We had decided to sleep late into the day since this was the only night when we could have a proper sleep. For tomorrow we start riding and you can never sleep properly a night before the ride.
'Morning', Vaibhav said as I woke up. It was bright and there was ample sunlight coming in from the window. In fact, the light was the reason I had woken up. It was 11am. Finally, a good night's sleep.
'Morning', I said, as I sat upright. Vaibhav was just finishing his breakfast.
'I gotta go home. Will see you tomorrow morning at 5. I'll come here at your place and we'll ride together ahead'
'Yea, pack your stuff well, cya tomorrow'
Once Vaibhav left, I went about my daily routine of tea-shower-breakfast-newspaper. I decided to get my stuff together and get it all packed and ready early rather than keeping it for later in the evening. An important thing to remember is carrying just the right amount of luggage. Most of us end up carrying more than required which just adds to the weight, making it difficult to manage the bike in streams and slush. I further needed to keep the weight as low as possible since Ninja250R is very low on ground clearance. Added weight meant it would further reduce the clearance. Since I have already listed most of the things in the post earlier, I'll keep it short here. Only things I carried:
2 Loose fitting cargo pants. One which I would wear while riding and one spare. Jeans become really uncomfortable for long rides. Hence, cargos.
3 T-shirts in total. 1 in use 2 spare
Around a dozen briefs
1 thermal wear
Puncture repair kit (tubeless)
Tools, spare mirrors, levers and cables
That pretty much sums up all that I was carrying.
Loading the saddles takes quite a few trial and error attempts since you need to end up with approximately the same weight on either side so it doesn't disturb the bike's balance or composure. After quite a few attempts I finally got a balance which I was finally satisfied with. I spent the evening watching movies while cleaning my riding gear. I went down to the parking, mounted all the luggage the way it was supposed to be while riding and did a trial run of around 20-30kms at various speeds. The trial is very necessary since, we do tend to find a few niggles in the luggage setup which could end up irritating you once you begin your ride. Like in my case, the tripod was positioned in such a way that I could sit on the bike only from the one side. I kept it in mind to mount it properly the next day.
I reached back home and was early to bed to ensure proper rest. As expected, I was just not sleepy at all. I was just fooling around on the bed, looking straight at the ceiling in the dark. Why does it happen that the night before a big ride has to be the longest? Theory of Relativity does come into play after all.
Vaibhav and Ali both had informed me about their luggage being ready and going to sleep early. Could it be that they are awake too? Just as I was contemplating whether to call and check if it was true, the screen of my phone came to life spreading light in the darkness filled room. It was a call.
Swipe I did on the screen, ‘Yea?’
‘Were you asleep? I cannot sleep at all!’, Vaibhav’s voice said.
‘Same here, no hint of sleep’
Ali, amongst all three of us, is as calm as cucumber. He does have the excitement but his rational side is stronger. Unlike Vaibhav and me, who hardly have any rationale! ‘We anyways aren’t sleeping. Should we leave now?’, said an elevated voice over the cell phone. The idea wasn’t bad. Rather than wasting your energy all night without sleeping, one could rather start early. But quickly coming out of the ir-rationale I said,’ We would have thought about it if it was just you and me. Anyways it’s hardly any hours left. We have waited patiently for over 10 days. Let’s not do anything impulsive or silly that could jeopardize our ride. Even if we do call Ali, only thing we would get from him is “ch&^%*a hai kya tum log”, so try to go to sleep and be here in the morning.’
‘Hmm..okaaay,’ replied a disappointed Vaibhav. I could imagine him with a long face.
After another session of fight with my blanket to get my feet inside and mummify myself in, I finally fell asleep.
After what felt like just a couple of hours, my alarm went off. It was 4am. This could easily be my fastest timings to wake up and get ready after an alarm in my entire lifetime. I guess I probably had beaten my own timings from the 2010 ride. Everyone at home was still asleep, which meant the first thing I had to do was make tea for myself. After the routine, I went down with the luggage. I reached my stilt and there stood Abhi standing next to my bike. Abhi (Abhilabh), one of my best riding partners and fellow MBCian, who stays close by, had told me he would come down at my place in the morning to help me with the luggage and wish me luck. We mounted the saddles, put up a bungee to avoid the saddle from slipping towards the front seat. Mounted the backpack on the rear seat and secured it with the bungee net (Yes! the cheaper one ). Remembering my mistake from yesterday, I mounted the tripod properly this time, which allowed me to access the front seat from either sides. I opened the bike cover and wrapped it around the luggage to protect it from rains. Just as I was about to mount my last bungee cord we distinctively heard the rev-happy sounds of the twin-pod. We turned around , there it was the mean looking Ninja300R, with the entire luggage mounted and the rider completely geared. A completely geared rider, on a bike like the Ninja is such a sight. Black jacket, black tinted visor, green bike. Lovely!
I went up home to collect my gear and bid adieu to my parents. ‘Ride safe, keep calling whenever possible’, said my beaming parents. With a sudden streak of pure Indian genes, I touched their feet and entered the lift. As the lift started its descent, I began wearing my gear looking into the mirror. The transformation from the 9th floor to the ground floor felt nothing less than Iron Man I couldn’t stop looking at myself in the mirror fully geared checking out the new helmet but the excitement of beginning the ride was much more than the pleasure of watching oneself in the mirror.
As I came out of the lift, I get a call from Ali, informing that he is leaving from home (Charni Road) and meet us at Fountain Hotel (Ghodbunder Junction).
Abhi wished us the best of luck for the ride as I brought the engine to life. I sat on the bike and waited the RPM needle to settle down after idling. Just as it did, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and said to myself,” Yes you are finally once again doing it!” With a small prayer to keep us all safe, the Ninja250R and the Ninja300R began the ride, riding in sync!
Too be continued… !