Pawana - A quiet evening getaway

My flatmate and long-time friend Lohit has just quit his job in Pune and will be leaving to Bangalore soon. He wanted to see a few places around Pune, so we set off to Pawana to watch the sunset, despite the low water levels there. We were quite surprised to see a fairly large weekend crowd, however the hills and sky were looking beautiful never-the-less. Yet another taste of bad roads, and a chance to play with the camera :)


A short trip to Kashid beach

It's one of those days when you sit on a chair wondering what to do next once your work for the day is done. It's a gentle battle between doing the unthinkable v/s lazing around. In a split second there's a nice big list of possible locations which you could visit, that would bring a sense of adventure and joy. Then the mind begins the process of carefully weighing the pleasure factor of each of these locations. It's fierce competition with many close calls and ties. However, there's a winner. One that just seems perfect for that day, that evening, that moment: And there’s a sudden urge to get away from daily life and be somewhere else altogether.
It was one such day, one on a sunny winter afternoon. I was done with my work by 1:30pm and I felt like spending the evening on a beach. Imagination had already started rolling. I could already sense the winds blowing, the waves hitting the shores, and the deep orange sun setting on the horizon. It just felt right, and it had to be done. It’s a situation where the mind won’t accept anything less for satisfaction, and there’s no stopping after that.

I headed to the petrol station across my office in Pune and tanked up my trusty Pulsar 180 DTSi. I was on the road by 2pm. There was very little traffic and I had no problems keeping good pace. The descent through Tamhini Ghat felt good particularly. The road had been tarred recently. Having done this route many number of times, I was off to enjoy the corners and the hairpins. As I approached Kolad, the roads seemed more inviting. Once I was on NH17, I proceeded towards Roha and took the shortest route to Kashid. A part of this short route was still under construction. A few kilometers of sand and stone after many hours of tarmac riding. Once I knew I was near, my only desire was to keep the pace up and not stop. I wanted be at the beach as early as possible. After 3 hours of non-stop riding, I was finally there.

I had reached earlier than expected. It was still sunny and the beach was stark empty except for a few people walking around at a distance. I quickly grabbed the opportunity to ride all around the beach. The shores were shallow and it was an easy ride. I was back to being a kid and I rode the shallow waters to feel the splash over me and my bike.

After some exploration of the surrounding areas, I finally pulled out my camera and decided to take some snaps. I requested an Australian visitor to take some photos of me riding along the beach. It was just about sunset, and it was time to see my imagination turn to reality. It was one of the best evenings I’ve spent on a weekday; a working weekday for that matter. At 6:45pm I decided to head back home. It was a moonless night. I took a slight deviation around Tamhini and found myself some empty space with no trees around. I just slept on the bike to watch the stars. It was pitch dark and the star studded sky blew me away. Light pollution around towns and industrial areas ruin the best views of the sky. Fortunately for me, I was away from it all, in the right place at the right time. I however could not spend a lot of time there as I wanted to get back home. By 10pm I was at Pune’s Chandni Chowk. A 380 kilometer ride, a sea sand splashed bike, reddish tyres and dirty clothes. It was time to head home, have dinner and call it one very eventful evening.
[this writeup was featured in BIKE India magazine - Volume 2 / Issue 10 / May 2007 Page 46 ]


2388 kms - 3 days - One fast ride

Yes. I was desperate to do a long distance ride. With the original destination being Bangalore, I felt like doing more as I got riding on the first day. I felt like visiting the pristine hills of Ooty and feeling the winter chill. My Pulsar 180 dtsi was all serviced and ready to munch some miles.

On Day 1, I left Pune at 4:30 am. It was a cold morning. I took my first break close to Satara and watched the sunrise (it was too tempting to stop at this moment). I continued further and reached Nelamangala (30 kms outside Bangalore) just before 5pm. Not wanting to enter Bangalore, I took the outer-ring-road through Kengeri satellite town and reached the Mysore road. I continued and reached Mysore at 9pm. I stayed at one of my friend's home.

On Day 2, I got up at 7am. Got ready, thanked my friend and continued towards Bandipur. I spent very little time at Gopalswamy Betta. I took the Masinagudi route through Sigur ghats and reached Ooty by around 11pm. Rode around Doddabetta, Conoor and Pykara. I had dinner at around 7pm and slept by 8pm. I was badly in need of sleep.

On Day 3, I had to ride all the way back to Pune. Not something I had even dreamed of doing. I left at 6am and rode longer distances taking shorter breaks. I packed some fried rice near Gundulpet, and decided to eat a little at every major break I take. I also took along 5 bars of Cadbury's Perk and plenty of water. I tried taking various shortcuts in Mysore and Bangalore, and faced some trouble. I actually ended up wasting valuable time on the ring roads in hopes of avoiding the city traffic. After a long day's riding, I reached Hubli and had dinner. The sleep was really getting to me and I was bored riding on a straight stretch not having anything else to do. However, the last stretch from Kolhapur to Pune was fantastic. The skies were clear, there was no fog, visibility was fantastic, and it was cold. It felt awesome. For a change the good weather drove all my sleep away, and I made it back home by around 3am with a wide grin ear to ear.

Distances covered:
986 kms on Day 1 - Pune to Mysore
186 kms on Day 2 - Mysore - Gopalswamy Hill - Ooty and surrounding areas
1216 kms on Day 3 - Ooty to Pune - In 21 hours (around 17 hrs of actual ride time)

So much for a butt-aching trip. I reported to work like everything was normal, and slept 15 hours that evening. This is my fastest & longest ride so far .. Yippie ..