Monday, December 28, 2009

Biking to Chennai

Finally biked all the way to Chennai and back on my Thunderbird.

Distance covered (to & fro) - 720 KMs
Where - Bangalore - Chennai - Bangalore
Time taken - 10 Hrs 5 Minutes
Average highway speed - 75
Top speed - 100 (Going to Chennai) , 110 (Coming back to Bangalore) [ps: didn't want to push my bike to this speed but a avenger bike tried overtaking and that got me going.]
Pro's - Good fun, high speed, scenic sections, great highways (part of the golden quadrilateral)
Con's - Sore butt

Things to do
1) Get your bike serviced or checked for long distance riding. (Bullet garages do a long distance service / check), especially brakes needs to be tuned.
2) Fill your tank with fuel.
3) Get your tyre's filled with optimal pressure - I was ok with 23 / 33 (front / back) but even this was a bit bumpy for city bumps, but on the highways it was smooth riding.
4) Get nylon rope and not cotton rope, I was thinking that cotton rope is better than nylon rope and I used nylon rope while going to Chennai and cotton rope while coming back. With cotton rope I had to tie my bags 2 times and adjust them 4-5 times.

Few questions
1) What do I do if I get a puncture on the highway?
I was also very scared if I will get a puncture and few things that I read and did are
a) Don't drive towards the edge of the road - the sweeping action of fast cars and trucks push the nails and other sharp items towards the corners of the road.
b) Don't do offroad driving - try your best to park your bike on the road itself and not on unknown muddy patches.
c) Keep noting puncture shops - as soon as you notice a puncture shop, register the odo reading in your mind. This way you know for sure how far you are from a puncture store.
PS: Ppl suggest to carry spare tubes but my assumption was anyways I will go to a town and get a guy to repair the Tyre so why bother. So you would have a hitch a ride and get the guy to come to your bike (note where you have parked your bike - landmarks) .

2) How far are puncture shops?
I noticed the following,
Closest shops - 2 Kms apart from each other.
Not so close - 30 Kms apart from each other.
Bangalore - Krishnagiri doesn't have many puncture shops but from Krishnagiri to Sriperumpudur there are loads of shops.

3) What do I do if my bike breaks down?
ans) Well nothing can be done if it is real trouble - Clutch you can do some makeshift arrangement, accelerator you can pull manually but otherwise you will have to get a mechanic from the nearest town. For bullet vehicles there is a garage atBangalore, Krishnagiri, one at Vellore and next at Chennai. The royal enfield website has the details

Route taken
- Bangalore South - Silk Board - 7.2 Kms- Hosur - 34- Krishnagiri - 72- Bargur - 17- vaniyambadi - 37- ambur - 17- pallikonda - 28- Vellore - 25 (230)- Ranipet - 28 (258)- Sriperumbudur - 73 (331)- Chennai City - 37 (368)
Same way while getting back.

PS: Ambur and Vaniyambadi are very famous for Biriyani so one could stop here for lunch / food.

Time taken with different average speeds
368 / 60 = 6.1 + 20 minutes (break / food)
368 / 70 = 5.3 + 20 minutes
368 / 75 = 5 + 20 minutes
368 / 80 = 4.6 + 20 minutes

Things to take
Helmet, gloves, backpack, bag, jacket,water bottle, cash, mech no's, bike papers, chocolates. Coolers / Shades are a MUST as the roads are shiny and tough to drive without them. I have a Vega helmet with a inbuilt shades.

Things to be aware off
a) Always don't follow a speeding car or bus - give atleast 50 feet distance.
b) If two or more vehicles are slowing down in the middle of the highway DON'T overtake them it means there is some trouble or a animal is crossing the road.
c) Give yourself and the vehicle a small break every 60 minutes (I gave a break every 90 minutes)
d) Don't race - remember - you are a marathon runner and not a 100 meter sprint runner.

Verdict - Must do - if not now WHEN?