This one was an unplanned, uncanny ride to Goa. I started from Pune at 12pm to meet my sick girlfriend. Saw her sick face and dire will to ride down to someplace to relax and rejuvenate. We had two options: Mahabaleshwar and Goa. Latter being the sea &, long distance journey, it was our first preference. The best thing about me and ms sil – we love going long distance. We both are at odometer phase in life. We want to clock number of kilometers on our beloved red beast. We don’t need much fancy stuff, just two of us, our red beast, few clothes and we are all set to saddle into the wilderness.
The notable negative aspects of this journey was – demonetization and condition of the bike. We had about Rs 900 in the currency of Rs 100 and Rs 4500 in currency of old Rs 500/1000. I was kinda confident about using card everywhere. Motorcycle is like a toy that helps you do things that you want to do in an easiest way possible. It’s can make your life interesting or boring depending upon how capable it is. My experience with Yamaha R15 has been absolutely brilliant. I am not exaggerating but, it is the most reliable engine that you will find in Indian motorcycle market. The only major maintenance that I have done in 40K+ km is, changed cone set and front forks (thanks to Indian roads). When I say, the bike was not in its best shape. I mean, I hadn’t changed engine oil that I should have changed at least 500km before starting the journey. I planned to pickup the bottle of Motul from Belgaum and replace it in Margaon.
We started out with ms sil coughing and sneezing while sitting behind me. We passed Belgaum, I eventually ignored picking up engine oil. 5000km run Motul 7100 was still performing in it’s best form without any trouble. We never aim for the destination, we just ride, enjoy the journey roads, atmosphere and go on. We always take numerous memorable pit stop. At one such pit stop after Chorla ghat, a very hospitable street stall vendor served us best tea and omelette. He was kind enough to fire up a small bonfire for ms sil. She being sick and on medications, was quite sleepy all the way. I made a quick SMS to the guy in Agonda to make the reservation for the night. We finally made it to our hut in Agonda by 12.30 at night.
Our return journey also counted for riding 5-6 hours at night. I enjoy night journeys. You can better gauge the approaching traffic on curvy ghats, take pitstop at middle of the road to enjoy the sound of trees, crickets and scary bats. Although riding at night is not very safe or advisable. With right set of intentions, wheels and safety, night ride can become a transcendent journey. Red beast throughout the journey, performed very well. I had trouble finding Yamaha service station in Belgaum on the way back but, ended up putting semi-synthetic oil from Motul dealer. I pushed earlier Motul 7100 for 6000km, not a wise thing to do. This is probably the extreme rough handling that I have ever done on a motorbike. My beast is like the perfect girl from your dreams, very low maintenance, great fun and always ready for kinky stuff.
Time spent with bae was much different than our earlier journeys. To my surprise, she recovered from sickness by next morning. She was happy, giggly, truly enjoying and playing with kids on the beach. We did not rush into any serious discussions, plans, nothing. We had one plan – of having no plan about anything at all. This is very unlike me, I see myself as an organized person. A man with the plan. But, this time having no plan did wonder to me. I could observe the difference. This trip, I truly enjoyed the sea. Spent the day with pints of beer, bae’s hand in mine and seashore for the music. Ms Sil has a different view of looking at things. She can adapt and mend into the environment around her very quickly. Some of the photographs that she clicked at the beach are way different than what I can ever do. One of our most favorite thing at the beach is, taking a barefoot walk on the beach early morning. Every adult is a child at heart, very few are able to realize and express it. We do it to fullest when at the beach. Unlike most Indian vacation destinations, nobody judges you in South Goa. Watching setting sun on an empty beach with ms sil is an experience to embracing our solitude. The sound of an ocean is a great elemental music that nature has gifted us. It has power to calm you down, bond with your partner and silently shape the heart for coming future.
Food by the beach is the most delightful experience. The dishes don’t have to be fancy, complicated masterpieces. Just good food from fresh ingredients. We tried new cuisines, looked around all the shacks for any dish that we’ve never had. All the meals that we had during our time there were memorable. I believe that nothing brings you together like good food. We both share a common list of inspirations : great food, books, beach, nature, noble individuals and beautiful photographs. To my surprise, I was able to find a place that brewed decent Americano (my third love). Having the beach facing hut, waking up to the first light of the day on her gorgeous face is the experience that I would die for. Ms sil usually sleeps till late. I love watching her while she’s deep in sleep, she is an excellent dreamer. Ms sil is a total beachoholic. You will find her powerless sleeping under some umbrella on a relaxing chair, with a pint of warm beer on side, taking warm sun on her skin and cool wind in her hair. We both would like to spend couple of days reading some book on the beach sometime. I was happy of the fact that, she was perfectly healthy by the time we started our return journey. We were able to spend all Rs 500/1000 currency notes. To my surprise, everybody in Goa were gladly accepting it.
Return journey was little dramatic, bike’s engine oil issue being least of all. I avoid group riding and even other group riders. Riding in a bunch changes people, their subtle, sensible part of brain and ultimately their actions. We took a pitstop to check maps just after Palolem square, and heard a bunch of Enfields pass by. It’s easy to tell RE by it’s bassey noise & high pitched whining while acceleration. The group was divided into two sub groups. A bunch behind that was too slow and a bunch ahead who were quick. Overtaking the slower bunch even on a narrow curvy roads was quite easy. Trying my best to be as polite as possible. People in groups generally go ape shit on little things far too quickly. They were doing 40-50 on a busy Panvel-Kanyakumari highway.
Looking at the license plate, they seemed to be from Bangalore. Profiling RE group riders is relatively easier. An engineer by education, middle-class yet well-off, little young and mature enough to understand that life is not all about work-work-work and boring sex with same wife while your asshole kid watches through the keyhole. The group riders strike me one of the most confused people on the street. They borrow inspiration from other riders, consistently trying to copy the macho style, desperately trying to bend and hopelessly trying to belong. The confusion generates anger, RE riders take it out by defaming every bike that they don’t own and bragging about 1 long ride that they did 3 years ago. Group riders are lazy, they never start on time, half of the time is spent in coordinating with their bro who is left behind and always chai/sutta/fucking breaks every 500 mts.
Now coming back to the particular incident, I overtook the gang of 8 on an intersection. It was relatively easy. But the problem was, I couldn’t go beyond 60kmph on the curvy ghat. I was checking the mirrors to ensure that I don’t get in their way. And then the shit began. It was easier for two loud engines to cut me in a corner. And one by one, the faster bunch overtook me.There’s nothing worse than getting stuck inside a group of bikers. Better be ahead or behind. Inevitably they all slowed down on curves and, things started getting annoying. I overtook them again, too politely. At another intersection & speed breaker, I saw a headlight approaching and jumping over the speedbreaker. I found myself stuck in between the group again. This was moronic. Their attitude was like, “we shall go no faster than 50 but, anybody else overtaking us shall immediately be overtaken back again. No one must ride in front the RE group.”
All this while, my girlfriend sitting behind was chilling, listening to music, clicking pictures with no idea whatsoever about what’s happening around her. I knew what had to be done, pulled to the right on an open stretch and gunned it, fuck politeness. The 20 bhp on 120kg bike accelerated fast enough to easily leave behind 300 kg metal bobs. We made it to her destination by 10.30, ended the sweet journey with desi dinner. It was another 3 hours night ride for me to reach back to Pune. We added 1100 km more to our massive scrapbook of memories.