The Porky Bastards Ride To Tillari Ghat

Today the Porky Bastards Motorcycle Club grew by three – Chris Manners, Parthasarathy Srinivasan and Vaibhav Naik, all my colleagues at 3D Systems. We went for a ride to Tillari Ghat. The Facebook event we created read:

A quick half day ride from Mapusa to Tillari Ghat, the absolutely worst road you can take out of Goa. We will meet at the Mapusa Bus Stand at 7 am, ride 70 kms to Tillari, enjoy the view and ride back to be home in time for lunch.

At least that was the plan. What actually happened turned out to be something quite different. Read on to know more.

We started riding from Mapusa at 8 am and stopped for tea an hour later somewhere inside Maharashtra.

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This is me with Chris Manners, a 56 year old American who has been with 3D Systems for 23 years now. We rented a Royall Enfield Thunderbird for him and he absolutely loved it.

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30 years ago Chris used to ride dirt bikes. He tells me he was pretty wild one back them. After he got married he stopped riding altogether. He lives and works in the US and regularly comes down to Goa to work with his team in the 3D Systems Goa office. The other day he abruptly said to me, “I want to be a Porky Bastard“. He had been reading the blog posts at www.porkybastards.com and wheels had begun turning in his head. I replied, “To be a Porky Bastard you need to come for a ride with us. So why don’t we ride this Sunday.” And that’s how this ride came to be.

The transformation has happenned. Chris tells me that when he returns to the US he is going to visit the Harley-Davidson dealership in his neighborhood and buy a Harley-Davidson Wide Glide.

2010, Dyna, FXDWG, Wide Glide, right broadside

I’m now trying to get him to start a Porky Bastards chapter in the US. 😉

Anyways, after the tea break we continued riding and began climbing the Tillari Ghat.

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I took this picture one kilometer from the peak of the ghat, the point where we were to turn around and ride back. And that was when disaster struck. My bike refused to start. It seemed to be an electrical problem and we tried to troubleshoot it. We swapped batteries, replaced fuses and even shorted wires. We got the bike to start and run a couple of times, but then it would die on us again. After running out of options it became evident to us that this was a much bigger problem and something that we would not be able to fix on our own on the road.

Something else was bothering me. Chris had a flight back to the US at 5 pm and Vaibhav had to answer one of his MBA exam papers at 2:30 pm. Yes, the guy actually decided to go for a ride out of state on the day of his examination. So we took the decision to split up. Partha would stay back with me and Vaibhav would lead Chris back to his hotel and then proceed to answer his examination. That turned out to be a good decision because Chris made his flight and Vaibhav reached in time for his exam.

Partha and I decided that the only option was to haul my bike in a truck and take it back home. There was no mobile network coverage on the Tillari ghat. So I asked Vaibhav to stop at a nearby village on his way back and send a mini truck our way, which he did. We loaded my Thunderbird in a Tata Ace and started to head back to my home in Porvorim. Partha followed on his Avenger.

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I realized two things today. First, the Thunderbird is a very heavy motorcycle. And second, the roads on the Tillari Ghat are much worse than I thought. As it is they are bad when you are driving on them in a car or a motorcycle. But try riding the Tillari ghat sitting on a Royal Enfield propped up on a Tata Ace, get mercilessly thrown around, cling on to dear life while doing a balancing act and you will start the appreciate the state of the road. Here is a picture of the road I took a year ago on an earlier ride to Tillari.

One more monsoon has ravaged the ghat and the roads are far worse now. I must say it was quite an experience, one that I would not want to relive in a hurry.

At around 3 pm we stopped for lunch at a village called Bhedshi. I had an awesome fish thali.

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We finally reached my home in Porvorim at 5 pm, much later then I had planned.

So this how the Porky Bastards ride to Tillari Ghat went down. Hopefully the next ride won’t be as eventful.