Avid biker from Bangalore, 33 yr old Balaji Mohan has found his name in the Limca Book of Records for having accomplished the Fastest Golden Quadrilateral Expedition. Setting out on May 5th at 5:49 am from Sriperumbudur, Mohan completed the feat across the Golden Quadrilateral, a highway network connecting major cities of Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai.
Besides these metros, the Golden Quadrilateral also connects Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Kanpur, Pune, Surat,Nellore, Guntur, Vijayawada, and Visakhapatnam.
Working as a lawyer, Mohan is a married man and has a 4 yr old son. He had previously participated in the SS2000 IBA ride across 3285 kms in 46 hours in March 2016. This gave him the confidence of undertaking another such challenge. Across 4 legs of the Golden Quadrilateral challenge, Mohan sped across National Highways that included the Kolkata – Chennai NH 6 (Kolkata to Kharagpur), NH 60 (Kharagpur to Balasore), NH 5 (Balasore to Chennai). Leg 2 saw Mohan travel Delhi – Kolkata: NH 2, Leg 3 included Delhi – Mumbai: NH 8 (Delhi – Kishangarh), NH 79A (Ajmer bypass), NH 79 (Nasirabad – Chittaurgarh), NH 76 (Chittaurgarh – Udaipur), NH 8 (Udaipur – Mumbai) and Leg 4 across the Mumbai – Chennai: NH 4 (Mumbai – Bengaluru), NH 7 (Bengaluru – Krishnagiri), NH 46 (Krishnagiri – Walajapet), NH 4 (Walajapet – Chennai).
Mohan prepared for Fastest Golden Quadrilateral Expedition by braving the heat, exercising and controlling his hunger while learning from the mistakes of his previous SS2000 IBA Ride. He had to contend with a mishap along the way when his bike got damaged due to poor visibility while he also had to face the most challenging of road conditions, vagaries of nature, lack of sleep and dehydration. Mohan survived the challenge with a liquid diet of ORC, tender coconut and lemon juice, just 5 hours and 30 minutes of sleep across the total journey while his Honda CBR250R stood him in good stead.
However his efforts were rewarded when after having set off on May 5th with an odometer reading of 22,425kms he reached back on May 8, 2016 with odometer reading of 28,383 kms. He completed the Fastest Golden Quadrilateral Expedition of 5,958 kms in 89 hours and 06 minutes thus breaking the previously set record. He was welcomed at finishing point by Chennai Trekking Club Biking Team and Mr. Jeyaseelan Arockiaraj (Asst Commissioner of Customs).
Read his experience, in his own words
Fastest Golden Quadrilateral Expedition in Motorcycle The Incredible 89 hours Ride of the Life Time – Mind Over Body
Preparing for the record
The drive of creating such extreme records and the road map for the time bound mission such as Saddle Sore, Golden Quadrilateral (GQ), K to K (Leh to Kanyakumari) and many more has begun 3 years prior.
Having previously completed SS2000 IBA Ride (3285km in 46 hours) on March 2016, first such ride in India, which gave the confidence to test my limits for such time bound endurance rides and I consider every ride has an experience and there is always an opportunity to improve, learn and correct my mistakes, which made me improve ride after the other.
On April 2nd I did attempted for breaking (Limca Book of Records) “most distance covered in 24 hours in a motorcycle” which was 2137km currently, it thought me the much needed lessons for this GQ expedition, there was small mishap happened due to poor visibility of headlight at 15th hours when I had completed 1540km, motorcycle got damaged and I was left out with few minor injuries, which took couple of weeks to recover but I got my motorcycle on the third week of April, thanks to Karthik (Tansi Honda) the man who made sure the motorcycle is at the top condition and he keeps doing it tirelessly. Headlight bulb was replaced with H4 Philips xtreme vision plus +130 and additional LED SPOT lights fixed for better visibility.
The planning behind this mission
The initial plan was to schedule the GQ attempt in last week of March, due to various reasons it got rescheduled to May first week, Keeping the mind and body in sync matters a lot for such endurance rides and extreme record attempts; diet control and eating what it required to keep you fit matters a lot during such endurance ride too. I started working on each and every thing including food, body workouts and exposing to heat during the noon. On the food I started controlling my diet with half meal 3 weeks prior to the ride, so that I wanted to reduce my appetite and consume as much as fluids (water and fruit juices), I am very much aware that the temperature during the month of May is going to be at the peak in entire GQ circuit, I also wanted to expose myself as much as in the Sun, so that I get used to the heat while riding, I used to take a
3 to 4 km walk in the noon so that my body get used to the heat. To keep the body flexible, I
started doing stretching exercise couple of months prior to the attempt as well.
As a responsible Motorcycle Rider, I am very much aware that time bound endurance ride would require immense concentration, focus and disciple on road, I always believe and act on few principle while riding, (1) to be predictable, use signals and let the vehicle behind and ahead of you know about your movements, whenever I switch lane, irrespective of whether vehicle is behind me or not I use indicators. (2) ride within your space, I always make sure I let the pedestrian cross the road and take them on the tail or wait/drop the speed so that they are not disturbed (3) I also strongly believe on ride and let ride; and sharing the road with other vehicle; (4) Read the Road, I would always watch out for signs and patterns in the road.
Riding solo requires extreme focus and keeping the mind calm from any distractions too matters a lot, I started keeping my self away from all distraction few weeks prior to the ride, my wife she helped me a lot in giving me a much need space and taking care of my diet and the environment to plan for this big ride. My best buddies Arun Prabhakar, Vishwanathan, Dhinu Karthik, Vinodh KB, Saba Nayagam, Kovendhan had always mentored, guided and supported me right from planning phase.
Considering the extreme level of attempt, I was looking out for sponsors prior to the ride, expecting I would get some support to promote and take this attempt to the next level but that never happened I didn’t get any positive response from the sponsors. I gave up and continued with my plan without any support.
Being part of Chennai Trekking club over the years, I have been associated/involved in various events including Chennai Costal Cleanup, lake cleanups and other green events over the years, the thought of taking a message “Say No to Plastic” was always there, because that’s what we practice in each of the CTC events (including Bike trips, treks and all outdoor events) and also personally I do follow the same principle in my day today life too and I wanted to carry this message with me on this attempt, as it is being a time bound endurance ride, the intention is to spread this message prior and after the ride was the goal.
The Golden Quadrilateral is a highway network connecting many of the major Cities of India. A quadrilateral of sorts is formed by connecting Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai, and hence its name. Other metropolises also connected by the network are Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Kanpur, Pune, Surat,Nellore, Guntur, Vijayawada, and Visakhapatnam.
Only National Highways are used in the Golden Quadrilateral. The four legs use the following
Kolkata – Chennai: NH 6 (Kolkata – Kharagpur), NH 60 (Kharagpur – Balasore), NH 5 (Balasore – Chennai)
Delhi – Kolkata: NH 2
Delhi – Mumbai: NH 8 (Delhi – Kishangarh), NH 79A (Ajmer bypass), NH 79 (Nasirabad – Chittaurgarh), NH 76 (Chittaurgarh – Udaipur), NH 8 (Udaipur – Mumbai)
Mumbai – Chennai: NH 4 (Mumbai – Bengaluru), NH 7 (Bengaluru – Krishnagiri), NH 46 (Krishnagiri – Walajapet), NH 4 (Walajapet – Chennai)
1st Leg – Chennai to Kolkata NH 5 (Chennai Balasore) NH 60 (Balasore Kharagpur ) NH 6 (KharagpurKolkata )
On May 5th at 5:49 am I started from Sriperumbudur (PRM India Oil fuel station), with all the starting formalities have completed before Jeyaseelan Arockiaraj (Asst Commissioner of Customs), Vishwa and Dhinu,
At the starting point my odometer reading was at 22425kms, plan was to ride as much as close to Kolkata in 24 hours and to ride as much as I can and reduce the rest time, this route was very new to me and that made it quite interesting to ride through, by around 10:45 am I crossed Guntur, where I met Arun after 3 years
He did came along with his friends, he quickly gave me 2 bottles of tender coconut water and with a quick refreshing chat, I continued the ride through Vijayawada, Rajahmundry and reached Visakhapatnam at 4:24 pm by the time I have completed 880km (with odometer at 23305km)
With sun going down I was prepared to take the next 12 hours in night mode with full lights on crossed Cuttack at 10:03 pm, with vehicles crossing all over right & left without any sense of traffic, which I was very much prepared to take it up and crossed Balasore at 12:55 am on 6th May, slowly my mind started realizing I need some rest that’s where without any second thought at 1:40am on May 6th stopped at a Dhaba near Jaleswar (Odisha) and with 10 min relaxed chat with a localities decided to take a power nap, the dhaba person did allowed me to sleep on the vegetable cutter table, I cleaned the table and went on to sleep at 1:45 am, had a sound sleep for 1 hour 35 minutes and woke up at 3:25am, felt refreshing after the much needed power nap and had one bottle of water with ORS and dry fruits, the intention was to cross Kolkata before sunrise, and eventually I did crossed by 5:44 am on 6th May
2nd Leg – Kolkata to Delhi – NH2
From Kolkata the roads until Durgapur where good, I knew another long day and I need much need energy to drive the entire day, I stopped for another 10 min near Burdwan to have some tender coconut, I had 7 tender coconut and a quick chat with person selling tender coconut, he worked previously with AVM studio and he had high respect for
AVM Saravanan sir it was an refreshing chat, got to hear few tamil words from Bengali guys, felt refreshing and got back on to the saddle with the target for the day was to cross Delhi before 2 am, the roads condition after Durgapur in to Jharkhand & Bihar where not that great broken roads, constructions, crossing from right, left and center made me to slow down, now I went on to super safe mode predicting each and every movement in the road and crossed Bihar border there where lorries standing for almost few kms in the UP RTO Check post managed to crossed and reached Varanasi by 3:58, there was some accident in the road because of which there was a traffic jam of almost 10km, I tried ridding in the gaps in between the heavy vehicles but I couldn’t see a clear road ahead of me, then a localities guided me to cross a small stretch and helped me getting on to a the median, I rode for almost 10 km in the median to cross the traffic caused due to an accident, while standing on the media awaiting to roads get cleared a drunkard suddenly jumped from the lorry and fell over on me, which caused a little damage to my bike and GPS, kept myself cool and got back on the saddle and crossed Allahabad by 6:00pm on 6th May the roads from Allahabad where good I could get back on to the original rhythm and sync day light vanished in no time now slowly got in to night mode with lights on and dropped my speed and was riding in safe mode expecting the unexpected, it started drizzling with heavy cross winds which eventually slowed me down and now I switched to super safe mode and crossed Kanpur by 9:18pm at this point realized I did lot considerable time in this NH2, I took the roads on its merits and decided to continue further and reached Agra by 1:00 am on 7th May and few encouraging words from the fuel station guys who helped me to clean my helmet visor from there proceeded through NH2 via Mathura, the Agra – Delhi roads where at bad conditions, lot of potholes, heavy traffic, which took considerable time to cross Delhi, reached Delhi by 4:29 am on 7th May.
3rd Leg Delhi – Mumbai: NH 8 (Delhi – Kishangarh), NH 79A (Ajmer bypass), NH 79 (Nasirabad – Chittaurgarh), NH 76 (Chittaurgarh – Udaipur), NH 8 (Udaipur – Mumbai)
The stretch Kolkata – Delhi was challenging and with bad roads tested my patience to extreme, with few hours behind with original plan, I knew I need to compromise on sleep with all these going into mind crossed Gurgaon by 5:00 am on 7th May with the signals of sleep mode I crossed Neemrana by 7:20 and decided to take a power nap in a Dhaba slept until 8:15 am a much needed rest to body and mind (55 minute power nap), had ORS and Dry fruit and started towards Jaipur, Preparing for the hottest day, my plan is to consume as much as water about 750 to 1000 ml of water at every fuel stop and also take as much as dry fruits and make maximum use of the fuel stops. Crossed Jaipur by 10:12 am on 7th May by then I was done with 3457 km in 51 hours, the roads where good but it was too hot to ride I kept pouring lot of water on my head and jacket to keep myself cooler, it did worked out for shorter time and after Jaipur with narrow roads and speed breakers dropped my speed and switched to safe mode and crossed Udaipur by 3:21 pm on 7th May, with my bike needing quick check exactly at the right spot found Himmatnagar H R Honda Service Center on NH 8, the mechanic “Bitu” did a quick check, adjusted the chain and lubed it in 10 min, Thanks to “H R Honda” with that I continued further towards Ahmedabad, with roads getting narrowed (2 lane) I did lost some time there and crossed Ahmedabad by 6:55 pm on 7th May, it was very difficult to ride there where people had no respect for traffic signals, I took a deep breath after crossing this stretch, continued further in NH 8 towards Vadodara and reached by 08:55 pm with riding in extreme hot conditions and crossing heavy traffic in Ahmedabad and Vadodara my body and mind was looking out for rest after crossing Karjan, I decided to take a calculated power nap in a fuel station by 10 pm on 7th May with another 1700 km to cover in the last day, had a sound sleep for 1 hour 30 minutes until 11:30pm on 7th May
I started riding back after the power nap and within few kilometers I stopped in the roadside to change my Garmin GPS batteries, unfortunately the GPS slipped out of my hand and in the second attempt to catch was also failed in turn it bounced from my hand and fell in middle of the road a twowheeler ran over it and the GPS got damaged it was disappointing to lose the GPS at almost in the last leg, but never the less the entire ride was tracked through live GPS tracking through SPOTwalla, with few minutes of disappointment playing in mind I parked my bike aside and relaxed for 5 minutes to regain my concentration and focus on the road but it didn’t work I tried ridding for another hour until Surat by 1:00 am on 8th May I couldn’t regain the concentration after losing the GPS and also felt sleepy, with no other thought I knew I can afford to take another power nap, this time I parked my bike next to me and slept in a road side hotel the person who is in charge of the hotel gave me wooden cot to sleep, there where lot of mosquitos around which disturbed me a lot, after seeing this the person in charge of the hotel gave me the Odomos cream, which he kept for his use there was hardly anything left in that tube, sufficient for one use, I should appreciate the person he was selfless to give me the last bit to me which he kept for his use. Selfless people like these from where I take my inspirations from and this is what makes me to travel and learn how to be simple in life. I slept until 2:30 am on 8th May, with 1 hour 30 minutes power nap, I felt refreshing, body and mind back on sync, had enough water and dry fruit and started from Surat at around 2:45 am on 8th May crossed Vapi by 3:55 am and the plan was to cross Mumbai before the sun rise and I did crossed by 6:30 am on 8th May
4th Leg Mumbai – Chennai: NH 4 (Mumbai – Bengaluru), NH 7 (Bengaluru – Krishnagiri), NH 46 (Krishnagiri – Walajapet), NH 4 (Walajapet – Chennai)
The last leg and the best roads in this GQ circuit, I knew I am almost there but I kept saying to me until completing the last inch I am not done, so that the enthusiasm of completing shouldn’t get on to my mind. With keeping all this aside started focusing back on road and crossed Pune by 8:30 am on 8th May with unusually more traffic around took NH 4 on its merits crossed Kolhapur by 12:08 pm on 8th May with couple of more States to cross, entered Karnataka and crossed Citradurga by 4:19pm, stopped in a roadside juice shop and took 10 glasses of Lemon juice which gave me the energy punch to take the last stretch.
Nearing Bangalore the clouds were dark and it looked raining, I stopped again and safely packed all the bills and documents in the water resistant pouch and proceeded further 6:30 pm reached Bangalore and it rained heavily which eventually slowed me down and the rain continued until Hosur with couple of hundred kilometers to go, crossed Krishnagiri by 08:38 pm on 8th May and I kept saying that “until last inch I am not done”, this really helped me to be in control and focus back on road, after Ranipet the roads where uneven and being the weekend there where traffic nearing Chennai and finally I did rode back to Sriperumbudur (PRM India Oil fuel station) from where I started on May 5th with the Oddometer reading 28383 km on 8th May 10:55 pm I did complete 5958 km in 89 hours 06 minutes, with Chennai Trekking Club Biking Team welcoming at the finish point and Mr. Jeyaseelan Arockiaraj (Asst Commissioner of Customs) signing at the end point felt a satisfaction that no words can explain it.
A New National Record was made Fastest Golden Quadrilateral Expedition in Motorcycle –
89 hours 06 minutes
“Success and failures are part of life, seeing failures as experience is what I learnt over the years” I would dedicate this accomplishment to my family & friends who has been supportive
throughout my journey of life.
My Family Divya Balaji and Kavin Balaji without you this wouldn’t have been possible, am blessed to have you both in my life; My Mom and Dad supports me in all that I do, My Dad he is my first inspiration towards Motorcycle/bicycle and mom she takes care of me at all times, this is for you mom on the Mothers Day; Prabhu Mohan (brother) the person who taught me how to ride a motorcycle
My inspiration towards endurance and motorcycling world Arun Prabahar, Peter Van Geit, Vinodh KB & Ram Ps
My all time best CTC Biker buddies, Dhinu Karthik, Vishwanathan Balasubramanian, Saba Nayagam, Manoharan Rajasekaran, Bharanidharan Ravi, Anu Kool, Ankit Mathur, Praveen Kumar, Balaji G, Kovendhan, Masanamuthu, Mohan Babu, Vinoth Y, without you guys I wouldn’t have entered the world of motorcycling.
I should thank Peter Van Geit & Chennai Trekking Club, Chennai Costal Cleanup and CTC Biking
Team for being supportive.
Tansi Honda staffs – Karthik the man behind the machine, thanks for servicing Honda CBR 250
R and keeping it at the top condition always & Chandrasekhar Sir you have been such a support since the day we meet, looking forward to get associated with Honda in forthcoming events.
Sunder Kwatra and my team – Thanks for the support and providing me a space to achieve my personal goals apart from professional goals.
Be a change “Say No To Plastic Bags”
In September 2015, when I was attempting to ride through Trans Himalayan range, I lost my index finger in a small land slide in Tyari (near Killad), It took 5 days to reach back to Bangalore and I couldn’t able to ride bike until December 2015.
Without right hand index finger, it was very difficult to get back and ride my bike, but all I had is my confidence. With my family and friends support I started riding my CBR 250R from January. It used to pain enormously but all I wanted is to come out the world where people saw me as handicapped. I started training rigorously to make a point to myself and to this world that I only lost one finger and not my confidence. I planned for SS2000 (3,200 Kms in 48 hours) Iron Butt Association Ride, until now no rider in India have done SS2000.
I prepared extremely from diet to fitness and adjusting to ride without index finger.
I successfully completed 3,285 km in 46 hours on March 2016, which gave me the first rider in India to complete SS2000 level ride in India.
From there my next goal was Golden Quadrilateral, which is now successfully completed.
My next attempt is in July 2016, for fastest North to South Expedition (Leh to Kanyakumari). I would be attempting to break the current record of 78 hours in July 2016.
All the best Balaji, you are an inspiration to the community. Keep breaking records.