Iron Butt on Iron Engines
By Ujjwal Dey
Destination: Nestled in the greenery of Ganpatipule village is an almost 4000 year old land mark - the Swayambhu Ganapati temple. Swayambhu refers to the naturally formed stone in the image of God (not a carved sculpture). The village got its name Ganapatipule as Ganapati is the lord of the "ganas" or army and "pule" means sand dunes, Ganapatipule is one of the "Ashta Ganapatis" (eight Ganapatis) of India and is known as "Paschim Dwar Dewata" (the Western Sentinel God).
The Iron Butt Ride: Inddiethumpers ride to Ganpatipule on 23rd Feb 2008 and return on 24th Feb 2008. Only one stop at Chiplun while going and one stop at Vadkal Naka while returning. Approximate total of 750 KMs
Panvel, Navi Mumbai near HP petrol pump and Dutta wada pav at 6:30 AM
Group: Inddiethumpers (Royal
Saturday 23rd Feb 2008:
I had registered with Inddiethumpers in May 2007 and this was the first ride I was invited to. The rules were clear – full face helmet, riding jackets, riding gloves, riding boots, Motorcycle ready and serviced, etc. I reached Panvel by 6:30 AM as many Bullets raced ahead of me on the same road towards the meeting point. The bikes were lined up and the senior members of Inddiethumpers inspected each and every bike for oil, electronics, leg guard, tyre pressure, speedometer, lights, helmets, riding gear, etc. All riders were documented and rated for pending membership of first time riders with Inddiethumper Club. Guri was the person incharge of the whole adventure and he was quite friendly, cheerful and jovial. Inddiethumpers group require applicants to meet at a get-together before being allowed to join them for a ride. This ride was the first time in 6 years that new riders were allowed to directly come for an overnight Trip; so lucky me.
We roared onto the road to Mumbai-Goa highway with 22 Bulls thundering together at 7:30 AM. They ride at an average speed of 80 KMPH. I am never comfortable doing that on a 2 lane highway and especially since I am recovering from an arm fracture (humerus right arm broken on Oct 2007). I kept a steady 60 to 70 KMPH and tailed the gang revving hard on the open morning road.
Soon all of them were out of sight. The Inddiethumper flag bearing Thunderbird who is supposed to be the last man was asking me if anything is wrong with my Bullet Electra (4S). I said no, why do you ask? He countered, “Why are you riding so slow?”
So you get the idea. They are very comfortable manoeuvring their Enfields at max speeds. So soon I was the last man riding a long solo trip to Chiplun – the first stop. After 200 KMs of non-stop riding through endless villages and ghats I stopped at one ghat and emptied my bladder, had a smoke, decided against photography to catch up with the group and rode on.
At Chiplun I filled up my tank at the Bharat Petroleum pump. HP petrol pump is on the opposite side of BP pump but there is always a long line there and they don’t accept credit card payment. So with tank full I rode another kilometer to the hotel where the gang was having lunch. After lot of banter and food the gang decided to move on. I had only filled up on Maaza and Lassi to save time.
Downstairs at the hotel the gang revved their mighty engines and honked as all onlookers wondered from where so many Enfields had appeared. Soon they roared ahead towards Ganpatipule.
I know my riding style and I don’t risk anything on the road. I rode at my safe speed with a maximum of 80 KMPH at open stretch roads. Rohan (Bullet named Disco) was also a leisurely paced rider and member of Inddiethumpers and he kept me company on the Ghats and till the
The gang had snacks and tea and soon everyone was mingling amongst each other. I met some nice members here. Mahesh had brought a film based SLR with tripod; Hari who is a senior member and also a BARC Scientist (and a biker!!! ) told me about how he had been to Rider Mania which was way longer than this ride; Hody who is into shipping; new comers like me were Jackson with pillion Vijay who were also quite friendly. A real eye-opener for anyone who thinks Bikers are worthless or vagrants.
Mahesh, Hari, Vijay, Jackson and I rode to the beach and walked in the beautiful sunset. Mahesh clicked a few snaps at the beach with his tripod and huge flash with timer. We headed back to join the gang in their fun at
The new comers including me were in for a more “proper” introduction to the Inddiethumpers gang. Not ragging per se but fun and teasing.
We retired to our rooms after dinner. Vegetarian thali costs Rs 120 per person and Non-Vegetarian thali costs Rs 150 per person. Hari, Vijay and some others decided to make it to the temple in the morning. Guri had decided that all will leave at 9:30 AM for Mumbai. So I too decided for the
Sunday 24th Feb 2008:
Hari woke me up at 6:20 AM and we freshened up to ride to Lord Ganesha’s abode a kilometer down the road. Hari has a 2005 fully loaded Electra 4s and I rode pillion with him. I was shit scared at the ease and confidence (AND SPEED) with which he was cornering the Bullet to reach the temple. We parked near the pristine beach and we got coconuts, sweets, incense, flowers, etc to offer to the deity. Sunday was “Sankashti” day and we had the good fortune to be able to be there to see AshtaVinayak on this auspicious day. We prayed and I prayed solely for a safe return knowing I will be alone and far behind LOLz. I asked the priest if even the
We had breakfast near the temple and I clicked a few photos of the beach in daylight. There were camels and horses and stray dogs all enjoying the morning sun.
We rode back to the hotel and everyone shelled out their tab for the night and Boss Guri settled the bill. Now everyone gathered their Royal Enfields in front of the palace for a group photo session. Overnight another few veteran Inddiethumpers had reached the destination. So we had around 26 Enfields and 37 Riders. After the snaps and Mahesh’s triod/timer pro photography we roared on towards Mumbai with the first stop decided as Vadkal Naka. I was the tail-end of course. My tank was full again when I reached the same Chiplun BP petrol pump. This time at every 100 odd KMS I stopped, smoked, splashed water on the face and eyes, stretched my legs & back and rode on. Soon I caught up with the gang at a village where there was a dead donkey on the middle of the road.
I asked the gang what happened and came to know that a newcomer to the ride was speeding his Bullet with pillion through the village roads and banged into the stray donkey. The donkey died on the spot. The Bullet rotated on the road breaking its headlight, taillight and leg guards. The riders flew off their bikes and had no major injury; miraculously saved by maybe God / Ganesha. The Bullet was kick started to life again. No major damage, the handle was steady, so were the wheels and no oil or petrol leaking. Now that’s a Bullet – Made Like a Gun (though I would suggest not to hunt donkeys with it; LOLz).
Soon I passed them while they checked everything and then they caught up and thundered ahead. They stopped another 100 KMs ahead at the
While those experienced thumpers took about 5 and a half hours to travel one way, I took a 7 hour ride with non-stop saddling for 3 continuous hours.
While many may not consider my riding to be successful, this trip boosted my confidence since it was my first trip in 4 months due to the arm fracture and I was on the Highway after a long time.
Three Cheers to the organisers at Inddiethumpers !!!