Winged!

Love hurts, it almost always does. And I am not only talking about the romantic kind of love. You see, there are certain opportunities in life which you need to grab on to, and not let go at any cost. This was, for me, one of those chances, or shall I say a golden opportunity. He asked me would I like to ride a “big bike” from Mumbai to Delhi,and I, without thinking absolutely anything, agreed. Like I said earlier, about certain opportunities, there are certain times too when you do not really need to think, per se. And yes, just in-case you are wondering, the proverbial “He” used here is ofcourse for my Editor Bunny. The plan was simple really or so did it sound. Pick up the two big bikes from Honda – the CBR 1000RR and the VFR1200F from Honda Mumbai and ride them all the way till Delhi in 2 days’ time. Although, on paper it all sounded very nice to the ears and the senses, but it was not to be. First off, we were to face the vagaries of our so called oldest airlines in India, the famous (or shall I say infamous) Air India! However,not getting into the details, let me just put it this way: I am surely not traveling Air India anytime soon (if ever), and I can positively add neither would Bunny!

Since we had pre-booked the hotel for the night (or whatever was left of the night), we knew where we needed to be, thankfully, else searching for a hotel room at 3:30am is the last thing one wants to do, in a city like Mumbai. Next morning, all pumped up and excited we reached Honda Wing World, Mumbai, where the two bikes were shining in all their glory, almost inviting us to ride them. After the formalities were completed, we hit the roads, and that’swhere the nightmare started. We were on-road with the two big machines bang in the rush hour. For those who know Mumbai’s traffic, I don’t really need to say anything and for those who are yet to experience it, well, all I can say is all the very best folks!

Temperatures rising, and trudging through the slow moving traffic, we somehow managed to hit the highway. We had earlier planned to hit Udaipur where we would stayfor the first night followed by the dash to Delhi on the second day. But, plans go seldom according to pre-decided way, and since we picked up the machines late and the rush-hour traffic nothelping in any way, we decided to hit Ahmedabad on this, the first day. We would ride continuously for a couple of hours or so, and then take a break either for tea/ snacks or to fill up the machines. Although, I have ridden quite a number of big machines over a period of time, but riding the 2010 Fireblade was a totally different experience. To start-off with, I was a bit apprehensive about doing this 1500kms. (approximately) on a full-blown litre class machine, but as soon as I sat on the machine, my doubts were blown into oblivion. The ergonomics of the machine is absolutely brilliant, or shall I say spot-on. It’s neither too sporty nor too relaxed but just perfect; just the way you want it to be. Apart from a mild ache in the wrist, there is absolutely nothing in my body or mind which can tell that I’ve just been through the best 1500kms. of my life on a Superbike! Yes, it is that comfortable. Then, ofcourse is that superior power, it is delivered to you in such a linear fashion with no drama at all that you feel so at home the very first time you ride the machine. And to top it all off, the brilliant C-ABS (Combined Anti-LockBraking System) performs flawlessly making the rider confident and comfortable at the same time. Knowing that heavy or sudden panic braking will not lock the tyres, and make you taste mother Earth is a huge relief in itself, trust me. It might not sound the way, but it sure is confidence inspiring, you can take my words for it. I know that I am sold on the C-ABS!

Bunny - my boss, a friend and a great rider! 🙂

 

A few tea breaks, and a few tank-fulls later, amidst light drizzle, we hit Gujarat (Ahmedabad) by night-fall and the search for a decent living place began. As far as we were concerned, we could sleep right there under the open sky, but it was more to do with a safe parking haven for the bikes. We didn’t really want to get up early in the morning only to find the machines vanished into oblivion! Now, that thought in itself sends shivers down my spine. The search for a good hotel finally ended, and we checked into the room after safely parking the two machines for the night. Our room was located in such a spot that we could directly look down at the parking lot, and could see the CBR and the VFR resting, which provided for some mental satisfaction too and we went off to bed with a wonderful first day’s ride. But, we had no idea what the second day had in store!

Day 2 started on a somewhat gloomy note with an overcast weather threatening to burst open any second. We started off from Ahmedabad a little late, and hence had to face a slight traffic getting out of the city. We were cruising at a comfortable pace, as we wanted to make Udaipur our stop for the night, but like I said plans almost always fail. The weather Gods decided we have had enough fun! It all started with a soft and light drizzle, which, we were quite enjoying, frankly. But, then it poured and how! Slowly but surely, we were wet to the bone. Cold and drenched, we stopped at a couple of places to rejuvenate ourselves with hot tea; it worked, but only for few moments. It seemed the rains would just not abate. With our luggage and ourselves fully drenched, we decided to call it a day at Chittorgarh (Rajasthan). This was the toughest day of this 3-day ride, not only because of the weather, but also because it was cold and we didn’t have any clue how much distance we would be able to cover in this weather. Almost like a fighting Spartan, we reached Chittorgarh during late evening. Hotel was pre-booked over the telephone from a small dhaba, so, that was a relief. Inside the hotel room, we unpacked our luggage and found that water had infact seeped in to almost everything. With the luggage strewn all across the room, it almost symbolized a war-zone rather than a nice, cozy hotel room! But, thankfully, my Lowepro camera bag cover had saved my photography equipment or else I have absolutely no idea what would’ve happened.

Bunny, poses! 🙂

 

This also meant that we had absolutely no dry clothes which we would wear for the night,or for the next day’s ride for that matter. So, we went out to the market in search, of allother things, clothes (of all sorts, if you know what I mean). We did a fair bit of shopping at Chittorgarh, which would prepare our souls for the next day’s long ride, which we hoped would take us all the way to Delhi, our final destination. Meanwhile, a thing to mention is the way the two Honda machines performed. It just didn’t matter what we or the roads threw at them – be it cold, rain, hot weather or what not; they performed brilliantly. Also, worthy of mention is the fuel economy that the machines were giving us. I am not too sure about Bunny’s VFR, but I can safely and confidently (add “proudly”to that too) say that my CBR was giving me well over 20kms. to a litre (22km/litre to be precise). At one point of time, while maintaining a tad over 110km/hr., the instant fuel-consumption reading went all the way upto 37.5km/ litre! That is Honda for you. I mean can you even imagine a 1000cc, 180bhp, full-blown Superbike even showing a mileage figure of 37.5km/litre., even for a few moments. This would put to shame quite a few Indian machines for sure! After all the getting wet and cold, the day ended on a rather happy note with just a view outside the hotel room, looking at the CBR and VFR parked happily.

This ride was, at first, planned to be a two-day thingy, but the weather made sure that there was this third day added to our original schedule. And boy, I can happily say I didn’t mind at all. We started off from Chittorgarh early in the morning on the third day to avoid the rush-hour traffic and also to make it to Delhi in good time, since we had more than 550kms. to cover on this last day, which meant about 8 hours of riding time, minus all the breaks that we would eventually end up taking. It was foggy and cold early in the morning, but I loved the ride. The CBR has that charm which can make you instantly fall in love as soon as you get onboard. This is one of those machines which won’t scream at you, but would rather caress you with its charm, and will make you want more of her. The roads were inviting, and slowly the rains slowed down to a fine drizzle.With Bunny leading all the way, I was quite enjoying following the VFR. We were to meet a few friends who were waiting for us at the ‘Highway King’, which is a small eating joint somewhere between Jaipur and Delhi. With a few stops for photography, and a few others for fuel and snacks, it meant that we took our own sweet time in reaching Jaipur. But, like I said, I just didn’t complain. Actually, now that I think about it, I have something to confess – as the miles kept on decreasing, and we neared Delhi, I had this sinking feeling inside me. It’s like that feeling, when the girl you love so much just don’tcare how much you love her or what you feel for her and just kicks your emotions where it hurts the most. I am sure you get it; that was the sort of emotion that was running inside my mind.


We were greeted to some warm welcome at the ‘Highway King’ restaurant, with our friends shooting our pictures and welcoming us both. It almost felt like we were some celebrity. Well, I surely wasn’t one, but the machines? Well, everyone knows that they surely are. We took a pretty long break there, chatting about the wonderful experience that we had all through the past 3 days, and having a wonderful time sipping some cold coffee and having some good non-vegetarian snacks. Finally, we decided it was time we moved on towards Delhi. Bidding farewell to friends, who were waiting for us there a tthat very spot since 10:30am (while we reached at about 1:30pm!), we shot towards the final destination – the Capital. Nothing much to share about after this, although, we did encounter pretty heavy traffic at Gurgaon. With Bunny leading beautifully, I made sure Iwasn’t left much behind. Although, it was the peak traffic hour, but this has got to be one of the best stretches of the whole ride. Nope, I am not going crazy after doing such long distances on the big Honda. On the contrary, I speak the whole-truth and nothing else.

We pose with the big machines - Bunny and the VFR 1200F, I and the CBR 1000RR.

Finally, it was time to let go off the CBR. I just didn’t want to. It was as if she was asking me not to. But, good times don’t last a lifetime. And this was one of those times whenI just had to let go off her. These three days were quite simply the best days of my life. I would never-ever, till the day I live, forget these 72 hours of my life. It was as if I had found a new lease of life, it was as if all the tough and long working hours made perfect sense, it was as if I was in love all over again. These 1460kms. would always be etched on my mind, not only because of the wonderful roads or the brilliant company that I had in the shape of Bunny, but also because of a silent companion whom we all know as the CBR1000RR. Quite frankly, at first I was very skeptical about the way the machine looked, but these three days has changed all that.

Looks, as I know now are secondary. It is the character(whether a machine or a person) that matters. And that the CBR has aplenty. As I handedover the keys to the Honda guys, I had tears in my eyes. I just did not want to let go, I so wished that this day would never end, but like I said earlier, good times do not last long. Iguess this was one of those times. At the end, I realized one thing though – love, after all,does hurt.

 

Comments

  • Suhail  On January 16, 2011 at 12:53 AM

    Loved every emotion it … and because i know you .. i can read the narrative in your style which makes it even better. Keep up the good work .. bravo.

    Like

    • vulpineshooter  On January 16, 2011 at 12:57 AM

      Thank you Suhail, for going through the story. 🙂 I really appreciate the words that you said. Thanks.

      Like

  • SIddhartha  On January 16, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    As i said earlier..your work is wonderful..the instances you rose up your feelings are really cool sir..

    ” Your words make your work more awesome ” 🙂

    Like

    • vulpineshooter  On January 16, 2011 at 2:11 PM

      Thank you so much for the comments, Siddhartha, I appreciate it that you took some time out to read the whole travelogue. 🙂 Thanks.

      Like

  • Abhishek  On January 28, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    Bobbyyyyyyyy ;). As I have told you earlier and will continue saying that I am sooo bloody jealous. When I was waiting for my flight at the Mumbai airport, You guys were witnessing the Fastest rains of your lifetime( at least as of now). And apart from my wonderful ridermania memories, there was a part of me who was diving deep in jealousy…. Peace! :D.

    Like

  • dcs  On February 2, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    Bobby! I envy you.

    And you know how badly I miss riding a bike these days. To add fuel to the fire, you are riding a wonderful piece of art for such a long distance.

    Envy is the word.

    dcs

    Like

    • vulpineshooter  On February 2, 2011 at 4:41 PM

      Don’t be envious my friend. We will ride, and soon. 🙂 Thanks for having a look through the website, I appreciate it. 🙂

      Like

  • vic  On February 8, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    just got say one thing ..you’re great and im lost.
    “Not all those who wander are lost.” – J. R. R. Tolkien

    Like

  • Anwesh  On February 22, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    This is the first time, I read your Biking story. Every one has a dream to ride on these lovely machines.. Loved your story so much. Story telling is a tough job, you did it like no one can leave this in a midway… The person will be eager to read until end. I hope I’ll also ride on CBR 1000R some day. 🙂

    Like

  • ankursom  On January 18, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    Oh lovely man…..

    Like

  • Bob michel  On May 9, 2012 at 12:48 AM

    Please, can u tell me where in Bombay can i buy a Big Honda. Just more than 1000cc. I look for a Honda Fury, its a cruiser.
    Pleas help me, please!!!! Thanx Bro.

    Like

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