One Living Life: Yamuna Expressway: The Experience

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Yamuna Expressway: The Experience

Unplanned and unknown stuffs can be dangerous, but never when its a journey to somewhere. The thrill and excitement of an unplanned journey always pushes the adrenaline flow. I am a wanderer and when it comes to going somewhere, I am always ready. Be it having the means or not. Travelling is fun when you have all your needs for the journey ready. But, its far better when you have to collect the means on your journey and reach your destination.

This time, I just finished up some work on a Saturday morning and by afternoon, when I reached home, I just casually asked my roomies brother(Himanshu's brother Deepanshu) if we should go to Agra. To my surprise, he agreed and we left immediately.

It was my first long ride on my own motorcycle. Well, previously, I used to rent bikes for month-long in Pune and had some long rides, my longest ride then being from Pune to Dajipur. I had heard Yamuna Expressway to be one of the best roads in India. And, riding on it would be a pleasure for sure. I had some of the good gears ready for proper use. A riding jacket, knee and elbow guards, a GPS holder and a few other stuffs were ready waiting to have themselves utilized for the first time.

I got my tire pressure lowered as Yamuna Expressway was famed for tire bursts due to heat. Its almost a 200+ kms 8-lane highway with concrete and tar at places. (Well, its the one on which a Jet landed a few days ago) Nevertheless, the smoothest and best in India irrespective of the different materials used. Obviously, concrete was the main culprit behind melting rubber and bursting tires. It was initially a full concrete road to increase its longevity, smoothness and grip. But, tires rolling at 150-200+ kmph on a hot north Indian summer day increases your chances of a burst pretty much. It was just the end of winter and the weather was at its best, this time of the year.

I rode out from Ghaziabad and crossed Noida to get onto the fame-way. Initially, the 6 lane tar was giving you a feel of the smoothness the road ahead kept in store for us. I could easily speed up 100+ kmph on that patch, but a traffic-less road is hard to find within NCR. I wished it to be a safer ride and complete the trip safely. Once we crossed Noida, the highway heads to greater Noida and just before you head into Greater Noida it splits into three. One of them heads into Greater Noida, one towards the Buddh International Circuit and the other towards Agra i.e. the Yamuna Expressway. The road signs were not too clear and by mistake we headed towards Greater Noida. Well, as soon as we realized, we took a coffee break there and took the turn out of G. Noida.

The entry towards the Yamuna Expressway gives you an instant feeling and craving to play around. 8 Lanes side by side made it almost half the length of a football field. In India, this is the only 8-Lane road till date. On top of it, its completely access controlled and has CCTV installed every 5 kms. Initially, I had to resist my 7 muscles from twisting the throttle. But, you know its hard. Once, I got a feel of the tar beneath and a confidence on the bar, I stopped aside. Tightened my helmet strap, pulled up the jacket chain and instructed my pillion rider to do the same.

My bike's run-in period was just complete and it was time for my baby to have the first roll of her life. It was just a glimpse of how rough and rude its owner could be. I revved the engine high, loved the sound of the new RPMs and the view of the tachometer reaching 8-9k. Umm!!! I am actually not flattering the 200 ns because I own it, but the sound at high RPMs does resemble a low end sports bike. It was an open road ahead with Zero traffic. I revved upto 8-9 k on 1st and then to 2nd and to 3rd and 4th. On the 4th it took quite a few seconds to reach 8-9 k RPM and on 5th it took yet a few more seconds but I did not shift until the needle vibrated near 9 and the max RPM light glowed. I was already rolling at around 105 kmph and then came 6th. My 7 muscles were proudly revving up, my eyes on the road and at times on the speedo. We crossed 110.. 120... and the speed was increasing gradually. It was a few more seconds until  it reached 130 and still now the throttle was full. The speedo increased slowly from 135 onwards... 136..7..8..9... we had crossed 140.. and at 141 the speedo had perhaps reached its limit. It kept flickering between 141-142. I kept it at that pace pretty long but it was steady at 142. Perhaps without a pillion rider I would have crossed the 150 kmph barrier. I was having one of the best few seconds of my life, so did my baby and Deepanshu behind.

Staying at that speed for so long was not cool at all and so I did slow down at a comforting speed. 110-120 was a perfect under control speed on that pitch and I stuck to that. Moreover, speed of above 140 kmph meant that a single undulation/crack or deformity on the road could throw me out of balance in split seconds; leave alone stones. A stone at that speed under a 100/80 front meant instant death. Both of us could be thrown off more than a 100 meters away. Moreover, I was not a racer rather a cruiser type guy.

So, I slowed down and enjoyed the ride. The pillion seat on a 200 NS is pretty badly designed. On long rides, the pillion rider had his tight muscles crunched up and its pretty discomforting. So, me and Deepanshu had to switch positions. We continued doing that whenever necessary. None of us wanted to sit behind and both of us wanted to have the riders feel.

Distance from our home to Agra was approximately 240+ kms and we reached there within 2.5 hrs. It was nearly evening and we had to find our way to the wonder of the world. As we had no plans, we did not know if we could visit that on the same day. It was sheer bad luck and we reached the Taj at 6:05 pm, i.e. just 5 minutes after is closed.

Nevertheless, we got the opportunity to roam around Agra a bit, had to stay that night in a Hotel and early morning we set off for the Taj.

It was a real bliss to watch the man-made marvel. But, soon after we were heading back to NCR as the wheels were the most important part of the Journey, not the World Wonder. Surprised! Well, that's how a biker craves.

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