Kamshet: Death Trap Ride
By Ujjwal Dey
Destination: Kamshet is located at 110 KM from Mumbai and 11 KM from the twin tourist locations Lonavala and Khandala. Nearby places of interest are the
The Trip: We had decided on a camping trip and narrowed it to visit
Center One Mall, Vashi, Navi Mumbai
7 AM, 22nd March 2008
Bombay Bikers http://www.bombaybikers.com/
Saturday 22nd March 2008:
There was a huge turnout for this ride and in the morning we had an enthusiastic group of Bikers ready to rough it out in our first camping Trip of the year. Priyanka, a photographer of JAM Magazine joined us as a pillion. We moved out at about 7:40 AM towards Panvel for a stop to fuel up all bikes and breakfast at Datta Wada Pav.
Soon we were all on the way towards Lonavala. This road is of course very well maintained and we didn’t have any problems as we had made it clear to riders that their Bikes should be well maintained to join us on this Trip. We stopped at
My fondest memory of this Trip comes from our 3 hour stop at Ambar Dhaba. We racked up a bill of Rs 6000, including 5 Chicken Handi full, 4 Tandoori Chicken full, Whiskey, Vodka, Beer, Hukka, etc. Being a large group for Vegetarians the bill per head came to Rs 160 and for Non Veg + Booze Riders the bill per head was Rs 350. We checked the bill and found 4 items that were added unscrupulously by the waiter there and we cancelled that and gave only Rs 150 out of Rs 300 of Hukka since the service was poor.
After this long chit-chat and lazing on the ‘Chaarpai’ and swings there we headed on to
Kamshet was nearby and we saw the bad road with pebbles, loose rock, dirt and dung in front of us. Rohit confidently rode ahead as he was leading our group since we started from Vashi. Ashok with his heavyweight body took a pillion, Priyanka almost all the way up. When I reached the final slope no one was behind me. Rohit and Ashok managed to climb the final steep slope after which there is a really bad road to the summit. Ashok had dismounted Priyanka at the final slope to climb on. Seeing the ease with which they reached up I mistakenly assumed I could do it. Instead of judging the slope and curve myself I placed my judgement on the example set by their skills. I fell midway when with full throttle at first gear I couldn’t make the Bullet climb up. Rohit’s Thunderbird meanwhile waited just before the curve to the summit along with Ashok. I picked up the Bullet with loaded saddlebags and managed to start it again and tried yet again to make it climb but without the momentum the midway climb was not going to happen and I fell again. This time I decided to move the bike down but taking a U-turn there was not possible. Only Priyanka madam (photographer of JAM Magazine covering our ride) who was dismounted by Ashok was there. I asked Priyanka to leave all her luggage there and help me take my Bullet down. She is a gutsy lady I have to say - a true friend and rider. I couldn't start the bike again as to get it in neutral I had to use clutch and on using clutch the Bullet would go full speed backwards. So with Priyanka's help I got the bike down in reverse using clutch and front brake - very painful. Advised others not to go on final slope but many went on. Dinesh sir’s Thunderbird fell midway on this final slope similar to my fall. My C-guard protected my silencer and air filter and the leg-guard saved my tank. Dinesh-sir fell on left-side so saved damage even though his T-Bird has no rear-guard. His twin-brother Umesh managed to go up this slope but fell on the worse road ahead to the top.
Meanwhile others finally were reaching the halt at the bottom of this 40 degree slope. Sodhi-ji got Dinesh sir’s Thunderbird down to this flat surface after the fall. Shariq rode to this halt on Ashish’s Tribal Bull. Ashish’s Bullet is 20 + years old and had to be pushed up as the gears were giving a lot of problems. Uday, Nilesh, Shariq, Babloo, etc got till here without any problems.
Prasad who was riding first time with us decided he will ride to the summit and he did it in one go. He is very friendly and helpful and was very impressed with our Trip here. Rustam another new rider who was there previously for Joy Ride in Mumbai had his first adventure here.
Kamal riding Hussain’s bike and Hussain riding Vicky’s bike went uphill this final 40 degree slope comfortably. A total of 4 Riders reached the summit while others were content to keep their bikes at the flat surface below this final climb. It was incredibly challenging to climb up on foot with all our luggage. I cursed my Cramster saddlebags too when I had to carry it all the way uphill to the summit - thanks to newcomer Babloo for his timely help in this coolie work. Our tempo – Gauresh’s 500 CI was already at the summit. Gauresh, now he is a gem of a guy - ignore his diminutive body (40 KG only) - he has a heart of a Lion - he took his 500 cc Bullet and luggage to the summit.
The 4 Bikes that made it to the summit:
1 Thunderbird (Rohit),
1 500CI (Gauresh),
1 Avenger (Ashok),
1 200cc Avenger (Prasad).
Shariq and Nilesh also left their Karizmas at the bottom as it was nearing sundown and it was more important to setup tent than to challenge ourselves on this climb.
At the summit everyone was in a festive mood. All our troubles and pains were forgotten by one glance at the view and the chilled air blowing on us. We talked for a long time and still others like Uday, Priyanka, Champ Sodhi (Sodhiji’s Son), etc set up a bonfire. After this brief relaxation the gang was ready to let the Music and Booze carry the night like a sailboat left adrift in the ocean.
Sudarshan played the bongo and everyone sang out songs from the heart. Hussain got out his portable hukka and soon everyone was singing, partying and enjoying the night at the top with a breath-taking view.
While this party raged 2 of our best riders, Rohit and Kamal had headed downhill towards the village to get the gang’s dinner. In the pitch darkness while we couldn’t do it in daylight, they fetched our dinner and rode back up to the summit. Rohit at his young age is a very responsible Man (Well he did get a ‘Jaadu ki Pappi’ from Dinesh sir for his efforts).
It rained at night at about 10 PM and we are all sincerely grateful to the 2 workers at the BSNL / Doordarshan tower who allowed us to sleep in their machinery room to save our luggage and our Souls. Rohit who had put up the tent painfully decided to sleep outside in the tent and Ashok gave him company.
We literally had clouds at our feet at night there.
Sunday 23rd March 2008:
Every muscle in my body was paining when I woke up. Seeing the spirit of 50+ years of age Nadkarni Brothers (Dinesh sir and Umesh sir) I forgot my worries. They wanted to get back home as early as possible. I agreed since if the Hot Sun came out I would die on my saddle due to the stress.
After much photography with Ashish, Uday, Shariq, Sudarshan, etc I packed up. About 6 people were lazing and snoring and I decided to accompany the Nadkarni twins to the place where we parked our bikes (below the final steep slope) as I wanted to do it in cold to save my energy. Carried the luggage down - took a break while the Cast Iron warmed up – rode downhill - almost got a heart attack when I managed to break hard when a stone made my steering wheel point to the gorge below. The Nadkarni twins went downhill very comfortably and seeing their courage I gained confidence to go down in first gear and we called the gang saying we would be having breakfast at Lonavala. So 3 of us headed on to Lonavala while the rest were still at Tower Hill, Kamshet.
After getting chikki and our breakfast at Kamat’s in Lonavala we called Nilesh whose network was available and realised that the gang was still at Tower Hill. Dinesh had urgent work in Mumbai and so I rode along with them towards Mumbai. Umesh sir whose front disc brake was broken after about 3 falls on slopes, rode at 80 to 90 KMPH throughout. Within minutes we touched Panvel where I halted alone to make a last call to the gang. Ashish and Nilesh’s mobile was unreachable and Kamal wasn’t answering. So finally got connected to Rohit on Simi’s mobile and realised they had come downhill without much trouble and were having breakfast near Kamshet. I realised there was no point for me to wait for them now so moved on towards Mumbai.
Later I realised that they reached home at about 4 PM while I reached home at about 11:30 AM on Sunday. I felt guilty at having left without the rest of the group but my body couldn’t have possibly lasted in the afternoon sun if I waited for them to wrap up things and RIDE !!!
Gauresh fell on the bad terrain while bringing the Bullet 500 from the summit to the steep final slope. After all these falls we found none of us had any serious injury and all our bikes too were saved from any serious damage. Only 5 Bikers out of the 18 fell on this extreme climb: Umesh, Ujjwal (me), Gauresh (downhill), Dinesh and Vicky.
This is by far the most dangerous trip I have undertaken and would certainly be glad to stay on potholed tar roads which look like a God’s Gift compared to Kamshet.
On Sunday Morning RoadShakers the Pune Enfield Club were riding uphill while the gang had reached the bottom of Tower Hill.
Hope to see other rider’s photos as I have no photos of:
> 3 hour Lunch stop with Rs 6000 bill at Ambar Dhaba since I was enjoying the chit-chat and didn't want to go through the photography trouble.
Best Wishes to all and Sorry if I disappointed anyone.