From last 3 years I always wanted to go to Goa and every time I made plans they got screwed up. This time however while I was on long leave and it is January, this seemed like my chance.
I tried to convince lot of people to go along and most of them made their way, although I was stuck that how do I go Goa. Bike/Train/Bus/Car Hire. My roommate Shuvrajyoti agreed to “Go Goa” on bullet on the long weekend of 26th Jan 2010 (It involved taking a day off). Believe me bike journeys teach the rider so much in just 1 trip. It was my first long bike ride that I took on a Royal Enfield Electra.
So we kick started on 22nd Jan around 5:30 PM and target was to reach Mahad as our first pit stop (about 150 km from Mumbai en-route Goa). We took our first halt in Belapur as Shuvra needed a helmet for the ride and we also fuelled up the bike.
During the journey I realized that we have done couple of mistakes – In order to travel super light I advised my roommate to carry only full sleeves shirt as it would be sufficient for us to survive in about 20degree C and above. I myself just carried a thin wind proof jacket to face the headwind. Secondly I thought it will be easy to just stay in floaters rather than wearing shoes, as its gonna be hot anyways not realizing that it’s very important safety aspect of bike riding. I realized this after crossing Panvel Mc-donalds and decided to buy shoes en-route. I took a diversion in a small town Pen (about 50 odd kms from Mumbai) and bought a pair of good shoes (cheap but very effective on sole and toe, they had a shape of climbing shoe).
It was already around 8:30 and we just finished about 50-60 kms from Vashi, I must say a fairly poor start. We continued to head south and entered Ghats. Boy, it was super chilling about 16C and we both were shivering, I had no other option but to ask my roommate to hug me and hold me tightly so as we can shield our self a bit. I was thinking, boy it’s not really going to be easy. We covered another 40 kms and decided to have dinner at 9:30. It was some local dhaba and had horrible food. We were back on road again at 10:00 PM and still about 50 odd kms from Mahad. Finally we reached Mahad in about an hour and checked into a small hotel – Hotel Arya Lodging by 11:30 PM. After having a comfortable sleep we woke up at 7 sharp and got ready by 8AM sharp ready to hit the road. It was about 13 C (from Google Weather) in the morning. I tried to start the bullet It started to give some funny sounds, I never had experience with my bullet in cold temperatures hence I thought it to be like a normal Bike (similar to avenger that I owned previously) It just didn’t start and even if it did it couldn’t survive throttle. I kept kicking and waiting but nothing worked. Now I came on to Dhaka Start (Running with bike in first gear and releasing clutch). Damn it took 30 min to start my electra, just because of my lack of knowledge about enfield. We finally hit the highway at 8:30 AM and covered good 50 kms in 1 hr. The Landscapes were lovely the mountains, the smooth single road, very less traffic, everything was perfect for a bike ride. And suddenly my bike gave up its throttle and came to halt, it just didn’t start. I was about 3 kms away from small town called Khed and quickly took lift to find out some mechanic. I asked at 3-4 bike shops and every one referred me to a mechanic to called Alex who had gone to Chiplun (about 30 kms). The town even had a Bajaj official service centre who’s owner decided for some reason not to help me a lot.
I called up my mechanic in Mumbai to ask what could be the possible problem and his standard response was checking the spark plug. Lol. (dude thats not always the problem area). I requested a local garage owner to send a young worker who has just the basic knowledge and with a new spark plug and some tools to check bike. I also called up my friend Zen (Zenosh Patel), a rider and he advised me to check the battery too.
I took an auto back to reach the bike and the young trainee garage guy – Milind (about 15-16 yrs). Changed the spark plug, cleaned the carburettor but still no luck. I tried to blow horn and indicators – Wow found the problem it was battery. When he opened the battery the positive terminal had so much acid and carbon on it which had caused terminal to break. He cleaned up the terminals and fixed the battery in place back, and 1 kick it fired like a Bullet. We all three immediately headed over to his garage on 1 bike and fixed minor things and this whole episode took about 2.5 hrs. We both even couldn’t get our breakfast.
Shuvra suggested to directly have brunch at Chiplun (28 kms from Khed). On my way I realized that none of the bike indicator were working and the pillion rider grab rail was broken. I decided to get at least the indicators fixed as it’s very much needed for night driving (not realizing that the tail lamp was also not working) all these electric problems I suspect occurred due to battery that every small blub was broken.
Anyways we had our lunch at nice restaurant and I got bike fixed in that time. It was 2 PM when we started again and I had not even covered 100 kms of our massive 480 kms of journey of day 2. I calmed myself and said let’s see how it goes and if required we may take a halt at around goa border. I had a target of 50kms every hour which should make us reach Panjim at 9PM. The bike gave full support and we were enjoying ghats, landscape and every 50km leg was almost getting completed in 55 min with 5 min of rest. By 4:30 we crossed Ratnagiri, and 7:30 PM we reached goa border. The Landscapes and scenery was lovely on the route but due to lack of time we couldn’t take any pictures. Finally we reached Panjim at 8:30 and were at the hotel at belienum beach by 9:30 PM.
This is where different fun starts – alcohol/food/swim/bird watching on goa beaches, late night parties and what not. In the mean time got the bike tail lamp and other electric problem sorted and refreshed the lubricants of the bike. I also bought some spares of the bike like Chain Lock, Accelerator Cable and Clutch Cable just to be safe side.
Our initial plan was to have fun for 2 nights and 1.5 days and head back with a pit stop at ratna giri. On the last day 25th Jan we decided to stay that night at goa and head via NH4 Highway and reach Pune. We started our journey at 8:30 AM on 26th Jan 2010 from Goa, and hit NH17 heading east to reach Belgaum via NH4. (Google Maps on my Nokia E51 was super handy for this trip). The route initially was beautiful the Ghats, the river bridges. Bullet Electra made its way overtaking every vehicle on ghats with ease and giving excellent grip on road. After just crossing Karnataka border we reached a stretch of 3kms which was such a painful road, that it almost sprained both riders lumber back; effectively there was no road. We reached Ram-Nagar a small town on NH4A and had breakfast and relaxed a bit. Then next halt was Belgaum 50 kms away. We reached Belgaum in no time. After relaxing on roadside for 10 min we stepped onto NH4 Blore-Pune Highway and there was no stopping, we were heading north.
I must say that this road was not made for riding bikes like bullet. It is a 6 Lane divided Highway similar to Mumbai-Pune Expressway. The bike could easily scale 90k without any vibrations and speed averaging about 65 km per hr. I wish I had a super bike like Yamaha R1 or Busa to scale these roads at 150k.
It was around 12:45 PM that we stepped onto NH4 and we reached Kolhapur at 3PM. We had a quick lunch and Mc-Donalds Kolhapur and crossed Satara. I broke my journey into 6 halts with 3 pit stops from Belgaum to Pune. It was about 350 odd kms on NH4 and Belgaum-Kolhapur-Satara-Pune were basically 120kms(Approx) from each other. So I took a small halt every 60 kms and a little longer one every 120 kms to reach pune at 8:15PM sharp.
My roommate had his office next day so he took a Volvo at 8:20 to Mumbai and I headed inside pune city to see friends. It was little unfortunate that I couldn’t meet a long old friend for more than 2 min. I therefore headed towards Karve Road where my college friend Raman resides which was my pit stop of the night.
I had a sound sleep and started for Mumbai at 9:15 AM. Now mission Mumbai was just about 3 hours away. I speeded all the way since I was riding solo, and made to my home in Airoli Mumbai at 12:10 AM.