Monday, November 19, 2012

Interstate Get-together 2012, Chikmagalur.

 Interstate GTGs have a charm of its own. For few it’s a break from the routine mechanical life, for most, it’s like a family reunion. It doesn’t matter if you are a banker, a corporate magnet or a student; Everybody is there for the love of biking and biking brotherhood. It doesn’t matter if you ride a super sport or an adventure machine, all that bonds us together is the spirit of biking.

How it all started
Presviously this was termed as a Tri-State meet where riders from Karnataka, Tamil nadu and Kerala used to meet up at a common location to spend some quality time with some biker buddies.  As the Tri-state meets started to become more popular as the years went by, the neighborhood biker buddies started to show interest and thus evolved the Inter State meets.

The Planning:
It had been more than a year and a half since we had a, Interstate meet in the south. A simple spark sometime in June/July, when accidently somebody replied or liked my last year’s Munnar group pic. Aargee(Ganesh) replied saying when and where were are meeting up this time. The over dose of enthusiasm existed for a few days until the mechanical life took priority in most of our lives.   Then again in (may be) August 2012, a simple conversation over a coffee between Sriram and Aargee provided a more solid platform for starting the necessary stuff for the much needed meet.
Few calls exchanged here and there and it was decided that the meet will be held before we throw the calendar of 2012 into the thrash bin. The most probable locations for the meet were Madikeri, Chikmagalur and Mangalore. When asked which of these would the riders like most opted for Chikmagalur. Location finalized, dates finalized, now started the behind the scenes activities in organizing.
This year it was our(Karnataka’s) responsibility to host the meet. Praful, the backbone of organizing meets from the Garden City and few regulars started the discussion in the Bangalore chapter on the roles and responsibilities of each in organizing the meet. Unfortunately Praful, was unable to join in due to some personal commitments, but not for a single day he opted out from organizing.  Similarly Sriram, Swaroop and Karthik spread a word in their respective cities/states .
After getting an approximation on the number of people attending the meet, now started the hunt for a suitable accommodation which can easily cater to 60-70 people at one go. Since Chikmagalur is not a tourist dominant place like Ooty/Kodaikanal/Munnar, finding such a place became a tuff task. How we found the place was a funny story altogether. We finally found a place, which was pretty new, but the prices quoted we felt might not be suitable for all. Then after being an undercover investigators (Swaroop in Particular) finally found the details of the owner of the place and immediately struck a deal with her. Few photographs and other details were shared, through which the place looked very promising. So someone or the other had to do a customary recce ride to know if the place actually does some justice to the photos exchanged earlier.  When I reached the place I actually felt that its better than what we saw through photographs. So had some relief in finding a good place for some accommodation.

The pre rides:
Pre rides are organized before any ISGTG meets, just to get others familiar with co-riders and also to be shown the essentials of group riding. Accordingly rides and city meets were organized and people were given information regarding the rides, essentials to be packed, routes to be taken etc etc .

Pre-rides done, financials settled, everybody packed, enthusiasm was at an all time high. The loss of a biker buddy from Trivandrum was a very unfortunate incident just before the ride. May he RIP. This got the families to oppose the riders on going for further rides. Such incidents are very difficult to handle, nobody can be blamed. Everybody has their own version of logical explanation. The numbers for the meet started tumbling down from God’s own country.  Just then came the news of cyclonic storms on the eastern coast. It was indeed sad that few lives were lost to the storm. But these two incidents did not dampen the spirits of our friends riding from Chennai and Kerala, as they say “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going”.

The ride:
The teams from respective cities started based on their comfortability factor. Bangalore team was the last to start, considering the lesser distance to be ridden, it was a breeze. The usual stop for breakfast at Mayura for those yummy menus they have in their kitty.

Bangalore team reach Chikmagalur after a very relaxed ride, for lunch and then comes the call from Aargee(Ganesh) saying they are near Hassan.  Was taken by surprise. Leaving Chennai in the morning and reaching Hassan for a late lunch, man these guys were QUICK. Reach the homestay relax for some time and some time around 7PM got a call from Sriram saying that they have reached the fringes of Chikmagalur and asking for directions to reach the homestay. When I left for get them, heard the sound which cannot be mistaken for anything, an In-line four beast just entering the homestay after a long day on the road.  Finally all the teams arrived safe and sound by 10.30PM , the KL team managing to come last.

 Team KL




Next day,Few people come out their rooms to enjoy the beautiful weather around.  The first thing I see are the two strokers wiping the bikes to an extent that the first layer of paint might have come off. Just then biker paul starts to warm up his engine. The evil mind steps in then, got the keys for Leo Vince’d R15 from Benaka, what came next was total mayhem. Woke up every single should in the whole of Chikmagalur with the free flow exhaust and the typical two stroke chamber exhaust. The plan for the day was to leave for Mullayanagiri for a photoshoot and return back for lunch. Later in the evening we were supposed to go to BabaBudanGiri, if possible since the roads were closed for a long time for up gradation  As we start for Mullayanagiri , we become celebrities on the road. Most people living in the villages en-route coming out of their houses to see 50+ machines taking those roads at once.

Also those generally arrogant bus drivers on these roads, giving way, those tourists taking photos of the group, clapping and wishing us good luck. All this are the memories that once can treasure for a long time.  Visibility decreases to mere meters up ahead. At most point we could not even see the vehicle which would hardly be around 20ft upfront.  Overall it was a fantastic ride climb riding to the highest point in Karnataka. After spending some time out there we trace back to the home-stay for some filling lunch. In the mean time, few of us do a recce ride to Baba Budan Giri. To our luck the road was open for a week after Bakrid for some festivities. Almost got off the bike and kissed the newly laid cement roads, it was too good.
In the evening few people left for Bhadra coffee stop and few others for Babbudangiri. Both the groups had their own share of fun. After a whole night of laughter over the bon fire, a little bit of sleep, the teams leave for the respective cities with memories to treasure for a life time.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody for making it to the meet. Hope to see you all for the coming meets.

Note: Pic Courtesy to respective Photographers