Although I didn’t have any major health issues, sedentary lifestyle and comfortable traveling had reduced my fitness to an unacceptably low level. This had been evident on my first ride. So it occupied my mind for the whole week.
I thought that perhaps the only way to build up the fitness was to ride alone and go on increasing the riding time gradually. I was used to driving our car for almost 18 hours at a stretch with meal breaks. Hence I knew that all bones, joints and muscles would take the stress without any issues. But from my 24 years of riding experience, i knew that riding a bike was a different ballgame altogether. In a car, we have a comfortable environment with AC running throughout. On a bike, we are exposed to gushing air, heat, dust, smoke, etc. because of which, we sweat and tend to loose salts and electrolyte from the body, making the body exhausted.
I felt, conditioning the body to take this stress was one of the ways to work towards fitness and hence decided to go on a solo ride on the next Sunday. The other objective was to check the performance of the bike on the rural roads. Hence the Bandra-Manor-Jawhar-Kasara-Thane-Bandra Round Trip was planned on Sunday, 12th May.
Just then, I was introduced to the riders of YJOCI. They too were planning a morning/breakfast ride to Ahura Restaurant, Charoti. I wanted to get introduced to other Jawa owners and hence decided to join them for a breakfast. We decided to meet at Vasai Creek Bridge at 6:00 am. I had never gone for a ride with any group. So it was going to be a new experience for me and hence was looking forward to meeting the riders from this enthusiastic group. But somehow, I woke up late and hence missed the 6:00 am appointment with them. Instead of being at Vasai Creek at the designated time, I started from Bandra at 6:04 am.
The bike had clocked 200 Km on the Odometer. I had become much more confident and this wild-beast was totally under my control, just like a tamed animal. Covering the distance from Bandra to Vasai Creek took less than half an hour for me and soon, I met the last rider on his old Yezdi just after Kaman Junction near Vasai. He told me that his bike was recently refurbished and hence he wanted to ride it at a slow pace to allow run-in of the new piston and the piston ring. He also told me that there were about 12-15 riders ahead.
As I wanted to test the performance of the bike by riding continuously at around 100 kmph which was the maximum speed limit decided by me for my own safety considering the undisciplined traffic in India, road conditions, environmental and personal factors, I felt that the road after Khaniwade Toll Plaza would be the best stretch to experiment. The bike performed beyond my expectations upto about 90 kmph but gave a slight vibration in the footrest after about 92/93 kmph. So the speed limit for my bike was fixed between 80 & 90 kmph as that was the speed best suited for my black beauty.
In the pursuit to test the maximum speed without any vibrations, i kept overtaking YJOCI riders one-by-one, oblivious to the riding rules that no one overtakes the ‘leader’ or lags behind the ‘sweep’… Honestly speaking, I did not even know that any such rule existed because I had never gone for rides with any riding groups before. Although I had started late from Bandra, I was the first to reach ‘Ahura’ at around 7:50 am. Bandra to Charoti distance was covered in about 1 hour 45 minutes.
YJOCI Members started reaching in groups of 3-4 riders one by one… They came forward and introduced themselves with warmth and affection as a fellow rider. Obviously they also took a close look at my Black Beauty. Most of them had already seen the bike, taken a test ride and therefore knew exactly what issues they envisaged in the new bike. I had a detailed discussion with a few of them about the issues observed by them in the bike. It was a great learning experience for me though non of them had the new models.
After breakfast I decided to proceed on my predetermined route. None of the YJOCI Members were too keen to join me in the hot summer day and decided to return home by around 12 noon.
Instead of Manor-Jawhar Road, I decided to take Charoti-Jawhar Road. This decision proved to be better. Just as I started my journey towards Jawhar, at the outskirts of Kasa Village, I saw a reservoir… It was Kawdas Pick-up Wier…
The beauty of the lake prompted me to stop and click a couple of photographs.
The journey had just begun and the time was around 10 am. Jawhar was still about 40 Km from here. But the road was excellent. It was full of small turns and not so steep climbs. Hardly any traffic except the motorcycles and small vehicles of locals. Taking sharp turns on such roads was a great opportunity for checking the road grip of the bike. The area was full of trees but most of the trees had dried being of dry-deciduous variety. Within an hour or so, i reached Jawhar-one of the hillstations in earstwhile Thane District. The view at the top was breathtaking… Couldn’t resist clicking at least one picture…
The road ahead was not all that good. This provided an excellent road condition for checking the suspensions. I felt that the suspensions as well as the seat were a bit hard on such roads for riding continuously. By this time, i had reached near Mokhada and seating on the bike had he come difficlt. Just then the scenery of this place attracted me and it was quite tempting for photography.
Next destination was a place called Khodala. Wada-Khodala-Mokhada-Jawhar is the tribal belt where malnutrition has been a big issue for generations… Yet, i got sweetest Sugarcane Juice at one of the stalls near the bus stop.
Feeling hydrated after a couple of hours of riding, i wanted to hit the Nashik-Mumbai Highway at the earliest. But the road was not at all cooperative. Although it passed through some scenic spots, hot sun demotivated me from stopping for any photographs. Soon, i reached the famous Vaitarna Lake at the outskirts of Vihigaon Village. The scenery at the lake was so beautiful that even the hot sun could not prevent me from stopping for a couple of pictures.
I touched the Nashik Mumbai Highway at around 1:15 pm. I had anticipated that I would reach here by around 12:30 pm but the road was really bad and I had already started feeling the heat. I decided to hydrate myself again and decided to stop at some restaurant near kasara.
Breaking the pace and stopping proved to be a wrong decision. Stopping and relaxing suddenly developed cramps. The road from Kasara to Bandra which should have been covered in about one-and-a-half hour took almost 4 hours because I had to stop after every twenty minutes to half an hour because of the cramps. Ultimately, reached Bandra at around 4:55 pm. The Odometer showed 565 Km.
Building up the fitness took the top most priority now and decided to work on it at any cost. Riding for at least 12 hours was the target fixed for the next ride.