Monday, October 26, 2015

No Pain- No Gain - Bangalore to Chennai Bike Road Trip on Honda Stunner

On the occasion of birthday of Mudal Alwars, had an occasion to participate in  temple festivals around Kanchi
 
Honda Stunner, the bike is a real stunner and very capable of long distance road trips.  We got the bike on rent from http://www.dvkbiking.com

One caution before you embark on a long road trip - always remember no pain - no gain.  After riding a few kilometers, you get cramps in your neck and shoulders.  To avoid it, change the position of your back and arms every few minutes. This is what gymnasts do.  They work out in the gymnasium trying to put their body in pain and the outcome is for the world to see- 6 packs or whatever. Similarly, to have a smooth long distance road trip on a bike, one needs to be ready to suffer pain for short intervals by riding alternatively with straight back and bent back.

The best road to take will always be the Hosur-Krishnagiri-Kanchipuram route between Chennai and Bangalore, as there is six lane highway- easy to drive in and out.

Biggest plus point? No toll charges for two wheelers at any toll plazas- just be sure to ride on the foot paths meant for two/three wheelers towards the left of the toll plazas.

Petrol is cheaper in Tamil Nadu than Karnataka.  So be sure to fill up the tanks in Tamil Nadu (however, bunks in outskirts do not accept plastic money- only hard cash). Card payment was possible at petrol pumps only the cities of Bangalore and Chennai.

Honda Stunner is 125 cc engine but the out put it gives is above 11 bhp. Gosh- you should rent a bike to see the awesome power on highways. Please note that highways in Tamil Nadu is the best while the roads in Bangalore are the worst.  Out of the total distance of 350 kilometers between Chennai and Bangalore, only about 25 kms are in Karnataka while 300 and above kms are in Tamil Nadu.  So, except the torture on Bangalore roads, you will sail very smoothly during the whole journey.

I will not suggest Chittoor route because it does not have 6-lane highway all the way.  At many times you will have to travel behind lorries at snail pace because of single roads catering for two way traffic.  Hence please avoid NH-4 and stick to NH-46/48.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Himavad Gopala Swamy Hill - Gundlupet, Chamarajanagar District bordering Kerala State

My cousin brother Narasimha had planned a family outing to Himavad Gopalaswamy Hill this Sunday (August 9, 2015).

We left in a tempo traveler - 16 seater from Bangalore around 7-30 am and returned at around 11 pm.

Himavad Gopalaswamy Hill is under the forest cover area bordering Kerala (I got an SMS from Airtel welcoming me to Kerala, while we never left Karnataka).
We reached the temple around 2-30 pm and had food inside the temple.  When we came out of the temple at 3-30 pm,  it was covered in mist due to heavy cloud movement.
 The trip was also managed by my sister Pankajamani, an advocate at Bangalore.
 Narasimha, my cousin brother si standing with his father/my uncle (my father's younger brother)
My uncles's two daughters with their husbands along with my uncle's four grand children took the strength of relatives to 10 members.

































Saturday, August 1, 2015

Driving a Mercedes Benz A Class car to Decathlon

My first impressions about driving a Merc better be heard from my wife, who was narrating the pros and cons of her first merc ride to my mother-in-law:

1. The car is too small- very tight fit
2. Just like a scooter,there are no gears- only brake and accelerator
3. The seat belt holders prick the skin in the rear seat
4. It has a video feeder showing the sorroundings while reversing or parking
5. the engine roars to life like a race car making lotsa sound

I replied to her what gyan I had about her 5th point- the A class comes with 2100 cc diesel engine whereas most cars on Indian road come with 800 to 1200 cubic capacity and hence the sound like a railway engine ;)

Though her first point was true at first look, the buttons on the door make the seat go low and stretch like a recliner.  With no room for clutch, one can drive a merc even in reclining position.  Though at first, my head was almost touching the roof of the car, after adjusting the back and height of the seat, it was pretty comfortable.

Thank god I asked the Zoomcar guy about the controls of the car.  Otherwise, I would not have been able to move even a single inch. Really.

Like in my Ford Figo drive from Zoomcar (please click here for my trip to Alpha Race by Wildcraft Blog for Ford Figo Drive), the left and right indicators are to the left of the steering wheel, unlike in regular cars.


The horns are way too distant from the steering wheel - you need a lot of horn to make way for the luxurious car on Bangalore Roads.

To start the car, one needs to know about 4 buttons available on the right side of steering wheel (a handle which is used for lighting and indicators in regular cars).
P: Parking - Makes the car engine stop
N:Nuetral
R: Reverse
D: Drive

Be sure to hold on to brake when changing the status of car from parking to Drive. The break also acts as half clutch.  (Biggest positive point is there is no risk of the vehicle stopping for failure to apply proper gears- there is no stopping of the car at all unless you switch off or go into parking mode).

Pickup is ABSOLUTELY crazy. Try it after passing a road bump (speed breaker). While cars near you will be trying to shift gears from second to third to gain pickup, the merc shoots like an arrow past with so much power under the automatic accelerator.  But the craze is short lived, as in Bangalore Roads, you need to always keep your control on break pedal. (One good thing the Zoom car driver advised me was not to use the left leg for driving at all- so that the right leg alternates between the brake as well as the accelerator.

Since there is no gear shifting, one can rest their left hand- virtually- there is a pad provided for resting your left hand so that your right hand is made free- lovely know? There is even a handle bar near the top to catch hold by your right hand ;)

Coming to the top, please see below photo which shows that I am driving an open convertible-

The button on the top makes the top slide open and the glass top opens a little to allow air to flow inside the car. With no work for the left hand and leg, taking selfies while driving is a piece of cake ;)

Its fun to drive a merc. It boosts your ego.  Below is the shot of a FM screen which doubles up as video screen showing the rear and front camera pictures while reversing the car.



Below picture shows how perfectly parked is my Zoomcar at the parking lot at the Decathlon.

At Decathlon, my colleague Praveen took a few photos of me with my first merc ride




Below pictures show how happy I was travelling in a Zoomcar with my family


 Though drove to Decathlon from Indiranagar in 30 minutes, the return journey took nearly 100 minutes. that was when I decided that the merc was only meant to be driven outside Bangalore ;)
Thanks to Zoomcar for offering me an opportunity to drive the most coveted car with my wife and kid.