that the OTA wasn’t too far, how I wish…
We finally got out of the narrow road that leads to Sri Perambadur highway after getting stuck quite often behind buses and taking one ‘U’ turn back, and numerous lefts and rights.
Easha missed the turn to the track and I honked quite a bit but when he didn’t respond I accelerated and told him. We slowed at some Mr. and Mrs. Hotel, actually should have had something there but anyway we turned back and Easha over shot the gate again (actually there is no gate, its some small thing next to a small temple; I had just stopped by instinct). So we came back and started in towards the track. Super off roading and we finally got to the track. Prashy, Adrian, Abhi and all soon got there too :).
This was when the fun started. Mr. Bose a veteran rider took them around for a lap. I was taking snaps on the straight. Easha told me they would be better on the curves and since it was far he said he would come back after a couple of laps and pick me up.
I climbed the tower in the mean time to take some snaps and get an idea of the track. While taking some snaps saw Easha come into the pits so hurried down and ran in to pick up my helmet.
Went with Easha to the third (I think) bend. Met Mr. Bose there and was talking to him while taking snaps. The bike he was riding had blown a valve and he was waiting. Mr. Bose was very impressed by Abhi’s, Prashy’s and Adrian’s riding skills. He was about to say Imran was riding well to when Imran missed the curve and went of track.
Abhi stopped by a little later and offered to tow the bike, I sat pillion for a couple of meters then hopped off as it would have been easier without me to tow. Easha got there about that time and just then I also realized that i had left my helmet behind, so ran back to get it. Not bad I still have some stamina left (I guess am not old yet :) ).
Anyway got back to pits for lunch. After lunch I headed back to the curves, Easha was feeling a bit lazy I guess so we went around together looking for good corners and strategic positions for snaps. The other guys were now doing timings.
Saw some lovely birds and Easha gave valuable advice on where to take which snap from. (Some of those snaps have come out really well, I am impressed by the job I did :) ) We finally wound up at about 5 and headed back to pits after which I decided that since there was no one on the track I would do a couple of laps and get a feel. Did 3 laps and missed quite a few curves. Only good thing was the number of misses reduced with each lap. Prashy scared me out of my wits once by honking on the track just when I was at the entry of a curve and then zoomed off on the inner side. (Bad boy :P).
At about 6pm there was a prize distribution. The prizes were GP Helmets, Saddlebags and a Toolkit. Imran got first place, Abhi second and Adrian came third. After the distribution and speech by Mr. Bose who said he was very impressed by all the guys, especially on bullets and that no one had any accidents which he was pleased about, we started packing up. I wasn’t very enthusiastic about riding at night. We check if there were rooms available at Hotel Paramount and there were none, so we decided to head to Kanchipuram for the night. Was only some 30km but was really scary. Phew… 3 near misses, one where while overtaking the lorry guy didn’t slow and that was a close cut, another where suddenly I saw six headlights with no idea where they came from and I was still on the extreme left of the road. Went in-between two cars (stupid double overtaking on mud-under construction road). And then one other which wasn’t as bad as the first two. Finally took that turn into Kanchipuram and my bike stopped at the railway bridge. Sam had adjusted the idling at the track and now she when off every time I cut throttle. I had ridden that 30km never cutting throttle completely but braking while holding half throttle. Anyway Abhi fixed the idling a bit and we moved ahead. Sam and Prashy went to look for a place to stay and the rest of us gorged on chaat.
Got to the SSK Inn and settled down. We ordered dinner and beer. I wasn’t drinking, was really tired and really didn’t feel like drinking. So we all sat talking (there was – Prashy, Sam, Adrian, Abhi, Easha, Nawaz, Satyajit and I) and generally discussing stuff. Headed of to sleep early, must have been 10:30-11ish.

Day 5
*****

Woke up at about 6am when Prashy knocked to wake up Sam who was to leave with him. Prashy asked him to come down to the parking, he would be there. I slept off again. When I woke about an hour later Sam was still sleeping. Finally woke up at 8ish. Sam had already left, there was only Adrian, Easha, Nawaz and me, the others had already left.
We woke up, had coffee and breakfast and left at about 10:30-11am.
Headed out of Kanchipuram and hit the highway, the roads were good and we did decent speeds (at least a decent speed for me at 80kph). At Ranipet decided to take the NH4 so diverted and continued into Ranipet.
Adrian moved on faster from somewhere about here while we cruised on, stopped outside for a chai break, and then stopped again for lunch just outside Kolar at Woody’s. I called the salon and made an appointment, I couldn’t handle my entangled hair anymore. After lunch we split, Adrian zipped off and Easha and I continued our pace as we were headed in the same direction. A couple of km before Garden City college Easha’s accelerator cable gave way, I realized a bit ahead there he wasn’t following so waited a few minutes and headed back.
Watched him fix the cable (and went home and took a look at mine :) you know just in case next time I need to fix it), and we headed on, once near KR Puram Suspension Bridge, speed reduced and we started moving slowly, lucky there were no jams yet as we were a bit early.
Reached home at about 5:30pm and reached very a message from Easha about an hour later that he had got cable checked and reached home.
I had a quick bath as had to at least try to wash some dirt out of my hair before going to the salon. Sachin called to say he had reached Bangy, I had to meet him to pick up some papers. So headed out quickly to Teknik, spoke to Sachin for a couple of minutes. He apparently didn’t know I owned a bullet and thought RE should hire the person for sales who managed to convinced me (the staunch believer that my RX100 could do all a bullet can, I have for a long time said I would buy a bullet the day my RX100 can’t do something a bullet can). Hahaha… after-all, all I was asked was a bullet can breakdown, can your RX? 😀 The rest like they say is history.
Headed to the salon from there is a rush. Was late for the appointment. Got there, met Seth and got a haircut. Not very happy with the job done, nor the price charged.
There ended the RM ride :).

Closing odo – 06073

Total Km – 841

Acknowledgements: (as always)
****************

My first ride on the highway with the bullet and am quite happy with myself and the bike. Not one fall or drop, I perfected the art of putting her on center stand with all the weight (Thanks Shamz), balanced her with the weight too. Had some difficulty maneuvering the bike thanx to the weight, some starting glitches but on the whole good. Missed only one turn on the highway which was a bit scary. The bike behaved well too. Good job Faakira, after all you need to measure up to Musafir :)

Thanx to Easha, Prashy, Vicky, Adrian and all who tailed me. That takes a lot of patience. Thanx a ton.

Special thanx to Dosai (for all those troubleshooting sessions 😉 ), Sam and all those who helped me understand the techie stuff.

Thanx to my family for believing in me (a clichéd statement but very true), my bro for spending a day getting me all set for the ride when he had other stuff planned.

Thanx to all the guys and gals involved and otherwise for all they have done.

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