The 1000 KMs Ride – By Gaurav Jani

Day –1 Bombay to Baroda I started at 11pm from house to cover 370-380 Kms। To Baroda from where the next day I was to the 1,000 Km ride। I had wrote to many people, all techies to advice me about the do’s and don’ts about this ride and no one had the time to answer, what was most surprising and annoying was some of them were people from Royal Enfield। I decided to do the ride regardless। After crossing the Bombay traffic and reaching the highway, I kept a constant speed of 85 Kms। In hot weather just to see how the bike would react to it in a longer run। The bike ran fine for 45 minutes and than gurrrrr, it lost power and died. I touched the crank for heat and it was not that hot for the bike to stop. Same problem occurred when I was doing high speeds while doing test runs in night for this ride. The problem was petrol filter, it was not sending enough petrol to the carb. I had removed that filter and put a huge maruti esteem petrol filter which used to get so heavy when filled with petrol that it had to be tied to the chassis. Not so technically sound with bullets I waited for sometime and started the bike, it came to life but was not performing well, nevertheless I started riding it but had to reduce the speed. After riding 40 odd kms. The bike was again running well, I entered Gujarat from where the roads get pathetic so you got to be a moron to speed on this roads. Bombay- Ahmedabad being the busiest highway in whole Asia traffic is endless. I took the first stop at Vapi from where I had to call Mandeep, our first member from Gujarat who was meeting me at Valsad. Valsad was another 25 Kms. so started ahead to take rest while chatting up with Mandep. The traffic was bad and the road conditions a shame. Reached Valsad and waited for Mandeep to come and he arrived a few minutes after on his 500 c.c. Chatted him for a while when I noticed major scars on his right elbow. He had multiple fractures when he had a flat in his front wheel while riding to give his exams, he lost one and half year to get the whole thing rectified and still has metal plates in his elbows. It was perfect, the next day I was to do 1,000 Kms. and this was the perfect time to see what carelessness can do to you. Bid goodbye to Mandeep and moved ahead, moved slowly and steadily when after a few hours the same problem occurred and it was getting dark. I started the bike and again after a few kilometers the bike died. I pulled up to a dhaba and cleaned the spark plug and carb but the problem kept on occurring. To rectify the problem I entered Bharuch City and went to P.U & Co. Enfield’s dealers there but they had closed their workshop as it was already past eight. The dealers recognized me from my picture in RE’s dealer magazine The Beat. He told me about kalubhai, a bullet mechanic who loved working in night. I made my way through the city traffic and finally reached Kaubhai’s garage and indeed he was working on a bullet under tong lights in his big workshop. He immediately knew what the problem was, actually two. The battery was overcharged so the bike would loose ignition on high speed, the second dirt had blocked the flow of petrol in the carb. Kalubhai also modify bullets, he took me to a bullet which he modified and told me to start it, upon doing so, it made one of the sweetest sounds, he makes mufflers which have an incredible sound. You have to listen to it to believe me. He didn’t charge me anything, very nice guy and I left for Baroda. Reached Baroda at 10.30 and checked in Royal guesthouse just opposite to the station for Rs. 65 for a single room. Called Vivek and Subbu, told them I would start at 4 a.m in the morning when the owner told me he will not wake me up and I would have to wake up on my own at 3 a.m. I decided to change the place when he told me he would give me an alarm clock, which will wake me up. Went out to a stall and had some eggs and hit the bed at 11 p.m. after 12 hours of riding .
Day-2 Baroda to Delhi The alarm rang, it seemed like I had just fallen off to sleep, checked the time in my watch and it was 2 a।m. and it was showing 4 a.m in the alarm clock, I trusted my watch and went back to sleep. By miracle I woke up again and looked at my watch, it was 4 a.m sharp. Once I sleep than it is history, it was definitely a miracle. I hastily packed everything and wore lots of warm clothing and woke the owner up. He opened the shutters of the hotel, while I called up Vivek and Subbu at 4.45 and woke the poor guys up to inform them that I was about to start. Packed up all my bags and hope that the bike would co-operate with me this day and started at 5 a.m.Speedo reading – 29,470 Sped on the empty street of Baroda and was on NH- 8 after 12 Kms. from there another 36 Kms to Vasad toll point from where I had to take left for Delhi via Modasa. I missed the left turn and went ahead a few kilometers towards Ahmedabad, returned back and saw no signboard, asked some tuck drivers and they showed me the way. The roads were fairly good with very less traffic, which meant that I could ride with my visor down in that chilling cold weather. The route doesn’t have any sign boards. So on every intersection I had to turn back and ask for directions. I was not riding above 80-85 kph as there were two options to complete this ride. Either ride very fast and take longer and frequent breaks for the bike to cool down or ride at 70-80 and take less breaks with lesser time. I choose the second option as I found it more safer for the bike, I didn’t want anything going wrong with my bike, I love this bike, seen a lot of places from it’s saddle and 1,000 Kms was not the priority, my bike was. Riding for long periods on good speeds was only possible in the morning as the bike wouldn’t heat up. I was maintaining 80-85, got some very bad patches of road, trucks coming on high beam would blind me as the visor and my glasses would scatter the light. The clod came to more tolerable limits after sunrise but nevertheless it was still very cold. Took the first fuel stop after 210 Kms. at Shamlaji, topped up 2T and engine oil and moved ahead. Shamlaji is on the Gujarat- Rajasthan border. After a few kilometers I entered Rajasthan from here the intensity of the traffic increased. Road widening work is also going on, that meant edges of the tar road don’t have a small strip of dirt track but a four feet deep trench which is dug up to lay the foundation for the new road. Lot of trucks carrying stones and other building material were moving at very slow speeds and there was no way to overtake them so my speed reduced drastically here and the bike was also heating up as it was moving on lower gears and the ghats didn’t help the cause either. After crossing the ghats at 9 a.m after four hours and 240 Kms I took my first stop. It was a village Bijhwada I think, called up Subbu and Vivek, subbu’s mobile kept on ringing, thankfully Vivek answered the call and I registered my status to him. Had a light breakfast of poha and tea and after a 15-minute break was riding again. The sun was out but the air was still very cold so gloves and warm clothing was still on and the cold from the morning was till in the bones, it is still giving me Goosebumps while writing about it . The traffic was much less from here onwards, I reduced the speed o 70- 75kph to avoid overheating. After riding continuously for two hours, bike started to how signs of fatigue, it had to it had done a run of 6 hours with only a 15 minute break. I stopped immediately before Udaipur s I didn’t want to aggravate the situation as there was another 600 odd kilometers to be done. Another 15 minutes break an the bike was running fine, crossed Nathdwara, Udaipur where I got some traffic and finally made it to Bhim, covering 500 Kms in 8 and half hours. where I took a fuel stop. Called up Subbu and Vivek, this time did finally mange to talk to Subbu. During the 20 minute stop I would hardly get time to relax as most of he time would go in filling up gas topping 2T checking the bike, topping Engine Oil, cleaning the visor, glasses. It was strange how difficult it was to cross 20 minutes on the bike and they flew by in one second once you are off the bike. After doing 50 Kms. from Bhim, my concentration was not there. I didn’t feel like speeding, it took me around one hour to finally realize that I had to put a rush on things otherwise I would not be able to complete the 1,000 Kms. My speed drastically fell here, I only did 50 Kms. in that hour. Once I started speeding Ajmer happened and suddenly from nowhere hundreds of trucks came, being a two lane road there was no way to overtake and the dirt track besides the road had sand so steering the bike was a problem. It was getting irritating, was following the trucks at 40-45kph, had no other choice and a train junction took another 10 minutes. Here I had totally lost it, I didn’t know where I was, what I was doing. Jut to get out of the groove I started speeding and had couple of close calls here. The sense of judgment was not there, overlooking that I speed more and than the bike gave up, gurrrrrrrr happened and I had to pull over, immediately cleaned the spark plug and left the lights and indicator on for the battery to decharge. Rode for a few kilometers and stopped at a dhaba to wash my face and recompose my self as there was another 300 Kms to be done. Here I fell into a cot and five minutes went past in a zip, was feeling fresh after a tea and started again. Bike was not running well, but decided to have a look after I would cross the traffic in Jaipur. After Jaipur I just removed the petrol filter and pulled another pipe straight from the tank to the carb. I had banked upon the four-lane road from Jaipur to Delhi where I would do the maximum speed, but the bike and me were not in a good shape by than an more 250 Kms to go. But the bypass before the four-lane expressway had a flip side to it, the 38-km bypass to reach it was the worst patch of road I had got until now. The road was beyond worse or it seemed like in that state. The tar had melted and taken the form of vertical speed breakers, trucks were countless and tons of dust. It took me more than one hour to complete the stretch, but it helped me in one way, my concentration was back and all the fatigue was gone after seeing all those trucks with high beams coming towards u. Now I was determined to complete the ride no matter what. Reached the highway and tanked up for the last time, 210 Kms from Delhi. Here I opened up the throttle again to 80-85, it was again getting chilly but not as much as mornings, I guess the dew factor must be responsible for that. After one hour and 140 Kms from Delhi I called up Vivek and Subbu, where I got words of encouragement from both to complete the ride safely. That helped, thanks guys. The straight road has its advantages and disadvantages. You can speed but continuously siting on the bike and doing nothing gets u in a trance. Here I felt a very funny feeling that the seat of the bike was shifting right and was about to fall off, I kept checking the seat and it was fixed to the bike, I guess it was the mind playing games. It looks funny now but it wasn’t when there was no concentration and I was riding at 80kph. Around 60kms before Delhi, called up Vivek again and told him not to come and pick me up, Vivek told me where I could find hotels. From there I started riding slowly for the last leg of the trip, traffic increased as Delhi was coming near. After 40 Kms. I entered Delhi and saw the hotels Vivek told me about. Now a funny thing happened, I had entered Delhi but was short by 17 Kms. So I rode around in Delhi for the rest of the distance, went to Vasant Vihar I think, now Delhi has a lot to learn regarding traffic rules. So after riding for 18 and half-hours the magic figure of 1,000 Kms was attained. All the fatigue went on seeing the Speedo on 30,470. All the credit goes to the bike, I don’t know how much time Rajdhani takes from Baroda to Delhi, but it doesn’t get trucks coming from opposite end and three motormen are changed for the entire journey, so I think I can take little credit in that. I have to thank all of you for all the support you have given, THANK YOU GUYS. More to come in second part, that is after reaching Delhi, but I am tired now of typing this and I guess you all are also tired after reading this. Thanks & Regards Gaurav

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