Tuesday, May 11, 2010


It started off with Chaitanya's call for a ride through ghats. His original plan was intimidating, considering the heat. Hence I had decided to ride a subset of the plan.

I started the ride by 6.15/30 in the morning. Another rider was going to join me but he was running late, so I decided to ride on. There was a guy couple on a Unicorn who were riding to Pune for first time. After asking for route, they got little confident and tried to give me a company. After they cut my line nastily near Panvel toll post, I decided to zoom ahead and leave them behind.

Roads were empty and I reached Lonavala quickly. Unfortunately the bhor ghat patch is under repairs so climbing up was not much fun. Pune team was waiting when I reached RK. We waited for fellow rider Sachin to join in and we refilled our tanks.

We started off to Aambey valley route and it was full of smooth tar and nice curves. But it ended shortly. We took a photo break on a plateu along the route. After this Nalin and me exchanged our horses for a short run. Riding his R15 was fun. But it was riding a mini-cycle for me. With its good braking and low height, its a no brainer to guess why its so good in ghats :)

Our cliffside halt before Aamby Valley

Poser pics

Nalin's Puma and My Raptor

2.5kms before Ambey valley, Nalin and 2 others decided to return. Here Sachin suggested we take a diversion and reach Tamhini directly, rather than riding back to Lonavala and coming down via Pali. And this route was horrible! At places it was resurfaced and fine sand sprayed generously. Where it was to be resurfaced, big stones were present. Otherwise there was no road at all!

After 30kms of such off-roading, we reached a T junction. Mulashi was on left and tamhini ghat on right. I decided to split here and ride back. It was 11:30am and I wanted to reach home by lunch.

The road was better and it took me via tamhini ghat till Kolad. There are few eating places along the route and some farms and exotic properties (gold valley konkan). route was scenic but the heat and promise to be home for lunch kept me going non-stop.

1. Kolad/Mangao junction on Tamhini ghat 2. Kolad junction on NH17

Earlier I had expected that we would be coming back to lonavala after aambey valley and then descend throug khopoli-pali till NH17. But I had come farther along the NH17 till Kolad.
Riding on NH17 was like riding on a hotplate. There was congestion near Pen due to an accident. The long queue of trucks and trailers made it worse.

Headache was setting in and mini-water shower and drinking did not help. The air filter warning started coming in and the bike felt little sluggish above 100. I stopped at Wadkhal and got filter checked. The guy insisted that the filter is clean and put it back on. I gave a call to Venkat Sir and he said its ok to ride. The oil film on sponge might have gone and hence the sensors are complaining.
It was a lone rip since I had separated and it continued till I reached home, overtaking every damn vehicle along the route. Reached home at 3:10!

Here's GPS track of the ride.

Full track

Thane to Lonavala

Lonavala to Thane