About 11 June 2022…
I usually work at a desk close to the window. From a few days I could see the clouds get darker during the day, cold wind blowing at times and sometimes if I’m lucky light showers. Monsoon season is here and for me it’s biker season! I did my first long ride in the monsoon and loved it ever since. Yes the roads are slippery, you’re most likely going to get wet and mucky, and god forbid you need to stop in an emergency you have to pray and hit the brakes. Well, at least on my R15 I had to due to no ABS. But this monsoon I was looking forward to, because this time in my garage I had a dual channel ABS bike with new knobby tyres that was ready to take on any challenge ahead.
There was a spring in my step and I knew the next opportunity I had to go for a ride, was something I wouldn’t miss. They say “Kisi cheez ko dil se chaho; to puri kainaat usse tumse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai” and man I wanted to ride in that weather. A triple ghat ride presented itself on the biker club group I’m part off and the excitement started. I didn’t know that along with excitement though, the disappointments would soon follow.
You see although I’m part of the Biker’s Creed club, I’m also a bluebumbiker, and I need my guys on a ride as well, it just feels right. This weekend however, was one where none were free. It was a simple decision for me in this scenario, an unfortunate no, there was not much to think about. One day before the ride however, I called up a senior club member (Yash) who was going to be a part of the ride, although it was a no for me, I still wanted to know more about where these folks are headed. They were covering 3 beautiful ghats, lunch at Mapro and a straight highway ride home. Yash told me it’s one of the rides he always looks forward to and this is the best time of the year for this ride and this was something I should strongly consider. While I know people have a habit of overhyping things to be persuasive, when he said the ride had just 6 registrations so far was when I was sold. For a club of 85+ members, you’d usually have at least 20 join all rides, which is not so much of a bad thing, but sometimes the less the merrier.
So I told him I’m definitely joining the ride but now it was time for the bigger challenge, I didn’t know the route to the ride starting point and I’m horrible with roads. You see there are some people not good with roads but they get to their destination somehow, I’m not in that category, this is my biggest flaw, I cannot learn roads at all and the meeting point being 16-20kms away was not helping this any better. You might think just put Google maps, well, I didn’t have a mobile holder, also, I can’t understand just listening to the audio through headphones and moreover the anxiety and fear of not making it on time and getting lost at 4:30am.
And just when things were beginning to look all dark and dusky, I remembered the club’s roaming husky. Roaming husky is Nihal’s insta profile name and he rides a Husqvarna Svarpilen 250, but more importantly he stays a few buildings away from my place. I called him to check if was joining the ride and you remember “Kainaat” trying to make you reach whatever you want, well that happened, he was joining the ride, so I get my navigator till the meeting point.
So all my bags are packed, i’m ready to go, it’s next morning now, and quarter to 4, i wake up all set to say goodbye. I’m sorry, but I hope you got the “Leaving on a jet plane” reference. Anyway, i call Nihal, he’s all set, and everything came together as we left for Katraj snake park, our meeting point. While it was exhilarating, I missed having all of the bluebumbikers ride alongside. We reached the meeting point in a bit and were en route to the ghats.
While we were riding through the highway, the roads looked all too familiar, the restaurants we passed by looked familiar and a sense of annoyingness was tickling, is it the same route to Mahabaleshwar, did I just ditch everything so that I could ride to Mahabaleshwar?!? That turn from Wai got my blood boiling, I swear I wanted to go back at that point. But hey, I don’t know roads so I would’ve definitely got lost, so pro tip here, shut up and follow the group. While riding toward the familiar Mahabaleshwar, a very unfamiliar left turn was waiting. I didn’t know that left was about to make me fall in love with riding all over again. The left led to an inclined narrow road and as we climbed it started to get foggy and as we climbed a little more it was thick fog all around. The cold wind blowing, the narrow roads where on both sides there’s lush greenery, man I miss that place already. It took y back to my first ride to Malsej Ghat in the peak of monsoons where the fog was so thick we felt like we were riding in clouds and this was just that. As much as it sounds like a fairytale ride, with the fog so thick, you can’t see much of road and you know how they say “Don’t go into the light”, well I had to follow it here, Nihal’s tail light, the light ironically kept me alive on this trip.
Riding through the twisties in that weather was all I wanted and I got just that and more. The stunning views we got to see, photos don’t do justice at all. Moreover, at every stop the conversations I got to have, all regarding bikes, was the cherry on the cake. The next destination was Mapro garden, where we stuffed our faces with loaded sandwiches and the famous strawberry with cream. Leaving from there was so tough, and not because of the beautiful weather or the view from there, we were just too dam full to move.
With the only motivation for us to ride back being answering natures call from our own commodes, we set off back leaving memories of one of my favourite rides with these guys. But hey, the monsoon has just begun, Aisha and me have a lot more exploring to do. Can’t wait for the next foggy adventure.
A highlight summing up the ride…