We set off at an insanely early hour in the usual race against time, and in a blink of an eye were outside city limits and on to the old Pune-Mumbai highway. The expansive expressway had to be given a miss due to the fact that the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation practises ‘bikerpartheid’ (discrimination against vehicles with two wheels), but I was not bitter, honestly, because this meant we would stick to NH 4 and take good ol’ tarmac two-lane highways that have straights and bounds in abundance — the perfect environment to run our Speed Triple through the wringer. So run it through the wringer I did, and by the time we reached Lonavala and stopped for the obligatory picture outside one of the million or so ‘Maganlal Chikki’ outlets, I had a face-splitting grin plastered across my visage, and it wasn’t from the chikki; the outlets were all closed, anyway, understandable considering the sun had yet to make an appearance.
All too soon — seriously, this bike jumps to 60 and 100 km/h and beyond in a trifle — we were in Mumbai and I had automatically gone into the curse mode in anticipation of the deplorable traffic. To my shock, however, all that cursing was in vain. (I didn’t even know that was possible). Mumbai is actually (relatively) traffic-free in the early hours of the morning, as dawn’s first rays caressed the clouds hanging low overhead, throwing silver linings across my field of vision — another good omen. We were able to make it to Mumbai’s avant-garde neighbourhood, Bandra, in next to no time.