Last Sunday, it was my wife’s best friend’s sister’s marriage in Lonavala. My wife had already left with her friend for the wedding on Saturday and this gave me an opportunity to do a solo bike trip to Lonavala, which is approx. 115 kms away with a riding time of about 2 hours. I have always been a city rider and had never driven outside of the city since getting the bike a year ago. So this was an ideal situation distance/ journey for me to get some practice before going on much longer rides.
I started for the journey at 6am. I did the customary checks to make ensure the headlights were working, brakes were in order and fuel was sufficient. I was a bit low on fuel, but decided to fill the tank on the way. I decided to go via Ghodbunder Road as suggested by Google Maps. I have traveled on Ghodbunder Road many times, so wasn’t expecting much on that route. On reaching Thane, I took a left towards Mumbai Nasik highway. This for me was the beginning of the actual journey – road never traveled before. I took a left at the toll road towards Pune and kept riding on the Mumbra Kausa road. The road has been built by cutting through the mountains and it is a pleasure to ride on the same early in the morning. Once the toll gate is crossed on the other side, the road is full of potholes until I reached Shil Phata. The road from Shil Phata to Panvel passes through the MIDC area and since I had left home early , there were hardly any vehicles on the road. Also I got the opportunity to view the sunrise beyond the hills. The view was magnificent. I wish I had a camera to capture the moment.
On reaching Panvel, I refueled my bike and grabbed a cup of hot chai. The crisp morning along with a hot cup of chai and an awesome ride so far had really made my morning. I was excited and looking forward to the next phase of the ride from Panvel to Lonavala, which was another 60 odd kms. I set out on the Nh4 highway which is a two lane highway with a divider and really nice roads. In no time I was cruising at 80kmph and passing through villages in between. The performance of the bike was exceptional; there was no drag, no vibrations just pure power. For the 1st time, I rode at 114kmphs and was absolutely thrilled. I reached Khopoli, crossed the ghats and merged on the Mumbai – Pune expressway. It was my first time riding on the express way and I was a bit apprehensive with cars driving at breakneck speeds. However, I managed it just fine. Reached Lonavala, and was searching for the marriage venue when I saw the venue board with some directions marked on it. I parked my bike on the side and thought the bike stand was in place, however, it slipped due to loose gravel and the entire pressure fell on my left leg and I fell down from the bike. The left side mirror broke, but not completely. Reached the venue on time but was feeling a bit disappointed because of the broken mirror. After the marriage ceremony got over, took the bike to the local mechanics to check whether the mirror could be fixed, however, they couldn’t fix it. We tried the Fevikwik which says “Chutki mein chikaye, anything” even that didn’t help. So I had no option but to ride back with a broken mirror.
The return journey was equally awesome with riding in Lonavala early in the morning and watching the sunrise. All in all it was a very good and learning experience. Hope to have many such wonderful experiences going ahead.