Solo ride to Mahabalipuram
A drive to Mahabalipuram on the scenic East Coast Road will be a quick yes for anyone from Chennai😉. It was totally an unplanned trip as i was in a hunt for a good helmet since few days, i am already having an LS2 & MT but both have crazy graphics on it and i wanted something in pure white with no graphics to match the beauty of Ather450. During the Chennai launch event they had white & black helmets for test drive, i loved the white and also Tarun said they will be providing two helmets for every single owner who booked in the first batch and i was really happy about that. As promised on Oct 19th during the delivery of first 25 vehicles they gave us two helmets and we were allowed to select between full face or half face. I selected two half face and unfortunately there was only one colour option for everyone Matt Black and it was like (one size fits all) everyone were given Large size helmets. Few were comfortable with that size, few felt it was tight, few felt it was loose. For me it was slightly loose and was not a perfect fit also the colour didn’t go well with the bike according to me. So was looking for few models from different brands and was short listing & there was a helmet showroom near ECR tollgate which had some good high end models so decided to go there and return back home.
Started from home at Vadapalani with full charge and enroute wanted to check Ather grid “East Coast at Madras Square” if it was working fine, reached there and the grid was working perfectly fine so waited for few min and did a quick top-up and my Ather was again back to 100%. There is always a special feeling and a kind of satisfaction to see our Ather having full charge and showing 75Km range. So this helmet showroom was exactly 11km from the Ather grid, so had a thought i have been riding constantly on either sports or in ride mode and so wanted to do this short 11km ride on Eco mode and try out the projected range. I completed the 11km ride in 33min and reached the showroom and had a quick look of all the models and nothing seemed nice according to my taste. Then before getting on to the bike wanted to check my ride statistics and was shocked . 119Km was the projected range.
This numbers made me change my plans entirely. Instead of heading back home checked maps for Mahabalipuram and it showed only 28km . yes you guys got the point. whole heartedly decided to go visit Mahabalipuram.
My mind voice says you are all alone, you didn’t even carry your portable charger, what if bike stops in the middle without charge, what will happen if the bike breakdown all of a sudden, what if any vehicle hits you, nobody to support or even call for help, and going till Mahabalipuram and returning back on single charge is a great challenge ! So many things in my mind.
I just laughed at myself and did few more last min math, from full charge already did 11km and from my current location to Mahabalipuram- 28km then buffer 5km to roam inside Mahabalipuram, from there to Ather grid which is again East Coast at Madras Square - 39km . 11+28+5+39 = 83 . Piece of cake when the projected range shows 119km. Was so confident that i can do this with my Ather.
Started immediately, now thought of giving a second challenge to myself and go all the way till Mahabalipuram in Eco and maintain a average speed of 25kmph. This idea reminded me of my good olden days where i used to have my first EV which was back in 2010, it was a BSA Street Rider and it had a top speed of 25kmph and range was 70km.
Just like Ather i was the first to get it when it was launched in Chennai. I had clocked almost 10,000km in 2 years later gave it off to my cousin, since then wanted to upgrade and buy a next level EV and tested many many bikes in the market but I couldn’t find the right one, nothing convinced me in looks, performance, maintenance, ride quality, cost of ownership and i felt not worth investing until i finally found my Ather. Really Ather is “Vera Level”.
Riding on Eco for 28km @ average 25kmph was a bit of challenge and I personally like challenges, Luckily there was very less traffic on east coast road and there was no need for music, the roads were so good the vehicle itself is wonderful, the chill breeze from the sea, it was a perfect ride i must say. Reached the first pit stop “Madras Crocodile Bank” not to forget in our last group ride myself Gokul & Kevin came till here and returned back, we all came in ride mode and we were very much range conscious that time.
Enroute to Mahabalipuram many bikers who crossed me slowed down and were asking me the specs, One biker was even more funny and asked are you from the Ather company and are you doing any testing & stuff why are you riding so slow, I said iam owner of this bike and iam doing this for myself.
All smiles when i first saw the sign board which says Mamallapuram. FYI Mamallapuram also known as Mahabalipuram.
This is the main Mahabalipuram junction, we need to take a right for Pondicherry and it is just 98Km.
At this point my dashboard showed these numbers. Was pretty confident that i can return back safely with the remaining charge.
Few more pics which are mandatory when we are at Mahabalipuram, Kindly excuse for the picture quality, it was late and too dark.
This is in front of the shore temple.
DharmaRaja Cave Temple. You can also see the lighthouse at background.
One of the main attraction at Mahabalipuram is the India’s oldest light house.
Ather450 is really like a magnet and attracts so much attention when in public. Literally each and everyone’s eyes were on my Ather. In the busy streets of Mahabalipuram wherever i stop there was a group of people who surround the bike and shoot their questions. People who were seeing Ather450 for the first time were very very impressed with the looks, and to my surprise few people knew about Ather and were very much shocked to see the vehicle in Mahabalipuram. They said it looks really nice in real and appreciated me when they came to know i came all the way from Chennai.
According to me by seeing the reactions of Mahabalipuram people this was the next big thing happened in Mahabalipuram after the recent visit of China President & our Indian Prime Minister.
Finally after doing a small ride inside Mahabalipuram it was time to get back to Chennai. The next destination & Ather grid is 39km away which is at East Coast Madras Square.
Didn’t want to take a chance so never switched the mode. Continued in Eco for next 11km. Then stopped for a min to attend a call, The best part is the fan never kicked inn till now for the entire journey as i was riding only on Eco.
Was not using maps till now but from here i set the destination “East Coast at Madras Square” and to my surprise the destination was 28km and dashboard showed 28km range in Sports 32km in Ride & 37km in Eco.
Immediately switched to sports, Me and my Ather were ready to take off . Touched top speed and maintained full throttle for the next 13km. Ather450 + Sports mode + ECR = Heaven. Every sec was so much fun. Ather promotes the 450 as a vehicle for urban commute but trust me it is a cheetah on the highway. The vehicle is so well planted on high speeds, the stability and control is outstanding, such a well engineered product.
suddenly the range got less a bit after continuous riding in sports mode. Destination was 15km away but Sports & Ride both showed 13km range and Eco was showing exact 15km.
Switched back to eco for the next 4Km and then there was a very good improvement in range. Sports & Ride both showed 11km range and Eco showed 13km.
Again changed to sports for the next 2km and finally the bike automatically switched back to Eco as the Soc went below 16%. Covered the remaining entire distance in Eco and finally reached the destination. I was left with 6% charge and 4Km range when i came to East Coast at Madras Square charging point.
The total distance I covered with my Ather450 on a single charge was 85.3km, ( Which includes 15km in sports mode ) and the time taken to complete was 227 Minutes.
So to all the Atherian’s out there who still think it is impossible to take their Ather to Mahabalipuram and get back on a single charge, here is the proof. I have done it, You can also do it, Your Ather can also do it. You just need a lot of patience and never let go attitude. Absence of cruise control will take a toll on your wrist. I request Ather team to install just one Ather grid at Mahabalipuram. If anyone is ok for the challenge we can plan and take a group ride soon it will be fun I guarantee.