RIDE TO KOYNA

After Hedavi. the next ride planned by InddieThumpers was to Koyna Dam on 13th-14th July. After the usual process of asking people to add names who are interested to join the ride, the final list was of 8 passionate riders. Nevertheless, we were geared up for the monsoon ride. Not a single ride with this club has been the same. Out of 8 riders, Nikhil, Tattu, Rohit(Bada Kela), Vinod and myself were from Mumbai, Debu from Pune and Mansingh and Hardik from Sangli. Debu (Debashis Sahu) took the lead to book our stay at Mystic Heights.

We were to start at 7am from our meeting point, Panvel. Debu was to catch us at Pune while Mansingh and Hardik were to join for Lunch. So as it happens with most of the riders, even I couldn’t sleep well the previous night. I woke up at 5:30am and left around 6:15am for Panvel with all checks done from safety perspective. I topped the tank at Airoli and met Tattu on the way to Panvel. As per Thumper’s Law, you should always have a law to reach on time but never reach on time. Just Kidding. Tattu and I reached the meeting point on time and little later Nikhil Joined. We waited for Bada Kela and Vinod but they were quite late to start. After Chai and Sutta, Tattu, Nikhil and myself started towards Lonavala and asked Vinod and Bada Kela to join us at Lonavala.

On reaching Lonavala, we had Misal Pav for breakfast. Nikhil is based in Dubai and had come down for 15 days break to India. Being a rider, he wanted to ride while in India so he joined us on this ride. And as usual with the low immunity of NRIs and the desi khana, the same happened with him… you know what I mean… he was recovering from Stomach ache and cramps, so he couldn’t continue further and had to return to Mumbai. Vinod and Bada Kela were just starting from Mumbai, so Tattu and I started to ride towards Pune. Both of us reached Pune and waited for them and Debu to join. Finally they arrived and post brief Whats’up and Hi and Hello’s we moved further.

Our next pit stop was at Umbraj where we had to catch up with Mansingh and Hardik, the buddies from Sangli. Mansingh and Hardik had already reached Umbraj and we received with a whole hearted welcome. To our surprise, the food was already ordered. Only thing shocking for me was that it was a Veg hotel and me being a hard core non-vegetarian, veg meal is a big no no for me. But adjust karna apna ek quality hai and it was a right thing to do. Being in Konkan belt, if you don’t have Kaju ka bhaji and Masoor Dal toh kya khaya. We were damn hungry and ate like pigs without leaving a single morsel on the plate.After lip smacking veg lunch (this lunch will be remembered for days) and some photo shoot, we started our ride to Mystic Heights, Koyna.

This part of the ride was different than what we had already covered. It was the time to take internal roads which were in bad shape as rain had played its role and due to the road construction work only one lane operational in a stretch of 5-6kms. It was tough ride till our hotel. One incident I would like to share was learning for the lazy asses like us. Hardik’s bike had some loose part which had to be fixed with a screw and bolt. We had defaulted on the basic rule of a ride. None of us had an adequate tool box. A local old villager Kaka saw us struggling to fix it. He recommended that we could buy it from the nearby hardware store which was 20 steps away. But we were reluctant to go the store. We could see the store but none of us took those 20 steps to get the screw and nut. Instead, Kaka went to the store, bought the screw and nut of the right dimension that was perfect fit for our bike and we just kept looking at each other. So things learnt, first to carry a tool box and never be lazy when it comes to fixing your bike.

We next halted to buy our energy drink (Old Monk, one quarter for each), Slippers and Cigarettes. Please note, Thumpers based experience is to carry back up of Cigarettes and drinks. A step above, back up ka bhi back up. (Applied only here 🤪)And yes, you read it right, slippers. Tattu and Bada Kela had forgotten to carry their slippers. Tattu bought it and Bada Kela being Bada Kela didn’t realise to buy it and later cursed himself for not buying it. The location of the hotel and the view from there was just as it’s name suggested, Mystic. We were awed with the mesmerising view of the Koyna river and the play of clouds over the Sahyadri mountains. We were the lucky ones who got to capture this vista as one of the lifetime memories.

Now was the time that I look forward to… listen to best of the Thumpers stories. Each story is worth listening and learning. These stories make my day after a long ride. Me being a new addition to the club, NGFF toh hona hi tha. NGFF is Nav Gav Fal Ful. It’s basically introducing yourself and your answer has to be apt warna beta tu toh gaya. During my NGFF, I learned that there are 4 breaks to the bike, front break, back break, engine break and most important ‘maan ka break’.

It was pouring heavily, a perfect ambience for energy drink with some amazingly fresh fried fish and bhajiyas followed by chicken curry, roti and rice. Next day Bada Kela started at 7am as he had a meeting to attend in Pune. Meeting toh attend karna tha usko as that was the trump card he used to come for this ride. Rest of us got up late but mother nature didn’t let us down. The sight was much more picturesque than the previous evening. Post taking few images of the spectacular views, we had a hearty breakfast of Poha and Egg Omlette Bread which is a must before we start the ride.

While leaving from Koyna, Tattu’s instructions were like the Pakistani Army Head from Border movie, Subah ka Nasta JAISELMER mein hoga , Din ka khana JODHPUR mein , aur raat ka khana DELHI mein. Likewise, Subah ka Nasta hotel mein, Din ka Khana PK Dhaba (Pune) mien, aur raat ka khana Ghar mein.

With a ride back plan, we started around 11:30am. Vinod had to go to Kolhapur along with Mansingh and Hardik. Debu, Tattu and I had to stop over at Pune for Lunch at PK Dhaba. Post lunch Debu would leave for home and Tattu and I would head to Mumbai (Mulund). After a brief photo session at some great location, the ride began. We had to ride back through the Under Construction Road again and it was tough for me this time as it was raining as well. The red soil roads were slippery and had loads of water filled potholes. Inspite of rains, I sweated like a pig on that 5 – 6kms stretch. I was eagerly waiting to cross that patch so that I could remove my helmet and breath. On one or two occasion, my rear tyre slipped and it was difficult to hold the weight of my mean machine. Finally, we successfully got through that strenuous stretch.

The 2 groups departed after tea and sutta. We bid adieu to Vinod, Mansingh and Hardik. Debu, Tattu and I moved towards Mumbai. It was great to meet Vinod, Mansingh and Hardik. Awesome guys to be connected for life. Sometimes it gets tricky for me ride with Inddiethumpers, as 95% riders own the classic 350 or 500 which can go to max 100/120 kmph and mine been Interceptor 650, 120kmph is lowest speed on highway. Though Tattu too has a Inty, he rides at his comfortable speed. So I used to manoeuvre between Debu and Tattu most of the time. Slow down till I could see either of them and speed up till I could see one of them. It was almost 2:30 and I was quite hungry. We reached PK Dhaba at 3:30 pm.

At PK Dhaba, we relished on the best Mutton, for which it is known for. After a nice lunch, we started our ride for Mumbai. Debu took a cut to his way home while Tattu and I continued to ride to Mumbai.Yeah, you may think that ride is over and why this story is still on. Well then as it is said, Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost. 14th July being Sunday, enthusiastic Mumbaikars and Punekars have to visit Lonavala to enjoy the rains, the mist, the spectacular panorama and not to forget, to click selfies for the Social media.

The roads right from the entry to Lonavala till the exit were packed with cars in 3 lanes and bikers manoeuvring in between. It took us 45mins to exit Lonavala and I am sure the cars would have taken 2-3 hrs. After exiting Lonavala, we took a halt for tea and started to ride towards Mumbai. Bada Kela who had left early morning for his meeting in Pune, caught up with us at Panvel to say Good Bye. Finally, Tattu and I reached Airoli around 9pm and called off the ride.

Overall it was great ride with some awesome friends, food, fun and the breathtaking location.

Sau baat ki ek baat….Maaza aagaya dost…Fir milte hai….

Ride Hard…Ride Safe….

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