Ridin' with the "Devil"
The first trip outside Hyderabad came when we were to go to a friend's brother's marraige. Sometime in end of 1995, It was in a place called Warangal, about 140 km from Hyderabad. Myself and my buddy Vijay, smuggled out the bike from my house (my mom would have killed me if she had known I was ridin the highways) and went to Warangal and back. we made the journey so liesurely it took us nearly five hours to cover the 140 km!. We stopped wherever we felt like it, took pictures, made jokes, sang songs...It was fun.
This was followed by a 100 km trip to Nandi Hills with one of my college gangs, but the most memorable trip ever was the one to Nagarjuna Sagar. Four of us made this journey to the 165km away Dam which also was a tourist spot. Myself and my buddy SM, while Vijay Accompanied another buddy, Rahul on his bike (Another Bajaj 4 Stroker bought on the same day as I bought the devil). The Day was memorable, we had a race in which we touched 95 kmph (probably the fastest i ever gone doubles or singles), were hauled up by the local police on suspicion of being the local terrorists, for brandishing an Air Rifle, which we hauled along, swam and bathed in the crystal clear waters of the Krishna, and ofcourse the long and tiring journey back home.
If I had thought I would not have much long trips to make, I was to be mistaken, In my first six months of my first job, I had to undertake lot of touring , i preferred to take my bike with me. And there I was wearing a ruck sack, stuffing a Lap Top in it, wearing a Helmet with a walkman to my belt, I used to tour small towns like a nomad. I used to take the bike by train to the Coastal town of Bhimavaram and tour the district then bike the way back to Hyderabad. My longest trip /Ride was the 437 km Ride from Tadepalligudem to Hyderabad, which started at 11.00 am and ended up at 21.20 hrs. I had already biked my way from Vijayawada to Hyderabad once. (270 km). I also used to take my bike to Nizamabad (145 km) and back. Once I went to Nizamabad to Karimnagar and back to Hyderabad. I must have shuttled down the road to Nizamabad atleast ten times on the bike. No Wonder while in the first year, My bike covered 16000 km, In the second year, I had covered 20,000 km! Then the journeys tapered off. The last trip was probably in August 1997 to Nizamabad. after which I never took the bike outside Hyderabad till date.
After I changed my company, I never got the chance to ride the bike on a long trip with the exception of a short journey to Dundigal Air Force Academy in Medak District which was about 40 km from Hyderabad. One of the hidden fears one faces during these journeys is a the fear of a flat tyre. Pushing a bike with a flat tyre for 5-6 km at the least with a rucksack and other paraphenalia is a daunting task. Luckily for me , Once I missed narrowly when I discovered the bike had a flat the day after I rode it home, It was a rarity. In fact, I never had a flat during these journeys. In fact the front tyre never had a flat during its 50000 km life.
My dream journey is to take the bike to go tour the North Eastern State of Arunachal Pradesh. I would love to bike my way from the Foot Hills , up the 13000 feet Se La Pass, and on to Tawang, motoring the battle areas the Indian Army fought in the 1962 War. But The Five years in a job had killed my adventurous spirit. I dont feel like taking the bike for long journeys. part of the reason is now its on the border of being worn out. The reliablity has also fallen down. Not that there are major breakdowns or any thing, but its just not possible to do 70 km Non-Stop at that speed. The bike had its first major engine overhaul in its late 60s. somewhere around 65000 km or so, the engine underwent a major refit. a small screwup on my part got the engine refitted at around 73000 km mark again. The last time I hit 80 km was recently which again was after a three year gap. Another screwup in 95800 area saw a major overhaul that cost me 4500 bucks.
Today [8th January 2002] I had covered the magical '100000' . One lakh Kilometers on the bike. Now the Odometer reads all zeroes again!. It took me Six Years and Eleven months to achieve this. Ofcourse Six months in the last one year, I could not use the bike as I was in the US. Now I will probably get myself a new bike or a car. I will still keep this one. maybe cover 161000 (For 100000 Miles figure) and retire it.