:: However for the unedited version...... here goes - ::
Unplanned rides can sometimes be very enjoyable on a Bullet because there is an element of surprise in every turn. 21 September Oh-6, being a bank holiday, I was at home. In the back of my mind I knew I would be going somewhere on my Enfield Electra 350cc bullet. Where, when, how were all blanks.
Sunny morning – after a week of nearly incessant rain. Wow! – What more could a biker want ? Sofi, my wife who loves travel by an Enfield bullet popped the question. Why don’t we go to Kovalam beach? It’s a nice sunny morning. I was in two minds – Kovalam beach seemed like a local market to me. As they say, when you stay at one place, you don’t realize the importance of it. (Did someone say one of 50 must-see destinations in the world…Yawn!!!!!)? I said to hell with Kovalam beach. Why don’t we go in the opposite direction? – Suddenly I remembered Varkala beach cliff and the ride I went with Jay and Anil some months back. (Varkala beach is pretty clean and similar to Goa!) That’s one place Sofi would like to see. I suggested Varkala beach and a visit to her aunt’s place in Vakkom (via Attingal). Deal sealed.
My heart thumped – It surely will be 100 odd km on the Bullet. :-)
I dropped my 3 -year-old son to the play school. He had a slight cold and I felt, better he avoids the ride.
We put on our dirty jeans and T-shirts. I had my helmet on; she put her visor and covered her face with a shawl like a terrorist!
09.30 am: I started the Bull and we headed towards the Chavadimukku main road. I just took my usual bag containing one set of Raincoat (jacket and pants.). I also thought it will be great to have a warm up ride before the TVM Bulls Goa ride next week. My service mech @ Marikars had just done the de-carbonization and service for the Goa ride. don’t touch high speeds..keep it under 60! L He told me to cover 500 km and reset (tighten or loosen!?) the valves before leaving for Goa ride.
The Bull thumped fine. It just reminded me of the chat I had with my pal in Bangalore and I told him – given a choice I would prefer a Bullet to owning a Honda city!
We had hardly gone 2 km when it started to rain as we passed Kariyavattom University. We stopped at a shop for the rain to stop.
But the rain had other things in mind other than stopping. 2 mints and bubblegum…and still waiting. No way said the rain as it also continued to chew the ground.
I told Sofi – Well, what the hell? Are we going to stand here and admire the rain? No way. We were not going to let the weather hamper our trip. My shining silver Bullet in the rain also seemed to invite us…lets zoom!
Pouring Rain. 1 jacket. 1 raincoat pant. 2 people. And a Bullet raring to go.
Well Ladies first. So Sofi put the Jacket, me the rain pants. Made sense too. I wanted to take all the beating raindrops on my chest. (You can’t expect to do these crazy things when you are 50 years old !!!!!).
So leaving behind the starry eyed people at the shop, we rode ahead in the rain. I kept a constant speed between 50-60 km/hr. More importantly my mechs advice & supplemented by the slippery roads and low holiday traffic. The rain beating on my helmet and my T-shirt fully wet. I tested the Bull brakes at some points on the roads as to its performance in the rains. There was a slight problem with the horn button on the way. The new vibro-mini horn set was loud. I need to check that out once we get back!
The rain stopped when we passed the CRPF camp. As we proceeded to Attingal, the climate got warmer. We stopped to get a 2-litre mineral water bottle at Attingal. We sipped some water. (Little did we know that we would not need the water anymore on this trip!).
We proceeded and dropped some money at the Kaduva Pally on the way (Thank God for the Bull!).
As we were approaching Kallambalam, the rain started to pour real heavy. I had my parking lights on already. (The cute parking lights are one of the bullets best features! I wouldn’t trade it for any shi@#y American chopper!)
I turned left at Kallambalam junction and headed towards Varkala beach. It rained hard. The visibility was poor. In the pouring rain, we must have looked like a crazy honeymoon couple as we rode ahead. In the heavy rain I missed the Varkala cliff road and passed by the temple to reach the beach. As we passed the water logged road by the temple, my Bull sound changed to a slight sputtering – some water had managed to get into the exhaust. But it did not stop. I proceeded accelerating a lot. I was afraid if we got stuck, getting a Bull mech on a public holiday might be like trying to light a candle under water! .
I stopped at the beach to ask for directions to the cliff. The rain poured. My wife strolled towards the beach coolly. I was also completely drenched. People looked at us as though we were some Aliens. I detested the thought of getting off the Bull to ask for directions. Luckily an old man who was passing by using an umbrella gave me directions to get to the Helipad cliff. The ride up the cliff was real cool and smooth - with the clear thumping pick up of the Bull. (I should have done Decarbonisation earlier…no probs you always learn from the first Bull!)
We soon reached the helipad. My teeth were slightly chattering after so much riding in the cold rain. We headed to the first restaurant on the cliff. I took the first table overlooking the sea. The same table Jay, Anil and myself sat during our previous ride here. But the rain continued to pour. We moved to the next table.
Hot coffee and French fries. The pony-tailed waiter thought we were non-mallus due to our constant yap-yap in Hindi lingo. The coffee and the fries took its own time in coming. I was afraid; the waiter had gone to Varkala town to get them!
We strolled down the cliff top street - window-shopping at the Tibetan shops and trying to find a way to reach the beach below. A Tibetan shop displayed rock-salt crystals on the road. The guy explained that keeping it at home cures sick people etc. Good Rocks.
We then went to a Gujrati Handicraft shop where there were all exciting lifestyle items. Sofi picked a handbag. Good bargaining resulted from the bag price coming down from Rs.200 to 100! In Bhopal, the same thing will cost around 80 bucks. The guy Rahul is a Gujrati – who has settled in Varkala with family. He’s promised us discounts next time.
We strolled down and found a way to get to the beach. Concrete steps dotted the steep slope. We used it to get down up to a point, but after that there were only rocks and the rain had made it slippery. We decided to avoid it and return. On our way back, in one of the restaurants there was a foreigner couple sitting with a board “ANA Code Demonstration”. Curiosity got the better of us …wondering if it had something to do with the “The Da Vinci code”. On speaking to him, he said there are some big secrets in this world and has made them in to a Book and CD titled “ Little Book – Big Secret.” He seemed crazy…but anyway I took his pamphlet for later reading.
Books and CD cost Rs.500. Ooops…steep man! I got the links to his website if anyone is interested in it. Some of his claims may be controversial so I am not publishing the link.
The rain kept pouring heavily as we headed back to Trivandrum city. We picked up some fresh sea food at Varkala market and headed back. Photography was near impossible in the rain. Drenched in the rain, we cancelled the visit to her aunt’s place.
We reached Trivandrum back at 2.00 pm. The whole trip around five hours in the pouring rain with a thundering Bullet was energizing. We did not even fall sick or catch a cold.
Maybe riding a Bullet makes people also Bullets. Thumps Up!