Thank you Everyone !
I could not think of any better way to start this post without expressing my gratitude on your response, to my last blog posts. Trust me, I mean it.
You read W’s & H’s in my last post, now you will read how the journey started, literally!
After quitting my job, I was settling into the idea of packing my stuff & moving back to where I belonged, my home. As one might stumble upon a diamond in sand, I stumbled upon the idea & sensed the opportunity to ride Dory (my Royal Enfield Classic 350) to Agra.
When I shared my plan to family & friends, almost everyone freaked out! And as expected the first response(or question, :p) was “Are you insane?” followed by the suggestion(again, as expected) “ship the bike through railways and travel peacefully in train”. But, I couldn’t think to ship Dory through railways post reading Harshad’s horrible experience. I almost had nightmares, thinking of my innocent & peaceful Dory in hands of Railways!
Anyway, without paying any heed to anyone’s thought, I started planning my Freedom Ride (yes, you got it right, that’s the name for the journey back home #freedomride). I started collecting the facts. On Google Maps, the distance between Pune and Agra showed up to be approximately 1200 KMs. Riding this distance in a single attempt, was possible but remote, so, I decided to cover the distance with two nights’ halt, en route. Shirpur (Maharashtra) and Guna (Madhya Pradesh) were zeroed in as halt stations. I tried to distribute the distance equally which was around 500 KMs, in a day. Finally, I decided the date as 20th Feb, Sunday, just a day after my last day, as corporate employee :D.
I also started inquiring about the road conditions from my friends/colleagues hailing from MP and all of them swore by MP’s roads. I was relaxed about my ride until I met Harshad. He told me that he has heard about the roads in MP, which to contradiction of others, aren’t good and because of that, I will not be able to cover 500 KMs in a day (ooops). He suggested going via Rajasthan, although it would add another 250 KMs to my route, at least the roads would be better.
After this new piece of information, I went back & confirmed yet again about the condition of MP roads and again, I was assured by my friends that roads are nice in MP(dilemma? I don’t know… huh!). During this time, another friend, who is a native of MP and who travelled during the same time, updated his status on Facebook, quoting “I’m surprised!!! MP roads are better than MH :-)”. I thought that things might have improved and I shouldn’t face any problem, or so, I imagined.
The next task was to purchase riding gear. Yes, my riding gear, it was exciting, come-on that was my first ever ! List:
- Knee protectors;
- Saddle bags;
- Full-face helmet; and finally
After doing a fair amount of research on Internet, I bought Cramster’s Breezer 4.0 jacket, Bionic’s knee protectors, Cramster’s Colt saddle bag(all totaling to Rs. 9050).Vega’s Full face helmet and gloves from Pro-biker, Pune (both amounting to Rs. 1950).
While moving out of Pune, I had to take care of my luggage and carrying that on my bike wasn’t an option. So, I started my own garage sale(without a garage) and even after selling most of my stuff, I was left with one big suitcase of cloths(clean cloths, mind it!) and one mid-sized bag full of books (my companions in solitude). Thankfully, one of my cousins came to my rescue and he volunteered to get this luggage to Agra, whenever he travels.
Next Scene: Ready to hit the road.
With all my stuff settled off, I was ready for the ride, but the most important thing was still left. Dearest Dory needed a last checkup before she could thump on NH 3. The day before the ride was decided for final check-ups. Mr. Umesh Pawar (Sadguru Service Station, Sinhgad Road, Pune) who has been doing all services of Dory so far, declared that she is perfectly fit. He changed the rear brakes linear and topped up the engine oil and confirmed that now, Dory can even do 2000 KMs without any problem.
Mr. Pawar have been a well wisher and naturally he cautioned me about the road conditions in MP. “You know Sudhir, the roads are not at all good and some stretches are not even OK, you better change the route”, he said. However concerned I was, it was too late to change the route, I had to start the ride in less than 12 hours!
I trusted the words of my friends from MP.
I was more than excited about my first, very long ride. Even though I have been riding on Pune-Mumbai (NH4) and have enjoyed these rides a lot, however the thought of riding alone for a 1000+ KMs ride, was giving me tHrIlLs. But this thrill changed to a concern soon. One last time, on my farewell dinner with roomies, they told me that MP roads are not very good, but it was too late to rework on the route.
With concern and excitement, I retired to bed with hope, about the ride of my lifetime.
The ride continues in next part…..