carly turned 6 last week. a little battered from the last ride, but still running enthusiastically.
6 years isn't a very long time for most bikes, but it is for this one. 124k km on the odo (and around 3k km not on the odo... yes, it happens). before carly, i used to consider panvel/vasai as my "home stretch". now, my "home stretch" is a 200-odd km radius from home. i have my favourite restaurants, stops and even fuel pumps on each highway, in each direction, for each time of day. i even remember my "nap points" and the associated rides.
riding back home from goa last weekend, i was thinking about how my riding style has changed over the years. i remember my first ride to goa, with barely over 1000 km on the odo. back in those early days, it was all about pushing myself, seeing how far i could ride non-stop, how quickly i could reach my destination. now, it's all about relaxing, having fun, enjoying some good food, taking in sights on the way while sticking to a schedule when required.
and of course, now that i'm riding with my wife, i enjoy showing off the best experiences i've gleaned over the years. like sunset at amboli ghat, the last hairpin bend at gaganbawda, the pre-dawn fog on nh17, the road through yellapur, maravanthe beach, and the likes.
still, it feels like i'm slipping into my comfort zone. after over 20 mumbai-goa rides, they now feel repetitive. the only big changes over the years are that the highways get worse, traffic gets worse, and the drivers get more rash and aggressive.
still, there's a lot to explore, and making it a point to ride to new places or try new routes keeps things fun.
but finally... the most important thing is to "just ride!"
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