Monday, August 27, 2007
Again Bombay Bikers prominently featured on Front Page of Royal Enfield India. This time it is the Murud Janjira Trip (blog post here).
See and Read the trip:
My Number Plate here:
Home page for Trip:
Life seems to be rocking right now.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Blowing Dirt Building Friendships
‘Roads, Rides & Riding’
By Ujjwal Dey
Blowing Dirt Building Friendships
‘Roads, Rides & Riding’
By Ujjwal Dey
Bombay Bikers was formed on July 2006 with the desire to ride free wherever, whenever. Kamal Sharma (founder-member) set up a website with a forum to make it accessible and communicative across the city. Riding most weekends, trips are set up online. Riders vote to pick the date and there is a common consensus on destination.
Bombay Bikers is an informal group of friends with a passion for biking. We welcome any motorcycle and encourage riders to be confident of their ride and riding. The speed is immaterial; it is the trip that matters. We ride in formation or in teams. The leader stays in front and the others keep pace. No man is left behind and there will always be someone to lend a hand when you need it.
Most of our trips are within 150 KM distance from Bombay. The idea is to ride for a weekend getaway and reach home the same day. We do also have overnight trips like the July 2007 one to Alibaug-Murud. But distance has never stopped us from riding where we want to go. Independence Day Ride to Trambakeshwar Temple this year was almost 350 KM to and fro; done in a single day’s riding.
Emphasis is on enjoying riding your favourite wheels on a long trip, seeing new places around Bombay-Thane-Navi Mumbai, honing your mechanical talent and discovering trusty friends. The ride usually has enough breaks for a newbie to stay focussed. Riders who want to stay on the safe side and leisurely pace always catch up at these halts.
‘Why Motorcycles?’ you may ask. ‘Why not?’ Motorcycles let you feel the road, breathe the atmosphere, live the location, you are one with your environment. The thrill of riding is only known to the rider. Join us and find your destination, en route we will rock the weary roads.
Bombay Bikers website has the Announcement section where new rides are announced regularly. You can discuss your doubts on the forum and confirm attendance online. Meeting point is decided with more than one location if people ride from different parts of Bombay. You can view links to photo albums of previous trips and a list of rides we have done over the past months at our website. Safety is key element on biking tours and we suggest proper riding gear – from helmet, jackets, boots to spares, tools and cash. It is best to regularly service your bike and ride it for a few days to test it before going on a long trip.
Outside city limits mechanics and spares are rare, but our riders are always there to assist you as mutual co-operation. We have even setup a Virtual Garage where we can all learn and teach common bike repairs. Do-it-yourself is the way to go but fellow riders will be there with you throughout.
We expect that our riders love their bikes as much as riding bikes. So you should maintain your wheels well. There is no restriction as such on make/model of bike for nearby rides, in and around Bombay. But for long haul trips like 2008 planned trip to Ladakh it is best to have a higher capacity vehicle like a Bullet or 200+ cc bike and the same is suggested.
A machine needs servicing, clean oil, enough fuel and any of the current Indian bikes do well enough on trips that we do. In fact a Caliber was with a pillion on the trip to Trambakeshwar (near Nashik), so don’t worry about the sturdiness of these bikes. They can go the distance and some more. If you carry spares it will be a good investment and even if they are unused after the trip, they remain a good asset for the future.
We are an active lot at Bombay Bikers. We expect that the members we have update their profiles and stay connected. Profiles that are defunct or unreachable are discarded. Numbers don’t mean a thing; it’s the active participation on trips that’s the bottom line. We even collect details such as Emergency contacts, Blood group and allergies to be prepared.
Fellow enthusiasts who can’t ride the sometimes rough routes we pick can always ride pillion and enjoy the outing. The primary objective is having fun.
All are welcome as we come together for a journey that stays with you a lifetime.
2007 so far:
Starting off with Uran and Manor earlier in the year, we joined XBHP.com riders for a grand gathering of Mumbai and Pune bikers at Amby Valley, Lonavla in June 2007. There was heavy rain, water logging, deep potholes and yet over 50 bikers showed up for the meet (24 June 2007). Next Bombay Bikers planned extensively for a 2 day trip to Alibaug and Murud. We booked a new resort near Alibaug and got there on 21st July. We, as always, ride early in the morning and spend the day sightseeing. Lots of interesting places around Alibaug and next day we rode to Mandwa beach and Murud. We took a slow sailboat ride to Janjeera Fort as well. The stay at Mauli Resort was very pleasant with Rs. 500 per head per night inclusive of breakfast, lunch, dinner and tea/coffee. The roads were bad but the sunny weather kept us upbeat. We packed, heading into the night at 11 PM of 22nd July towards Mumbai; out again in the pitch black route lighted by our sharp headlights and awoken by the sound of the thundering Bullets. NH4 was spooky to say the least, twisting and turning among the forest of the Bird Sanctuary as they cast weird shadows in the night. We blasted on and kept pace with each other and reached Navi Mumbai. We said our goodbyes and rode hard to get to our homes. All of us were back to work on Monday morning, few hours after we reached home.
August saw rapid plans for trips. Sunday the 12th we were joined by a few riders from XBHP.com to Kelwa beach (past Manor). We rode onto the sandy floor of the beach, even digging into it with our rear tyres. Independence Day we decided on a trip to Tramabkeshwar Temple (near Nashik) through NH3. Very bad roads, heavy traffic and some rains failed to dampen our festive spirit on Independence ride. All our bikes sported small Indian Flags and we rode through Kasara Village to Viatarna Dam and onto the gates of Lord Mahadev. The Ghats were treacherous but we kept good speed to clear them before sundown to reach the Highway (near Igatpuri) by 7PM heading home. Everyone stayed together, tailing each other and we saw through 2 punctures and 2 carb problems. Decent roads in Thane to Bhiwandi pass was most thrilling as I touched 100 KMPH for the first time on my Bullet here.
Coming up are trips to Jawhar and Goa.
Dated: 25 Aug 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
My Blog Post on Independence Ride Featured on Royal Enfield - TRIP
READ TRIP HERE
My Number Plate here
Expecting a Royal Enfield T-shirt in the mail.
Founder-Member Kamal (BombayBikers.com) informed me that my Blog Post has been selected by Bike India Magazine to be featured in an upcoming issue. Published by Next Gen Publishing it is a leading Bike Rag. www.nextgenpublishing.in
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Trip: Mumbai- Trambakeshwar Temple (near Nashik)
KMs Total: 350 KMs
Bikes: 3 Bullets, 3 Pulsars, 1 Caliber
Riders: 7 boys + 2 boys pillion
Date: 15 August 2007
Meeting Point: Eternity Mall, Thane.
Trip Photos: Road to Trambakeshwar
Independence Day; 60 years of freedom; we decided to celebrate it at Bombay Bikers by heading to Trambakeshwar Temple (near Nashik). We met at Eternity Mall at Thane (west) sharp 6:30 AM. Another few bikes joined in soon. We filled out a form with our Emergency details, which was a smart choice for this long road. We soon found out that the bad roads meant that this piece of information could be handy; but glad we never had to use it.
Heading towards Bhiwandi-pass through flyovers we had good pace starting at 7:30 AM from the mall. I touched 100 KMPH on my Bullet for the first time on this stretch. Soon our happiness grew to disappointment on touching NH3. Bad roads, heavy traffic and some rains. Just this Sunday (12 Aug 2007) we had gone to Kelva beach (past Manor) and that was just as bad. The irony of Independence Day ride on such infrastructure is not lost on me.
We halted for breakfast at 9 AM on the Highway and went on towards Igatpuri. I was riding alone towards Igatpuri when Praful called me to say I went past the others. I headed back 6 KMs to meet them at a turn. The diversion took us to Kasara Village and we rode through that towards Vaitarna Dam. The damn road to there was closed so we stopped for skinny dipping instead. Rohit, Kamal and Ashish were in their element in the cold waters of Vaitarna. From there we headed straight to the temple. The Ghats had the worst roads possible for wheels. Cattle and ST buses strayed any which way. We finally reached the gates of Lord Mahadev at 2:30 PM. Lots of good picturesque mountains and meadows made for good photo-opportunities.
We got a cheap room for keeping our bags and freshened up for darshan. We postponed lunch to take darshan instead. The queue was long and tiring. We stood for at least 2 hours before we finished paying our respects to Bholenath. Too bad that cameras are not allowed in there, because it was a beautiful temple. Rohit and Nimesh got VIP darshan through their extra stock of Vitamin M. The corrupt culture in an ancient temple further depressed me on Independence Day. I offered flowers, coconut, milk and sweets and was very happy that I came along.
We had our lunch immediately after our darshan and packed up to leave. But not before our photo session with the Indian Flag. It was finally 6 PM when we strode our steeds to head down the wicked Ghats.
I had Kamal on my tail egging me to catch up to Wilfred and all others ahead to make good of available sunlight. Willy would stop a while and by the time I would get to him he would be zooming 2 KMs ahead. Oh! And I almost hit a stupid dog on the Ghats. Anyways we reached the Highway tea-stall by 7 PM and planned our ride back with riders to tail each other. Nimesh and Praful had manic pace coming and going back. The Caliber which had a tyre puncture earlier in the day while going towards Igatpuri headed home first.
Soon I was alone in pitch black night riding an unending road. I stopped for a while in the darkness with my tail-light on. After about 10 minutes I heard the unmistakable beat of Kamal’s Bullet. He didn’t see me and rode on. I chased and honked. Soon we got separated in traffic again. At the start of Kasara Ghat, I reached weary and lonely, looking for bikes. As I cruised at 40 KMPH, familiar voices yelled out my name. Praful, Nimesh and Kamal were here at the petrol pump waiting for the rest of the pack.
Then we phoned up and realised Ashish had a tyre puncture back where we started from the tea-stall. So an hour was passed with smoke and banter. Praful learnt to start Kamal’s big bad Bull. So did Nimesh but with lesser hassles than Praful. The Caliber came and we sent it on the way. Rohit in his Skoda and Ashish reached finally and then Kamal’s carb was leaking petrol like it was a potty with a foul bottom.
Problems sorted, we re-fuelled and headed towards Thane at 9 PM. Soon Ashish and I were the only bikers we could see on the road. We cruised through the pathetic NH3 going over the odd craters on the Third World Highway. I was wary of the poor road and kept it at steady 45 KMPH throughout. We caught up to Kamal and Nimesh soon and then they blasted ahead again at midnight. We didn’t meet up again on the road.
Ashish and his pillion Alok stayed on with me at a steady, safe and comfortable pace. As soon as we passed the Bhiwandi-pass we got a decent road again. We sped through it to pass through 2 flyovers and Ashish and I said Good-Bye for the night. He headed up another flyover towards Eastern Express Highway and I went down below towards LBS Road past Eternity mall.
All riders reached home safe and it was fun after I got the hang of the darkness and comfort in the fact that Ashish was tailing me. I reached home at around 1:30 AM.
ALL PHOTOS: Picasa Ujjwal Dey
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
"If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there."
Lewis Carroll (1832 - 1898)
My short stories now collected and compiled into an e-book and paperback formats.
11 short-stories included.
To buy, visit - http://www.ujjwaldey.com/
Priced at USD 10 it is a great fast-paced read with enough bikes, babes and booze to make you saddle up and head out West.
PDF E-book or Paperback 8.5" x 11" saddle-stitch binding.
"Ujjwal Dey writes fascinating variables of Biker Fiction, shifting from loner to posse riders and from murder to romance. His style is unique, voice murky and words playful. His protagonists battle small goons to organised crime syndicates. The female characters are daring lady-luck and baring their heart. Change of times, change of roads, change of heart – you will go through all as you revel in the raw tales in this collection of short-stories."
Love and Regards,
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Yes, I count myself as one such buyer. And I don’t mind a bit for the convenience. Online shopping itself is laid back and on top of that there are such wonderful sites such as Amazon.com to make it easier. Do you mind paying more for ease of access?
I was on the net today searching for best deals on a few DVDs unavailable or censored here in India. So I checked my Wishlist on Amazon and then searched on Ebay.com and its various stores for deals where I could get new packaged DVDs for less.
Then the minor problem – how to get all items from a single seller to reduce tracking packages, shipping and consolidating costs? So then I searched on those lines as well. Nothing worthwhile in various sites and sellers I looked up. So back to Amazon.
I looked at the stores at Amazon and tried finding everything in one place with the “New and Unused” tag. Finally after this 10 minute exercise I gave up and ordered everything directly from Amazon.com running up a total bill of USD 105. Well at least I know it’s a reputed seller and though they don’t accept PayPal money (a serious disappointment) I coughed up the amount on Credit Card.
Is anyone any lazier on their shopping online or offline?
Why haggle, why hunt for bargains, its all there on Amazon.
Monday, August 06, 2007
Trip: Mumbai-Alibaug-Murud-Janjeera Fort
KMs Total: 350 KMs
Bikes: 3 Bullets, 1 Pulsar
Riders: 4 boys, 2 girls pillion
Date: 21-22 July 2007
Meeting Point: Center One mall, Vashi, Navi Mumbai.
Stay: Mauli Resort
All Pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/2write/
Bombay Bikers is a cool group touring regularly. They announced and organized the Alibaug-Murud trip well in advance and I was very pleased with the whole deal. Things got delayed on Saturday 21st and people showed up finally at 7:30 AM. We rode the highway and had a halt at a dhaaba midway to Alibaug.
The road to Alibaug was smooth. We had some difficulty locating the Mauli Resort where we were to stay overnight. The resort is new and not yet well known in Alibaug. It is at Mapagaon around 8 KMs from Alibaug. The resort is lavish spread around for acres of greenery. There were 2 residential buildings and we were on the first floor of one with 2 rooms and a hall for our use. The stay was cheap at Rs.500 per day per person inclusive of breakfast, lunch and dinner. It also included our tea/coffee quota. We looked around the place and were very happy with the village settings with a variety of cattle and hens and rabbits and birds bred there. The place also had a nice quaint brook flowing through it with rocks among them for us to climb on and pass the Saturday afternoon. Lunch was delicious and so was dinner. The place is kept clean and very luxurious considering the paltry amount we were charged.
On Sunday we rode to Mandwa beach for a brief stop from where we headed towards Murud via Kashid beach. We were bent upon seeing the Janjeera Fort and we reached there in the late afternoon. We got a ride on a slow sailboat, the only way to reach Janjeera Fort which is built on the sea. The Fort was built on an island using the rocks from the isle. An architect from Africa had designed it for the Nawab of Murud and it took 22 years to build it on the 22 acres of land on the sea. Completely unconquered the Fort was free from Maharaj Shivaji and his son Sambhaji (who built a smaller fort in the sea nearby to lay seige). No one including the Moghuls or British could capture this impenetrable fortress where the walls were thick and dark from outside but the troops could see everything outside for miles. The cannons could shoot to a range of 25 KMs. The sailboat took an arc around from Murud to the main gateway of Janjeera and took about 20 mins to reach there. We paid Rs.50 per person for to and fro ride on the boat; Rs.10 per person at a bargained rate for a guided tour of Janjeera Fort. We saw the Escape Gate, the massive cannons, the hidden assault hallways, the ponds with sweet water, and climbed on to the top of the fort for an incredible panoramic view of the fort and surroundings.
We headed back from Murud at 6 PM and it was dark when we reached Mauli Resort. We had a late dinner without any complaints from the generous staff at Mauli where we were to checkout that afternoon. So plans went a little awry. But the riders were determined to return to work next morning. I wanted another night at that cozy rural resort. Then we packed and headed into the night at 11 PM towards Mumbai.
Midway we stopped to celebrate our Bombay Bikers founder Kamal’s birthday at midnight. Plenty of cheering and birthday bumps for the boy at the early hours of 23rd July. We headed out again in the pitch black route lighted by our sharp headlights and awoken by the sound of the thundering Bullets. NH4 was spooky to say the least, twisting and turning among the forest of the Bird Sanctuary as they cast weird shadows in the night. We blasted on and kept pace with each other and reached Navi Mumbai. We said our goodbyes and rode hard on the odd hours to get to our homes. I reached my home at 4:30 AM not bothering about the racket I was making in the housing colony. I was too tired and drenched in rains and sweat to worry about whom or what I awoke with my Enfield’s Royal thumping.
I slept a sound sleep after a few smokes and woke up late when office demanded my presence as usual by a rude phone call.
Some Cool Pics:
1) Rocky Balboa after the 95 step climb to the summit of Janjeera Fort:
2) At the Chor Darwaza or Escape Gate
3) Ruins Inside Janjeera Fort
4) Zoom in to the Fort
5) At the Mauli Resort brooks
6) Rocks and Greens – Mauli Resort
7) Our Hall and me in Black Tees