Hello Folks, I’m Subash from Salem, I am working for a reputed IT company in Coimbatore. I would like to share my experiences with my Hero Honda Hunk and how it helped me to identify my other passions apart from biking; yes this would be one of those longer posts.
It was my uncle’s Lamby Scooter with which I learnt to ride two wheelers and I’m still in love with that scooter which packs a power full 150CC engine and a heavy metal body. I have lot of nostalgic memories with it. I had a TVS-50 when I was in school (handed down from my brother) and a Third hand Suzuki Samurai when I was doing my MTech in Anna University.
Samurai was supposed to be a no problem bike but mine gave me lot more problems than an algebra book can, but of course one can expect that in a third hand machine and by then 2-stroke was already outdated. Other vechiles I’m used to are my Dad’s Bajaj Chetak and Bajaj CT100. Chetak is truly a warrior’s horse and it’s still in good shape.
Bajaj CT100 is a great mileage bike which gave a whooping 70+ kms during the first year and probably it was my endless trips to nearby hill station ’Yercaud’ in this bike gave me enough experience to ride in any kind of terrain. Apart from Samurai which I bought and Sold in Chennai other machines are in good condition and I take them for a ride whenever I find the opportunity.
Finding My Passions
I was so much in love with Chennai that when my company deployed me in Coimbatore I was literally heart broken, cry. But all that changed after getting my Hunk. To be obvious when I decided to get a bike for myself my first choice in 150CC segment was Honda Unicorn. But I was very impatient to wait for 3 months so I decided go for a Hero Honda bike since I liked the reliability factor of Hero Honda machines.
I went to Hero Honda showroom in Salem with the intent of booking CBZ Extreme! But there I found these weird looking machines and I thought of taking it for a test drive. As soon as I jumped on to it I realized it suits me very well than a CBZ Extreme. I should mention here that I’m 6 feet 96kgs heavy Hunk myself, mrgreen, and HH Hunk was a perfect match for me. It was in November 2009 I fell in love with my ‘Basavi’ (named after Basava, bull of Lord Shiva).
Coimbatore is bordered by Kerala and Karnataka so an hour drive would land you in scenic locations of these states. After few trips to Ooty, Kothagiri, Valparai and nearby tourist spots of Coimbatore I realized my passion for riding and my love for Nature. Also, once in a month I used to travel home by bike which is a 163KM ride and slowly I started to take different routes via beautiful country side of Sathyamangalam (Popularly known for notorious smuggler Veerappan) and extend the ride up to 200 to 230 KMs.
While attempting to capture these loving memories I found my other passion which is Photography. I go to work only at 2 PM so I had lot of time to spare in the morning. One fine morning I woke up at 5 AM and not willing to go back to sleep I decided to go for a ride and that was the start of my early morning bike rides which is more like a meditation to me.
The villages surrounding Coimbatore is so beautiful and sometimes surreal in day breaks. Some how while riding through the country side and forest areas I am happy from my heart and I feel a special connection between Me, My Bike and My surroundings, roll.
A Life time Experience
Late 2010 I decided to go for a round trip to Kerala and started planning for it. Though I don’t speak or understand much of Malayalam I decided to ride alone for good. A colleague of mine from Kerala who is a splendid photographer himself helped me to come up with a route which would be a great riding experience and equally challenging.
Though I was very much determined to make this trip I somehow didn’t find the impulse to do it. And in early March Anant Singhal shared his experience here about his lonely ride to Mumbai and it was the inspiration and the kick in the back I required. I hit the road in late march. I’m very much thankful to him and Bikeadvice for posting it.
It was a wonderful 3 days, 930KMs and 650 photos trip of my life time. My long wait had actually resulted in perfect planning and everything went as per schedule. From Coimbatore I started with Valparai (tea estates) and then to Chalakudi, Athirampalli (falls) passing through Kerala Reserve forests where I was able to sight wild elephants and Lion tailed Monkeys, Perumbavoor (elephant orphanage and training centre), Kakkanaadu and I reached Kochi by evening, had a wonderful kerala delicacy and slept early.
Next day to visit Fort Cochi I had to take a ferry and I came to know that we can take our bike in a ferry. It was a different experience to sit in the bike and ride on a ferry, it costs only 2Rs and I did not forget to add zeros behind 2. From Kochi I headed to Alapuzha known for House Boating and Boat racing in Vembanad Lake the longest lake in India.
I spent a little time in Alapuzha and then I headed back to Kumarakom, this was the only time I travelled back in same route (though ‘Reverse is not an Option’). In Kumarakom I visited Birds Sanctuary otherwise known as Baker’s Island which was bordering the Vembunad lake on one side, I was eager to visit this place because it was mentioned in the Book ‘The Hungry Tide’ which is one of my favorites.
I hired a row boat to circle around Vembunad and then by dawn I reached Thodupuzha a small hill station where I spent my second night and there I tasted squid for the first time in my life. The last day of my trip was more eventful, In Thodupuzha I visited a falls and a hill called Ilaveezhapoonchira hills which was the toughest and most challenging ride.
Almost 5 kilometers of very steep and winding roads and then 7 kms of steep mud road in which even a 4×4 jeep would struggle, if going up was a struggle coming down was even worse, but it was all worth it and I loved the challenge. From there I went to Munnar but I did not spend much time over there because it was not the kind of place for ‘Single’ riders, it’s a Honeymoon location (lol).
Passing through Chinnar, Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) I was completing my 3 day trip, a journey through hills, Rivers, canals, dams, Peaks, Tea/Rubber Estates and so on. Knowing that my trip will come to an end in couple of hours I was recollecting all the memories and reliving it in my mind and all of a sudden I was stopped by a guy standing next to a pick up truck.
He told to me to wait for sometime because there is a wild elephant nearby (single elephant is more dangerous than herd). I wasn’t surprised with what he said because I was still well within reserve forest area. I was not afraid of the elephant but this guy who had stopped me in middle of no where concerned me more so I took off.
After a while I saw this female elephant with a little one, grazing in some 40 to 50 feet distance from road. It was not the first time I’m looking at a wild elephant from such a short distance and I’m used to it in Bhandipur so I decided to take couple of snaps. I kept the engine running and dropped the gear to neutral; I stood up from my saddle to focus on the elephants carefully not making any sudden movements.
At that moment a bunch of tourists in Zylo went past me not before making a howling sound all together evil. I turned back to look at the Zylo and slowly turned towards the elephant only to realize the elephant was marching fast towards me with her trunk waving madly at me. I was frozen shock at that sight and it took me 2-3 seconds to regain my senses and start my bike, she must have been 15 feet away from me when I escaped the scene, it was the final icing on the cake for a wonder full trip.
After I posted few of my trip photos in Facebook, My project mates started to consider me as an outcast because most people type cast me as Bookworm given my educational background and constant FB updates about books that I read. It took sometime for people to understand my passions and slowly they accepted it.
My team mate introduced me to her uncle who is a top-notch Forrest officer who had invited me for tiger watch. People now and then come to me to suggest a bike for them and all I do is provide them with Bikeadvice URL Sometimes people bug me with questions like “What if tyre goes flat”, “What if you fall” and there are some who ridicule me as psycho to ride alone evil. I never really cared much about them. Isn’t this my life! And all it takes is little preparedness and planning.
About the Bike
I bought this bike for 68,000 Rs in November 2009 and unlike its latest version it did not come with rear disc and LED Tail lamp. It looked a bit different from other bikes with that side skirts and Hunk was not so popular at that time. Apart from Sports Red and Black it came in variant colors like Navy blue, elephant grey, cherry red, Silver and i’ve seen white with red as well, not sure if it was a paint job.
The things I like about this bike is the wide and comfortable saddle (didn’t I mention i’m a heavy man) and the ‘gas reservoir suspension’ adds up to it, Relaxed riding position so that you don’t have to lean forward much like in Apache but you can adjust your riding position. Pillion is not that comfortable and overall design of it is not for family use.
For a 150cc engine my bike gives a humble 40 to 45 KMs mileage even after all that rides. I take a good care of the engine but I do push it to its limits, my top speed on this bike is 115kms/Hr. Like other 150CC bikes it has a 5 speed gear box with the usual 1 down, 4 up gear shift pattern, initially the gear shift was hard but now every things smooth. The front wheel has a 240 mm disc break and rear wheel has a 130 mm drum breaks.
As they say ‘A bike without crash and car without scratch is only a myth’ I too have crashed a couple of times, both the times full face helmet had saved me. Ironically both incidents happened because of an animal crossing the road. Dogs in highways are common enemies for riders. So if you are passionate rider go for Full face helmets, it helps to keep your passion alive mrgreen.
I like the reliability of these Hero Honda machines and I trust my ‘Basavi’ a lot. It is this trust that had made me to discover my passions and redefine myself. My next big trip would be in November roll. Thanks for Reading.
Subash Chandhar G