A thank you note! As many of you may be aware, I undertook a solo ride from Namma Bengaluru to Amchi Mumbai! This was a 1000km ride made possible by the love and kindness from Gokul bhai and family at Belgaum and Kamal bhai and family at Pune! I’m immensely grateful to them for accommodating and hosting lavish dinners plus accomodating my last minute plan changes. Big bear hugs to both from me. Also, a big thank you to Abhi bhai at Shivamoga for not only replying to me in amtyer of seconds, but also relentlessly helping me scout for beautiful hotels in the vicinity. Unfortunately, owing to my plan changes I could not go through with the Shivamoga pit stop. Will definitely trouble him again upon my return.
Ride Notes –
Target: Bangalore – Bombay
Weapon of choice: 2011 Harley Davidson XL883
Ride breakup –
1. Bangalore to Belgaum (500kms. Started at 9.30am, reached at 7.30pm. Took 5 breaks of 5mins each and 1 break of 30mins) – splendid roads. If you are starting from south Bangalore, it is advisable to take NICE road. Yeshwanthpur near Taj is complete chaos owing to road construction. The signal at Taj junction is extremely legnthy. It took me 6 signal changes to cross. After that roads are a breeze. On the highway, there are a few points where widening/construction is going on. Not much of an issue for bikes, but super painful for cars.
Traffic density increases Hubli onwards. Being patient is the only solution. The highway soon after turns into single lane with slow moving trucks, impatient 2 wheelers and 4 wheelers, making this stretch slightly tricky. Going steady without the urge of ‘have to overtake’ mindset needs to be maintained here. Having crossed this is the highway, almost expressway like roads that lead you to the beautifully close knit city of Belgaum. Where everyone knows everyone. Do have the Biryani from Niyaaz here, and home made dosa and chutney at Gokul bhai’s place!
2. Belgaum to Pune (350kms. Started at 9am, reached at 6pm. Took 3 breaks of 5mins each and 1 break of 30mins) – as you exit Belgaum you have some scenic spots greeting you. Highway continues to be wide and we’ll paved for the next 60-70kms. And then you enter Maharashtra. Road conditions gradually start deteriorating and so does traffic behaviour. 4 wheelers intentionally intimidate you. The best behaved are the truckers. Hats off to them for their road etiquette. Also need to beware of people randomly crossing the highway.
The worst portion of this stretch begins 10kms before Satara. Roads are in really bad shape and continues to be so all the way to Pune. Don’t even think of seeing 3 digit speeds in this stretch. Also, toll plazas are chocked even for 2 wheelers in this stretch. When in Pune, enjoy the lovely hospitality and enriching conversations at Kamal bhai’s place!
3. Pune to Bombay (160kms. Started at 9am, reached at 1.30pm. Took 3 breaks of 5mins each). Exiting pune was slightly easy being a Sunday. But found traffic all throughout the highway. Old Highway road quality is good and makes for enjoyable riding through the twists and turns. Yes, there are innumerable speed breakers too after Khopoli. But great rooads all the way to JNPT. Took the JNPT road to enter navi mumbai. Again brilliant roads uptil Kharghar. Then traffic takes over, road or no road doesn’t matter anymore!
Hope these notes will help someone, somewhere down the line! Unfortunately I do not have an eye for photography, so here are just two basic pics.
– Arpan Laha