Monday, August 28, 2006

Machismo Back in Action - Story of the Breakfast at Mahabalipuram

The wonderful morning started with reaching the parking area on bicycle at six am. In no time I was on the way to Adyar on Machismo. I joined ECR at Thiruvanmiyur in the next couple of minutes. I was getting a flat spot when opening up the throttle but the bike was doing well when cruising. It was pretty early and the road had sparse traffic. It took some twenty five minutes to reach Uthandi and I found the road further was almost empty with vehicles occasionally crossing me on their way to Chennai. My speed had reached almost 80 km/h and it was sufficiently high to overtake most vehicles going in my direction.

I increased speed carefully only after a while. I was cautious for many reasons. Stiff wrist of my left hand which was injured exactly three months back in Ichalkaranji was first reason. I was on ride (not exactly a long one - but it's matter of keeping the throttle pulled for a few more hours and any of the ride can become long ride!) after a long time and bike had regained its shape just two day back. It was the second reason. The third reason was the frame of my mind in recent days that made me, perhaps, even more cautious. What ever be the reason one has to be careful all the time when one hits roads.

Anyway on the way I had to stop near Toll Gate to attend a phone call and then to make one. I opened throttle to full after Kovalam. By the time I crossed Crocodile Park I was cruising between 115 to 125 km/h quite comfortably. I thought, at that time, the wind was assisting me probably. I used my sitting posture to control the speed. Lean forward flat on the petrol tank, you gain speed. On the other hand, sit upright and the increased wind resistance slows you. At seven am I was in Hotel Mamalla checking the carburettor which was spilling petrol through the overflow vent. I closed the fuel valve and the leakage stopped. It was sure that I had to get the carburettor overhauled as the float operation was not going well. Albeit I had a good brakefast comprising of idlie-sambar follwed by tea.

I left the hotel at seven thirty with a steady speeds of 70-75 km/h. On the way back I had to meet my friend Amol who was flying model aircraft on one of the grounds near ECR. After spending some twenty minutes with the group I left the place. By that time the road had become busy slowing my speed down. I directly reached REL's Service Centre on Kalakshetra Road at eight fourty five am only to know that it opens at nine thirty am. On the thought of going to another mechanic who was just nearby, I left the Kalakshetra Road. I was to take a left turn after taking a U turn near Thiruvanmiyur Bus Depot. On this left turn I saw a motorcyclist in my front suddenly applying brakes and at the same time two cyclists turning to their right from the wrong half of the road. That meant they were coming into me. I applied brakes. I avoided motorcycle, which was almost standing by this time, stopped just in front of the bicycles. Rear brake is never useful for such occasions whereas front brake locked the front wheel and the bullet skidded (on tar road!). There is one thing about this machine from REL factory, that is, you can balance this machine only as long as it is bearing its own weight. The result was, in a second, the bike was flat on the road on its right side and I was sitting on it with my right leg trapped between bike and the road nicely twisting it at the knee. But soon I got myself standing on my legs. A gentleman lifted bike. Some oil spilled from the air-filter container over the hot silencer. Petrol also started leaking from carburettor. I quickly closed fuel supply and signalled all telling everything was fine. I started the bike and left only to see the mechanic's shop still closed. I had felt deep pain in the right knee when kicking the bike. Despite that I decided to go to REL's station again in order to leave the bike for a general checkup and reached there. It was still five past nine in morning.

Although it was a minor fall without any major damage, it emphasizes the need to remain careful at all speeds and at all the places. Nothing happened at 120 km/h and I had a fall at 20 km/h. It was my first fall in last six years of riding a little more than 53000 km.

I was told where I had the fall, the motorcyclist in front of me was driving with side stand on. Somebody pointed it to him when taking the left turn. He reacted to it by quickly slowing down. Then servicing centre I could press my thumb against the tyre. The air pressure in front was lower than required. And there was no air-filter in the box enabling me to drive at that 10 km/h extra speed! ... hmmm... I'm learning. :-)

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