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CONVERSATIONS WITH A SOLO TRAVELER – ADHIP

by travelmynation
cross-country rider

Feelings of a Motorcyclist

How would it feel like to ride on an endless road with nothing to hold you back? You are riding your motorbike, your mind, heart, and soul just belong to you and no one else. That day no one can steal you from you. The winds that day are just strong enough to make you smile inside that helmet. This is my time to become a cross-country rider!

cross-country rider

Background and Ride Preparations

I was serving notice period in my current organization and only a fortnight was left for me to join the new organization. Sitting in the living room of my rented apartment, I was thinking I should take leave for some days before I join the new company. Initially, I was hesitant to call up my new manager thinking that he might reject my request as I was required to join early but I wanted to give it a try. I called him up and asked him to give me a week’s break since I had not taken leaves for almost a year.

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To my surprise, he said ‘Ok’ and an explosion of joy occurred in my heart. I promptly thanked him for allowing me. Then he asked me about my plan for the week. I told him that I will be riding from Bangalore to Delhi on my motorcycle.

Normally, people will say are you crazy? Why don’t you just catch a flight/train? He said, “Nice, do it and sleep well before the ride!” After hanging up the phone, I immediately started to plan for this ride ranging from bike preparations to spares to stay arrangement. The thought of riding for more than 2500 kilometers scared me a lot but that fear went away when I started preparing for it.

Actually, there was no preparation required because I already had 100% waterproof luggage solution except myself! The only thing required was bike service which was done in a timely manner and I even got adequate time to ride it just after the service to check if there were any issues.

So here is the list of apparel/gears/equipment, I will use to complete the ride:

Motorcycle: Mahindra Mojo XT

Luggage Solutions

Riding Gear

  • Jacket (Mojo Jacket)
  • Riding Pants from Cramster
  • Gloves from Solace Gears
  • Riding boots – Had bought them from Gopinath Bazaar Delhi Cantt – Using them since 2016 – Cost INR 2,500
  • Helmet by Shiro

Electronics

  • MI (20000 Mah) Power Bank
  • For on the move charging, I used Bolt charger
  • Video Recording and Photography Equipment: One Plus 5T
  • Go Pro (only helmet mount)

Spares & other equipment

Medical Kit

cross-country rider

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Ride Dates and Route

The last working day in my current organization was 27 July 2018, so I decided to start the ride the next day and as per my plan, I also kept 2 days in the buffer as a contingency plan. So the ride dates were from 28 July 2018 to 3 August 2018. As far as the route was concerned, I kept it very simple and relaxing. The route plan is mentioned with the dates:

28 July 2018 – Bangalore to Goa – 584 km
30 July 2018 – Goa to Pune – 521 km
1 August 2018 – Pune to Indore – 617 km
2 Aug 2018 – Indore to Jaipur – 551 km
3 Aug 2018 – Jaipur to Delhi – 265 km

Day 1: Bangalore – Sirsi – Yellapur – Goa – 584 km

It was the first day of the longest solo ride of my life, had a sound sleep and woke up on time (4 am). Got ready with ease and my luggage was already packed. My friend Vidur sir (@travelmynation) helped me load the luggage on the bike and we had small selfie session. After the photography session, I took a deep breathe and bid goodbye to sir (he was half asleep) and Bangalore until next time. Cranked the bike, slotted the first gear and started rolling.

cross-country rider

I took the NICE road to exit Bangalore onto the Bangalore – Pune highway. The weather was mind-blowing and the tarmac was good. The traffic was very less so the exit from the city was hassle free. I maintained speeds between 70 kmph to 90 kmph because I had all the time in the world to reach home. After riding for around 100 km, I took small tea & Parle G break and then continued my ride to Goa. Due to intermittent rainfall, I witnessed green pastures and the scenery was beautiful. Again after 100 kms, I took a water break and clicked a few snaps.

After good 330 kms, from Haveri I took a left towards Sirsi and started riding towards the coastal region. The dampness in the air increased the more I got closer to the coast. The tarmac was decent to ride, traffic was mild and I could cover a lot of distance. When I reached Sirsi, I had a small lunch break in a small tapri wherein I had bread omelet and it was yummy but the tea which I had ordered after the meal was really bad and spoiled the taste of the meal. I paid my dues to the tapri owner and pushed off to Yellapur.

cross-country rider

Lost in the Ghats!

Now in the process to reach Yellapur, somewhere I took a wrong turn to Hegdekatta/Devanahalli, I really don’t know but this place was a maze for me due to two reasons, firstly I was going round in circles and secondly, all the signages were in Kannada. To my bad luck, it started raining heavily and to my good luck, I met a person who gave me the correct direction to Goa. The road was really bad, somehow after an hour of off-roading, I managed to reach Ankola. I still don’t know which route did I take, moreover GPS was not working since there was no network. I never reached Yellapur from Sirsi! Anyways, the moment I hit the coastal road, it was easy for me to navigate the route to Goa.

cross-country rider

While I was riding, suddenly it struck my mind that a rider who I follow on Instagram posted a photo of his bike on the Tagore beach in Karwar. So I also decided to go there and see if my bike could do the same. When I reached Karwar, I straight away rode to Tagore beach which was easy to locate and parked my bike on the beach. Clicked a few photos and sat there for some time. This was a special experience for me and the sound of sea waves was so soothing.

cross-country rider

Ola Goa

The day was coming to an end. I had done the booking in two hotels, one of them called up and asked if I am coming to the property. Although, they were charging INR 500 extra compared to the other hotel the rooms were really good. Hence, I decided to go to Ciarans, Palolem. After crossing Karnataka border and entering into Goa, the first thing I did as a ritual was to crash into a petrol pump and get the fuel tank filled up to the brim because petrol is cheap here (INR 70 per liter). I reached Palolem in no time and it was easy to search the property. One guy helped me with my luggage to the room and the room was good for the price I was paying.

After dumping my luggage and riding gears, I freshened up and straight away headed towards the beach. The sound of the waves made me feel so relaxed! I went to a nearby restaurant, had dinner and came back just to crash on the bed. Day 1 comes to an end. Goodnight!

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Day 2: Goa – Goa – 0 kms

Woke up late and fresh on Day 2, the shower was really soothing for my body, the cold water calmed my senses down and I was ready for Day 2. My friend had told me to explore Goa but I am one lazy butt and decided to chill in Palolem itself. Ordered bread omelet in breakfast (my staple diet) and a glass of fresh watermelon juice. Good start to the day.

Talking about the weather, it was sunny till noon, then it became cloudy and then there was intermittent drizzle which would try to spoil the beach fun. The owner of the property had a couple of pet dogs who were playful and we became good friends. Considering the fact that it was off-season, still, there was a lot of hustle bustle on the beach which was decent for my liking. To be very honest, I wanted a company in Goa but there was no one with me. Sometimes, traveling solo is not good! Especially to Goa!

cross-country rider

I took my bike out to check if everything was working fine. I cleaned the chain, checked for any puncture and there were none. Lucky me! Went back to the beach, sat on the sand and kept looking at the waves. When it was time for me to introspect, my brain was blank and I could not think of anything else. I just wished I had company. Took more photos.

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In the evening, I had dinner and started to plan the route for Day 3 which was again not difficult to figure out. After having a light dinner, I came back to my room with a lot of beach sand sticking to my feet. Simply lay down on my bed, bidding farewell to the beach and Day 2 comes to an end.
cross-country rider

Day 3: Goa – Pune – 521 kms

It was a Monday morning! I got up at 4 am and took my own sweet time to get ready for the day. After getting ready it was time to load the luggage on the bike. Loading was easy but the humidity was energy sapping. The housekeeping guy was just looking at the way I was loading it and strapping it. Bikers who tour know that how difficult loading and unloading is on daily basis. Thanks to these motorcycle apparel and gear-making companies, who have come up with bags which can be loaded easily on to your motorcycle. By 6 am, I was ready to move to my next destination Pune!
cross-country rider

So I was on my way to Pune, the route which I took to get into Maharashtra was via Mollem. It was drizzling throughout and I was enjoying it. Since the roads were wet, I was riding slow and feeling every moment of the ride. Then I entered Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary which was dense and while I was passing through it, the road became narrower. I was expecting to witness some wild animal crossing anytime but it didn’t happen.

I could not even stop in the sanctuary due to fear of a wild animal attack. Many times I have crossed Bandipur and Agumbe forest but never crossed such a dense forest. My bike was the only one on the highway and I found civilization when I reached Khanapur.
cross-country rider

Onto the highway!

After crossing Khanapur, I headed towards Belgaum in order to catch up again with the Bangalore Pune Highway. After reaching Belgaum, it was 9 am already, so I decided to take a Parle G break with a cup of tea. Oh man! I loved that cup of tea! Informed my parents about my whereabouts. After this quick break, I started riding again and the views were really beautiful. I could only see a lush green landscape on the left and right side of the highway. It stopped drizzling and the weather was pleasant. I clicked a few photos. Enjoy!
cross-country rider

I was just maintaining speeds between 80 kmph to 90 kmph and got a very good mileage of 33 kmpl. When I reached Kohlapur, it started raining again. I took a water break and stretched out my body.

Finally reaching Pune!

I took a lunch break at Bhau ka dhaba in Satara and Pune was around 100 kms from there. Ordered dal and roti. The food was good and hygienic. After lunch, continued on my last leg for the day. So, my destination for the day Dehu road, Pune which is located on the outskirts of the city in Northern Pune. I did not enter the city and took the Mumbai highway, just like a Pune bypass and reached Dehu in no time.

My stay was arranged in Dehu Cantt and I cannot disclose the location where I was staying due to security reasons. The room was excellent, there was so much of parking space and I parked my bike in front of my guest room. I called up my Pune friend and we planned to meet the next day in the city, plus I had to get my bike washed and checked. I have already stayed in Pune for 2 years and studied in Army School, Khadki, Pune. So, I knew a lot about the city but never knew I would ride to Pune.  Day 1 ended with me relaxing in my room. Dinner was being served and after it, I just slept like never before. The day ends!
cross-country rider

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Day 4: Pune – Pune – 0 kms

Woke up around 7 am, got ready and met my friend in the city. From Dehu road, Pune city is around 28 kms. Although, it was a working day I did not find any traffic. Met my friend at F.C. road from there we went to German Bakery to have breakfast. We both spoke at length since we were meeting after a long time and discussed random topics.

After meeting my friend, I headed towards the Mahindra service center to get bike washed and checked. The name of the service center is Solum Mahindra and you can just google for coordinates. The bike was washed properly, the chain was tightened, coolant was topped up and the bike was good to go. I started back to Dehu Cantt and in midway also went to Nigdi Pradhikaran, as I had spent a lot of time here when I was in school. It’s a nice place to chill and relax. I had my lunch here and came back to my guest room by 6 pm. I met my dad’s friend there and we went out for dinner. For dinner, I had Maharashtrian Thali (Veg) and it was decent. Post dinner came back home and slept early to gear up for the next day.

Day 5: Pune – Indore – 617 kms

I woke up early, got ready and loaded my luggage. I left Dehu Cantt around 6.30 am and exited Pune from Chakan Industrial Area. Fueled up for the day and started riding to my next destination Indore. While exiting Pune, there were a lot of bad patches of the road which I had to encounter and after that the Nasik Highway was superb. I encountered a bit of rain as well but all went away after 50 kms from Pune.
cross-country rider

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I took a small Parle G break with tea and then continued my journey. So before entering Nasik, I reached a place called Sinnar and from there I took a right turn towards Chandwad which directly connected me to the Nasik-Indore Highway. It was just like a Nasik bypass but unfortunately, there were a good amount of bad patches to keep me wide awake. The countryside was beautiful and the villagers were looking at me as if an alien had entered their locality. After reaching Chandwad, the good highway started and I was zipping my way to Indore.

The weather from pleasant turned out to be a bit humid and blowing wind kept me cool. My butt was giving up after every 20 kms, so had to increase the frequency of water breaks and do some saddling.

A 5-star hotel that never was!

I reached Mhow around 5 pm and Indore was around 40 kms far from there. I had booked a room in Hotel Somdeep Palace through Make My Trip which is near the outer ring road, so finding the hotel was not that difficult. Around 6 pm, I reached the hotel and checked into the room. The room was awesome. It gave me a feeling of staying in a 5-star hotel and in actuality it was a 3 star. After dumping my luggage, I took a shower. Seriously after such rides, you take shower in lukewarm water, all the fatigue will go away in no time.

Updated my parents and friends about my ride status. I ordered Chinese for dinner, which I shouldn’t have. Anyways, I could not even have half of it. Simply, posted some photos on Instagram and slept! Day 5 comes to an end!

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Day 6: Indore – Jaipur 551 kms

Next day I got up a little late knowing the trip is coming to an end and I was in no mood to end it. Anyways! I got ready, packed my bags, checked out of the hotel, loaded the luggage and fueled up. By 7 am, I was on my way to Ujjain. A girl was crossing the road on her scooter, looking at me in full gear, she gave a thumbs up to me. This really motivated me for the day, not because she was a girl but the kind of respect you get as a motorcyclist. Took a tea break after exiting Indore, the weather was pleasant and there were no signs of rain.
cross-country rider

From Ujjain, I took Mandsaur – Chittaurgarh route. The road was so straight that at some point I was feeling sleepy while riding. I just kept riding, riding and riding. At one point, I started counting the number of trucks which I was overtaking. Nothing much to tell you for this route. The weather was warm but not hot. I kept singing a song by Nelly Furtado, “Why do all good things come to an end?”.
cross-country rider

Just before hitting Chittaurgarh, there is a left diversion to Udaipur (NH8). I missed the turn and went 1 km ahead just to realize that something is not right. The general sense of direction really helps sometimes. I checked the maps again and had to take small wrong way to avoid doing 10 to 20 kms extra because there were no intersections on that road. In no time I was back on NH8. I had to fuel up for the remainder of the journey, so just before Ajmer, I fueled up and while I was relaxing at the petrol pump.

Some curious souls came to me and asked me the same questions list below:

Kaha se aa rahe ho? (From where are you coming?)
Kaha ja rahe ho? (Where are you going?)
Bike kitne ki hai? (What the price of the bike?)
Weird question alert – Aapki jaat kya hai? (Which caste do you belong to?)
I patiently answered all the questions and for the weird question my answer was, “Mujhe nahi pata!” (I don’t know!) and then they left me in peace. Reached Jaipur at 7 pm, the traffic made me really mad and crazy. And suddenly I went from being a peaceful biker to an abusive one. It was humid and hot. Somehow I managed to reach my guest room which was not good at all and I don’t want to give the details of it. I just had a simple dinner and slept. Day 6 ends!

Day 7: Jaipur – Delhi – 265 kms

With 2400 kms marked on the trip meter, I was just thinking how far I have traveled on my motorcycle. I opened Google Maps and just kept looking at the length of the country I had covered. Remarkable for me at least! A dream come true! Day 6 started with the same feeling and this was the last leg of my longest solo ride. Done and dusted!
cross-country rider

Every mile I inched closer to my home gave me a sense of achievement. This feeling disappeared when I saw traffic in Gurgaon. It was hot and humid. I called my friend Ankur and told him that I will meet him on the way. I also ordered two bottles of water. Seeing him after 6 to 7 months was good.
cross-country rider

The bike stopped at 2786 kms. JP Nagar, Bangalore to Malviya Nagar, New Delhi completed. Normal people travel from Bangalore to Delhi by flights, trains, cars and only crazy people like me can think of doing this. I did it. Initially, I could not imagine myself doing such a long motorcycle tour and that too solo! My fear and anxiety simply vanished when I hit the highway. I felt I am home when I was riding on the highway.

Posting the hotel details below for your reference:

Ciarans, Goa

Per night: INR 2,000 (excluding meals)

Review: Excellent place to chill, the property is premium and pet-friendly

Location: Palolem Beach

Hotel Somdeep Palace, Indore

Per night: INR 2,500 (excluding meals)

Review: The hotel room is good and the service is also up to the mark

Location: Ujjain Road, Indore (Ring Road)

This post has been authored by my friend, Adhip Varma. You can see more of his travels on his Instagram account.

cross-country rider

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