Day 28 – Sangrur to Sriganganagar

As I left a still sleepy Sangrur at 8.30 in the morning, the point was clear and throbbing in my head. Need to reach Jaisalmer. That was the first mistake.

I had been riding in dust all day long yesterday. There had been a number of bad stretches on the road. There was just a little whizzing under my left foot from the gear shift. And it had been 2500 kilometers since the bike was last checked. Even for the chain tension. That was the second mistake.

I had been riding with complete abandon. I did not notice that there was minor slippage in the lower gears. I did not notice that the whirring under my left foot increased sometimes without any reason (or so I thought). That was the final mistake.

I had travelled barely a hundred kilometers when the problems began. The bike started to lose gears in the 1st through 3rd. At first I couldn’t understand what was happening. The gears just wouldn’t hold in the first three and would only about stay on in the higher ones. I ground to a halt. Jhunir town. Within shouting ditance of the state border. I checked the bike. I was looking somewhere else.

With a little help from a mechanic, I figured out the problem. The chain was loose. So loose it could have touched the ground, had some coconut water and come back. As a result, the rear sprocket had worn out. The cogs on the sprocket were broken. The grip being offered was minimal. Coupled with the mightly loose chain, it meant the drive chain was roaming around in a parallel universe when it should be tightly hugging the sprocket. This was bad news. I had less than 6000 kilometers on the odo and the key to the bike’s movement was showing serious wear. This ought to be solved soon.

I was on the phone for the next 20 minutes trying to figure out which would be the best place to go. I chose Sirsa. About 40 kilometers away across the border. Luckily on my way. Not that it mattered right now. Got my chain tightened and was away.

The guy at Sirsa started working on the bike right away. It needed a service as well. The only option with the sprocket was a replacement of the front & rear sprocket along with the chain. And they didn’t have it. And had no hope of getting it around. Their only option was someone leaves from there and goes to Ambala (about 300 kilometers away) and comes back with one (Ambala is a major centre for spares). That would mean tomorrow also goes waste (it was only 12 noon today mind you). On the other hand, the guy working on my bike said “Go to Ganganagar, you will get all the things you need”. I suspected this as I thought Ganganagar would be a small just-larger-than-a-village sort of town. But I had no choice. At 4 pm (after figuring out all choices and getting a full service done), I was off. Riding much more carefully now, I rolled into Sriganganagar at 9 pm. I was desperately hoping the problem gets solved.

I checked into the hotel. And kicked myself. For not taking care of the bike. For not having enough sense to check the chain tension earlier. For not listening to the bike sooner. For not paying attention. For being an ass. Then drank myself to sleep.

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