Thursday, March 23, 2006

Of Biryani, Bullets, Brakes and Yelagiri

Yelagiri – Many first ones on this one

My first ride after I joined Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club. (was in the announce group till this one)
My first ride with the rider’s paraphernalia – leather jacket, sunglasses, RTMC flag, et al.
First time my bullet touches 120kmph on the speedo.
My first ghat section ride, and my first major accident. Read on…

The build up to the ride was something I have come to except these days – there is this anxious waiting thorough out the week, the boyish excitement the day before the ride, the last minute checks on the bike. This time was no special.

The motivation for the ride was right at the bottom of the Maslow’s hierarchy – food. Biryani at Vaniyambadi, at the foot of Yelagiri was the reason, no one really cared for the reason, so long as you got to ride.

We were supposed to meet 6:30 in front of Raheja Arcade, Kormangala. When I reached there at 620ish, there were a handful of bulls. Then they started pouring in. There were usual suspects – PP, grease, subbu, pawn, muthu, vivek, mahesh. (That was quite a long list of names I have rolled off, given my track record with remembering names.) And then there are always those large no of new names – trite and forgettable, again.

Anyways, after all the handshakes some 32 bullets thundered the Hosur Road. To my bullet, this was homecoming, I have done this road many times now. I wont repeat the praises I have for this stretch of the Golden Quadrilateral.
Our first regroup point was the A1 Reliance plaza. Reliance has some amazing facilities up here. I believe, the rates, readings, the evaporation level, mix, the rate at which the meter scrolls, etc, etc can be controlled and monitored centrally from some office in, say, Mumbai. But well maintained restrooms hardly make up for not-so-great tiffin, right?

We went past Krishnagiri, Salem and then took the route to Chennai. The road is so good, you can do full throttle for the whole stretch and that we did. I touched 120kmph on my speedo for the first time. One more brief stop on the way and we reached the foot of the Yelagiri hill. The ride uphill was good; there were about 10 hair-pin bends and the view from top was great. There was practically no traffic flowing downhill.

There are a few resorts on top of the hill, and some trekking spots around. The bullets were parked in front of Country Club. Lime soda was served as an appetizer for the biryani. It was about 11:00 by this time. There were folks from Mad Bulls who joined us.

The plan was to ride down to Vaniyambadi at the bottom of Yelagiri and belt biryanis. We started downhill at about 12 something. I was doing good on the turns and I guess I got carried away a wee bit. There were two bulls ahead of me and I was trying to catch up. On one of the left turns, I found myself in the middle lane, gunning straight at a Tata Sumo Victa. I breaked hard and got most of the bike out of the way, but couldn’t avoid the brake lever and the mirror go whack against the mirror and beading, ripping the plastic off. Metal against plastic is not too much of contest.
The sumo full of doctors let me go after I promised to make good the damages. I got away with a bent brake lever but a badly hurt ego and image. I don’t know how long the repair on that would take. But at that moment, everyone wanted to know who this guy was. I thought I did well to hold my nerves, stay on road and prevent what could have been worse. There was lots to lose but lots to gain too. My bull doctor, Gurunandan said this on an earlier chumma on road, “Small accidents are good in a way, they improve your reflexes”. Howzzat that for optimism!!

Muttu also had some problem on his ‘Monster’, with some loose silencer, which was put back in place with some more delay.

So after this another not-so-desirable ‘first-time’, we reached Vaniyambadi for the biryani. A few of my veggie friends and I settled our asses down at a ‘Saravana Bhavan’ nearby. There was this conceited look on the faces of all guys who walked out after the Biryani. They settled for mutton biryani, I heard, there are no chicks no more in Tamil Nadu. I know from my past experience, TN is sure not a good place to look for them chicks; flu or not.

The ride back happened without any more incidents. One flat tyre meant some guys were delayed. I carried on with the front pack and was back in Bangalore long before the sun went down…

Next week, there will be another ride, another ghat section ride, in full gear, only this time, with better reflexes!!!


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Shreyas said...

Engrossing trip, yet again maga! Good to know your accident was a minor one...

Raghunandan D H said...

Are you readyyyyy !!

Our secodn trip together and the best part is we go back to Hassan after almost 5 years and ofcourse coupled with manipal makes it a combo ....

manoj said...

yeah baby! All set to take off!!

Maams, the accident was minor, but the repercussions were... hard-talk, mails, discussions on the same, lasted for a long time at RTMC.

Uday said...

Good to see you get those leather jackets & gloves, take care on the road & have fun

Prakruthi said...

Good fun guys. And a really nice blog Manoj.