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The Southern Trails

Pratish has always harbored a passion for riding. This passion was gradually developed and today Pratish is an avid and passionate rider, has a love for all things motorcycles and is a core member of team RTID. He began his journey of riding many roads with the Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 in 2010. Combined with his passion for traveling, Pratish has explored unknown places in the Konkan belt. Through his years of exploring this region, Pratish has acquired vast knowledge about the lifestyle, culture and heritage of the people. He took forward his passion and turned it into his profession by beginning Konkan Moto Tours. He organized rides spread across the region and established a strong connect with bikers. Pratish uses his vast knowledge of biking and motorcycles to plan, manage and efficiently execute events at Ride Till I Die.

Pratish Pune

It’s his love for riding and cruising the roads that made BFI select Pratish as one of their riders for the National Safety Ride. The ride spans the length and breadth of the country covering a total distance of approximately 8000 kms with the ride beginning from Delhi & ending at the Buddh International Circuit in Delhi. Pratish had been selected to ride the second section of the journey from Pune to Chennai…and what an amazing ride experience it’s been for Pratish.

The Ride

Pune marked the beginning of the second section of the Safety ride where Pratish, along with first section riders Rohan & Rahul attended the meet & greet session at Triumph Motorcycles in Pune. All of them enjoyed the evening with cops who had gifted the riders with mementos. Pune saw the beginning of the second section of the BFI safety ride with riders Pratish Ambekar opting for the Triumph Thunderbird Storm & Jaspreet Aiden opting for the Triumph Speed Triple. Both embarked on a journey that would remain etched in their memories for a long time to come.

Day 1 – Pune to Kolhapur

Next day marked the beginning of Pratish’s ride on the beautiful NH4 roads. Pratish favored the Triumph Thunderbird Storm which weighs around 350 kgs & is a 1700 CC bike. Perfect to the rider. Pratish, all through his journey of 3500 kms, did not change bikes even once as was common between the riders of the first section. Reason being that the Triumph Triple Speed is more of a race bike & Pratish is an established rider; a rider who enjoys cruising the roads at his leisure place, enjoying the scenery, the power of the bike and the journey.

Panhala fort

Thus began the journey from NH4 with onlookers staring at them, dressed in full protective gear and riding the best bikes on the block. It took Pratish a bit of time getting adjusted to the bike because of the power the bike was spitting and the weight of the bike. But once he had his hands set on it, there was no turning back for him. He simply loved the bike & smoothly cruised the roads from Pune to Kolhapur with a stop at Panhala fort, 20 kms from Kolhapur.  Strategically located over a pass in the Sahyadri mountain range, Pratish and entourage stopped at Panhala fort for a breather. Here they came across a group of riders who were riding without a helmet, and needless to say; out on a safety ride, Pratish gave the guys a few tips and safe riding and explained the importance of wearing the right gear. From there on the ride to Kolhapur was a smooth trip with beautiful roads.

Day 2 – Kolhapur to Chitradurga

The best time to enjoy the calmness of the road sans vehicles & pollution, taking in the fresh air and nature’s abundant beauty is the early morning; typically the time of day a rider like Pratish would enjoy riding. Day 2 of the ride took Pratish from Kolhapur to Chitradurga, Karnataka. Riding in Karnataka is a dream for any rider. Pratish having traversed the Konkan belt on his Royal Enfield Thunderbird, he was looking forward to riding the roads of Karnataka again. He knew the beautiful roads in the state and thoroughly enjoyed riding the Triumph Thunderstorm on those roads, with the air rushing past him and he taking the journey one mile at a time, cherishing every bit of the ride.

Day 3 – Chitradurga to Bangalore

Well what can we say? Pratish, the rider that he is, was sailing and cruising the roads smoothly to cover the 200 odd kms from Chitradurga to Bangalore. The beautiful scenery, the smooth roads & the strong bike, make a combination any rider would envy. One doesn’t just race along these lovely roads but rather enjoy the ride. Entering Bangalore, though being a beautiful city was highly polluted.

Ooty to Kochi 1

At Bangalore the riders were welcomed by local clubs and riders with Ikjot Singh Bhasin present for the meet & greet session. Pratish gave a pep talk on bike safety & BFI and he was also invited to share his experience of the ride so far.

Day 4 – Bangalore to Ooty

The best parts about the route from Bangalore to Ooty were the roads. Pratish actually described these 300 odd km roads as awesome to sexy. Ooty being located on a higher altitude, the road has some beautiful curves, spice plantations en-route, wildlife reserves, forest trails & the aromatic fresh air. The road required them to ride the interstate highways. Pratish had two route options to opt for; either reach Ooty via Kanakapura or Mysore. Well without hesitation it was the Mysore route they chose.

Mysore 2

First stop on the way to Ooty was Mysore, just some distance away from Bangalore. Pratish was thoroughly soaking in the beauty of the Mysore palace, with huge palace elephants visible to the onlookers. What a sight it was! Huge elephants with long tusks walking outside the palace, what a time to visit when the palace is already to be decked like a bride for Dusshera celebrations. The riders sure did have a good time.

Onwards then the riders headed towards Ooty in Tamilnadu. And along came the forest trails Pratish opted to ride. And boy what a sight! The Bandipur National Park which is a tiger reserve. Settled in the lap of nature & riding amid nature Pratish got to see breath taking views of elephants, deers, peacocks along the forest trails. It takes skill for a rider to actually admire the scenic locale & to also concentrate on riding and balancing such a massive bike. And that is a rider Pratish Ambekar possesses.

Soon after crossing Bandipur, the next major route that came along was Chamundi hills which are among the sacred hills of South India. Not many people get to visit such places in their lifetime. And Pratish sure did enjoy the ride on this part of the road. To smoothly pass this hilly terrain, Pratish raised the bike to its full power and throttled his way around the region. After crossing Chamundi hills, then came the Tamilnadu National Park which was again a tiger reserve. Again faced with two choice of roads; either the national highway or the road that passed through the jungle, Pratish obvious chose the latter. And damn did they enjoy riding the route! The forest trails with animal sightings along the way, 36 breath taking and dangerous hairpin bends after crossing the trails…it was a fabulous experience riding this route for Pratish. The hairpin turns were deep and spaced at short intervals but the riders confidently rode ahead. His skillful handling of the bike, carefully tackling the bends, Pratish maneuvered the ghat with ease. And then came destination Ooty where Pratish had a good shopping session followed by rest & relaxation.

Day 5 – Ooty to Kochi

South India is such a beautiful part of the country; lovely hill station, hospitable people, amazing weather and some of the sharpest and narrowest roads. For our rider Pratish, narrow roads weren’t an issue unlike what it would be for a racer. One such part of the road, the riders had come to such a stretch that it was difficult for two cars to pass each other at the same time. The road was so difficult to ride on and so narrow, that Pratish’s time tested and perfect riding skills were the only things that got him through. Pratish had to lean over, deeply bending his bike, cornering the turns which caused his riding boots to rub against the road. His skill as a rider was out in the open for all to see & these roads clearly weren’t meant for racing.

Kol to Chitradurg

Getting down this tricky patch of roads, the riders reached Kerala…and it was the worst roads the riders had faced in the entire journey. Filled with potholes and bumps in the road, they were considerably slowed down but at the same time wanted to cross the patch quickly.  But as luck had it, the riders were slightly delayed due to the bumpy roads but eventually managed to make it to Kochi in time for the event where the Kochi Triumph head, Mr. Sonu Vaidyan was ready to greet them along with local riders. Ms. Deepa Malik, a well known figure in the motorcycle industry too was present. After the meet & greet session, came the time to relax

Day 6 – Kochi to Salem

It was almost the end of the second section of the safety ride with just two more days to go. But as riders normally do, they always enjoy the journey, the roads rather than focus on the destination. And that’s how Pratish was taking the ride; one kilometer at a time, one day at a time…the thorough rider who he was. The riders had a brief stop at Coimbatore where they broke for some snacks & tea post which they continued the smooth ride to Salem, with Pratish skillfully traversing the roads. They finally reached Salem by dusk & it was rest time again.

Day 7 – Salem to Chennai

The last of the journey consisted of 335 odd kilometers and Pratish planned to make the most of the road which resulted in them taking the East Coast Road (ECR) enroute to Mahabalipuram which is also a UNESCO world heritage site recognized for its Pallava sculptures & the beautiful shore temples. Pratish, co-rider Jaspreet and team Ride Till I Die, on ground ride managers for the BFI safety ride, stopped at Mahabalipuram to enjoy the scenic view of the local beach and a round of horse riding while onlookers were busy ogling at the two beautiful beasts. Without wasting much time they began the second half of the journey that also marked the end of the second section of the ride, towards Chennai which Pratish enjoyed riding thoroughly.Chennai triumph and team

The event at Harbour City Motors was attended by local riders and also present were star riders who were to take over the reins of the third part of theride; Urvashi Patole & Sheetal Bidaye. For Pratish, the ride from Pune to Chennai on the Triumph Thunderbird Storm was a ride he would remember for life. Having rode an 1800 cc bike earlier, Pratish could easily handle the 1700 cc bike. A true rider doesn’t race to be ahead of the brood but certainly knows his path, knows his ride and knows to derive pleasure cruising the roads and all while keeping in mind the importance of wearing the right safety gear.

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