Solo on NH4

29th June 2011

Pune

I was to visit my parents the coming saturday since it had been a few weeks since I saw them. While cycling in the evening from Baner to Hinjewadi a crazy thought ran through my mind that of, ‘how about i cycle all the way there and that too alone?’. I laughed it off went ahead roaming around.

At my room, I lay down and staring at the slow moving fan with the same thought still running. I was asking myself many questions,’can i really pull it off?, only a psycho can think of a stupid plan as mine!, no one would dare?, its dangerous!’ etc. etc.. But then I started making up my mind on it. I knew that if I don’t do it now then god knows when next I’ll get such an oppurtunity. So bam! The stupidest thought was set to become a plan ready to be executed this saturday. I laughed at myself on this, I couldn’t believe  that I was actually thinking on going through it and that too alone! I knew for sure that this act of mine involved huge risks mainly involving personal safety.But still, I was all set to begin with the first stage of my plan-Preparation.

Diet and fitness wise, I have a good regimen so I was certain this task could be accomplished without any serious complications. Revised and revised again my route to be followed( thanks to google maps). The route was basically straight as I was to keep myself on NH4 through out.

On thursday a minor glitch occured, my rear‎ derailleur got bent during a routine ride. I may have  over stressed it by putting all my weight while climbing a gradient. And assuming that the derailleur was of moderate quality. So this was really upsetting. I couln’t sleep properly thinking that what if such a thing repeats itself while I’m somewhere between Pune and Mumbai or what if this was gods message to stop me from doing such an  act? But hell, even God could not stop me with my plans.

Woke up early next morning, took my cycle to the nearest cycle repair shop and had a new gear installed. At office I was planning and re-planning my trip through out the day. This was my first time that I was to cover a distance of almost 140KM alone and on a new route.

By evening I was all set and even more determined to accomplish this. Last moment preparations were underway. Went for a small ride to check if all was functioning well, bought 2 packs of biscuits,3 poppins and two litres of water to carry along. I already had a spare tube and tool kit with me. In addition I kept a spare tshirt, a rain cheater and a fully charged spare mobile phone(just in case,as it is I couldn’t afford to take any  risks). Slept early on friday night as I had some work to attend to the next day upto 1pm. I had planned my departure at 2pm.

2nd July,2011 – D-Day

At around 1pm I arrived at my room and started gearing up. Checked all the contents of my back pack. I shared my parents phone numbers with my room mate, just in case and also I would be sending him sms detailing my positions through out the journey at every hour till I reached my destination. As I had not told my parents that I’ll be cycling all the way, I had to keep somebody informed about my whereabouts, hence. I was very excited about this day and prayed all goes as planned.

I started at exact 2pm, a bit nervous but very excited. I had a cynical sort of smile on my face! The following was the route followed:

Dehu road-Kanhe-Lonavala-Khandala-Khopoli-Panvel-Kharghar-Belapur-Home sweet home(Nerul)

Ride was on NH4 throughout.

At no point of the journey was there a dull moment. Route from Dehu road to Kanhe was flat with little gradients in between and scenic. The hills and the roads looked splendid. The greenery was soothing to the eyes and the freshness in the air was energetic. This got me energised for the natural beauty awaiting me at Lonavala and Khandala. After Kanhe the road was long and straight upto Lonavala. The poppins kept me busy and active all the way.

Arrived at Lonavala, it was crowded as it was a Saturday.Grabbed a bite at a local wadapav shop and proceeded.

Right after the Kohinoor Business school and before the ‘Tigers leap’ there is this valley(i dont know the exact name) place, beyond the edge and below passes the expressway and a beautiful waterfall is visible towards the right. I got down there for a while to admire the beauty and felt glad that I made it till here, now only half the distance remaining(almost). I asked a fellow tourist to take pic of me near to the edge with my cycle. Its the only picture I have of me along with my cycle on that day,priceless.

After this point it was all the way downhill upto Khopoli. I also had the oppurtunity to take a few kms of diversion via the Express way which made the journey all the more exciting!

The roads were busy in Khopoli.  Reached Panvel after that, it was a great feeling that I  made it upto here. The moment I reached the expressway and NH4 intersection, it started pouring heavily. Finally some use of my raincoat I thought! I switched on the blinkers of my cycle and as well as of my helmet, just so that the speeding cars notice me on the road and in this heavy rain. Also it was starting to get dark and I only had one thing in my mind, reach home as soon as possible take a warm bath and relax on the sofa with mothers delicious freshly prepared tea. This very thought propelled me further with even more energy.

After I left Panvel, I got a call from mother asking me about my whereabouts and why it was getting so late? Then finally I confessed that I was cycling and thats how I’m commuting to home today. Her reaction you ask? It was that of shock,anger and worry. I had to interrupt in between the scoldings telling her that I can’t be attending calls in the middle of the highway and in this heavy rain. She asked me where I was and hung up. I didn’t pay any heed to the scoldings, as the only thing in my mind was sense of achievement that I’ll be feeling in a while upon reaching home!

On nearing the Kharghar flyover, I noticed a car , cruzing at my speed right next to me. I couldnt identify anyone as it was raining heavily. I got to the side and stopped and saw that the car was indeed following me and it too stopped right in front of me. A thunderous shout and I knew this was it! My end! ok , that was a bit of an over reaction, but it was indeed close to something like that. It was my parents in the car. They told me to dismantle the cycle, put it in the dicky and get in the car immediately! My answer was no and told them I’ve made up my mind and will cover the remaining distance on my bike no matter what and besides it was only a matter of few kilometers. I hopped back on and proceeded. They too left ahead of me. My parents know me just too well, that once I’ve made up my mind for something, nothing in the world can change it, so they did not bother to persuade me further.

Bang on 8pm, I reached home sweet home. Fully drenched wet, my helmet light still blinking and the awesome feeling that I achieved todays target without any problems whatsoever and I did it all alone and as planned. When I got in  did I realise how tired I was. My father was upset, even my mother but my sister was very excited and congratulated me along with a whispered warning that my parents were pissed. I didn’t care at that point, but they did have every reason to worry about my acts. But still I had made it.

The only downside of this trip was that I was grounded, my cycle taken away and according to them untill I reach my senses I won’t be getting my cycle back any soon. All this was totally worth it though.

Now I am planning on my next new adventure trip…hmm…maybe I’ll try and ‘walk’ back from Mumbai to Pune?? haha…

26 thoughts on “Solo on NH4

  1. Dude… Use Google Latitude next time when you are riding, so that your friends can track your whereabouts easily.

  2. dude u rock… ur task was too crazy and u acomplished it so well and then u wrote an inspiring article… cool yaar 🙂

  3. Dude It was very inspiring and was imagining the scenes with your expressive narrations…
    hope you get your bike soon back to pune..
    and u know what mothers are the same everywhere…

  4. Loved reading the trip log. Simply superb. Similar experience of mine I had thought of doing blr to kanyakumari on a bullet and my relatives were furious. So little did they know that there was a bigger shock awaiting a few months down the line. I did the blr-chennai and back as a part of Brevets and when the announcement was made they were dumbstruck and shockingly profound smile.. 🙂

    1. Dude!! One of my dreams is to tour India on a Bullet, its my dream bike…been in love with the thunderous sound since i was a kid. My maternal uncle owned one and he used to take to rides on it. I’ll have it soon, but don’t know when. And thanks a lot for the comment 🙂

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