Passion for Driving.
Ever since I was a boy, driving my father’s bike is a passion. Thankfully I learned to ride the bike without much of difficulty in 2002.during my 12th and engineering whenever I came home, I along with my friend Vamsi used to escape on the bike to a small temple nearly 40 km from my town. slowly as the time pass and I shifted to Hyderabad my connection with my dad bike was almost became zero and I missed the wonderful time with the bike and Vamsi on the highways. I still remember driving the old Hero Honda Splendor on the city bypass in the chill rain touching 100kmph. as a young boy, neither I nor Vamsi didn’t foresee the risk involved in it. And in a city like Hyderabad driving a bike is almost fighting a war. slowly the passion to drive bike reduced to driving an automatic scooter which is easy to handle and has no stress. a lot of things change in these 15 years more and more number of superbikes and sports bikes came on to Indian roads from BMW to KTM. I was busy driving my wife TVS Jupiter (automatic scooter) to the office daily but deep inside me, I always wanted to have an Enfield. Although I have plans to buy it 3 years back, I was taken back then and gifted my wife a scooter. 2017 ended with a new member in my life. An Enfield.
with advice from wonderful bike riders, traveling friends I took a decision to buy a Thunderbird. for the first 2 months, we both got to know each other. I was a little bit of smooth on the beast and constrained my speed to less than 50kmph. after crossing good 1500 km and done with the second service, we let the beast out of the cage to the much awaited first road trip.
The First Trip
As it was the first trip, we were more unprepared with the gear and accessories. open helmet without a visor, no gloves restricted our speed to 60 kmph as we started at 0630 hrs. the chilled weather on the highway stopped us for a cup of tea as soon as we left the city outskirts. later, I and Ramya switched our helmets as she has an open helmet with a visor and gave me chance to increase speed to 85 kmph and occasionally to 90. We passed by Porur, Sripreambadur, and Kancheepuram on NH48 and turned at Walajapet on to NH40. though NH 40 is not a four-lane road, the road was smooth without any potholes until we reach Andhra Pradesh. Roads from Nangamangalam where we entered AP to Kanipakkam were very poorly maintained. we were again constrained to 40 kmph speed in this section. It took a good 4 hours to cover 175 km with 2 breaks one for 25 min and one for 30 min at Murugan idli shop near Kancheepuram, we reached our first destination Kanipakkam. Kanipakkam is a small temple village 8 km from the district headquarters Chittoor. the temple is very well maintained with a paid clock room to leave your luggage, shoe rack and a phone locker. there is no dedicated parking lot for 2 wheelers. the temple is clean and well maintained. we spend 40 min there and again started our journey.
the road from Kanipakkam to Tirupathi is better than the earlier one but the traffic is heavy. as its again a two-lane road we managed a steady 50-60 kmph and reached Tirupathi by 1230 hrs. we headed straight to Tiruchanur Padmavathi temple and had darshan took almost an hour. unlike Kanipakkam the facilities were not up to the mark. the TTD Clock room is diverting pilgrims to the private clock rooms to leave the luggage. people with influence, protocol, relations to the temple security, staff will be given priority than the common public even though they bought a Rs.200 darshan ticket. we managed to get out of the queue line in an hour after darshan. as we are very hungry and a little tired we made our way straight to Minerva Restaurant in Tirupathi. after lunch we slowly drive to Alipiri, the TTD Main Security check post to enter the Tirumala ghat road. As it is lean season and afternoon time the rush was comparatively very minimum and hardly took 5 min for security check, bike check and luggage check. the security staff showered Ramya with questions on seeing her dress. They thought Ramya was also partly driving the bike and asked her experiences.
It’s a wonderful road, 18 km one way with a lot of viewpoints, places to take rest. Tirumala is around 980m above mean sea level. the gradient is not too much high and for a 350cc bike, it’s like a cakewalk. we occasionally stopped at few places and slowly came to Tirumala.
once we reached the top the temperatures dropped to 15 deg. as we prebooked our accommodation and darshan the following day we rested our Enfield for the following night after 275 km journey.
After a quick darshan, we descended the hill and had lunch in Tirupathi. not to waste time we quickly started return journey and took the Tirupathi-Tirutani-Thiravallur-Chennai Highway. a four-lane road and two lanes occasionally with one break for 5 min, we clocked 80-90 kmph speed and reached Chennai outer ring road 130 km from a restaurant in Tirupathi in exactly 125 min. after resting for 15 min at subway we reached home 28 km away from there in 40 min, touching 100 kmph on the ring road.
With proper helmet, gloves and accessories, next time planing to have a more better trip.