My rides in the COVID 19 pandemic

My RE Interceptor 650

Tired of driving a car in packed streets of the MMR (Mumbai Metropolitan Region), I was planning to buy a motorcycle since long. I initially wanted to buy a Classic 500 in Chrome color, but learnt that Royal Enfield are stopping the production of 500 CC bikes. Royal Enfield had launched the Continental GT and Interceptor in the 650 CC segment in 2018. I didn’t want to buy a Classic 350 or a Himalayan, so settled on the Interceptor. The BS VI upgrade was due for launch in 2020. I booked the motorcycle in February 2020, with Soniya Motors, the dealers of Royal Enfield motorcycles in Thane. By that time the news of corona virus, lockdown and restrictions were coming in. I followed up for the early delivery of the motorcycle with the dealership and got it on 19 March 2020. By that time a lockdown was a certainty in India.

Taking the delivery just before the Corona virus induced lockdown

The lockdown began in India around end of March and that put restrictions on most of the activities, so the ability to ride was very limited. I rode just to ensure that the battery remains charged up enough.

Mostly in the parking

First few local rides

From July 2020, the restrictions started getting lifted gradually, which allowed some local rides within the city itself and joys of life.

Gaimukh GB Road, Thane
Reflection of man in the water
The Upvan Lake and Yeoor Hills Thane

Solo ride to Nashik

By end of September 2020, lockdown restrictions were significantly lifted. Intercity travel was possible without an e-Pass. On 1st October I rode from Thane to Nashik, covering a distance of ~ 155 KM. The purpose was dual – to do the solo ride and also to meet my parents who live in Nashik.

Thane – Nashik road (expressway) is part of the Mumbai – Agra national highway and great to ride on. During and immediately after the monsoon, the train track and the road are very scenic.

I started from Thane at 7:15 AM.

Starting from my home @ Thane

Around 8 AM, it started drizzling and I experienced patches of fog. I took tea and comfort break at 9 AM, in Khardi. The weather turned sunny again and I enjoyed the ride through the scenic Kasara ghat.

At Khardi

Kasara Ghat

Flowers in the garden at my Nashik home

I returned to Thane from Nashik on 3rd October. Being able to travel, without much restriction instilled a sense of freedom and returning to normal life (fully cautious that the COVID-19 is still around).

Solo ride to Malshej Ghat (18 Oct, 240 Km)

Malshej Ghat is located on the NH 752, about 120 KM Thane. The driving time required is about 2.5 hours. You have to enter and cross the city of Kalyan. Height of the Malshej Ghat from MSL is about 700 m. The site is nestled with rugged mountain ranges of Sahyadri and nice views of the valley is a major attraction here.

I left from home at 6:30 AM, took my first break about 25 KM to Malshej Ghat at about 8:30 AM. A number of restaurants are now open and are offering dine-in services. On the road I could see several riders in groups. Many families were also traveling in the cars. The road is just a single lane and has several sharp turns. A number of waterfalls can be seen en-route. During the peak of monsoon, the views would be awesome. I reached the top of the ghat around 9:15 AM.

Views from the top of the Malshej Ghat

During the return I ride, I did not take a break, but crossing Kalyan city in the afternoon, took time. I returned home at around 1:30 PM, rejuvenated from the ride. Interceptor is a refreshing experience to ride, it is able to go on for hours together at cruising speeds and without stressing the rider. The desire to ride over a longer distance and for more days is growing. I am awaiting the revealing of the next destination. Till then Sayonara !!

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