Sunday, August 9, 2009

Honda Unicorn

This is not the fastest bike in India.

It does not have the best 0-60 timings.

It is not the most economical either.

It of course is not 'THE' best looking.

Sales figures aren't the most impressive too.

But, it simply is the most enjoyable machine. If you own one, you'll know what I'm trying to pen. At the end of the day it is not the top speed or the acceleration that you would have enjoyed. It is how well the bike responds and behaves as an extension of your own self! And take it from me, the Unicorn does it the best!

Three cheers to this marvelous bike!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Yezdi Roadking Port Timing Diagram

For all you Roadking enthusiasts here's the map. Click on the image for a detailed view.

Maja maadi!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Torch Of Freedom

Freedom Run: The Torch Song from Doordarshan

The beautiful music video on our television sets in the late 80's composed by Louis Banks and filmed by Doordarshan.

Many thanks to the original uploader on : kedargogate

...and here's the mp3 : The Torch Of Freedom

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

In and out of the dark side of motorcycling...

This was an incident that occurred a month before the Tadiyandamol trip. I had decided on not writing this post but then this blog was an initiative to let the world know of the moments that have made my life more meaningful. So a thought of not hiding anything has made me write it today!

This was the first big accident I have had in an automobile. It was Friday, the 13th of March, 2009, on my way to office. Let me admit I have always been a quick rider on city streets and I enjoy paying attention to the road, traffic, the rules and the clock. I had accelerated my motorcycle to about 50kmph from front after having passed the traffic congestion at Garudacharpalya on the Mahadevpura Main Road. As a brief introduction of the road, it is about 10km long starting from KR Puram all the way upto Hope-farm. It is busy at all times of the day and traffic includes pedestrians and two-wheelers to multi-axle trucks. There are over two-thousand industries around the road. Almost at the other end is the International Tech Park, where I work.

So as I rode my bike next to the median, I saw these two men, one of them about five feet ten inches tall and about an eighty whole kilos waiting for me to pass, to cross the road. And as if there was no escape from inevitability, the big fat man tried to hurry himself across the road and ended up planting himself right in front of the speeding front wheel of my motorcycle four feet from it. It was too quick for me to do anything. I bent left and braked very hard, and hit the man with the crash guard, the mirror and the front brake lever. The handle bar veered right and in a fraction of a second after two somersaults, I was sliding on my left hand on the asphalt across the road at probably the same speed I hit him. There were no vehicles behind me thankfully as I swam across. I continued till my left shoulder hit the footpath when I was launched into air and after a brief flight of 6 feet, dived helmet-first into a 3 feet deep trench built with stone. Soon I found myself stand on both feet with a calm head and multiple parts hurting to death. The calmness ended soon. The police came running shouting “Is he dead, Is he dead”. The nearby public who had by then rushed to help me out, shouted back, “He’s alive and moving”. That made me realize how bad I had just crashed! All the calmness I had in my head had turned into a scare. And in a second I began to guess what could have my bike been through! The people who had lifted me out of the trench by now put me to a side and didn’t let me walk! I began to examine my wounds and slowly got up to walk towards my motorcycle.

My shin was injured deeply and shoulders, left forearms and the left foot were bleeding profusely. This bothered me till I saw my bike. The tank had dent below the logo. The mirror and the front fender were broken, the headlight assembly and the front cowl were scratched to the max. The fork had developed a bend. I felt my gut ache. I went to the man I had just hit. Miraculously he had escaped with minor wounds! His head and hand were minorly hurt and bleeding. We then discovered the man was drunk to the brim and that drove his silly move to come in front of a speeding bike.

Two people came with me to a hospital to get me a first aid which included metres of dressing and a shot of Tetvac. The police stayed with me all the way asking me to file a case against that guy, who was a lorry driver and had allegedly parked his lorry right under a No-Parking sign! I didn’t want to file any cases against anybody for I had my own worries to bother. After a discussion with the local police, I wanted an FIR to help me with the insurance claims for my bike. I was asked to go to the police station for this and the KR Puram traffic-police inspector was indeed a gentleman. He soon issued the FIR with a word of caution. I rode to office later with the muddy clothes on my broken bike. My boss was surprised to see me make it to office and I had to do that not to face my mother back home! This had been the worst crash ever!

In the coming days, I got the bike restored with genuine Honda parts at Mr. Ahmed’s garage in Yesvantpur. The total bill came to eleven grand and the insurance company helped me with 75% of the costs.

The truth is I can’t be lazy on road, I lose concentration. And the ones like me can’t survive for long with law breakers driving amidst us. And these law-breaking demons continue to ruin lives as long as there are a few policemen who, for some loose change are ready to drink dog piss, let them live their way. Yes this is the ruined state of our beloved city.

However, there is something I can do as a true to heart biker.. Quit riding amongst idiots!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Indians and the T-20

It is in a way good the Indian team did not reach the semifinals. The crazy amounts of undeserved money that would've gone as awards to them by their respective state governments is saved! Thankfully!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The anti-roll bar...

What keeps you from toppling when you take a curve at over 60 kilometers an hour in your hyperactive hatchback sporting the world’s best independent suspensions ???

The answer is the stabiliser bar aka anti-roll bar aka sway-bar aka anti-sway-bar (courtesy Wikipedia). You would find this when you bend down the front of your car and feel your hand behind the plastic bumpers. This is an inch fat bar in the form of ‘U’ connecting both front or/and both rear wheels.

This of course is not put to keep the wheels from running away.

Imagine what happens to you during a tight right turn in a car. You would be thrown to your left. The same thing happens to all parts of the car. The body, the engine, the chassis and the tyres. Why do modern cars have an independent front suspension? The answer is to have a comfortable ride and not letting everyone in the car know of the bump you just drove the right front wheel of your car on. Now during a turn, the independent suspensions would be free to act independently and that could be particularly dangerous in a curve. When you turn hard, the suspensions on the wheel to the outside of the curve (left ones during a right turn) collapse and the ones to the inside stretch. This stresses the outer wheels heavily making the steering behave more maniacal and can cause the inner ones to leave the ground. And when done harshly, it may result in a car topple!

So what does the bar do?

The antiroll bar is connected in such a way that the base of the ‘U’ is clamped to the body to behave like a pivot and the limbs are connected to the control arms (lower portions of the steering knuckle) on both wheels. The result now during a turn would be, when the outer suspension collapses, it drags one of the limbs of the ‘U’ with it and the other stretching suspension drags the second limb in an opposite direction. It is something like twisting the base of the ‘U’ with a crowbar between the limbs. The antiroll bar is made with tempered spring steel to resist this twist and return back to its normal position and to continuously do so over three million times. The result now is that there is some resistance provided to the suspensions to behave independently during a turn and prevents the car from rolling too much.

How is it made…

The grade is spring steel with the thickness of approximately an inch for a small car. The bars are cut to required lengths and the ends are forged or turned and threaded to fasten to the control arms. This bar with the ends prepared, is now fed into a Radiant Tube type LPG furnace. This is a simple furnace controlled by temperature controllers which regulate the air supply valve and hence the fuel supply to the furnace constantly maintaining 950 degrees Celcius. At the heart of the furnace is a burner where LPG mixes with air and fires up. The rod is heated here for approximately twenty minutes. It then comes out like a glowing orange fluorescent tubelight, onto a module. A module is a set of fixtures that bend the bar to the shape you want powered by a hydraulic power pack. The hydraulic cylinders on all fixtures on the module have pre-programmed working lengths which at the end of the working cycle would have formed the bar in the shape you want resembling a ‘U’. The bar now at about a nine hundred degrees and still glowing is quenched in a seven thousand litre oil sump at room temperature for five minutes. The bar would be brittle when it comes out. It then is passed on the LPG fired conveyorised mesh furnace for ninety minutes, where LPG is burned to continuously heat the bar to 450 degrees throughout the time. It then is allowed to cool to room temperature by when the bar would have accumulated all properties of a spring by aligning the grain structures in the way metallurgists wanted it. The bar is now stored for a while before being led to shot peening in a Hanger Type Shot Peening machine. Shot peening is an operation where metal balls, millions of them, (approximately 0.9mm dia) are shot at very high velocity on the bar continuously for about half an hour. This continuously rams the surface to make it tough and eliminate all surface cracks. This also prevents surface cracks from occurring when the twisting happens on the bar in the car. The absence surface cracks can be seen through a magnaflux gauge. Here the whole bar is magnetized and when you spray oil filled with ferro particles, they settle all over the bar and concentrates on surface cracks. When seen through ultra-violet light, the crack reflects as a fluorescent yellow line. As long as you don’t find one, you can continue to be happy.

The stabiliser bar is now ready to function. The next process on the line is zinc phosphating and powder coating to provide an aesthetic appearance and prevent rust. Two aluminium rings are crimped on the base of the ‘U’ to act as stoppers for fitment on the car. This ready bar is inspected for surface finish and bound in bubble wrap before sending it to the carmakers with a fat bill.

Monday, April 20, 2009

ನಾನು ಕೋಳಿಕೆ ರಂಗ (Naanu Kolike ranga)

Stumbled on this evergreen classic by TP Kailasam on youtube. Thought I'd share it here with the lyrics!

Use your pluck now try your luck to sing along with me,

It's as easy to sing as you sing your A-B-C.

ನಾನು ಕೋಳಿಕೆ ರಂಗ
'ಕೋ'ನು 'ಳಿ'ನು 'ಕೆ'ನು ''ನು ಸೊನ್ನೆ
ಕಕೊತ್ವ ಳಿ ಕಕೆತ್ವ ಮತ್ ಸೋನ್ನೆಯುನು
ಇದ್ನ ಹಾಡೋಕ್ ಬರ್ದೆ ಬಾಯ್ ಬಿಡೋವ್ನು ಹಃ ಹಃ ಹಃ
ಬೆಪ್ಪು ನನ್ ಮಗ

ನಾನು ಕೋಳಿಕೆ ರಂಗ
'ಕೋ'ನು 'ಳಿ'ನು 'ಕೆ'ನು 'ರ'ನು ಸೊನ್ನೆ ಗ
ಕಕೊತ್ವ ಳಿ ಕಕೆತ್ವ ರ ಮತ್ ಸೋನ್ನೆಯುನು
ನಮ್ಮ ತಿಪ್ಪಾರಳ್ಳಿ ಬೋರನ್ ಅಣ್ಣನ್ ತಮ್ಮನ್ ದೊಡ್ಡ್ ಮಗ

ನಾ ಹುಟ್ಟಿದ್ ದೊಡ್ದ್ರಳ್ಳಿ, ಬೆಳ್ದಿದ್ ಬ್ಯಾಡ್ರಳ್ಳಿ,
ಮದುವೆ ಮಾರ್ನಳ್ಳಿ ಬೆಳೆಗಳ್ ಹಾರ್ನಳ್ಳಿ;
ನಮ್ ಶಾನ್ಬ್ಹೊಗಯ್ಯ, ಅಲ್ದೆ ಶೆಕ್ದಾರಪ್ಪ
ಇವ್ರೆಲ್ರು ಕಂಡವ್ರೆ ನನ್ನಾ.

ನಾ ಹುಟ್ಟಿದ್ ದೊಡ್ದ್ರಳ್ಳಿ, ಬೆಳ್ದಿದ್ ಬ್ಯಾಡ್ರಳ್ಳಿ
ಮದುವೆ ಮಾರ್ನಳ್ಳಿ ಬೆಳೆಗಳ್ ಹಾರ್ನಳ್ಳಿ
ನಮ್ ಶಾನ್ಬ್ಹೊಗಯ್ಯ, ಅಲ್ದೆ ಶೆಕ್ದಾರಪ್ಪ
ಇವ್ರೆಲ್ರು ಕಂಡವ್ರೆ ನನ್ನಾ

ಹೆಂಡರ್ನು ಮಕ್ಕಳ್ನು ಬಿಟ್ಟು, ಹಟ್ಟಿ ಅದನ್ನು ಬಿಟ್ಟು,
ಹೆಂಡರ್ನು ಮಕ್ಕಳ್ನು ಬಿಟ್ಟು, ಹಟ್ಟಿ ಅದನ್ನು ಬಿಟ್ಟು,
ಬಂದಿವ್ನಿ ನಾ, ನಿಮ್ಮುಂದೆ ನಿಂತಿವ್ನಿ ನಾ
ಬಂದಿವ್ನಿ ನಾ, ನಿಮ್ಮುಂದೆ ನಿಂತಿವ್ನಿ ನಾ
ನಂಹಳ್ಳಿ ಕಿಲಾಡಿ ಹುಂಜಾ!

ನಾನು ಕೋಳಿಕೆ ರಂಗ
'ಕೋ'ನು 'ಳಿ'ನು 'ಕೆ'ನು ''ನು ಸೊನ್ನೆ
ಕಕೊತ್ವ ಳಿ ಕಕೆತ್ವ ಮತ್ ಸೋನ್ನೆಯುನು
ಇದ್ನ ಹಾಡೋಕ್ ಬರ್ದೆ ಬಾಯ್ ಬಿಡೋವ್ನು ಹಃ ಹಃ ಹಃ
ಬೆಪ್ಪು ನನ್ ಮಗ

ನಾನು ಕೋಳಿಕೆ ರಂಗ
'ಕೋ'ನು 'ಳಿ'ನು 'ಕೆ'ನು ''ನು ಸೊನ್ನೆ

ಎತ್ತಿಲ್ಲದ್ ಬಂಡಿಗಳುವೆ ಎಣ್ಣೆಲ್ಲದ್ ದೀಪಗಳುವೆ,
ತುಂಬಿದ್ ಮೈಸೂರಿಗ್ ಬಂದೆ;
ದೊಡ್ಡ್ ಚೌಕದ ಮುಂದೆ, ದೊಡ್ಡ್ ಗಡಿಯಾರದ ಹಿಂದೆ
ಕಟ್ ತಂದಿದ್ ಬುತ್ತಿನ್ ತಿಂತಿದ್ದೆ.

ಎತ್ತಿಲ್ಲದ್ ಬಂಡಿಗಳುವೆ ಎಣ್ಣೆಲ್ಲದ್ ದೀಪಗಳುವೆ,
ತುಂಬಿದ್ ಮೈಸೂರಿಗ್ ಬಂದೆ;
ದೊಡ್ಡ್ ಚೌಕದ ಮುಂದೆ, ದೊಡ್ಡ್ ಗಡಿಯಾರದ ಹಿಂದೆ
ಕಟ್ ತಂದಿದ್ ಬುತ್ತಿನ್ ತಿಂತಿದ್ದೆ.

ಅಲ್ ಕುದ್ರೆಮೇಲ್ ಕುಂತಿದ್ದೊಬ್ಬ್ ಸವಾರಯ್ಯ, ಕೆದ್ರಿದ್ ತನ್ ಮೀಸೆಮೇಲ್ ಹಾಕ್ದ ತನ್ ಕೈಯ್ಯ,
ಕೆಲ್ತಾನ್ ನನ್ನಾ ಗದ್ರುಸ್ತಾಲಿ ಬೆದ್ರುಸ್ತಾಲಿ "ಲೇ, ಯಾರೋ ಯಾಕೋ ಇಲ್ಲಿ" ಅಂತ!
ಹಃ ನಾನು..

ನಾನು ಕೋಳಿಕೆ ರಂಗ
'ಕೋ'ನು 'ಳಿ'ನು 'ಕೆ'ನು ''ನು ಸೊನ್ನೆ
ಕಕೊತ್ವ ಳಿ ಕಕೆತ್ವ ಮತ್ ಸೋನ್ನೆಯುನು
ಇದ್ನ ಹಾಡೋಕ್ ಬರ್ದೆ ಬಾಯ್ ಬಿಡೋವ್ನು
ಬೆಪ್ ನನ್ ಮಗ.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tadiyandamol :-) :-) :-)

It has been a long time since I have been on a bike tour or a trek. This trip to Tadiyandamol was a bit of both and later proved to be too much of both. The plan was to leave Mysore on Saturday morning and reach Coorg by late noon. We would then set up our camps and goof around a bit and end the day. Sunday morning we would trek and start to Mysore by noon.

I left to Mysore from Bangalore on the afternoon of Good Friday and reached GK’s house by 6. After a cup of Latte, caught up with a few friends and did some shopping for the next day. Pradeep’s Legendary Fiero had to get a new set of brake shoes and we installed it at GK’s house. The drive chain on my bike was over tight after the ride to Mysore due to some funny reason. I sat down to fix it while GK prepared dough for twenty chapathis that would take care of us over the next two days. After dinner GK and I had to cut onions and tomatoes for his mother would prepare pickles the next morning to go with the chapathis.

The others would arrive at GK’s house at 6:30AM the next day from where we would start. Kitta, on his Pulsar arrived first, Ajay and Pradeep followed immediately on the RX and Fiero. Soon we were all having breakfast at the Mylary Hotel close to GK’s house. We then secured the tents and the sleeping mats to the bikes. After a word of caution to ride slow, to be careful and not to use our cellphones while riding from GK’s mother we set out.

From Mysore, we took the Hunsur road and rode behind each other like the best boys in town at a constant 65KMPH. Our first stop was after 45 minutes at Hunsur for tea. We then took the Hunsur by-pass road to reach the Nagarhole forests. The weather was perfect for a fulfilling ride. We could very easily do a constant 70kmph through the forest and after riding through a few villages, we reached the town of Gonikoppa. Our next break was at Virajpet, 30kms from Gonikoppa. We bought water bottles and other necessary stuff. Twenty-five km through winding roads and a few hairpins brought us to Kakkabbe. There was a small bus-stop and a corporation water tap near it. It was 2:00PM already and we decided to have lunch. We spent time eating in the bus stop and relaxed socializing with the natives there.

Our destination was a yard in front of Mr. Thammaiah’s house. Thammaiah is an assistant to the forest range officer and has been living there for the past 30+ years. This place was another 8 kilometers from that bus stop. We left and I started to lag behind the group right after the first hairpin bend. The roads were poorly asphalted obviously and the surface was loose at every hairpin. The exit of the hairpin was a steep climb and naturally we had to take that in the lowest gear. So every time I bend the bike at the hairpin entry and shift to first gear, the rear wheel, a hard compound MRF-Zapper, would slide on the loose asphalt by two to six inches. I hated this. I began to lose confidence and rode slow. The others were unperturbed by the loose surface and went like they were in a hill climb rally stage. I caught up with them after three or four minutes where they had paused for a quick break. It could be a gross sin from my side to term the previous worn-tarmac road as loose. It actually would be a fresh laid 12-lane super-express highway compared to what was present in front of us. It looked like the bed of a waterfall which was a tourist attraction a hundred years ago! The incline was 60 degrees from the horizontal and the surface was made of boulders each approximating to one foot in diameter embedded in a bed of fine dry clay. It was a 100 metre course before we reached Thammaiah’s house. I set out first knowing that I’ll be slowest of the pack. Right after the first stone, the bike started to misbehave. The front wheel would be clamped between two stones and I could feel the handle bar turn all by itself. Riding cautiously for 5 minutes I covered ten metres! It started to feel as if the path was getting steeper. At this point, one could not sit on the bike and expect it to pull him as none of the bikes offered enough torque to climb against a big stone planted right in front of the rear wheel and the engine would simply knock as the throttle position sensor would have advanced the ignition but the engine revs would still be less than idle. This would completely be useless and a prolonged action could even damage the piston apart from overheating and ruining the clutch which was already happening at a big enough rate. If you were successful in not knocking the engine and moving the bike forward, a little fast release of the clutch would result in a wheelie which could be last of the things you’d want to happen there. One cannot witness such damaging instances while riding anywhere close to the city.

Nor could one stand on the foot pegs and expect to ride off comfortably. In case the handle turned like I said before, you would simply be on the ground and if your stars weren’t in the best of positions, you’d break a few bones too. That’s not all. The moment you stood up on the pegs, the rear wheel would lose load and simply spin freely against the fine deposited clay on the rocks. So to me it was a quiz asking myself whether can I take on this stone, brake on that crack, place my foot here bend the bike there and when all answers were a confident ‘Yes’ I would twist the throttle to cover one or two feet of the course. So after twenty minutes of an eventful phase of life, we reached our destination, the yard. We put our bikes to one side, took out the mats and fell like logs onto them. AJ and Kitta went in search of Thammaiah and to see if we could get some tea. It seemed he was up on the hill on some work with the forest ranger.

The road in which we came would continue till the summit with sections big enough to accommodate one cow. That was the route, a pretty comfortable one, for a trekker to go up to the summit. The road though narrow, muddy, wet and filled with dry leaves it didn look as hard as the stretch we had just covered. The craziness in us had still not died and we decided to ride our bikes along that road.

The first fifty metres was pretty much a cakewalk with occasional controlled wheelies and wheel spins. Half a km into the ride, I realised I was trailing behind everyone and was struggling to get the bike up on a foot high boulder. Everyone was possessed! They were riding that way. The path was two feet wide with a steep fall on one side and a hill on the other and we went on riding climbing rocks one after the other not knowing the destination and not even having the faintest idea of how we plan to come back!

GK led the way and stopped the race to nowhere when his chassis frame struck a rock when trying to climb over it. Thankfully nothing happened to the frame. Everyone stopped one behind the other. I was obviously at the back owing to my moto-cross skills on the Unicorn!

He stood there looking at the bike and we all were a bit scared when we spotted a large herd of cows staring at us continuously for having blocked their return way. It was 5:45PM meaning it would soon become dark! The animals had to come down. It meant we had to rush down on the rocky terrain. The biggest thing was in turning our bikes so that we could ride it the way it was meant to be! There was a small clearing in front of me as wide as the length of my bike. After a two-hundred point turn and help from Pradeep, I could turn my bike. Then we turned Pradeep’s Fiero. Then GK’s. And in twenty minutes, all bikes were ready to get down. After a quick round of snaps, I lead the way down.

Getting down here was tricky at the boulders for both my feet would lose contact with the ground when the bike was on a rock and I had to counter it by bending to one side. I (don’t know about the others) put the bike to first gear, switched off the engine and came down very slow by slipping the clutch and not touching the brakes. Thankfully the road was not very steep and the pain was only at the rocky portions. We reached our camp in twenty minutes.

Pradeep and Kitta wanted to go to Kakkabbe to buy stuff while we three just lazed around watching the setting sun. There was a small construction project going on a little above and the workers were seen going back from work. One of them, a local resident for 25 years, was curious and paused to talk to us. He said it was dangerous to camp anywhere above due to the threat from wild elephants and hyenas. It seemed there were some hundred people up already camped near a stream and that the range officer would be mad if he knew of this. He went on to ask if we were familiar of the path to the summit. We immediately told him that we had been above, on bikes and were a little familiar of the terrain. He, with utmost awe, exclaimed “So was that you guys up there on bikes half an hour ago! No vehicle has ever been there so far!” This gave us all the biggest high! I was all happy and smiling though the guy meant it the other way! Kitta and Pradeep were back before dark. We had tea, dinner and after a small entertainment by Kitta we slept off in our tents.

All were up by 6AM. Our plan was to trek to the summit, come back by 1PM and leave to Mysore. We had our breakfast and set out by 7AM, leaving our tents, bags and bikes back at the camp. We walked wondering how on earth we managed to get our bikes on those paths the previous evening! The summit was 4 kilometers from our camp. None of us fell short of energy and we reached the peak by 8:30. On our way we met many people from various trekking clubs. The most disappointing thing here was those people were utmost senseless to leave plastic water bottles, polythene bags and other litter on the hill. Their previous night’s camp fire was still burning amidst shrubs and trees with a strong breeze blowing its way. All conditions well suited for a forest fire! People came from various parts of the state and their attitude showed a clear lack of responsibility towards nature!

The summit was very picturesque and the visibility was less than fifty metres at 9AM! After spending an hour at the peak and shooting photos to our heart’s content we started descending. The second half of the descent was again worth mentioning. The craziness in us was still alive and GK, AJ and I started running down the hill. We could see people clear the way for us and occasionally click snaps for the look on our faces were that of cross country runners! It was fun. It took us 55 minutes to reach our camp from the summit. So we were all down by 10:30 AM. After a quick breakfast, we rolled up the tents and checked oil levels on all bikes. We paid a nominal fee to Mr. Thammaiah for his voluntary help and set out by 1:00PM.

It was now time to descend the 60 degree waterfall-bed like incline. Again I rode last inch by inch with my engine switched off and the tranny in first gear. Braking was strictly forbidden because the bike would simply slide and fall flat on the ground. Then there were the narrow hairpins where I was over-cautious. A mere down-shift would make the bike slide by a foot on the loose asphalt and I didn’t want to take any chances. They were waiting for me near the bus-stop. The road to Virajpet too was winding and I rode slowly for the next 25km. We then had lunch at Virajpet. Mysore was still a hundred kilometres away. We started at 3PM to Gonikoppa. The bike was a pleasure to ride now that it was on asphalt. It went well at a decent speed and in 40 minutes we were at Gonikoppa being stopped by police. It was election time and every single vehicle was checked for liquor. GK soon arrived and said I rode like I was possessed! Eventually everyone was possessed at some part of the tour ;) Our next stop was at Hunsur for tea. We reached Mysore at 5:00PM. I had to ride to Bangalore and I hated to do that in the dark. After a cup of coffee at Green-Leaf, I started off.

Weekends are the worst of times to ride on the Bangalore-Mysore Highway! There was so much traffic I could not have a clear road for more than a hundred metres. It looked like the whole IT population would go on a weekend trip to Mysore on their newly acquired Swift or a Honda City and drive like crack-pots exploiting their powerful brakes to the fullest and being the biggest nuisance to us bikers. Every car had a typical fair bespectacled face in the driver’s seat with a wife to the left and parents and children at the back! 8 out of 10 cars were these! The remaining 20 percent were the reckless TATA Indicabs and other yellow board monsters with an underage driver trying to get all the adrenalin rush within the small stretch of road that he could see! The KSRTC buses were the most decent and well behaved of the lot. To make things worse it became dark and it went on to be hopeless when there was a traffic jam at Chenpatna up to Ramnagara. It took me 55 minutes of off-roading waiting crying shouting singing to cover the 20km stretch. It took me 3 hours to reach home from Mysore. A hot bath felt like the best thing in the world!

The road-trip-trek (whatever you would want to call it) was now over covering 560 km over two and a half days. At the end it again goes on to say I love my bike, I love biking.

We’ll be planning for the next trip soon.. Stay Tuned :-)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

1 Subramanyam

What do you say when the waiter asks you how strong your coffee needs to be?

'n' Subramanyam. 'n' belongs to Real Numbers.

What does 1 Subramanyam strong coffee mean?
It is 1:1 ratio by volume of no-water-added cow's milk and coffee decoction prepared by 1:20 by weight of freshly ground Coffea Canephora seeds and water at a temperature of 363 K at sea-level.

So the next time you prepare filter coffee, make sure you express the strength of coffee in Subramanyams.

PS: The ideal South Indian strong filter coffee comes to about 0.8 Subramanyams. Also note, addition of chicory is just to enhance viscosity. And expression in Subramanyams is pure coffee excluding the chicory content.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A quick hop to the hill down the road!

The trip was decided just like that. Sumeet, my colleague, is a native of Delhi. He had a plan to visit places in South-India. This time it was Mysore. I suggested we go by bike. Abhijit, another colleague of mine joined in as well and we were three on two bikes. My Unicorn and Sumeet's Suzuki Max-100 R.
We started off from MG road at 7:30 AM, Abhijit rode behind the Max-R, not willing to enjoy the obvious ergonomic 'comfort' the Unicorn would offer to its pillion.
It was a cold Saturday morning. The Max, being middle-aged, would only do 65Kmph with a 150Kg payload. The trip to Mysore was slow and stress-free. First stop was at Kamat-Lokaruchi, Ramnagar for breakfast and a lovely cup of coffee. We stopped again at Mandya to finish the tasty Pav-Bhaji Sumeet had prepared. The drive-chain on my bike was excessively tight for some unusual reason and one mechanic at Srirangapatna loosened it for me. The wheel was all smooth now and we moved on. Reached Mysore at 11:15.
GK and AJ (I hope you remember them) waited for us near Jaganmohan palace. We moved into a lodge, dumped our bags and freshened up. We then headed to the famous Mysore palace. Although I have been to Mysore countless times before, this was the first time I was visiting the palace. Nice and splendid indeed!
After marveling at the architectural masterpiece and a photo session, we were out by 3:30PM. This is a weird time of the day in the sense that its too late for lunch and too early for snacks. So no hotels would entertain us. The next best option to have a meal was pizza hut.
Adithya, an ex-colleague who'll now be off to France to study in a few days, joined us too. After lunch we set off to visit Krishna Raja Sagar dam. Kitta and AJ joined in on the former's Pulsar. We visited Balamuri and Yedamuri waterfalls on the way. Sumeet happened to enjoy the water a lot. He decided to take a bath. I quenched into the water with my clothes on and the short two metre waterfall offered a nice relief hammering my bald head with cold water.
After spending about an hour, we headed to KRS. Someone said there was a short-cut to KRS from Yedamuri falls and we need not take the main road. So seven of us on four bikes started on this road-hunt. Ten minutes into the ride we were off-roading on our omni-purpose motorcycles in sugarcane farms, on loose gravel, patches of tarmac, loose stones and all that our bikes were not designed to be used on. Man, it was fun!
We reached KRS by 6:00 PM to find a quarter of the Mysore city population there. We visited Brindavan gardens and a funny musical-fountain.
The ride back to Mysore was again worth mentioning. The road was damaged as if hit by asteroids with a lot of vehicular traffic too. We raced back to Mysore, had a light dinner at Nalpak hotel and the famous Nalpak coffee!
Sunday morning began at 7:00 AM. First thing on the agenda was the visit to Chamundi Hill. The morning hill climb was beautiful and riding alone on my bike, I could bend it to my heart's content on those curves. There was moderate crowd and the temple visit took about an hour. AJ and Kitta had come up cycling as a part of their fitness exercise. We sprinted downhill and had a heavy breakfast at Mahesh-Prasad hotel.
We then visited Shri Ganapati Sachidananda Ashrama and the Bonsai garden inside it. Though I did not have any idea of Bonsai, it was nice to appreciate the amount of effort and care that had been into growing each of those plants.
We left Mysore with plans to visit Srirangapatna on our way back. GK and Adithya took leave of us. Abhijit rode pillion behind me and Sumeet was all ready to set the BM Highway on fire on his Suzuki Max. (I don't know what inspired him all of a sudden).
We were in Srirangapatna at 1:30PM, quite an unusual time to visit a temple!
As expected the temple was closed.
The ride back to Bangalore in the hot sun was actaully enjoyable. We stopped for lunch and Kamat-Lokaruchi and ate for a full hour. We rode back at top speed to avoid getting stuck in the infamous traffic jams of Bangalore. We reached MG road at 6:00PM clocking 460Km in total. It was an enjoyable trip overall.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bengaluru Midnight Marathon 2009

Atlast it was time for the Bengaluru Midnight run. After completing 5Km and 10Km runs in the BSNL and Sunfeast-10K, I had registered for the Half Marathon this time.
Practice for this run was not all that good. I had trouble getting adjusted to those running shoes. I thought I wouldn't run this time. GK kept insisting that I atleast walk and finish it.
The reporting time at the venue was 10PM on 10-Jan. The run would start from Hope-farm along NH207, turning right into Varthur main road upto Tubarahalli and back along the same road. Two such laps to make it 21.1 Km.
The run started at 12:00AM sharp. Luckily I got into a rhythm and it didn't feel very hard till the 17th Kilometer. It was a mixture of run & walk after that. The total run took me 2 hours and 56 minutes to complete. It was the longest run of my life and was just happy that I finished it.
The cold weather and the run has taken a toll on my muscles. Both legs feel like logs and I've forgotten how to bend my knees! Hope I'll be fine in a day or two!
The pain was worth the gain eventually ;)