This ride is a significant milestone for me and often a milestone marks the start of a new chapter.
I would like to share my experience and thank few people who made this possible. First of all Nayan Sarma for being my companion on this ride, a good friend and a passionate rider. We both planned a ride to Kaziranga National Park located 200 kms from our place and return the next day by which we will complete a 400 kms trip. We started our ride on a lovely Friday (16th June) morning, I thank Monsoon God because he was in his best mood and he blessed us with slow showery rain which I always want to ride in.
While riding and enjoying the view of wet grassland, hills and dark clouds through my goggles I started to realize the comfort I felt in riding RE Himalayan. Its seat and suspension are so good that I felt as I was gliding on the road. The thumping sound of my bike was like a sweet melody and the wind passing by was singing along with it, its power is like a wild elephant and its stability on turns gave me the confidence to twist the throttle to its limits. As I was following the road in my mind I thank the Royal Enfield team for making such an amazing bike and special thanks to Chirag Enfield guys for a friendly environment and delivering the bike on time.
We stopped at random spots for taking photos and quick chit-chat before reaching our destination. We were enjoying every moment of the ride, the road, weather and beautiful nature all around. About 50 kms away from the main gate of Kaziranga National Park, my mind started developing an idea of riding further to visit the longest bridge of India built till now the Dhola Sadiya Setu aka Bhupen Hazarika Bridge which is around 350 Kms from Kaziranga and 550 kms from our starting point.
The Dhola Sadiya Setu spans the Lohit River, a major tributary of the Brahmaputra River, from the village of Dhola (Tinsukia District) in the south to Sadiya to the north. At 9.15 kms (5.69 mi) in length, it is the longest bridge in India. It will ensure 24X7 connectivity between upper Assam and Eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh. With the rapid movement of India's defense assets in mind following incursions by the Chinese Army, the Dhola–Sadiya Bridge has been designed to handle the weight of 60-tonne (130,000-pound) tanks such as the Indian Army's Arjun and T-72 main battle tanks. Since the Sino-Indian War, China has disputed India's claim to Arunachal Pradesh politically and militarily, making the bridge an important tactical asset.
I kept on thinking of the odds which might happen as I have never ridden those roads before and it would be my longest trip till now on my new Himalayan bike. Entire negative reviews about the bike which I read on the internet started popping up one after another. I started feeling the pressure of this brainstorm of thoughts inside my head and to release the pressure I twisted the throttle hard and the bike accelerated from 60 kmph to 90 kmph, then I twisted it a little more, the speed indicator was at 110. The sweetness of the sound of the wind changed to raging noise, the beauty of the view started flashing by the sides so fast that it became invisible, the melody of the thumping sound changed to heavy metal music and being at that speed for couple of minutes my mind was clear and I knew that to do.
We stopped at Kohora for a quick break where I told Nayan about the idea and being a ride enthusiast he was excited and we started discussing the route and time durations needed for reaching our next destination. Finally, we decided that we will ride till Jorhat and stay for the night there and next day morning ride to Dhola Sadiya Setu. Jorhat is 112 kms from Kaziranga National Park and 305 kms from our starting point. We crossed Kaziranga National Park in the late afternoon and after that what happened brought all the odd feelings back in my head.
How do you decide what is bad or worst? Because for me it was confusing to decide whether the climate was bad or the road was worst but I was sure that there were more pits on the road than stars in our galaxy. 100 kms of pits filled road, heavy rain and pitch dark night, it was like a nightmare for me to ride on that road after reading those reviews about broken back mud guard, suspension and chassis, auto cut of engine and clutch disk problems of other Himalayan bikes.
We already decided a specific speed to reach Jorhat so that we get enough rest for next day ride but due to the worst condition of the road our speed was reduced to half. At a quick stop, we decided that we have to ride fast to reach Jorhat on time because the more we are on the road conditions may get worst. With no choice we rode at 60 – 70 kmph, at that speed it was difficult to save the bike from each and every pit. The ability of suspension was on the test, braking power of the disc brakes was on the line and I have to prove myself that I can ride in these conditions.
Finally, we stopped at the entrance of the city Jorhat, I looked back at the dark road, I could see few headlamps at far distance closing slowly. I closed my eyes and recalled the last 100kms we just crossed while recalling I thank Chirag Enfield Service Centre guys for the servicing they did to my bike 2 days ago. The bike overall performance was incredible, at a speed of 60 – 70 kmph you don’t get time to save your bike from each n every pit when the road is filled with it. The Himalayan’s long suspension on front played its part very well by absorbing the impact of every pit I fell in, the back mono suspension provided the necessary inclusion. The disk brakes tried to do best but in those conditions their performance was average. Extra fog lamps which I added to support the headlamp provided a much clear view. Engine, clutch, gear worked perfectly and the foot rest is so strong that they became my darling because I stood on it while crossing pit after pit and they took my entire weight with a smile.