A 330km Commute to Work

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By Vijay Maninathan

 

Here’s a timeline chronicling a ‘commute’ from my home in Chennai to my office in Bangalore. Yes, you read that right - it was a commute to work that spanned nearly 330km!

 

Work Commute Travelogue Image 1

 

0415 hrs - Waterproofs zipped, gloves strapped, I pushed the Avenger off its main stand and out onto the road. Quick check of all mechanicals done with, visor down, I thumbed the starter, checked the electricals, and fuel level. Satisfied, I waved a goodbye and rolled into the cool, dark and silent street, unmindful of the drizzle.

 

0425 hrs - It had been raining heavily the last couple of days and the top layer of the tarmac had disintegrated. Potholes and water stagnation meant, I had to crawl for the next couple of minutes.

 

0430 hrs - Entered the empty NH4, the lack of proper visibility and steady drizzle meant I had to keep my speeds low.

 

0445 hrs- Crossed Sriperumbudur toll gate, the real journey starts now. Quick look at the watch revealed I was slightly behind time, but I knew I could make it up comfortably later. Spotted on another rider on an Avenger, looked like he was taking a break, would he give company?

 

0500 hrs - Rain. Oncoming traffic in full beam. Potholes/ loose tarmac top layer. Dealing with even of the above can be very tiring and stressful for a rider over a period of time, and as luck would have it, this is how my journey would be for the next 80 km. The Avenger guy chooses to blast past even in the dark and wet conditions, only for me to overtake in less than 10 min when he pulled over.

 

0530 hrs - Still no hint of sun. I noticed the name Kanchipuram missing on signboards and that Vellore was the next big junction, I had crossed the prominent temple town with its towering ‘Gopurams’ without a hint. Funnily, I overtook the other Avenger for the third time in about 30 km when he took yet another break.

 

0545 hrs - Though my speeds remained in the 60-70s, I was doing decent time. The road was starting to become better as I went further away from Chennai. The NH4 wound through some towns on this stretch, stares from sleepy locals were inevitable.

 

0605 hrs - Ranipet toll booth arrived, I was in no mood to take a break, as I had a lot more to cover. Plus, the roads were just wonderful beyond this point and I had 2 extra pothole free lanes to play with. Wide roads with lane markings, reflectors and high mast lamps at important places; I’m loving it! There was a world of difference in surface quality before and after Ranipet. There was sufficient brightness now that the sun had just peeped in the horizon.

 

0610 hrs - Entered the bridge over the Palar river, and..oh wait! What a beautiful sight to see the sunrise over the river! Though I couldn't stop to take pics, the high res image that my eyes snapped would stay in memory for a long time.

 

0620 hrs — Crossed Vellore, exactly 2 hours after I started, not bad I thought to myself. The superb tarmac allowed better cruising speeds, I was nudging 85 on the speedo. I decided I will leave more speed with increased daylight.

 

0630 hrs - Boom! There was a sudden blast of fog out of nowhere. Visibility had reduced to a few 100 metres, but i was in no mood to let go. I blasted through the fog, enjoying the chill that set in all of a sudden. I crossed another bridge now, the fog presented a beautifully hazy picture of the sun.

 

0645 hrs - As I got further away from Vellore, more fog covered small hills showed up presenting stunning views. This time I had to stop for pics, absolutely couldn't resist pulling out my phone for a couple of snaps.

 

Work Commute Travelogue Image 2

 

0700 hrs - Clear skies showed up, I was now confident that there wouldn't be rain anymore, so I pulled over to remove the waterproofs, and put my phone and wallet back into my jeans. I noticed a lady was walking along the side of the road carrying a basket. She had been staring at me since I stopped at that point, as if an alien had just landed. A quick glance into the mirror as I was about to pull up onto the road, and the lady was still staring! Have people never seen a biker with gloves/jacket and a helmet before??

 

0715 hrs - Blitzed past the biryani town of Ambur. I was doing good time now, and the bike hardly showed signs of tiring. The relaxed stretched out ergos of the Avenger, had a good effect on keeping away fatigue.

 

0730 hrs - Just crossed Vaniyambadi, I lost count of how many toll booths i crossed till now. Pity car drivers, I thought to myself. A couple of cars which overtook me earlier were inching through the queue at the toll.

 

0750 hrs - I couldn't resist whacking the throttle any longer, the roads were well paved and so wide that even 110 kph felt slow! There was hardly any traffic, the occasional car would overtake me only to get stuck behind 2 lorries, where I would catch and be gone. This would be the story until the car took a diversion to head elsewhere. The Avenger’s high speed cruising ability really shown in these fast stretches. It has a broad and lovely cruising sweet spot. Whether you want to just buzz along at just 70 or blast down the roads 100+ kph, the Avenger has you covered. And did I mention it does it all in relative comfort too. I recollected my earlier run for the same purpose in the Pulsar 180, I was struggling to hold speeds for long, every now and then I would find myself stretching out my limbs, adjusting the riding posture. While the Avenger isn't perfect, fatigue sets in much later comparatively, enabling longer riding sessions.

 

0800 hrs - Krishnagiri would have gone unnoticed had it not been for the major junction where I had to take a right toward Bengaluru. I was aware that I shouldn't trust the fuel gauge, it is highly inaccurate in my bike. But I was confident I could make it to Bengaluru without having to top up. I stopped for my first proper break at a toll just after Krishnagiri. There were a couple of stares from the highway patrol people initially. I pulled out my gloves and sat on the pavement. They soon figured I was just a biker, (aka a normal guy) and went back to work.

 

Work Commute Travelogue Image 2

 

0815 hrs - The road began to rise now and it was a lot of fun tackling the elevation changes with some corners. Heavy vehicle population seemed to have increased. The increase in elevation, brought in a chill and I was really enjoying powering the Avenger through various vehicles.

 

0820 hrs - Stuck behind a couple of heavy vehicles struggling to tackle the elevation, I found a gap and downshifted and made my move. To my shock, the Avenger started to sputter. Uh oh! I didn't have much time to react and opened the throttle more, expecting it to regain power to complete the overtake. But it didn't and all I could do was wish the momentum I had would take me past the vehicles and to the side of the road. Which also didn't happen - the bike stalled in the left lane. A trailer which was already huffing and puffing its way up (at hardly 15 kmph) had to come to a complete stop for me! I hurriedly turned the fuel knob to reserve and pulled away waving a hand of apology to the trailer driver.

 

0830 hrs - Crossed the Industrial city of Hosur, the early morning office commuter traffic had started to increase by now.

 

0840 hrs - Finally entered Karnataka crossing the Attibelle checkpost. Continuing with the same momentum, I made it to the A2B restaurant at Bommasandra. After a quick call to home that I made it in one piece, I gobbled a masala dosa and medhu vadai for breakfast.

 

0900 hrs - Home finally! I dropped my bag, picked up the office ID card, and hopped back on the Avenger to head for work. That was one nice commute to work!

Travelogue Brief
Start Date 2014-11-03T04:00:00.000Z
End Date 2014-11-03T09:00:00.000Z
Region Chennai - Bangalore
Route Chennai - Kanchipuram - Vellore - Krishnagiri - Hosur - Bangalore
Trip Distance 330kms
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