Exploring Kerala

Route Plan:

Mumbai ¢ (NH4) ¢ Dharwad ¢ (SIS12) ¢khalghatgi ¢ (NH63)Ankola ¢ (NH17) ¢Kumta ¢ (NH17) ¢Tellicherry (Total 730Kms)


Tellicherry ¢ (Local Road) ¢ Mananthavady ¢ (Local Road) ¢Sultan Bathery ¢ Edakal Caves (107 Kms) ¢ Vythiri Ghat ¢ (NH212) ¢Calicut ¢ (NH17) ¢Tellicherry(170 Kms) .


Day 1: Started on Feb 28th from Data Wadapav-wala Panvel at 7:10 with Prashant Prabhu. Since climate was hot and riding cast iron bull didn’t want to take any chances on engine seizure, so we were cruising at 70/80 kph speed till Belgaum. Had a chit chat with Sharayu (Belgaum bullet rider) at belgaum Ram Dev International while we had lunch. It was dawn by the time we reached Hubli bypass near Dharwad. We took a left from NH4 and were riding through a (narrow & bad) road. The roads were that bad maintained speed of 30kms & with a prayer in me “Not a puncture on this road” else won’t be able to reach kumta which was still 170 kms ahead.


On reaching Khalghatgi there was a sign of relief. With Hubli bypass we saved 50kms D trip. It was time for my xenon lights to take in action and as the climate was cool it was ideal for our bulls to burn the roads. NH63 is a single lane highway, pitch dark, visibility only when with passing by vehicles. We were riding at 90/100 kph. With the xenon lights could figure out the road edges on sharp curves while the trucks coming from opposite side blinded us with there head lights. Truckers were decent while overtaking from opposite side as we heard mine trucks were like devils vehicle on the NH63, luckily they didn’t off road us at any point of time. Though it was dark I was enjoying the ride, I could see the trees on both the sides getting lighted up with my xenon light as my bike passed through the forest. Felt like having a video shoot!!. This was one of the memorable experiences I had through out the journey. The main intension about this ride was doing this patch (Khalghatgi – Yellapur – Ankola) NH63 which connects NH4 and NH17. We didn’t stopped at Yellapur or Ankola but for checked our air pressure at a small tyre shop. Since our mobiles were out of range we used Puncherwala’s reliance mobile to inform our relatives at kumta about our late arrival. Just before reaching kumta Prashant’s bike ran out of fuel and was on reserve. Slowly we were riding to reach any petrol pump before kumta, we came across a petrol pump but even petrol pump was dry for petrol. Finally we reached kumta and stopped at a road side petrol pump for fuel. My bike was giving me good average but thought of refueling. Now the worst part, petrol cap got jammed and could not open it. As our we were close to the destination, we dispersed from and moved to our respective relative’s houses.


Day 2: On 1st of March, reached a local mechanic and removed jammed petrol cap. Later I traveled in a Bolero to Gorkarna, Om Beach & Mirjan Fort. Please find the snaps in the Picasso album.


Day 3: 2nd March, Early morning loaded my bike with saddle & sleeping bag, added engine oil to top up the level. I started solo from Kumta at 7:25 on NH 17. Before the day gets hotter I was riding at 90/100 kph and reached Murudeshwar temple. Had a break fast and some snaps clicked continued the ride to reach Mangalore. I stopped at a coast which is parallel to NH17. I wanted to move a head but the sea green ocean was tempting to click some snaps..!! Sorry about the picture quality. I was using Mobile camera since it was risky to carry my new Nikon D90 on the solo ride.  I reached Mangalore and enquired about Royal Enfield show room. With many lefts & right turns; getting into wrong roads I finally met Mr Shrikant Kamat owner of the show room. On my humble request he let me see his Meteor 700cc Parallel twin vintage bullet bike in his basement. It was good to see ancestors of our bike. Though I had niche knowledge about the working about the Meteor, Mr kamat explained me some of the old mechanism used to ride the bike faster those days.  The bike was not in riding condition and later he added, spare parts were already been ordered from UK to revive the Meteor. With thanks & good byes I continued my journey for Bekal Fort kasargod (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bekal_Fort). Please find the snaps in the Picasso album.

I have only heard about fatal accidents people met with contract buses in kerala. They are real scary when you see them approaching like an raging elephants over taking other buses on narrow roads. After few kms I was comfortable with their driving style and overtook some of them. For lunch stopped at A.C restaurant in Chervatur, but due to power cut no AC, at least enjoyed chicken biryani. Roads were too good between kananore and Tellicherry, on sharp turns perfect angle of banking was maintained, enjoyed cornering with the bike. I really enjoyed the coastal view with fishing trolleys, coconut trees, backwaters bridges & paddy fields. Finally I reached ride came to an end at Tellicherry at 8:10 PM.



Things to ponder for all my thumper brothers.


It’s not a taboo to have a cast iron bullet but it serious depends how one understands the bike and utilize its output to the best. Following are some of the things I have taken care through out the ride to avoid break downs.


Fuel up tank with 100ml 2T mix just before the ride (Early Morning).

Ride at 60-70 before your bike gets engine ready to roar.

Take advantage of the momentum of bike to run longer distance this would surely give you a good average.

Consider the climatic condition before you hold the throttle for longer period.

Avoid raving in idle (Its only sounds better at our grand entry for RM).

Keep varying the speed while you are riding.  Maintain a time interval for riding at low and high end speed (70 – 90/100). This helps to break the constant piston rhythm thus avoid heating at same parts in side the engine.

When ever there is a stop shutdown the engine, keep the keys next to engine oil cap. Keep oil cap half open to avoid dust getting in. Using decompressor, half kick to remove hot air from the engine oil. Keeping the keys near the oil cap is the reminder to close the oil cap if forgotten. (Courtesy Isthiaque bagban).

Take a small stop before you start ghat section for cool. (Courtesy Anand Bhalerao).

Fellow riders:

Myself and Prashant Prabhu had good understanding through out our ride, like horn signals to give way for vehicles to pass by. Mutually, agreed for delayed lunch in order to catch up with kms, keeping a safe distance while speeding in khalghatgi ghat, over taking manganese mine trucks.  Riding on NH4 is a good experience for riders like me, who are new for long distance ride. Advantages of NH4: Good road, Sign boards, Rest rooms, fueling stations. Only glitch about NH4, been four lane highway you may hardly see any tree shaded roads like NH17 which may lead to over heating of your engines on tar/concrete road.




Mahesh Narayanan


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