The XBHP Inter-State Get Together for this year 2016 was decided and held at Ooty (Udhagamandalam, Tamil Nadu). A good number of 78 riders turned up for this event with the majority being from the host state Tamil Nadu.

In the month of June, the announcement of the XBHP ISG2G 2016 was done on the XBHP online forum. After taking concenses to the preferred weekend of choice for the event, 26-28 August 2016 was decided upon and the place being Ooty. Registrations were done online but confirmations were only after payment of Rs.2950/- to attend the event and to recieve the T-shirt. Single point of contacts (SPOC) representing Chennai, Coimbatore, Bengaluru, Cochin and Trivandrum were made known too. A Whatsapp group was created for respective cities to co-ordinate with the confirmed participants/riders to the event. By mid of July, confirmed registrations stood at Bengaluru at 17, Chennai at 44, Coimbatore at 19 and Cochin at 8. Checked with my friends if any were interested and managed to rope in my colleague Vinu to join in. He was new to riding in groups and long distance. Encouraged and helped him with riding gear, some of which he rented out from Gear n Ride.

Usually, a pre-ride takes place a week or two before the actual event wherein the riders are explained nuances of riding in a group besides getting to know fellow riders. However this time all (save one…my friend) were regular riders and all too familiar with each other, so the pre-ride was done away with for a casual weekend breakfast meet. By 20 August, the event T-shirts were here and so the riders in Bengaluru decided to meet on Sunday, 21 August 2016 in the morning at Hotel Airlines for breakfast and to distribute the T-shirts. Similar would have happened with respective city participating riders too. Decided to start on the 22 August early morning by 5:30am.

Around the same time of the announcement of the ISG2G, had purchased the Buse touring boots for myself (will review it at a later date). Further to this, I had also fitted the SW Motech rear rack onto my bike. This event seemed a good opportunity to test both of these out. So onto packing my clothes and gear. The trusted Viaterra Fly tank/tail bag to hold the medical kit, toiletry kit, tools kit, electronics kit, rain gear, rubber chappals/flip-flops and bike documents. The Decathlon waterproof duffel bag for just the clothes. Done and set.

26 August 2016
Started early morning to meet 2 riders along the way and then to the meeting point just off NICE road leading out to Mysore road at 5:30am. Half hour past by the time all riders turned up and we set out having decided where to stop for breakfast. By 7am, we reached Right-O on Mysore road and had a filling breakfast. Continued on soon after to reach Bandipur Plaza, (restaurant just before entering the Bandipur Tiger Reserve) for a short break. Rode on through the National Park at an easy slow pace at 40-50km so we dont startle the birds/animals there. Rode up the Kalhatty route (a cyclist’s favourite training ground for climbs) to reach the top and stop at a tea stall by 12:30pm for a break and round up all riders. By 1:15pm. we reached the resort of stay. Some riders from other cities had already reached here earlier on.
Got to our allotted rooms that was set to tripple sharing to effectively bring down cost per person. Had lunch and relaxed. Some riders rode out to explore places around. The SPOCs rode out to do a recce for the next day ride. Soon it was nightfall, and more riders from various places started riding in. All were in for dinner at 9pm and soon after it was yenne/thanni session time.

27 August 2016
Following day, up by 7:30am. Tea/coffee and checking out all the bikes that turned up. There was Triumph Tiger XCX, Hyosung GT650, some Duke 390 and 200, some Honda CBR250R, some Kawasaki Ninja 300, the odd looking Suzuki Inazuma 250, some Bajaj Pulsar NS220 and RS200, some Yamaha R15, TVS Apache RTR200, some RE Bullets, Hero Honda Karizmas and CBZ, some classics like Suzuki Shogun, Yamaha 135 and even one scooter TVS Wego. Had our breakfast and geared up. All riders on their bikes assembled in front of the resort for a group snap and then rode out by 10:30am. Split all riders into several batches to ride out so as to not cause any traffic blocks. By 11:15am, we all reached Emerald Lake, a serene lake with no people at all. Spend time taking pictures of the places while others were busy taking selfies and group selfies till little post noon. By 1pm, we rode back to the resort for lunch. A cup of ice cream for dessert wasn’t quite adequate. So some of us rode out to town to have some more and also buy some of the famous Ooty chocolates and Nilgiri oils. Got back to the resort and chilled out until dinner. A bonfire was set up with seating around it. All gathered around and formally introduced themselves to all and shared their experiences/thoughts. There was one female rider too. Hope more women take up/enjoy riding motorcycles. Then, pictures of the entire group were taken, decisions as to who all would ride back at what time the next day, before dispersing for the night.

28 August 2016
Nearly half of the group started out early morning. Eight of us opted to ride later on as a group out of which Phanikar, Sandeep, Jon and myself where from Bengaluru. By 10am or so, after breakfast we started out. We received information that two riders had a small mishap on their way and it happened to be Eugene and Vinu but fortunately no serious injury. Vinu’s bike (Duke 200) gear level broke and he was unable to ride thereon. Meanwhile, we rode back down the Kalhatty route to reach the Bandipur Plaza again. Stopped here for lunch. Phanikar put out an option that we ride via the BR Hills route to give the 4 riders with us (from Chennai) some company. We all agreed and rode on. By 3pm, we got to the BRT Tiger Reserve gate. Took pictures here and continued on while we enjoyed the greenery all around. We reached the Government of Horticulture guest house for a tea break at 4pm with lovely cool weather here. Here we bid goodbye to the 4 riders from Chennai and then the 4 of us continued to ride on towards Bengaluru. Stopped to refuel at a petrol bunk when Phanikar spotted/recognised another rider going past us. Called him on the phone and he rode back to meet us. Introduced himself as Sai and joined in, so the 5 of us continued on. Reached Malavalli and continued on straight to reach Mandya and onto the highway to Bengaluru. At 6:45pm we stopped for a short tea break by the road side at Maddur. Phanikar, Sandeep, Jon and Sai wanted to stop again for dinner while I chose to ride on without any more stops. From here, the traffic was to get worse…a lot lot worse for a Sunday evening on the Bengaluru-Mysore highway traffic usually is terribly crowded and slow moving. And so it did, added to the light drizzle of rain to make things worse. Dodged my way through and got home in one piece by 9:30pm.

My sincere heart felt gratitude to the SPOCs of the various cities they represented for successfully organizing this year’s ISG2G at Ooty. It was just fun riding to and attending this event. Looking forward to many many more.

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