Destinations

XBHP Interstate G2G 2017

The XBHP InterState G2G (get-together) is organised and conduced once a year. The Southern Interstate G2G consists of Karnataka (KA), Kerala (KL) and Tamil Nadu (TN), with each state playing the host to this event. It’s the 8th ISG2G of South India and this year was Kerala’s turn. This was my third consecutive time for such an event to make it a personal hattrick and I didn’t want to miss this one and very likely to not miss any other in the years to come. A new place to see/explore every year, meet enthusiastic bikers and make new friends.

Pre-ride

When the announcements were made on the XBHP online forum, this year’s event to be held over a weekend from 07 July to 09 July was first set at Kuttikkanam, a hill station in Idukki district, Kerala. Online registration page was put up and shortly the number of participants wanting to attend quickly rose over 50. The Single Point of Contacts (SPOCs) from each state come together to plan and organise the entire event each year. Due to a tough time finding a place at Kuttikanam to comfortably accommodate 50+ xBHPians, the SPOCs decided and changed the venue to Thekkady, Kerala. A one way distance of 502km from Bangalore.

By the 14th June, a Whatsapp group for Bangalore was created and participants were added in, by which time there were already 16 registrations done from Bangalore. Am sure this was pretty much the same case with the other states – KL and TN. Accomodations+food per person was at 2400 INR and and an optional extra 250 INR for an event T-shirt for which the design too was finalised upon. By the time payments from participants was done by 19th June, a confirmation of attendees from Bangalore stood at 22. TN and KL had a much larger number of attendees. Total participants overshot a 100 which was probably a first. SPOCs collected some basic information from all participants and two spreadsheets were put up. One with Name and size of T-shirt required. Another consisting of Name, xBHP ID, Bike make, Phone number and Blood type.

A pre-ride was decided upon (first Sunday in July) that covered about 100km or so. More of short get-together for a brief introduction, breakfast, familiarity of rider and route to be taken. Couldn’t attend this one on account of other personal matters to attend. On 30th June, the SPOCs shared the customary pdf to all participants, that which contained the required mandatory riding gears, documents, group riding etiquette, do’s & don’ts, things to bring along – basic tools, medical kit and touring essentials. This apart, the google map location points of the start, breakfast/lunch, regrouping and end point was shared to all participants.


Packing

It’s just a 2 day event, so the packing is rather concise, compact and precise. Here’s what I packed :-

A Viaterra Fly tank/tail bag that I used for a tail bag resting comfortably on the pillion seat on my bike, a KTM Duke 390. This held every thing (but clothes) needed to suffice for a short 2 day trip. Tubeless puncture kit, electronic air pump, tools kit, spare headlight bulb & spark plug, MotoJack (compact tool to lift rear wheel off ground), Motul chain clean+lube cans, gaffer tape roll, small roll of plastic rope, medical kit, electronics kit, toiletry kit, rain gear, sunglasses, miner’s torch, Allen keys, multi-tool, waterproof pouch (just for mobile phone) and most important – bike documents (originals, set of photocopies and extra cash inside a zip lock pouch).

A Decathlon Tribord 12 ltr waterproof bag (just for clothes) that was bungee-tied onto the SW Motech rear rack on the bike, along with a seperate plastic bag for one pair of rubber slipper/flip-flops. The waterproof bag held inside – 3 t-shirts, 3 underwears, 3 pairs of socks (in plastic bag) rolled within a 3/4th pant, and one padded cycling shorts, full-arm riding innerwear and deodorant rolled into a bath towel.


Day 01 : Bangalore – Kumily, Thekkady

Friday, 07 July 2017

As per schedule, we were to get to start point near Electronic City Toll Booth by 4am. All set the previous night having had fueled up my bike full for 500 INR and with at least 6 hours of sleep, was up and ready by 3am. Was at the start point by 3:40am. Just Rohan (on Yamaha FZ S) was there on time. Soon SPOC Praful (on Bajaj Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi) turned up. Since they were wanting to ride slow, they headed on with Jaya Ganesh (on Hero Impulse) meeting them on the way, while I waited. Soon the affable SPOC Phanikar (on Hero Karizma ZMR) turned up followed by Ajay (on Yamaha YZF R3) and then the rest. By 4:30am, we started out. About 140km later, we stopped at Dharmapuri for breakfast. Fueled up for 390 INR and continued on to take another short break at 9.15am. Continued on and an hour twenty minutes later, stopped at Indian Oil Petrol Pump (to tank up fuel for 450 INR) besides which was Hotel Aarthi, Renganathapuram where we hydrated ourselves. We had covered 345km so far. Rode on till we got to Bathlagundu on Dindigul road by noon and stopped at ‘Naaidu Briyani Restaurant’ for lunch. Tasty mutton biryani too slow down your senses, reflexes and the power to put one to sleep like a baby. Refuse, resist. Rode on till we stopped at Theni to refuel for 310 INR. Finally by about 3:30pm we got to hotel at Kumily, Thekkady and checked into our alloted rooms – 3persons per room. Was drizzling. Soon riders from KL and TN started to show up one by one and by late evening, both hotels that were booked were filled up by riders and the parking lots filled with motorbikes and scooters of different kinds. Had a hot shower, freshened up and relaxed until dinner time. Event T-shirts were handed out to those who had paid for it. End of day one.


Day 02 : Kumily – Parunthumpara – Vagamon

Saturday, 08 July 2017

Today’s plan was to ride to Parunthumpara, name which in itself a bit tough to say out aloud. Soon after having had breakfast, we all set out to ride in smaller groups so as to not cause road blocks or cause any inconvenience to the local folk in the town. By about 10 am, we got to the place. A quiet and serene place with several hilltops to give different views of the lovely green landscape around. Few attempted to ride up a steep hill with wet grass all over and rough muddy pathway leading unto the top. Shortly after, all the riders started to show up in smaller groups and by 11:30 am, there were over 100 bikes parked and lined up on that one single concrete road that went across the hills. Soon we were all busy taking pictures of the landscape, their bikes, themselves and of course selfies. No exceptions including me. An hour or so later, group snaps were taken by the XBHP member popularly known as ‘The Monk’ (on Yamaha FZ 25), who too had come here. Having spent nearly 2 – 2.5 hours here, we started back towards the hotel for lunch.

On the way back, some of us stopped at the arch entrance that leads out from Parunthumpara and decided to head out in the opposite direction for some lemon tea before heading back to the hotel. Rode a few km till we got this small place by the road that had a long list of varieties of tea with ‘spice drops for sensual awakening’. On asking for ginger tea, the shopkeeper has nothing to offer but lemon tea or regular milk tea. We had lemon tea and soon decided to have lunch close by instead of the hotel of stay. Restaurant by the bus stand that served beef fry was a delicacy for some in the group. We were informed that the introduction/get-together back at to hotel was to start at 6pm. We still had time, so some of us decided to ride a bit further on before returning. The three SPOCs amongst us couldn’t come along for they had to be back at the hotel in time for the xBHP get-together function. It was just the five of us and we rode on to reach Vagamon at 4pm. We were here for an hour before riding back.

One amongst us five, Santoosh affectionately called Santa (on Hyosung GT 650) had another place in mind and so went about looking for the place. A narrow road leading down to a stony pathway through the tall pine trees. Carefully and slowly, we started our descend riding down still astride our bikes. Despite the cool breeze and the trees cool shade…concentrating, perspiring like I was riding through an extremely hot summer day and the thought of not to fall lest it would damage my precious bike. No other humans, no other vehicles, no horn. Stopped for a while amidst the trees, to listen to the trees rustle in the wind and the constant chatter sounds of the insects in the trees. Finally, got to the other end riding through the woody tall pine trees covered valley. Such excitement. Back onto tarmac, got to a small waterfall and got to the end of the road. Kind of lost our way there. Returned back and having asked locals the way, we headed back to the same tea stall for another round of lemon tea. It was already 7pm now. We were late. Quickly, headed back to reach the hotel only to find out that the function was all over. Well, no matter. Think this little escapade of ours was worthwhile to its fullest. At the parking lot, I was pointed out by few fellow bikers that my bike’s rear tyre was going bald. Was aware of it, but just pushing it to the very end of its lifespan. At dinner time, we discussed the next day’s programme as to who would be leaving at what time so each one could plan their return ride accordingly.


Day 03 : Kumily – Ramakkalmedu – Bangalore

Sunday, 09 July 2017

Chose to ride with a small group who wanted to ride to another view point before heading to Bangalore and for which we had to start at 5:30am. My two other roommates had their own plans. The rather quiet but adventurous Maulik (on TVS Apache RTR) wanted to go solo to Kodaikanal and so started out at 3:30am. The other, Varun (on Honda CBR 250R) wanted to head straight back to Bangalore with few others at 5:30am. Up and ready by 5:30am. Fueled up at a nearby fuel station (open 24 hrs) before heading out. After several wrong turns, missing out the correct road and asking locals, finally got to Ramakkalmettu. The last stretch of a 12km narrow road was not a smooth ride. Got to the top of the hill by 7:30am.

We were here for half hour and rode back and onto another hilltop where there were several windmills. These are huge metal contraptions and until we are up close and stand close to/right under it, don’t quite fathom the size of these windmills that generates electricity from wind merely by the rotations of those massive blades. We were here for another 45 minutes taking pictures and enjoying the view. It was 8:45am and so we headed back down and towards Bangalore. Passed the small town named Cumbum (sounds funny, I know, lol) and then Theni. Kept riding on. I couldn’t ride at a speed of 50-60km any more. Way to frustrating, especially when on an agile fast bike such as the Duke 390. Guess, my fellow riders sensed my uneasiness and suggested my to ride ahead and stop at a good place for breakfast. Off I went and stopped at Hotel Sharvesh by 10am. We freshened up here, had puri+vada which was good. Coffee to finish up and continue to ride on. Went ahead to find next pitstop.

Reached the same Indian Oil Petrol Pump next to Hotel Aarthi (that we had stopped on our way towards Thekkady on day one). Tanked up fuel for 500 INR and hydrated myself, while the other four had stopped to hydrate too but were 35km behind. I continued on, passed Karur and still no sight of a good restaurant. Finally reached a toll booth where there was a good looking restaurant on the opposite side of the road. In was nearly 3pm and by which time, two riders Santoosh and Jay who had set forth on another route back to Bangalore stopped by, informing me that one rider had a minor accident. Fortunately nothing serious. And they were still riding. I was suggested to have lunch while they wait for the first of other four to show up and direct them to the restaurant across the road. And so I went ahead. Half hour passed by, Remo (on Yamaha YZF R15 V2) and Parvez (on Yamaha R15) turned up, relating to me that the other two Nagoo (on Yamaha R15) and JayaGanesh (on Hero Impulse) had decided to skip lunch and ride on. The two others who had showed up at the toll booth, Santoosh and Jay (on Bajaj Dominor) carried on too. It was the three of us now Remo (one of three to have attended every single XBHP ISG2G so far), Parvez and myself, riding on. Eventually caught up with the other two who had skipped lunch. A quick stop to refuel for 300 INR. Noticed my bike’s rear tyre was starting to show metal strips, hinting at its near end of lifespan and that I had to tread carefully on the road till home. Somewhere nearing Krishnagiri, it started to rain heavy. Put on my rain gear and continued on. Nearing Bangalore, and the sea of traffic was just bothersome and excruciating with all the honking. Snaked through the slow paced traffic to finally get home by 7:30pm.


Quick overview on this trip

Accommodation & food: 2400 INR
Extra food/beverage: 700 INR (approx)
Fuel:1650 INR (one way)
Fuel / litre: 66 INR
Total distance: 1225 km
One way distance: 502 km
Average speed in highway: 71 km
Average speed in city: 38 km
Mileage: 26 km / ltr

A big thank you to all the SPOCs for organising, being a part of and making this a successful pleasurable weekend trip to Thekkady and back. It was wonderful to meet the old faces and see some new faces. Eagerly looking forward to the next xBHP ISG2G.
Wear a helmet. Ride safe. Cheers!!

Check out the XBHP forum page for more details and pictures shared by others of this event.

One comment

  • Varun
    July 13, 2017 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    Good write up and grateful that you didn mention about my snoring and cutting your sleep midway.

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