Royal Enfield Rider gets Saddle Sore

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1000 Miles / 24 Hours

Ashutosh Mahadik, a Royal Enfield motorcycle owner from Pune, India, rode his Royal Enfield Machismo 500 a total of 1000 miles in 24 hours. He accumulated the miles in a Saddle Sore endurance ride (as classified by the Iron Butt Association USA) by riding from Pune to Bangalore and back.

Prep on the pushrod Royal Enfield including stripping unnecessary parts off the bike to save weight, and the addition of a GPS unit to verify his accomplishment. We salute Mahadik and his aptly named Machismo 500 motorcycle.

Mahadik has chronicled his singular motorcycle achievement below…

The 1st time I had heard about ‘The Saddlesore’ was on the internet from the bikers in the community and had thought of it as a remote possibility of ‘Me’ even attempting it in near future…this was some years back…

This name of an endurance feat ‘1000miles (1610kms) in 24 hours’ kept popping now and then from somewhere during my stint in the biking community, at times through news of some people attempting it unsuccessfully, at times through some friends spending hours discussing about it and how tough it is, at times their attempts which failed due to some or the other reasons…it just kept banging itself into me as if trying to instigate me to take this challenge head on!!!

I always was in dual minds…Not sure whether I should take this challenge ‘solo’ or I should go in a group with back-up etc.

Finally it happened – My constant impulse and pull towards this grueling challenge took its final toll – I decided that I will do it, and I would do it solo! I started doing my bit of research on the internet, gathering information around the rules and regulations, talking to people who had attempted it, tips from senior and experienced riders in the community, and doing my math and planning!

The route I finalized on was, Pune to Bangalore (Nelamangala – 820kms from Pune) and back! Simply because it is one of the closest to my home town and best possible stretches where I could attempt this challenge, given the Indian road conditions and traffic hindrances!

Now had to prepare my steed and myself for the challenge – So did many a shorter trips on the route to understand my bikes capacity to hold up and my stamina, also to understand the route, but never did I do a full reike of the route…The biggest challenges of all was to attempt this particular challenge on a Royal Enfield.

With all due respect to this brand, I am a diehard bulleteer (A Royal Enfield fan) but this bike does come with its own tantrums and technical issues, it’s a push rod engine, lean burn 500 cc with a 5 speed transmission, but there are certain issues

So, got a lot of weight shed off my bike and trimmed her to look meaner and make her a bit faster. Checked on each and every aspect of the bike technically, the main drive chain (Which tends to elongate with the standard fitment, which comes with the bike, so changed it to the O-Ring type which fits to the latest bikes), the handle-bar, tires (Front Pirelli MT 60, Rear MRF MOTO D 18inch) Awesome combination these tires are, great grip on and off the road!

Also got a GPS fixed on the bike just a day before the attempt because someone told me that IBA does not hold only fuel receipts with date and time stamp and photographs as a valid proof anymore (Would love to understand these criterions in detail) and I didn’t want to take chances. The GPS logs works as a valid verification is what this friend told me… Hence spent a bomb and got the GPS device fixed on my motorcycle.

Preps for me included – Decent sleep, light food, and lots of liquid just a week before the attempt.

The day finally arrived “29th October 2010” was marked as the day for this challenging attempt!

I decided to leave early morning at 3:30am on 29th Oct 2010 Friday – 3:30am because I wanted to cover maximum distance in my first leg, and I was comfortable with the route till Kolhapur, so could scale it while it was dark and wanted to hit the Hubli – Chittradurg patch, which is still under construction, in broad daylight.

All set for the ride, it was pretty difficult to get sleep hours before the ride, the constant anxiety, nervousness, and lot of hopes and wishes of friends and family riding along felt like a huge responsibility!!

A day before was pretty busy at work, wanted to leave early from work to take rest but couldn’t, finally reached home in the evening on 28th Oct Thursday and tried to rest…Woke up at 2 am sharp – Had called my motorcycle club guys ‘The Firelords’ Pune’s Royal Enfield Motorcycle Club, to see me off from the start point – the Pune RTO petrol pump and have some of them as my start point witnesses.

They were all there before time around 15 of them…My flag off time was 3:30 am and according to the Start receipt generated time, the clock started ticking sharp at 3:23am Took the photographs of the receipts with the odometer reading and my photo at the fuel station with my witness, and zoomed off towards the destination.

In my mind I had kept a target of 2000kms in 24hrs, and knew that I will atleast meet the 1610kms in 24hrs mark, if I aim a bit higher!

While on the road my mind was calculating consistently, the average speeds I need to maintain to be successful, along with these speeds the safety precautions, the bike etc, so had decided that I will keep riding as much as the bike can take till its next re-fuelling stop, It has a capacity of 14.5 L approximately and I could do around 380 kms at a stretch with my bikes mileage.

This means I could reach Pune to somewhere close to Belgaum with a full tank of fuel till I stop for re-fuelling! 380 kms nonstop is not a joke and your limbs need a decent amount of stretching for blood circulation, or else they start hurting and / or going numb! Somehow I managed to do this 1st leg pretty decently, with good time too. My 1st stop was at:

1. Bharat Petroleum, Kognolli, NH-4, Appachiwadi Cross, Nippani, Chikodi Taluka, Belgaum, Karnataka, Pin 591229 at 6:31 am, 3 hours nonstop riding, and had covered 272kms ( stopped here because I wasn’t sure if I could get a petrol pump ahead with a computerized receipt, and each passing minute was critical) average speeds maintained 90kms/hr until now.

Between the 1st stop and my 2nd re-fuelling stop, my steed threw a tantrum and my Speedo meter had stopped functioning thanks to a broken Speedo meter cable (RE should go digital) at 408 kms my trip meter had stopped functioning!!!

And this was pretty frustrating, didn’t know what to do or if I would get a spare cable anywhere…took a quick Tea break while a mechanic next to the tea stall tried his antics on the Speedo…Unfortunately realizing that he does not have a required length inner cable for the Speedo!!

Hence I gave up on this damage and decided to rely on the GPS logs…which I was still learning to record and use! Wasted about 15 mins during this stop and had to make up for these 15 mins, so started the journey again…and believe you me.

While doing long distances if you see your Speedo / Odo stuck at a particular mark…it becomes pretty frustrating for the rider…hence for speeds now, I was relying on the RPM meter and maintaining 4000-4500 rpm which was around 100kms/hr mark for my bike…and for distance covered, the GPS was showing the destination remainder distance.

In my mind I knew just one thing by the end of all these calculations in my head “I WILL NOT STOP NOW!!!”

2. Second fuel stop was at Reliance Petro Marketing Ltd, no.87/1, Kamadod Village, Ranebennur Taluka, Haveri District, Pin 581115 at 10:49 am filled about 12.49 L.

The route from Hubli to Chittradurg is under construction, there are 2 railway crossings and huge speed breakers on the highway!!! Please watch out for these if you ever travel on this route as they can take you with surprise!

This was a pretty much grueling stretch for me and the bike…but together we finally crossed this stretch and we continued towards Nelamangala. Finally after reaching Nelamangala at around 2:00 pm I was looking for the ‘U Turn’ to head back towards Pune and a fuel station, which would give me a computerized receipt.

I was surprised to see that there were around 5 petrol pumps just about 100 meters away from each other and all of them were Indian Oil petrol pumps…however due to some reason they did not have fuel nor a computerized receipt system…while I was losing my mind, I took pictures of the milestones like ‘Pune- 820kms’ and the highway distance Milestones.

And finally found a Bharat Petroleum at Nelamangala standing tall within the Indian Oil’s around for my rescue!!! Re-fuelled and got right back on track towards the destination which, which was now around 820kms.

3. Hence my third Fuel stop was at Bharat Petroleum BP-Nelamangala, Coco Pump, NH 4 , Kulvanahalli village, Tumkur Road, Nelamangala at 2:35pm (14:35 hours) and I have done around 835kms so far (had rode 15 kms ahead for the U Turn and onto the loop which heads towards Bangalore and Mysore) in 11 hours 10mins, average speed maintained so far = 75.90 km/hr overall!!!

On my return leg from this point I had realized that my GPS had conked off, due to low battery!!! Though I had fitted a charger onto the bike, due to vibrations the charging had stopped and the GPS wouldn’t start again!! Another setback mentally, but I still decided to move on and rely on the fuel receipts with date and time stamps also my bike number printed on the receipts and photos.

4. Fourth Fuel Stop again at the same Reliance Petrol Pump where I had stopped while coming towards Nelamangala (Didn’t want to take any chances and try new petrol pumps to avoid the rush for computerized receipts) stopped at Reliance Petro Marketing Ltd, no.87/1, Kamadod Village, Ranebennur Taluka, Haveri District, Pin 581115 at 17:57 hours (5:57 pm) filled about 10.99 L. This is where I realized that the bracket where my conked off GPS stood firm had cracked and was rattling hence I hooked off the GPS from the bracket and kept it inside my jacket! To avoid it falling off while riding!

5. Fifth Fuel Stop was at Shri Laxmi Automobiles, I.O.C Dealers, P.B road, Kagal, district Kolhapur, at 22:14 hours (10:14 pm) 250 kms away from Pune, had covered around 1435 kms so far!

The final stretch of 250 kms was very difficult with body fatigue at its peak, heavy vehicles prying on the highway with high beams piercing in my eyes, the chill in the air, insects hitting the helmet visor, and poor visibility of the road!

It was purely my will and determination to complete this challenge and reach home safe that kept me going strong…throughout the ride I had kept my friends and family abreast with my status and progress through SMS’s…and they were waiting for me to reach the end point soon…for a grand welcome back!

I finally reached Pune – Chandani Chowk at around 1:15 am had done 1685kms in 21 hrs 50 mins!!! Took a halt to re-group with my friends and family… The Firelords arrived with their roaring thumps to greet me… a lot of warm hugs, high five’s, cheers and congratulations later we all rode together to the ride’s official end point!! I could see that sparkle in all the Firelords eyes, the pride that expressed loudly ‘One of us Firelords has done It’ I had completed the challenge successfully!!

6. Final Fuel Stop end point to record the completion of this awesome challenge was at Bharat Petroleum, BPCL COCO 1, Opposite RTO Pune, Near Sangam bridge, at 2:06 am have done 1700 kms approximately in 23 hours approximately. Average speed maintained in this challenging endurance ride is 73.77 kms/hour!!!!

Post this we all rode to ruby hall clinic for a hot cup of tea and some more people joined in to celebrate the conquer of this awesome challenge!

All in all it was an experience! My bike ‘The Royal Enfield, Lean Burn Machismo 500cc’ behaved like a sweetheart!! And she proved that this union would last us a lifetime! It wouldn’t have been possible without such a wonderful companion in the form of a machine! I call her Pro-Dirt!!

Me and Pro-Dirt did it!! And we would continue together!

The Iron Butt Association hosts many awards including the Saddle Sore 1000 (a 24 hour 1,000 mile ride), the Bun Burner 1500 (1,500 miles in 36 hours), the Bun Burner Gold (1,500 miles in 24 hours), the 50cc Quest (Cross Country in 50 hours or Less), the National Parks Tour Master Traveler Award (visit 50 parks in at least 25 states), the coveted 10/10ths Challenge (10 consecutive 1,000 mile days) and the almost-impossible to get into 100K Club (100,000 miles or more in one year).