“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson.
Konkan is one of the best places in Maharashtra for weekend getaways
It’s no wonder why a human mind cannot help but wander in times of boredom. Routine and stagnancy is one of the culprits of depression. Man, however, was never meant to settle. Only his body grew tired of the nomadic life. The same basic instinct still drives us; wandering to explore places, feed the curiosity.
It had been months since we’d ridden some place nice. So, one fine evening, Dhanil comes up with a three-day plan to ride somewhere and Aniket calls me out for being a party-pooper since I didn’t have time even on a long weekend. Now this was just before the rains started, the climate was surprisingly cool and weather was still dry. Screw it, let’s ride. It doesn’t take much time to cancel plans and lie to your boss. Anyway, we rode to Konkan last year on our long term Suzuki Gixxer and explored some bad but scenic inside roads. We decided to ride someplace similar along the coastline but this time it was something special. During the time we had the Mahindra Mojo, we never really had the chance to explore the coast on it. So out of the three of us, Aniket already hopped on to the Mojo while I had the Yamaha R3. No one knew what Dhanil was going to ride and he’d keep it a secret until the very last moment. The morning we meet for the ride, he shows up with the Ducati Scrambler!
The route we chose to get to our destination passed through Pen – Mangaon – Mahad – Kashedi and finally Khed from where we turned right towards Dapoli. The roads were not the best, but scenic nevertheless. Passing through small towns early in the morning gave a fresh feeling along with a lot of added adventure dodging the oncoming ST buses. Nevertheless, it is fun to ride on undivided roads with greenery on either sides. Early morning breakfast was away from Mumbai, near Mahad. Nothing like a cup of tea with a delicious Vada-Sambar combo!
Aniket was our lead for the ride since Konkan is practically his backyard. Traffic jam? No problem! He’ll lead us through the inside roads which no one else would know. He’d gotten comfortable on the Mojo even though it was his first time touring on it. Although mounting the luggage on the backseat was a bit of a task, it stayed put for the rest of the journey. I was having the time of my life on the Yamaha. Revving it occasionally was fun when passing through traffic. However, it isn’t the most ideal for riding on such roads where frequent low speed overtakes are necessary. Constant gear-shifting had to be done which eventually brought down the comfort and fuel efficiency too.
The Mojo on the other had was cruising like a boss! Sixth gear overtakes at as little as 55 km/hr were easy. The upright stance along with the solid balance of the bike in corners and straights, all at the rider’s comfort was a boon! Dhanil had the worst time. The Scrambler is hardly a touring friendly bike. Leaving aside the street-based ergos, the snatchy engine is what worsened the case. The throttle was unbelievably sensitive and the minimal refinement of the engine is not something you want on a 7-hour journey. There was very little space to mount luggage as well on the Scrambler. Truly, the 800cc L-Twin was an overkill for the journey. But we always like to do weird stuff, don’t we?
Coming back to the route, it was time for some twisties, FINALLY! Kashedi ghat was something that I was looking forward to since the beginning of the ride. Of course, I was on the R3! This is where the screamer came into play. By now, the MRF rubber on the Yamaha was warm enough and grip issues weren’t felt much. Dhanil on the Ducati was ahead of me for a good time in the initial part of the Ghat, but then the Scrambler wasn’t built for corners. I had a tough time passing Dhanil due to the difference in engine displacement; but not for very long. The R3 carried decent speeds in corners as traffic was at the bare minimum luckily.
Reaching Dapoli, we dumped our stuff at the hotel and headed out to the sunset point through Harnai by-pass. The point is typically situated on an elevation and ahead of us was a view of the beautiful town of Harnai and the vast expanse of the sea. From there on, after dark, we still didn’t want to head back to our hotel. Since Aniket’s family is based out of this area, we decided to visit them. The road was pretty interesting as there wasn’t any! We had to pass through some rocky terrain, climbing steep gradients in the dark! But it was worth it because we were welcomed with a plate full of delicious local mangoes.
We explored some really dark places around the rural roads on our way back to our hotel. The roads were curvy with oncoming traffic all the time. Riding in the dark on these roads was a dangerous but a learning experience. Food was one of the best parts of our travel. Everywhere we’d go, we were treated specially because people were awed by our bikes. Hotel managers and waiters too asked us where we were riding from and inquired about the bikes all the time. The food was tasty because it was spicy! The Missal-Pav was one of the best we’ve ever had.
The Mojo performed the best as it quickly adapted to the road & traffic conditions of Maharashtra
Days were passing and it was finally time to return to the reality of life called ‘Routine’. The weekend was almost over. On the way back we’d have some fun by shutting off each other’s engine kill switches at traffic signals. The weather had been very forgiving with just the right temperatures and cloudy skies. Traffic jams were sometimes a buzzkill but filtering through it on the big bikes was fun. The Mojo returned a fuel efficiency of 30 km/l; the R3 returned a meagre 26 km/l while the Ducati did only 19 km/l. The ride was short but slow too because of poor road conditions. All I could think about while shutting off the ignition in my garage back home was how badly I’m going to miss riding somewhere amidst the hectic schedule.
It doesn’t matter where you ride when you have a lovely company to share the road with. The Konkan ride was fun not only because of the beautiful roads or the weather or the bikes, but also because of the trio that followed each other wherever they wished to go without knowing the bounds of time or energy. The Mahindra Mojo, Yamaha R3 and Ducati Scrambler are very different from each other but never failed to bring out the love for travel within us.