LOST IN BHUTAN: 6 BIKERS, 20 DAYS, 7500 KMS OF INSANITY!
Chapter 4 – The Twist of Fate.
There is not a single invention in this world which is perfect. There always will exist the term called as drawback/shortcoming, and the Ninja 650 is no different. We were warned that the two potential issues for this bike would be:
- Radiator fan failure
- Fork seal oil leakage
But with the spare fans lying in Nicky’s bags, fan problem was ruled out, but despite the thorough servicing and cleaning for covers and seals, both the Ninjas developed a leak.
So once Akhil’s Duke tires were sorted and the stay at Orcha done, it was Nicky and Sachin’s turn to get their bike problem sorted. The ride began at morning 5 am from Orcha, when the 3 Ninjitsus (2 ninja 650’s and 1 Ninja 300) began their journey to Lucknow and the Dukes took rest at the hotel to catch up on their much needed sleep. Here I realised after a tiring two days ride with minimal sleep, the perks of touring and sticking to the planned schedule. It felt like being in an army camp where soldiers getting trained are informed to wake up at 4 AM and be ready for parade by 5 AM.
The target was to reach Lucknow at 9 am, as the SVC opens at 9:30. Prior calls were made to the required people, alerts were sent out about our arrival and conditions of the bike and regarding the reasons for the urgency. And thus, the ride began. The climate was pleasant and cool, roads were butter smooth, but unfortunately this happiness was short lived. The battlegrounds began once we had crossed Kanpur. Godzilla foot sized potholes made their guest appearance. The already present problem on both the Ninjas, aggravated even more. To top it even more, the ongoing lane to Lucknow was completely blocked and the riders had to take a re-route through the opposite lane. But thanks to the Gods who were in favour, the riders got to tail an ambulance on duty, and cleared through the traffic jam of approximately 7 kilometres through the opposite lane.
Soon the riders were closing on Lucknow city, and the call was made to the Service centre. It is then that, the riders experienced the synchronicities of life when Rishabh Katiyar came to our rescue. We were waiting for him at airport road when looking at 3 Green Ninja’s with fully geared riders caught the attention of the local crowd. Same old of story of CC, cost and fuel efficiency got discussed. After 30 minutes of fun discussion with localites Rishabh appeared in the scene with his car. He gave us a very friendly welcome and took us through what we may term as “the most aggressive traffic” we have ever encountered. The route passed through a lot of scenic points and never did we even once think that even a bad ride could be so rewarding. By this time, the Ktm’s had left from Orcha towards Lucknow.
The KTM SVC at Lucknow welcomed the bikes with open arms. They said they’ve been following the group’s activity ever since the tour had started. Once at the Ktm SVC, the luggage was unloaded and then, Mr. Afzaal Khan and Mr. Nitish began their magical work on the 650’s. But, then came a twist of fate, Sachin’s Midori, faced a problem when the oil from the fork was drained. The oil seal plainly refused to come off. It was after great efforts by Mr. Afzaal Khan, it was finally taken off. This entire activity took us more than 5 hours. Soon the Ktm’s had arrived to the SVC.
During a normal check-up of the Ktm’s, it was noticed that Sherman’s bike had a flawed rear disc, and the over wearing of the pads, had resulted in damage of the read disc rotor. Luckily the SVC had the entire assembly, and the same was replaced in an instant, at a ridiculously cheap price. Akhil’s long time friend Gaurav Sharma had also joined the party by then, and to celebrate the spirit of biking, we went out and got some of Lucknow’s famous Kebabs!
It was just surprising to see the events being aligned in such a way, that all the problems were being sorted automatically, one after the other. By the time all the problems were done with, it was already 7pm, and the group had already lost 8 costly hours. It was then time to depart and say good bye to our new friends and commence on the journey. Once we were escorted to the main highway, it was time to fly again.
We were already 300 kilometres behind schedule, and this just added up more to that. To meet the target, the group made the most important decision, which turned the entire events around, to ride to Ayodhya. And so we did, covering up a total of 470 kms even after losing a lot of ground, reducing the deficit of total 550 kms to a mere 200 kms behind schedule.