About the contest: Hero Karizma ZMR Wanderers is an ongoing monthly online contest. All participants are asked to answer some very simple questions and at the end of the contest every month, three winners are chosen. These lucky bike enthusiasts win an all expense paid 2N/3D ride on three Hero Karizma ZMRs. Rides are planned well in advance and cover several beautiful locations across the country. Those interested in participating can enter the contest on Hero MotoCorp and Autocar India’s Facebook page. The contest and rides are organised and conducted by Hero MotoCorp and Autocar India.
After 10 rides, the Wanderers decided that it was time to explore Southern India. The timing was perfect – that part of the country has excellent weather this time of the year and is always a great place to ride around. Their plan, as it stood, was to start from Bengaluru, wander about and see what wonderful spots they could find.
The Wanderers Kshitij Rasal, Sigmund Quadros and Sharvari Manakwad, along with Autocar’s Vir Nakai, left the city early and luckily managed to exit Bengaluru without getting lost. This was mainly thanks to Google maps and a little homework they did before leaving. They were soon riding towards Mysore on the Mysore Highway. This four-lane, sparsely trafficked, smooth ribbon of tarmac is brilliant to ride on. Once they arrived at Mysore, they had two options – a bypass that goes around the city and another road that goes through the city. They chose the latter. Riding through Mysore is great as it is an interesting city and the palace that lies on the way is a fantastic example of architecture and design. As they rode out of Mysore, they encountered roadworks and had to slow down. But after about 30km or so, the roadworks ended and smooth tarmac resumed.
When they left Bengaluru, the skies were clear, but now, on the way out from Mysore, the skies had darkened. Soon the heavens opened up with such intensity that the Wanderers were drenched to the bone in minutes. They decided against stopping and continued to ride through the rain. And it rained down on them for a good 40 minutes. Luckily, they were on the nicer part of the highway and that made the ride brilliant. It was probably one of their wettest rides in the year. The Hero Karizma ZMRs also performed brilliant¬ly. They held their ground well and did a good job of cutting through the water without any slip-ups. Then the rain stopped just as they arrived at Bandipur, right on cue. The sun came out and dried everything. And that worked perfectly since Bandipur is one of the few national parks that can actually be ridden through. The Wanderers spotted elephants, deer and many, many monkeys hanging around, watching the traffic go by.
To get to their final destination, Ooty, they had to continue through Bandipur into Mudumalai. A few kilometres into Mudumalai, they came to a fork in the road. Both roads went to Ooty. But only one of them snaked its way up a mountain and had 36 steep hairpin bends. Obviously, that’s the one they took. The narrow road with tight, steep bends seemed like it was built for biking. Sadly, there was also quite a bit of traffic on it. But the Wanderers zipped around it all and soon arrived at Ooty. They found a nice spot to spend the evening and whiled away what was left of the day.
After a leisurely breakfast the next morning, they geared up and headed out for some exploration. The roads around Ooty were phenomenal. They cut through quaint villages and tea estates and had the surface of a race track. It was the kind of tarmac riders dream about. They just rode. And rode. Occasionally they’d stop for a few photos or chai. They soon arrived at Emerald Lake. Here they parked and spent a lot of time staring at rolling green hills with low-flying clouds obscuring their peaks.
Later they headed to the Jungle Retreat at Mudumalai, their halt for the night. Here they were informed that they could not leave their room after dark without a forest guard as the retreat had no boundary walls and the local wildlife would regularly stroll through the property. Everything from elephants, deer, monkey and even leopards have been spotted by the pool at night. The Wanderers spent their last evening here swapping stories and were generally disappointed that the ride was ending the next day. When morning came, they retraced their steps back to Bengaluru and returned the bikes to Prakash Hero, a Hero MotoCorp dealership. This marked the end of another great ride for the Wanderers.
“It was like a dream come true. The three days riding from Bengaluru to Ooty were the best three days of my life. I had an amazing experience, especially on the ghats. All the arrangements made were outstanding. If I had to choose what I thought was the best part of the ride, I’d say it all was the best part. I enjoyed every second. Everyone on the ride — Sigmund, Sharvari and Vir — was great.
“This was my first time on a Hero Karizma ZMR. Its performance and comfort were simply outstanding. It is very comfortable to ride. I may even switch to a ZMR when I’m in the market for a new ride – this bike is really good for touring. The economy is excellent too. We did the ride without having to refill at all. It always had enough power, no matter what situation we were riding in. If it’s possible, I’d love to ride with the Wanderers again.”