What would you do if you got wings?
You'll fly away to discover new heights, right?
The same happened to me when I got my first bike. Read on to know more about it.
The year 2012
I was going around the market in my hometown and happened to notice a cool and quite sporty-looking bike parked near a shop. You need to remember that it was the year 2012 and there weren't many sports bikes around; at least not in the area where I used to stay. I happened to notice its name "NS200". Though I wasn't sure which brand or any other details. Just that the bike looked really attractive and I loved it.
Fast forward to the year 2018
I joined Amazon and made friends with Kanishk and Kartik there. Kanishk used to ride a Pulsar LS135 and Kartik had an NS200. The same bike. It was just love at first sight. The unique characteristics of the bike, are the underbelly exhaust, and the additional radiator for liquid cooling. I was seeing all these for the very first time in a budget bike, and to be honest, that day I had made up my mind to get that bike as my first bike.
At this time, I had a fair amount of knowledge about bikes in general and motorcycle touring. So it was easy for me to understand the bike. Although I couldn't ride bikes till this time.
The year 2018 - 2022
I tried saving up a number of times to get this bike, but due to some reasons, I wasn't able to get the bike. But during this period, I learned to ride a bike and also went on a couple of trips as a pillion and one as a solo, which you must have read already. My first bike trip was on that very same NS200, you can read about it here.
The year 2022, August
While looking for a bike to go to the office and some touring, we knew that due to chip shortages, the production of bikes with ECU and ABS had been drastically reduced and the waiting period for bikes was at least a few weeks to a few months.
I had ridden a fair amount of bikes at this point and knew what I wanted to get. I didn't want to go for a faired bike as it'd be ruined very easily at the first drop and my track record of dropping bikes is not quite good. I didn't want to go for Yamaha, Suzuki, or Honda as the bikes from them were quite out of my budget. I wanted to go for the KTM Adventure series, but they were quite out of my extended budget even with a loan.
That left me with a few options and the issues I faced with them.
Royal Enfield Hunter 350: Wasn't launched till then, and waiting periods were quite high.
Royal Enfield Himalayan / Scram 411: Quite a good bike and was my first choice, but the minimum waiting period was at least 3 months after booking.
TVS Apache RTR 200: Quite a smooth bike, was underpowered at the top end, but I could live with it. I learned to ride on Apache, so had a soft spot for that as well. But it had a waiting period of 1.5 - 2 months.
NS200: The bike I fell in love with. The dealer said that they can arrange a bike within 1 week, but they only can provide it in Red as it was getting dispatched from the factory.
I decided that this was it, fate wanted me to have that bike. I booked the bike and the showroom manager called someone to reserve the bike and send it to him. It was coming all the way from Pune in Maharashtra to Ghaziabad Near Delhi, so it took almost a week to reach the dealership. When it arrived, it was nicely packed and all.
The next day was delivery day. I went to the dealer and completed the paperwork for the bike and rode it out onto the road. The first thing I noticed was that the engine was a lot different from the earlier model that Kartik had. This had a bit more bassy, growling sound.
The ns200, brand new out of the dealership
As pre-planned by Kanishk, I had just 1 week to run the bike 700 km and get its first mandatory service done so that we can take it on a 1500 km ride to my hometown. Sounds crazy? It is crazy to even think that someone would attempt such a long ride after just completing one trip alone. But I had the confidence and eventually, the day arrived when we would start our ride.
First stop on the ride once we touched the expressway
We started super early morning and preselected the route to starting from Noida, then on the Yamuna Expressway (Greater Noida - Agra), then on the Agra - Lucknow Expressway till Etawah, then on NH19 to Durgapur via Varanasi. The start was super smooth, cruising at speeds of 70 - 80 kmph, taking our first break at sunrise. The roads are really good till this point. The sunrise was quite spellbinding.
After some rest, we started again. The ride to Etawah was along a straight road passing miles away from villages and cities and was quite monotonous. Moreover, there wasn't a dhaba/eatery along the road; except for 2 places on more than 300 km of road.
Eventually, we reached Lucknow and from here, there were places to stop along the road and it was quite a good ride to Varanasi. Here, I was scheduled to rest for a few days while working remotely and then move on to the solo journey to Durgapur.
I knew that the road from Varanasi to Durgapur would be unlike the road we faced till now.
The roads would be quite damaged, with diversions due to construction. The morning I started from Varanasi, as soon as I was on NH19, I was greeted with massive potholes, and tar rollovers due to heavy vehicles plying on it. All of these were quite hazardous for a motorcyclist like me who is riding a new bike and isn't a seasoned rider. Added on top of it was the number of people just crossing the road blindly.
On the Jawahar Setu is across the Son River
Rest stop after navigating a chain of non-existent roads and diversions due to road construction.
This was worsened by the sheer number of trucks plying on that route adding to the diesel fumes and dust.
After some time, I got quite used to navigating the hazards and was enjoying the road now. So much so that I was carrying a decent speed of around 80-85 kmph. Remember, till now, I wasn't aware of the capability of my bike. Coming from an Apache RTR 180 2v engine, 80 - 85 was at the top end of my cruising speed, although my bike was capable of much more.
After navigating shitty roads for a while, I was greeted with a smooth - 6-lane-wide road, along with 2 service lanes on either side. The scenery along the road had also changed to pristine jungles and hilly areas. Now I was a bit bored and wanted to open the throttle a bit.
Soon I realized, my bike was capable of much more. Now I was cruising at 100 kmph and it felt quite easy. The engine didn't feel stressed at all. I'd eventually come to know that the beast of a machine was capable of cruising at 120 kmph easily; such good the engine is on this.
Somewhere near the Parasnath hills. The weather here was pleasant, with very less dust and a smooth open road.
I started at 6 am and eventually at 2 am, I was just 60 km away from my destination. The excitement was at its peak. I was just about to reach home.
And it started raining.
I didn't have any rain gear at that time so decided to just ride a while and if the rain picks up, I will take shelter. Soon, it started raining heavily and I stopped at a fuel pump and decided to wait out the rain. It rained for quite a while and then stopped. The weather was now cool and more green. I refilled my fuel and started my ride home.
Within an hour, I was at my home and everyone was surprised in two ways.
How did I suddenly reach home?
How on earth did I ride that long? This was because I was the first one they saw riding that long.
Do you have any such stories that you want to share? I'd be glad to listen. Hit me up at email@example.com or comment down below. You can also reach out to me via the social media channels.