Pune is the most happening city. It is also a great starting point for many bike ridings routes such as Sinhagad, Lonavala-Khandala, Lavasa and many more due to the geographic location.
We (Ketan, Rohit, Allan, and Chetan) @thakur.ketan , @Rohit.Gandhi , @allan.mascarenhas9 , and @solartech.pune recently bought our Ather Series 1, not even a month old. We wanted to test their limits. Our group already had visited Katraj and Kasarsai dam to build up confidence and ease the range anxiety. First, we had decided to go to Sinhagad and everything was planned but due to some reason got delayed. In that week, Mayuresh first and then Quraish, other Ather owners visited Sinhagad. So now we needed something more challenging. Hence, we decided to go to Lavasa on Saturday, 6th Feb 2021. The route to Lavasa has multiple ghats with steep inclines. Pune to Lavasa is 50KM one way. We started planning for Lavasa a week before. We checked the route on Google maps, identified possible charging points, how much charge should we have at each point, and so on. None of us had a portable charger, BU Bhandari (Pune Ather dealer) were kind enough to give us two portable chargers for the trip.
On Friday, 5th Feb we were preparing for our ride, checking tyre pressure, extension box, getting GoPro, selfie stick & camera. Thanks to Allan we were able to arrange GoPro camera! But a disaster struck. On Friday evening, Allan was on the way to pick-up GoPro camera and he met with a small accident. He had bruises and his Ather was damaged. We thought of postponing the trip. Allan, being a sport that he is, insisted that as all the planning that has gone into this trip, rest of us should go ahead with the trip. We considered the possibility of him joining as a pillion. But Allan was unsure because of his injury. We were planning to charge our vehicles at The Farmstead, an eco-resort, on the way to Lavasa, and Gaurav from Farmstead had made all arrangements for charging points for our Athers, breakfast, and lunch. Hence, we decided to go ahead.
The Epic Trip
We had decided to meet at Subway, Paud road Ather Grid to start for Lavasa. We left our homes around 5:10 AM. Rohit was coming from Wakad (15 KM to reach Subway), I was coming from Pimple Saudagar (14 KM to Kalinga veg which has Ather Grid and is 4 KM from Subway, Paud Road), and Ketan was coming for Sahakar Nagar (8 KM to reach Subway). We had a time of 20 mins for top up to have at least 98% battery for each vehicle. So, we topped up each 450X to 98%-99% and the journey began at 6:45 AM.
We maintained a speed of 35-45 kmph. On the way there was one small ghat of Manas lake.
Then Pirangut ghat was downhill and then was Temghar ghat before we reached The Farmstead (Kharawade Village, Temghar-Lavasa Rd, Mulshi) resort. It was a fantastic ride. There were no issues in climbing up the ghat, we were driving in Ride mode. It was very smooth experience.
We reached Farmstead around 8:00 AM with around 60% battery left.
Ride report: Ather Grid, Subway, Paud Road to Farmstead (Ride mode used throughout)
Gaurav, owner of Farmstead was exited to know about the vehicle. We gave him a quick demo of 450X. He had already arranged for two charging points. As we had two portable chargers, we needed just two points. He told us that EVs like Nexon and Kona have already visited his resort. He said he was happy to provide charging points for EVs, two and four wheelers. He was even happy to install Ather Grid if Ather approached him. @abhishek.balaji would be good if you could pass this on to the Ather Grid team.
It was a charging time for us as well as our vehicles! We were well prepared with extension box if the wire was not enough to reach our Ather. The resort had a fantastic location, with fresh air (obviously we were not polluting it) and on the bank of a river. We got fresh and had a stroll around the farm, stretching ourselves. We had breakfast, and were blessed with wonderful Misal Pav, Pohe, piping hot tea and coffee. After COVID pandemic, had Misal for the first time. The taste was fantastic and Misal was not too spicy but a perfect blend of spices.
Now the most treacherous part was ahead. Farmstead resort to Lavasa was a complete ghat road with maximum inclination, 21 km one way. We started around 9:45 AM. Our vehicles were topped up to 65%-70% (Fast charger here would have helped, 3 scooters and two portable chargers, so had to manage in that). Our first stop was Temghar dam. It was around 6 KM from farmstead. We again maintain a very low speed till dam as we wanted to enjoy ghat section in sports and warp mode. We reached Temghar dam and stopped for some clicks.
The crowd starting building up, and were amazed that electric scooter can come so far. Some were thinking that we were from Ather and came for testing of vehicle. Everyone was asking for test rides and we were worried about our battery usage so we weren’t able to give them test rides. We literally started running away from the crowd. Some even started following us, trying to catch up with us.
Now our camera man Rohit was ready with GoPro, and scooter in Warp mode.
We left everyone behind, it was a fantastic experience with riding uphill at speeds of 45-50 kmph. The scooter performance was at par, the balance was incredible, cornering was amazing, it felt as we were riding a sports bike. At some point we could feel the tyres reaching the limit while cornering, the grip just enough. Only if we had grippier tyres and ABS then nothing like
This is where we are heading to
We reached Lavasa entry gate.
Ride Report: Farmstead to Lavasa Entry Gate. Ghat climb. (Eco, Sport, and Warp modes used. Ride reports of two 450X)
I put on the GoPro harness from Rohit. We bought entry ticket (Rs 200 per for 2-wheeler) and started the down-hill part of Lavasa ghat, we tried re-gen tricks. We have seen 1% to 1.5% re-gen. As expected, it didn’t help much. We reached Lavasa dam around 11:20 AM with 45% battery still available. Clicked some photos with wonderful backdrop. We had a wonderful time at the Lavasa dam and time passed away with planning for future trips . Now we were on high on confidence with our scooter performance.
We left Lavasa dam at 12:30 PM. Next stop, Farmstead resort. We reached to a vantage point where everyone was like – “Ek picture to Banta hai yaar“.
From here you can see complete valley and backwater of Lavasa dam. If you see the bridge behind us, that’s where we came from. This time we were using Ride mode for the uphill journey to conserve battery.
Check Out GOPRO video Electrifying Trip to Lavasa with Our Ather 450X
We reached Farmstead around 1:30-1:40 PM with 33-35% battery. We kept our vehicles for charging and headed over for lunch. Freshened up again and strolled for few minutes enjoying the country side. We headed over to lunch. It was a buffet style lunch with both veg & Non-Veg on the menu. We finished our lunch around 2:40 PM and checked our vehicles charge. After having so much food, it was resting time. We sat under the mango tree, chit-chatting. We had a beautiful nap under the tree, listening to the river flow nearby. Amazing experience. We highly recommend you visit Farmstead resort once. To be fair, we were made to rest as our vehicles needed to be charged at least 60% to reach home. Plus two chargers and three vehicles, took more time. Hence got time to relax. (One more benefit of EV, you get resting time ).
Now time to go back to our urban concrete jungle. We started at 3:30 PM.
Around 4:00 PM we reached Pirangut and were welcomed by heavy traffic. We were at a very slow pace. Then came the Pirangut ghat where we had to ride slow due to traffic. We reached Subway, Paud Road around 4:30 PM to top-up for 10-15 mins to reach home. Rohit charged his bike for 10 minutes. Ketan and I had 32-35% juice remaining.
Ride report: Farmstead to Ather Grid, Subway, Paud Road (Eco, Ride, and Warp modes used. Ride report of two different 450X)
I reached home with 9% battery, Rohit reached with 10% battery and Ketan, who didn’t charge at Paud road with 10% battery.
The journey was epic, remarkable, fun, and Electrifying! Ather performed like a pro and outperformed all the Challenges. We were missing Allan a lot. Thanks a ton Allan, for arranging GoPro and forcing us to go on to the planned trip, we missed you yaar. We are eagerly waiting for the next challenge with you. Thanks to BU Bhandari team for arranging two portable chargers. Thanks to Gaurav of Farmstead for a wonderful breakfast, lunch and giving us charging points for our Athers. Without his help our trip was incomplete.
The next challenge is coming, and this time we are not missing Allan. Timeline, don’t know.