Remember the Neil Armstrong quote, when he first stepped on the moon? No? Okay. So he said “This is one small step for a man, but a giant leap for mankind.”
Well, I’m no Neil Armstrong, neither I did something noble for the mankind. The context of this quote is, a couple of days back, I took a small step towards my future, which is to become an automotive journalist. And I’m sure that this small step will prove to be a giant leap for me!
Clearing the clouds, I took a road trip from Pushkar to Jaipur on my (wait for it!) TVS Jupiter. It was included in the bucket list of the things I wanted to do after my exams. This proves that I’m a normal human being.
Luckily, I wasn’t alone and I’m brave enough to admit that I was a bit skeptical before embarking on this ride all alone. Then my cousin sister came to the rescue! She’s a lawyer and she had some work at the Ajmer court so she became my pillion on the ride. We clocked 160 kms in 4 hours, including two breaks which lasted for half an hour each.
The preparations for the big day :
The preparations kickstarted from 4th of May. I got Flash serviced. The service included change of engine oil, transmission oil, brake levers were tightened and a wash to call the day off.
Since there would be a pillion involved so carrying a saddle bag wasn’t an option. I had to carry two bagpacks. The bagpacks were packed just a night before the ride. Typical desi style. Cleaned the helmet and its visor. Got the tyre pressure checked from a local pump and checked all the switches, horn and signs of any leakage. Though there were none. Me and flash were set to roll on the next day!
The ride :
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I couldn’t sleep well the night before the ride. There was this blend of nervousness and adrenaline that wasn’t letting me sleep. And I was trying hard to ignore the negative thoughts. Ignored them better than some people ignore my texts. Started the ride from Pushkar at around 7 AM. Di told me to meet at the Ajmer bus stand at 7:45 AM.
When I started riding from my home, I was even more nervous than the first time I laid my hands on a two wheeler. But the nervousness soon wore off and I was carving the ghats with ease. Reached there at time but she got a bit late. In the meantime I got the petrol tank filled upto the brim and got the tyre pressure checked again. It wasn’t before 8:30 AM that we actually left Ajmer.
After crossing the city, we hit the smooth NH 8. It was smoother than the pick up lines some pricks use. I kept the advices of the service center head and Samarth bhaiya (my mentor) in mind all the time. In the beginning I was taking it a bit slow, at around 55 km/h, because this was the first time that I was hitting a national highway for a long ride. Jupiter was cruising effortlessly at this speed. Changing lanes didn’t require any effort either and the exhaust note was surprisingly throaty too. Was keeping an eye on the economy and power mode indicator, tried to keep the green light on.
As suggested by Samarth bhaiya, took a break at around 10 kms shy of Dudu. We clocked around 60 kms in an hour or so. Parked Flash at a dhaba and fuelled myself up by having a delicious aaloo ka parantha. The break lasted for 20 minutes which made sure that the engine wasn’t frying anymore. The mad heat wasn’t helping either. Jaipur was still a good 80 kms from there. Without wasting any more time we took off. I was gaining confidence with each passing kilometer. The average speed went north too. And now we were cruising at around 65 kms. The engine didn’t feel stressed and it had still some juice left. I even saw 82 km an hour on the speedometer. And surprisingly, there were no vibrations at all. I didn’t take it further north, because it’s still a gearless scooter in the end of the day. Changing lanes, overtaking those huge trucks kept me involved on the highway. The speedometer hovered around 65 km/h. Now the milestones and signboards showed us that Jaipur was just 30 kms far. The engine was calling for another break. It became hotter than Scarlet Witch in Civil War. The clock showed 11:10 AM. Savoured a matka kulfi and had to wash my face to remove the fatigue.
I was feeling a bit sleepy but I didn’t want to give up riding, especially after being so close to the destination. Though Di knows how to ride too, but I wanted to be the one to finish the ride off. Road was calling us again, and we left the restaurant at 11:50. Engine was still a bit on warmer side, which is legit I guess, given how we abused it in the latter stretch of our ride.
The remaining 30 kms were covered in a jiffy! I had to concentrate more on the roads now, because of the increasing traffic as we were approaching the state capital!
A very honourable and a special mention to the traffic of Jaipur now. I’m sure that a kid who has just learned how to ride a cycle has more traffic sense than the matured and seasoned drivers and riders of the city. “You’ve failed this city” crossed my mind everytime I came across a reckless driver.
After zipping around the city and dodging (literally) the traffic, we finally reached home! Kitna diya? 41 km/l.
The feelings and emotions which followed :
I gave a brofist to my sister after reaching home. I was overjoyed that the ride was accomplished without any hindrance! I literally kissed Flash because of its hassle free performance throughout the journey! I was high the whole day on the sense of accomplishment. I thought about the negative thoughts which were hovering in my mind before the journey and then I thought about how easily the ride went! I remembered the feelings when I was cruising on the highway, when I was zooming past the trucks, those long and smooth open stretches of tar, feeling of openness, the sense of starring as a lead, directing, and writing your own movie. (Hey Ben Affleck!)
I remembered the advices of certain people that I shouldn’t carry such a long distance from a gearless scooter, that I would regret my decision after reaching home. That how their advices were full of shit. After reaching home I thanked my parents who waved me a green flag when I proposed the idea of carrying this ride with Jupiter. I was a bit tired though, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. But the tiredness was overshadowed by the joy and satisfaction of embarking and succeeding in my first long ride. I called the day off by remembering a quote which I read on the internet : “Forgive me, because at times I know that I’m doing something crazy and I fucking do it anyway.” And then I slept like a baby because I realized that I’ve finally started living my life the way I once dreamed of, that I was finally infected by the touring syndrome.
Don’t be afraid to take small steps people, because you’ve to first learn how to walk before learning how to run like Usain Bolt. You aren’t Tony Stark, you can’t fly in your suit even before you learn how to walk in it. Watch this space for more rides and more experiences.