It’s been a long time since I took some time off from the everyday hustle and traveled. They say the most spontaneous plans are generally the most successful and most fun and with that in mind, I recently took the opportunity of a long festive holiday and my lack of interest in religious celebrations, and did a road-trip to the severely underrated heritage town of Hampi.
Situated a considerable distance from Bangalore, Hampi is very well connected by some really good national and state highways that take you through the typical landscape of fields and mountains and at one point in the journey, surprise you with a gigantic array of windmills, churning silently at fast moving, turbulent winds. While most do the journey by bus or car, I took the courage of doing the trip on a motorcycle and ended up learning a lot at the end of a journey that was almost a 1000kms.
Hampi by itself is a beautiful town that is rich in heritage and architecture. Upon entering the market and bazaar area near the banks of the river, it was obvious how the UNESCO status has resulted in several foreigners visiting the place and has ended up becoming highly lucrative for the locals. While tourism always affects and sometimes destroys most places, in Hampi, it seemed like the locals hadn’t yet gotten around to scamming the tourists which was surprisingly welcoming…
With Hampi known primarily as a temple town, I decided to shift focus from the usual and head towards the otherwise unseen and unexplored parts of the landmass that lies to the north of the Tungabhadra river. The rash decision was rewarded with panoramic views of giant rocks and unending blue waters and lush pastures.
While I do not intend to make this an article that talks about the do’s and don’ts of long bike rides, I must enunciate what you must keep in mind and the importance of a few items while doing such rides.
Firstly, make sure you have the route to your destination memorized or that you have a gps that is always connected and guiding you all the way. While the road to Hampi is rather simple and straightforward, poor network connectivity and my lack of pre-trip research had me doing 150 extra kilometers because I missed an exit. When you are doing a road-trip on a motorcycle, every extra kilometer can be grueling and painful depending on traffic and weather.
Make sure you are carrying the required number of tools and spares to make sure you can get out of a messy breakdown in the middle of nowhere. In present times, most national highways are equipped with emergency contact numbers and pay-phones but you never know when things might go wrong. Also, to be on the safer side, figure out the basics of your motorcycle so you can pin-point the problem and get better assistance.
Last but also most important, always carry clothing for all possible weather conditions that can affect you along your travels. On our ride back to Bangalore, we found ourselves getting pounded by rain that had moved inland from the east coast. The roads were slick, visibility was low and to top it all, temperatures had dropped to below 20 degrees and with heavy crosswinds, it was getting extremely difficult to ride but we didn’t have a choice.
All in all, the bike trip generated a great deal of interest in doing more such rides in the future. Motorcycles are nimble and with the right amount of horses, they can be immensely pleasurable to ride on our highways.