Feels good to be back.....

As the title suggests it feels good to be touring again after about 7 months of gap.
Well it wasn't actually a tour but just a quick dash to near by place in Bangalore and back.
But let me tell how it all got planned and materialized.

But first little photo introduction:

That's Lionel

Yours Truly

Going into flashback some time in July:
I had been chatting updating Lionel about the comet upgrades since quite a while now. I've been telling him that I've got aftermarket levers from US for the bike and planning to put braided lines for the brakes. Lionel is the guy, stays in Pune, from whom I bought the Comet in 2007 Jan and since then we have been in contact. Initially we came in contact due to the bike purchase deal but now we are Friends having similar passion i.e. touring on bikes. Actually he is the person seeing his rides I got motivated to explore this area of touring on bikes. And I am so thankful to him for that.

All this while Lionel didn't have a bike and meanwhile he had bought a brand new car, Chevrolet UVA. He had to sell his bike back in 2007 to me due to his reasons and being a biker at heart he always yearned for a bike and touring on it. And since I have been telling him about my trips (my ladakh trip) and bike upgrades he got more itchy, restless to start touring again. And that's when he pinged me on Gtalk and expressed his feeling and told he wants to go on a ride whenever he visits Bangalore next. He, being a tourer, had already made some tours to his native place Ahmedabad, etc in his car, and it wasn't a big deal for him to come down to Bangalore driving his car. He anyways had his friends circle in Bangalore so several reason to pay a visit. Ultimately he came up with his schedule for his Bangalore trip and shared it with me. I was ok with it as anyways mostly I am at home on weekends doing nothing more than killing time by watching TV.

Coming back to current time:
So the schedule was Lionel will reach Bangalore on 1st of October by evening and will meet up next day and plan a place for the trip. We had agreed for making the trip as a one day dash to a place near Bangalore within 100kms and which should have some good scenic views with nice twisty winding roads.
Next day I met Lionel who had come with his friend, Mahima, at Koshy's in St Marks road. Soon we were joined with another friend of Lionel, Srinivas. We all had a nice lunch-cum-evening snacks and meanwhile we were talking about bikes and also deciding on the next day's trip destination.
I wanted to head towards Devrayan durga near Tumkur which is around 80kms from Bangalore. I like this place specially because this is not much crowded as some of the other places (Nandi hills is like a "machchli bazaar" now a days.) and also it has some nice roads and not much traffic too. The only problem is to break away from the route's initial part getting out of the industrial area.
Lionel wanted to take a test ride on comet, the bike which he had given to me two and half years back. He took the ride and was all charged up for the trip.
Initially there were three main participants in the ride i.e. Lionel on Comet, I will take out my brother's FZ16 and Mahima will drive Lionel's car. We wanted Srinivas also to join us, he owns a classic bullet, but he wasn't sure as he had office the next day. Incidentally he also works in AOL but in different office. He said he would let us know only by 9 in the night.

Hence finally we decided on DD hills and planned to start our trip early in the morning by 6 o clock so that by the time we reach the destination it'll be mist all around and also we could avoid the heavy traffic which increases as the day goes by.

It was 5.30PM we were still at Koshy's, Lionel and friends wanted to watch a movie, "Inglorious Bastards" starring Brad Pitt, starting at 7 o clock. They invited me too for it but I wasn't in the mood. I have become a "Loner" lately and sometimes hesitate to mingle with people hence said no for it. But after they insisted, I agreed. We reached Garuda Mall Inox and enquired for the tickets but for the show only two tickets were remaining and eventually the movie plan got cancelled. Meanwhile Lionel's one more friend had joined us and we all sat outside the mall spent sometime chatting. Lionel's friends were amazed by the fact that how much my and lionel's hobbies match and they were making fun of him that he had sold his Comet to a clone of his.

While the trip plan started taking shape there was a problem. And the problem was that both bikes on which we were supposed to travel were at my house and Lionel was staying very far away from my place. It was decided that Lionel and Mahima would come near to my house in his car, take the bikes and then start the trip.

After Srinivas explained them the route to my house I left from there and headed to the place which is like a second house to me in Bangalore and that is Irshaad's workshop. I probably spent more time there than at my flat. I like being between bikes and talking to people the internals of bike and motorsports and this is the perfect place for me.
By 12 o clock I reached my house, packed a few things for the trip and slept.

5.30AM alarm went off and I woke up freshened up and sent a message to Lionel so that he also gets up. At about 6.30 he called me up telling that people are still asleep and will be late to start from his place. I waited till 6.45 and then again Lionel called only to tell that one by one people have backed out from the trip. Srinivas had already informed late night that he won't be able to join and morning Mahima also backed out. So now it was only two of us left for the trip.
Hence I told him that he need not come to my house, I would pick him up from his place and then we head back to my house for picking up the other bike, my brother's FZ16.
I reached his place picked him up and at around 8 o clock and we both came to my house. I gave Lionel my alpine star jacket and I took my usual touring cramster jacket. Took some snaps and not wasting more time (already we had lost two hours) we started towards Mekhri Circle.

Starting the trip from my house. That's Lionel

It was 9AM which means peak traffic and to cross the whole Bangalore with all the heavy jackets, gloves, bags was tough. We reached the Tumkur Highway, NH4, by 10 o clock but still our agony was far from over as the heavy truck traffic had started and with the elevated highway project going on full swing it was horrible. Eventually manouvering around all the traffic we reached Nelamangla and further we saw the toll road and we got relieved a bit by the thought of less traffic beyond this point. We took a direly required butt break, had some water, had a small peice of chocolate which my brother had left in the tank bag :D, took some snaps and started again.

We were constantly doing 85-90 kmph on the not so crowded four lane. The FZ never fails to impress with its stability even on the high speeds, it is so stable and just feels good. Only drawback it has is its smaller capacity engine which runs out of breath when you reach 80kmph. But still you can push it slightly to go 90-95kmph. Since the bike is so light in weight whenever there is heavier air turbulence the bike seems to be swept away. But still the overall feeling of the bike is good and you don't seem to go out of control anytime.
Where as seeing Comet effortlessly steaming ahead with its 250CC Vtwin heart and heavy chassis it always feels like "You cannot go wrong with the comet". Very stable on the high speeds and enjoyable after one crosses the flat spot present in the RPM range between 5000-5500rpm doing around 85kmph. With Lionel riding the Comet, I was just tried slipstreaming behind him whenever overtaking heavy vehicles so that I can avoid some of the air turbulence.

We were just 20kms from Tumkur when we spotted a Cafe Coffee day and decided on having our Brunch. We stopped there, ordered some sandwiches and again did what both enjoyed doing i.e. talking about bikes and touring on them. Apparently Ninja's official release was round the corner and it would be very exciting if Lionel could pick up the Ninja if it comes in his budget. I was trying to push him to go for the Ninja as it would be nice to be touring on somewhat similar CC bike i.e. 250CC, he'll start from Pune and I'll start from Bangalore and we both will meet somewhere in the middle and continue to tour several places.

After finishing our sandwiches we started again and after 15kms we both could spot the mountain range towards which we had head and started searching, enquiring about the routes. Localites pointed us towards the right route for DD hills and after about 5 kms we started climbing up the mountains. The roads were kind of empty, weather was cool. Enjoying the twisty roads, tried some cornering skills, one cornrer which I nearly messed up. I am not comfortable on any other bike than the Comet. It feels so at home when I ride the Comet.
Anyways we reached to the top, parked the bikes and went upstairs towards the temple. The wind was heavy and felt so pleasant to be there, after all after 7 months of not going anywhere other than office to irshaad's workshop to my house, I ought to like it :)

Spent sometime taking photos with Lionel suggesting couple of nice ways to take snaps of the surroundings. I had bought a Canon 450D but I am a total amatuer when it comes to photography and trying to venture into this area. After a while we decided to call our day over and push off from there and head back to Bangalore. But before that I remembered when I came here previously that there is another place that we can go to, which would give us an opportunity to click some more good photos of the bike and Lionel agreed to go there. Yet again some good photographs captured.

My favorite snap from the trip

The steeds

Started to head back to Bangalore, this time I was riding the Comet and Lionel took on the FZ. Decided to stop at some place where we can try to take some cornering shots of each other since the roads were good and empty. Meanwhile Mahima had sent a message asking about us being ok. We stopped and informed her that we have reached the destination safe and sound and started our way back. On the way I was feeling so comfortable on the Comet and decided to be a little naughty in corners trying to take the corners hanging off the bike :D :D and yes I was successful in it in one of the corners for which I got appreciation from Lionel too :D :D Thanks Lionel
Another beautiful shot by Lionel

While going towards DD Hills I had noticed that there is a NICE road corridor entry on the Tumkur Road which would take us towards Kanakpura road and we taking this route while coming back would mean we could avoid all the heavy traffic and reach JP nagar, my house, where we had to park the FZ and I would drop Lionel to his place.
Again consistently doing 90-95kmph we started covering the way back. One time I was leading and Lionel was slipstreaming me when this truck driver all of a sudden changed his lane from left to right with no apparent reason. We were about to overtake him when he did this, I had to brake hard so as to not to end up being sandwiched between the road median and the truck. With Lionel trailing me he also had to brake hard and change lanes suddenly. By god's grace and backing upon our reflexes we managed to avoid any mishap there and continued our way back.

We had tea after the toll road ended and I told Lionel to look out for the diversion for NICE road on the way. After about 5-6 kms we spotted the diversion and took it. Paid the toll tax for two bike, Rs 38/-, till Kanakpura road, pretty nominal for an empty 4 lane for 38kms.
We reached my house in about 45 minutes or so and in a way didn't even break sweat in covering those 40kms, always doing 95kmph. Parked the FZ in my house, dropped off the camera and jackets and then we went to Lionel's place.
Evening reached Lionel's place, had our late lunch plus sausages that Lionel had bought from Thom's Bakery on the way. Met Rogue, Mahima's cute cat, spent sometime watching Friends on TV and then I left from there by 6.15 as I didn't want to miss the MotoGP Qualifiers.

At 7.30 reached back home, noticed my brother not at home, watched last closing minutes of the MotoGP qualifiers and this is how my day ended. Though after that again feeling bored and lonely at home, at 8.30 I decided to go the place where I love to go, Irshaad's workshop. Spent time there till late night, got my bike fitted with the aftermarket levers and the braided lines which I had mentioned about in the starting this trip log.

So now I could say my day had ended with such a nice trip in the day and such nice upgrades on my bike in the later half. All in all I had a fabulous weekend in the midst of all the stuff going around me, it was a nice refresher.
Big Thanks to Lionel for making this a reality. This trip has rekindled my liking towards touring on bikes and hope to continue it further. And hoping to do more and more trips in future too.

Another Big thanks to my brother for lending us his bike for this trip otherwise it wouldn't have been so much fun.

PS: All the photos clicked and post processed by Lionel. Nice retro look to the photos.
Will update my share of photographs later

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