How do you feel when you think about doing a solo ride that too for the very first time. Unknown roads, unknown people, unknown problems, do they scare you off ?
Do you get nightmares just by thinking about it?
This is my story where i faced all of these, the nightmares I got, the problems I faced, the path I followed , the stories I heard , and still completed it. A solo ride covering Pune - Indapur - Solapur - Umerga - Wadi- Hanumabad - Zaheerabad - Hyderabad - Nalgonda - Suryapet -Vijayawada - Eluru - Thadepalligudem - Rajamahendravaram - Annavaram - Visakhapatnam - Vijayanagaram - Therlam, Covering a distance of 1400km.
Why do we ride? What is that force that let’s us head out on an open road? Do wide open roads bore us or make our minds fight with our bodies to keep on going?
I had above questions in my mind when I conceptualised an idea to do a road trip home, from Pune to Visakapatnam during the sankranti time this January. The initial plan was formulated exacty a year ago, sankranti 2018. But I could not complete it because of health issues, issues I faced because of over excitement, lack of proper preparation. A year had passed by, and it was time to hit the open highways.
The initial 2 weeks of preparation were really full of confusion and fear to venture out solo on the open highways. Not to mention, it was not going to be a regular day sprint from home to office, nor a sweet weekend ride of 100-200KM. I knew it would be a challenging 1400Km worth of ride which I had never thought of or tried.
Finally after lot of mind games, I made the firm decision to ditch the other modes of transport available and take along my buddy, my RE Thunderbird on this trip. The first weekend of January was a day of rush and whatever possible preparations I could make, I did.
Preparing my Bike: went to the showroom to get my bike serviced (even though it was serviced 3 weeks back), I changed the engine oil, got extra clutch cable installed, got the chain spocket replaced. I really wanted to get a set of projector lamps for highway riding but my budget was less and also I didn't want to take the risk of riding in the night (I wish I didn't have to ride in the night????). Next time I will definitely install them before going on a road trip.
Personal Riding Gear/Accessories: I didn't have a lot of budget for this, got a leather jacket UCB, RE riding gloves, proBiker hand glove as a back up, knee pads, mobile mount and couple of bungee cords to tie my luggage bags on the pillion seat.
The Road Condition Dilemma:
I went through a lot of vlogs in YouTube and all other travelogue sites to know about the road conditions. Zoomed all the way into google maps to get an idea about the road and whatever my eyes could scan.
I finalised the route. Till solapur the roads were great, Solapur-Naldurg-Omerga-Basavkalyan-Zaheerabad-Hyd. This is the shortest route and I didn't want to take any chances as I was alone and other routes would add additional 50-60kms on this (Gulberga/Akallkot Route).
From most of the experiences posted by people online, I learned that about 100km of the road is bad with diversions upto Maharastra border and after that it is a breeze.
Day before the ride: 3rd jan 2019(friday night)
The night before the ride I decided to stay at Siva's place (phursungi) which is adjacent to solapur highway. I left office at around 9PM, went to petrol pump filled the tank up to the brim. Later I packed all my luggage and left for siva's home. The plan was to start at morning 6AM, reach solapur around 10-11am and have lunch at atharva's place. Then to leave for Hyderabad on the same day and one day stay in hyderabad at venky's home,to spend time with sasank and my other friends. Then to leave for Visakhapatnam on the 3rd day. But, for me I did not have any clue that this ride would turn out to be even more adventurous than I thought.