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?



Anonymous said...

Did you make the round trip in the same day?

mM said...

Nopes, to bike back on the same day you will surely need gel seat covers as your back aches quite a bit...I returned after a few days...