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Bike rides in india

...But First the Present

Until I did had not undertaken The Great Indian Road trip I did not comprehend the massive impact that this project had on India's economy as well as how many resources it could have possibly saved. Not counting the positive points to the image of India secured from the average foreign tourists. These days they indeed go back to their ultra developed nations wary of the fact that India is fast catching up, pun intended.

The Golden Quadrilateral is the first phase of the NHDP ( National Highways Development Project ). The NH DP has 7 odd phases and when I think of the wonders that the 1st Phase ( The Golden Quadrilateral ) has done, I can only but wish to hug Shri.Atal Bihari Vajpayee who inaugrated the GQ project in 1998. Just for the sake let me tell you that all the seven phases of the NHDP will be complete by 2015 and you wont believe what roads they have got planned for India!

On the GIR we covered a lot of inter city distances on the GQ. Me being a Delhite was aware of the NH8 ( National Highway No 8 ) that leads to Jaipur. I had been here once in 2005 with my Blackbird and had a real chance of experiencing the power of such roads. But nothing had me prepared for the experience that the the GIR would give us. The GQ connects the four major cities of India : Delhi - Mumbai - Chennai - Kokatta - Delhi with 4 and 6 lane roads.

Traveling on the GQ was done in the 2nd leg of the GIR. Amongst the bikes that were on the 2nd leg, the 1000RR Fire blade would be a perfect automobile of choice to test out the quality of the roads and the ride environment in general. I would often take the Fire blade to insane speeds ( consider that this was a huge road trip, not the average 10 day ride or a weekend ride ). Any speeds above 200kmph could prove to be fatal, specially on wide open rods like these because of the still omnipresent danger of a stray animal or a village crossing the road. Of course let me not even tell about the stupid villagers coming on their tractors and bicycles from the wrong direction. You cannot blame them though, what would you do if someone put a 4 lane road and you have to get to your farm across the road with no cut in the dividers for miles and work for a living? You cant enjoy much on these kind of roads by flooring your tractor for double digit speeds, can you! At these speeds anything unexpected like this on the road can be close to fatal. And riding below these speeds could very well kill you with boredom ( if no stray animal crosses your path after all ). These butter smooth roads on the GQ never seemed to end.

A couple of more factors would add the danger of riding on the GQ : crosswinds ( for two wheelers ) and the natural beauty of the surroundings. India is a hell of a beautiful places. I found it hard to juggle between watching the multi hued fields spanning vast open expanses on either side of the 4 - 6 laned GQ that i was on and the tarmac rushing in ahead. The crosswinds were sometimes like a huge invisible but solid entity trying to push you off the road - but of course we were more determined than it to complete the 19,000 odd km.

While we traversed around 5000 odd kilometers of the GQ we came across the following observations :

The road quality and design was conducive to high speed travel but the occasional pothole ( very few though ) might catch you unawares, specially in the night

The divider in between the 4 and 6 lane highways are good and some stretches also have foliage to protect from the glare of traffic on the opposite lane. But they add a very real risk of allowing animals to graze on the dividers in the shade of the plants and jump on the road whenever they want catching you shell shocked.

Tractors, bicyclists and motorcycles coming from the wrong side and in the fast lane are a normal event on the GQ.

Some parts of the GQ are still under construction as of Dec 2006. These parts include stretches from Bhubhaneshwar to Kolkatta and Kolkatta to Delhi. Although around 97% of the GQ ~5500kms is complete. Once we cam across a stretch of GQ just before Orissa and WB border. We were cruising at around 130kmph when the road abruptly ended into a mud road without ANY warning. This might be fatal to any vehicle in the night.

Sometimes it is better to take the state highways which are also the lesser used roads and do not have heavy traffic. For ex. we used a state highway from Varanasi to Lucknow instead of using the GQ. We got a tip from a cab driver in Varanasi that the GQ was under heavy construction for this part and would be hell to ride through. Therefore, better than any map always do consult a local befor continuing on a big segment of your journey.

It is recommended to ride in the day and avoid night on the GQ because of the above reasons and also because there is no artificial light provided.

Rest assured, we were completely blown away by this piece of engineering wonder in India. Let us tell you that the GQ is only the phase One of the NH DP project which has 7 odd phases to be completed till 2015. The NH DP project contains the GQ, the North-South, East -West project, up gradation of state highways and city roads. In 2015 it will be a surreal experience to ride super bikes in India. We suggest that you hibernate from India for 8 years and come back in 2015 to fully comprehend the development that occurs in this phase. I might also re-open this file for some serious editing in 2015...
Why don't you post some web links or even why not you create a website for this event...???
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