Posts Tagged With: travel

 
 

Travel and Technology

The argument goes on, has technology improved our lives or has it made it more complicated?  In many cases, the constant access to people has brought them closer in terms of reachability, but taken them further away in terms of relationships. One area that I believe technology has actually helped is travel.

Again, this is purely a point of discussion depending upon the person you talk to. If you ask my father or his generation, they would say, nothing gives you better direction compared to physically asking a localite for directions. I swear by google maps or the GPS system for accurate travelling.

So when I was thinking about this, I wanted to list the major apps that are available to us in India for travelling. This is purely my list and I am sure there are plenty more , so I would love your comments to hear about them.

Google – I have put the mothership in here. Google as a platform has innumerable tools to help your travel. From Translate to maps, google is the true swiss army to make your travel simpler. I am not even alluding to the search engine which is the best place to search and research before or while you travel.

If you are flying down to your destination, Makemytrip and Cleartrip give you excellent choices in booking your flights as well as your hotels at your destination. With a clear and neat layout, they , to me , are the foremost in booking apps / websites in the market today.

You need to book your hotels, how do you find out which is the best? Tripadvisor does your job for you. Just enter your destination, and you will get a plethora of choices with ratings and reviews and pictures of rooms and amenities. I have gotten so used to surfing here that I dont book a place nowadays without checking here once.

All tickets booked? Rooms reserved?  What are the activities that you want to do at the destination? Tripadvisor can help you here also. But I find this gem of a site- Tripoto gives you a lot of neatly reviewed things to do in certain places.

And if you are a foodie, like I am, You cant be far away from Zomato. You could do a lot of research before hand and look at the menu of the restaurant before you even venture out of the home!

Yes, we are a pampered generation. Elders constantly bemoan the fact that we have no sense of adventure. I think we have no time! On the go research and being prepared will keep you ready with the entire itenary so that we can get the maximum bang for the buck.

However, one thing is for sure, if you are a tech freak, or a by-the-seats-of-your-pants navigator, it is very important to get out and start travelling.

 

 

Image courtesy :- https://alphacityguides.com/sites/default/files/307070828/8528528736_0ffb3e6316_kupdated.jpg

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Categories: musings, Travel | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Red Bums – The Captains Log…

Veni, Vidi, Vici – I came, I saw, I conquered – said Julius Caesar, nah, say the Bisons!

The Bisons Ride Hard team came, saw and conquered..What, how, when??..Well read on..

At T – 5 months

Scene held at Jai Bhavani Tea stall.

Paaji: Boys, Anniversary is coming..We are going to do something unique..

Signals, Deelux: Yes Paaji..Itna toh banta hai..

Paaji: We are going to do a non – stop 24 hour ride..Day and night riding..Mumbai , Hubli, Pachgani.

Signals, Deelux: Waah ! What an idea sirji!! Let’s do it.

Paaji : The captain for this ride is..Deelux..

Signals: Hahahaha, Bakra !!

Deelux : Nahiiin!!

T -1 day

Email from Paaji says, we need to go to sleep early on the previous night of the ride. Reached home, early enough from work, thorough check up of the bike done, one round of polishing of the bike done.

Bath, food done.. Packing done.. And its only 9! Awesome, now for some sleep!

9 :10 pm : Good night messages to all Bisons has been sent, everyone is settling in to sleep.

11 pm:  Chalo bas yaar, last good night message ok! Really, please go to sleep!

12 am: Kamino ! So jaao..

Finally sleep!

T – 0 

Cruising along the open roads at New Bombay, I reach Panvel at 6:25 am thinking, reached early.. Now will have to wait for the others..

What the..! What’s that I see! Around 15 bikes already parked and chai’s doing the round.. Then its hits home..This is the ride that we called the mother of all rides..Every Bison is raring to go! My heart swells with pride and after a quick tank up and nashta, we are ready for the briefing.

Paaji, in his inimitable style… Boys ride safe.. Ride hard..Deelux leads..I shall tail..Everybody else in between.  Father says a prayer and we are OFF….

 

Date: October 26th, 2012, Time – 7:53 am

The Red Bums 1.0 is underway!

In the first half an hour, we realize that this is gonna be one helluva ride..We quickly settle into a rhythm and are cruising at 80 kmph.

My rear view mirror can see the entire chain of 26 bikes behind me, an awe inspiring view.  We hit traffic outside Pune, but still manage to stick to each other. Outside Dehu road, a couple of headlights move to the left of the road. We stop to investigate.

Shri Sohan roy’s rear brake is not functional, Signals and Manny volunteer to take him to Pune rectify the issue and catch up with us. There is a hint of trepidation in Signal’s voice. Because of this delay, he might not complete the Red Bums! But he is a Bison and Bisons never leave a brother behind, so off he goes.

The rest of us – Ride on.

First stop – Lunch at Kolhapur!

Time 2:00 pm

Distance: around 400 kms.

Quick fuel stop, first for the bikes and then for the riders. Father’s bike starts making noises… should be ok..

Food over , saddling up in flat 30 minutes, Father kick starts his bike and the noise is overpowering. His piston rings are shot. The first casualty of the ride..

Quickly we put the bike in the breakdown truck following us. Father plonks himself albeit sadly as a co-rider/pillion on Hawk Eyes bike.

Ride on.

Second Stop – Belgaum

Time: 5:30 pm

Distance: around 100 kms.

The riders from 99 Cannons have agreed to meet us at Belgaum and escort us to Hubli. We reach Belgaum and in 10 minutes Sanjiv Bhatia and team reach us to lead us to the midway point.

A quick chai and greetings..30 minutes later, we are ready to go..

Fafda screams out, “Arrey, my tanki is leaking re”.. We ignore, thinking this is one of his jokes.  But there is all permeating smell of petrol and we get down to investigate. His tank is busted. Another casualty. We load his bike also onto the truck, tank ourselves (the riders) up on the Red Bull, given to us by our partners for this epic ride – Red Bull and resume the ride.

But what is that we see on the highway? Is it a bird? Is it a plane ? No, its Mr. Sohan Roy followed closely by Signals screaming down the highway!!! They have ridden non-stop from Pune and have caught up with the rest of us at belgaum!

Signals gets down and mutters, “Arrey bhai, Kyun rukna? Rhythm pakad ke chal rahe the, Chalo…” This is the Bison Attitude…

50 kms later, we are welcomed by a sudden thunderstorm. Sudden torrential rain drenches us, but fails to slow us down. Our target was to reach Hubli by 7:30 pm. Quick and quiet dinner, a power nap and start the ride back to Panchgani, fresh.

Ride on.

Third Stop –  Hubli

Time : 7 pm

Distance: around 100 kms.

We are at our mid point level of the ride and ahead of time!  As we turn into Hubli, we see a posse of bullets and bikers waiting for us. The Boys of 99 cannons are there in full strength, carrying banners and welcoming us in style!

Sanjiv tells us, dinner is arranged at a farm house, but to reach there we will need to take a small detour of around 10 kms and the roads are “not that great”.  We say “Chalo, off – roading is always welcome”

Understatement of the year!!

Turns out the 10 kms is more or less accurate, but roads “not that great” is not. There is no road! It is a series of small hills and troughs that we need to traverse through..Does that hold us back..Has anything ever held a Bison back..Bring it on we say!

As we turn into the farmhouse, we hear a faint beating of the dhol .. It is dark, we are surrounded by trees and are in the middle of a forest and tribal drums playing..Oh, oh..This cannot be good.

This isn’t good at all..This is freaking awesome!..99 Cannons have arranged a gala welcome for us into hubli. The dhol was just the beginning, for as we enter the gate of the farmhouse, flower petals are showered on each rider.  We are dumb struck.  There are around 40 people there waiting for us. The local rotary club has turned up in full force and felicitates us. Local media and press take interviews. It hits us again, what we are doing, this ride, is huge, its unique and here in Hubli it has captured the imagination of the local people.

So much for a quiet dinner.

Having said that, the food served was nothing short of orgasmic. The chicken, in Paaji’s colourful language was “bombastic” (well it was even more colourfully described, but in the interest of the reader, we shall refrain from publishing that).

They even arranged for a mechanic to be available for us to solve any niggles that our bikes might have! Brotherhood at it best!

Hugs, and shake hands galore we head back to the road with our pack having increased by another 4 bikers from the 99 Cannons to be a part of the anniversary celebrations at Panchgani.

A quick fuel stop, we tank up and are ready to go.

We ride back in a formation of 2, led by Paaji and me. Our headlights light up the entire highway. My new set of LED lights light up the immediate road, Paaji’s HID and Xenon combo headlights lights up the road ahead.

We are followed by no less than 5 Xenons and LED lights, making for an awesome sight. The entire highway was lit up like the proverbial Christmas tree.

Ride on.

Fourth Stop –  Belgaum

Time: 11 pm

Distance:  around 120 kms

We are riding slow..Average speed is 60 kmph.

The Bullet Guru’s of Belgaum want to wish us and offer any help we may require en route to our destination. Another example of the brotherhood and how this machine binds us together! They come to the outskirts of the city in the middle of the night to meet us 35 boys and girls with whom they have never met or interacted with. All this to just to wish us all the best!  We were touched and after a few quick words, we resumed riding.

The Bisons had all tanked up on Red Bull and were bright eyed so far. We were on the NH4 , in the dark, and riding against time to reach our destination. We slowly approached what we call the “graveyard shift”

The time between 2 am and 4 am is probably the most dangerous time to ride in. The rider is tired and sleepy, it’s an eerie sort of darkness and quiet around and there is typically not a soul around to get help from.

Around 3 am, we had passed Kolhapur and stopped. Our average speed had increased to around 70 kmph from 60 kmph. All the boys were riding in a perfect formation.

We decide to stop at the next dhaba to freshen up. Quick chai and Red Bull later, we were ready to resume our hard riding.

One thing I noticed was that the spirits of each Bison was on an all time high. Here we were in the middle of nowhere, riding for the last 20 hours, dirty, tired, sleepy, but there was a smile on the face of each bison. There was no complaining. All we could do was talk about how our bikes were performing, ribbing the other riders on how they were riding. Not a single rider was complaining or doubting that they would be able to complete the ride. True lion hearts all!

Next pit stop was Satara for another quick chai at around 5 am. We were running short of time, so we decided to ride slow till the first break of dawn and reach wai. From Wai to panchgani , we wanted to ride when there was sunlight as this was mainly Ghats.

We rode to plan.

Fourth Stop –  Wai

Time: 6:45 am.

Distance: around 260 kms

One hour to complete Red Bums

Paaji: “Deelux, bhagga…. We need to reach Panchgani in 30 minutes”

I take 6 boys with me and zoom ahead.

We are attacking the curves with a vengeance. In our minds, there is no alternative but to reach the destination before time.

With me is Corner. He is moving like greased lightning, behind us are Fallen and Despo, not more than 5 feet from us, behind them I can see Bhagta and Changu – Mangu and a couple of other riders. Not one of them is letting up. We will need to ride in this formation to reach our destination in time.

Panchgani town is a blur. They are woken rudely to the sounds of the roaring bulls. The ghats are a blur. I promise to come back and enjoy the view at some other time. We ride hard.

Our speed and will power carry us, literarily, past a set of Bisons (DietPal, bala and Droppie) waiting at the venue to welcome us. They had reached there early in the morning to make sure that we were comfortable once we reach. Another example of how a Bison supports their peers.

We slam our brakes and quickly note the time.

We have reached our destination at 7:08 am. 45 minutes before schedule! I can’t believe it. Nor can any of the other brothers. We have done it! Well almost..As we wait for the other riders anxiously they all vroom in and within 25 minutes all riders (Bisons and 99 Cannons) have reached..The clock ticks at 7:33 am..We left Panvel at 7:53 am and reached Panchgani at 7:33 am. That’s it mate, we have indeed done it! We completed the Red Bums successfully!

A lot of us have tears in our eyes, Paaji and I hug and we can’t let go, we are joined by all the Bisons for a gargantuan group hug.

This is a proud moment. We set out believing that we could accomplish this feat and this is a feat. It is no mean task to complete 1000 kms with 30 + bikes within 24 hours as any biking group will tell you.

And we did it!

Summary:

26 bikes, 32 bikers, 1000 kms, 23 hours 40 minutes – One ride – RED BUMS

The Bisons indeed rode hard!

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ImageImagethe last mile!!! awesome curve hugging entry into panchgani!!!

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My Boys! the red bummers from Bisons Ride Hard.

To know more about our last 1 year check this out

Categories: biking, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

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