My maiden ride with the legendary Knight Riders Riding Club had me super excited (and tadbit nervous too, considering the offroading aspect and the potential difficulty level of the ride). But the first briefing at Chandni Chowk at 6:15 AM (the start point for what was going to be an absolutely beautiful ride) put my mind at ease.
We started off at 6:20 and hit Tamhini ghats quickly. After quite an exhilarating ride in the twisties (interspersed by a few quick pit-stops to ensure the new riders were comfortable and to pass on some riding tips and corrections), we reached Kumbhe tunnel around 1:00 PM. After multiple photo ops near the tunnel with some Gangnam style performances by the gang members, we trooped off to part 2 of the journey – crossing over Raigarh.
Part 2 was where the adventure really took off. One the routes that was pre-decided didn’t seem to have a motorable road, thus we went off exploring. Speaking to a couple of locals, Shohrat bhai decided to take us on a ride through corn fields right up to a brilliant river crossing. All 18 riders made it across with some tips and tricks from the seniors. The next 1 hour or so was a pretty intense off-road experience, as we trudged up the hill on what seemed like no more than trekking paths.
This part of the journey took a toll on some of the riders, as dehydration and exhaustion hit hard. A couple of villagers helped with matkas of water. We got respite after hitting tarmac near Vagheri, as we saw the first shop in hours. Several liters of water, jaljeera and aerated drinks were consumed as the group gave a much-needed break to their bums.
But there was more to come. As we were about to hit the Varandha Ghats, one of the bikes caught fire! Fortunately, we had just stopped for a break and Sid Sharma’s sharp eye caught the mishap before things went bad. A ruptured fuel line dripped petrol on the hot engine, causing flares to start. A bit of M-Seal, electrical tape and a whole bunch of jugaad technology was all it took to get the bike back in running condition.
What followed was an exhilarating night ride across the Varandh Ghat. It was pretty much non-stop on the heavily potholed roads. Once again, the discipline of the KRRC riders, under the leadership of Shohrat bhai and Sid dada got us through in one piece at a pretty decent pace. Finally, after 15+ hours of riding, we hit the Katraj highway, bringing this most epic ride to a fitting end.
PS: This was my first (long) ride on my Thunderbird 350x. It got me closer to the machine, giving me an understanding of her limitations (or lack thereof) and made me push both the bike as well as my body. Made me hungry for more of these in times to come. Hoping to have the patience and perseverance to keep logging each ride as it happens.
I present to you – “StormTrooper”