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Sunday Edition


Summer Ride to Kolad Farmhouse

Friends as diverse as their range of motorcycle brands ride India's Countryside

by Ujjwal Dey with Selected Photos clicked by Musafirs group
4/13/2022


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There is this wonderful group of riders who have accumulated a million kms and plenty more goodwill.

I had subscribed to their updates about new rides for many years but never actually went on a ride with them - preferring the company of known friends and past riders. A comfort zone common for professional and personal lives of many people.

(also kind of like the mood of Chance and the other fellow Red in Keith 'Bandit' Ball's two new chapters in his Biker Fiction Novel series about protagonist biker named 'Chance')

It was indeed a random 'chance' that I got to ride on this summer trip to Kolad because I got the email about it just 4 days before the trip. The ride was scheduled for the weekend of 09 and 10 April 2022 and I filled in their online registration for it on Wednesday.

It was a short ride of just 250 Kms - it would be best opportunity to take my new Hero XPulse 200 outside city limits to see what it can do. Hero factory team uses a version of these bikes on FIM Cross-Country Rally World Championship, including their 6th consecutive Dakar Rally.

After 15 years of riding Enfield motorcycles I decided against being an owner of one. Their export models are great but us idiots in India who kept their business and brand afloat for decades seem to get the shit-end of quality.

The destination for 149th ride of Musafirs motorcycle group was Kolad.

The word 'Musafir' literally means 'traveller'.



As the motorcycle group suggested in their email - "it’ll be a good 'First' ride you can have with this club that is known for doing mile crunching long rides. So, if you have been sitting on the fence and simply observing us thinking of an opportune moment to join in, here’s your chance." ....

....And I needed no more encouragement to sign-up for the trip. Having thoroughly enjoyed this ride and the destination, I am already looking forward to what they announce for their 150th ride milestone.

Route was : (from Mumbai city)
Assembly at Airoli – Kalamboli – Vadhkhal – Kolad (Kittu’s farmhouse) – Pali – Imagica – Panvel – Kalamboli - (ride home)

Musafirs motorcycle club was started in 2010 and camaraderie, discovery, adventure, expertise and fun have ensured that they have been on a group ride almost every month since they started their club.

There is plenty of information about The Musafirs group on their website and social media links.

Do check it out and follow them on social media in case you plan to visit India anytime for long-distance riding adventures to splendid destinations.

Their Website: https://themusafirs.com/  
 
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/musafirsmotorcycleclub
 


There are a whole lot of cool photos clicked by various bikers on this ride. I have selected only a few photos hoping to give a brief glimpse of the experience. I wish I had clicked photos of the wonderful food served at the Kittu’s Farm & Resort where we stayed overnight. It was made by the small staff there and tasted better than anything served in city restaurants. (TripAdvisor link below has some cool photos of the food by past visitors).

Breakfast, lunch and dinner was so incredibly well-done, you would imagine it was a huge resort run by a hotel industry corporate. The owner was very generous, welcoming, humble and accommodated all our needs & exceeded all our expectations.

Similarly the small number of staff there were polite and helped us with anything we needed. The rooms and outdoor recreation area was impeccably clean and well-maintained. There was air-conditioning to cool down after riding under the sun. The pool is not too deep and ideal for a family outing (like The Musafirs family). They have backup generator to ensure electricity and the water supply was not at all a problem with heated shower available in dormitory style rooms (in case you visit in cooler season).



You can have a look at what guests say on TripAdvisor about this delightful farmhouse named -
"Kittu’s Farm & Resort"


https://www.tripadvisor.in/Hotel_Review-g1209190-d3722774-Reviews-Kittu_s_Farm_Resort-Kolad_Raigad_District_Maharashtra.html

This ride was planned with years of experience of Musafirs Team and hence the dozen-plus newcomers to their 149th ride (including me) were given clear instructions and support. Musafirs also had a pickup truck as backup vehicle in case of any breakdown of any motorcycle.

At the assembly point we received a reflective vest and we were informed about the hand-signals and horn-signals they use. They ensured we brought along our safety gear so as to avoid any unpleasant surprises on the road.

The ride was in a single-line formation. The neon-green reflective vests are for most of the riders. The red ones are for ‘Pilots’, ‘Pointers’ and ‘Shepherds’.

PHOTO CREDITS: Shona, Deva, Roshni, Deepak, Himanshu, Fester, Ujjwal.



The concept is very simple – No one in the formation was to overtake the rider in front of them. Also, of course,  you are never to overtake the Pilot.

The group follow the Pilot while the Shepherd at the rear ensures no one falls behind for any reason.

There is also a Pointer who waits at turns or crossroads to ensure no rider takes a wrong turn and gets separated / lost from the group.



Our first stop was for breakfast just outside the city. There was enough parking for all the bikes. All the tables at the restaurant were packed to capacity with ‘Musafirs’.



My white Hero XPulse 200 is seen here gliding over what is known as a ‘rumbler’ - used to force vehicles to slow down. Rumblers are much smaller in size compared to a ‘speedbreaker’.

A speedbreaker is usually placed as a single large bump unlike this line-up of small bumps you see in this photo.

The long-travel suspension, mono-shock absorber, 220 mm ground clearance and CEAT tyres of the XPulse was very satisfying on this journey.



This wonderful, happy, lovable and quiet doggo was what I am gonna call the resident ‘Receptionist’. I actually included three photos of this freewheelin’ doggo whereas there are plenty more clicked by the Musafirs.



This is a view of the rooms from the far end of the pool. It is nicely, naturally shaded with coconut tree leaves.

There is a nice breeze blowing in from the open farmland even in the afternoon (from the right-hand-side of this photo).



All the bikes got plenty of parking under shade of the many mango trees on the farm grounds. From extreme left is the new Enfield Meteor 350, a KTM 250 and a BMW 310 GS.



In this photo you can see the green raw mangoes hanging over another two BMW motorcycles. From extreme right is the BMW 310 GR, BMW 1200 GS and the 650cc twin-engine Enfield Interceptor.



From all the different types of bikes, this beautiful Triumph Bonneville T100 is my dream ride, my favourite. Like a low-hanging Devil’s fruit, it just tempts me to throw money at it.



The Freewheelin’ Doggo does not mind loud pipes at all, doesn’t bark - just a playful relaxed pup, a true Biker’s friend.



Here is a Kawasaki Vulcan at extreme right – not often seen on Indian roads.

The farm ground is soft and ideal for cultivation. I walked the entire length of it and it is quite large in size. Farming highly coveted products such as mangoes is very common in private farmhouses.



There were two or three Enfield Himalayan motorcycles. Also seen in this photo is a military olive coloured Enfield Classic 500cc. To the right-hand-side of the olive Enfield 500cc is my white coloured Hero XPulse 200 off-road ready motorcycle.



This is a view of the lake at a walking distance from Kittu’s Farm & Resort. There is a dam built at some distance on this lake. When the dam releases water, people get to experience ‘river-rafting’.

On Sunday morning, about 15 of the bikers went for the rafting experience by an organiser at Kolad. Our host, Kittu’s Farm owner helped us and co-ordinated to book rafting so you don’t have to go looking to find a river-rafting operator.



The Musafirs relax in the pool with beer at noon. Others enjoy the breeze as they ‘shoot the breeze’ around the poolside. If you could zoom in you would have seen they are siting on plastic chairs inside the pool – that’s ultra chilled luxury, you have to try it to believe it.



The poolside at sunset. Everything is so peaceful and serene in rural areas. Well, thankfully, there are no neighbours here to complain when we start to party in the evening.



After lunch on Sunday, we packed up and geared up to leave for home. This is a group photo before we roll. Standing on extreme right is the owner of Kittu’s Farm & Resort.

Standing fourth from extreme right, the grim grey biker is yours truly – me in my armoured jacket.



Doggo’s playful tasks wrapped up, digs in to hibernate till the next set of visitors arrive.



We took a different route back home. As you can see, even on bad roads with oncoming traffic, all of us maintained our single-line formation. No one broke the discipline and no one lost patience to overtake the rider in front of them.

The reason this is exemplary is because everyone is riding different types of motorcycles. Unlike an Enfield Bullet club or a BMW or HOG club – here everyone has a motorcycle ideal for different styles of riding, for different terrain and engine of different capacity for power & performance.



An Enfield breakdown? Why would anyone be surprised, considering the quality of materials on their motorcycles sold in India.

Americans however get to enjoy ‘export quality’ models, Flat Track Racing Enfield Factory Team, Build-Train-Race Program for women with MotoAmerica, etc.



Getting closer to the city we get the city roads. I am seen riding on the white Xpulse behind the lady on black Enfied Meteor 350 who is at extreme right-hand-side.

Everyone remains in the single-line formation even though there may be some mental urge to race home because it is office-work-day on Monday. Wonderful dedication and determination to team spirit.

(FYI: Staying in formation is how Roman Legion conquered everything they wanted)



Riding into city life now, we will take one last stop for ‘disassembly’.

Everyone will be accounted for and after hugs & handshakes, we ride into different directions into different corners of the city we call home.

My special thanks to Nicc and Shona who made first-timers in their group feel welcome to ride with them. If you really think about it, their rules are nothing elaborate or tedious. They are all basics and essential if you intend to ride in groups. The Musafirs have been doing it successfully for so many years – they can probably predict the newcomer’s style of riding to guide them accordingly.
 
The famous Bandit's Bedroll ready for the road. Click for more info.
The famous Bandit's Bedroll ready for the road. Click for more info.


 

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