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The great Mysore Ride

A thread on Bangalore Bikers Group by Anil Kadsur about a ride to mysore triggered a massive response from the Bangalore cycling fraternity. The thread kept building as more and more people gave their confirmation to join the ride. The hype had built up massively and the final count stood around 120 cyclists who were eager to ride to mysore.

To make things even better, We even got a wonderful poster urging all cyclists to join the fun.

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Various topics were discussed on the thread leading to the ride, ranging from the route, to hydration and the Do’s and Dont’s on the ride. All this is excellently compiled by Chidambaram in his blog. Those who are interested in doing long distance cycling, refer to the blog as it contains very important tips. BOTS even organized a interactive session for all the participants, 2 days before the ride.

As D-Day drew near everyone were excited and finally on 21st Sept we had around 80+ bikers assembled at Kanakapura– Banashankri Junction popularly known as Merida Junction to start off the ride.  Some mandatory photos and it was time to hit the road.

Excited Bikers @Merida Junction

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The ride began at 6.15 and the sea of bikers, began to snake through kanakapura road. The early morning weather made the going good. The group consisted of veterans who have done brevets ranging from 100-400 kms and many first timers who were doing their first century ride.

We were cruising along at decent speeds while chatting with other cyclists. Few stops in between to stretch our muscles, for refreshments and we soon we were at kanakapura around 8.30 where the faster cyclists were already at Vasu hotel enjoying a hearty breakfast. Those who had come late, stopped for breakfast while the others were getting ready to head onwards towards malvalli. A break for an hour and it ride continued.

The sun had come out by then and it was a slow ride towards malavalli.  Frequent breaks were taken while waiting for others to catch up and the pace had come down a lot. Finally after lot of huffing and puffing myself and few others reached malavalli at 1 pm and took a break for lunch. The sun was blazing now and we still had another 50 kms to go to reach mysore. The ride in the afternoon was slow due to the weather which had become hot.

Our cycles and attire were the object of attention throughout the ride. The kids were giving us high 5’s and waving to us along the way and the locals were gazing in amazement  at 50+ people cycling together. When we used to take breaks, the kids and the locals used to flock to the cycles and tried to change the gears, fiddle with the lights etc. They were surprised we were cycling all the way to mysore and were curious about the bikes we were riding. The following are the list of questions we were asked during the ride

  • Why are you guys riding to mysore ? Cant you take the bus !!
  • Wont you get tired cycling all the way ?
  • How much does your cycle cost. If you say the price, u’ll get a motor bike for the price. Whats so great about the cycle your paying so much ! ?
  • Will the cycle get punctured !! DO you have the tools to repair if something goes wrong.
  • Are you cycling for any cause ?

Answering these questions and enjoying the attention of onlookers we continued towards mysore. Some of the faster riders had already reached Mysore while we were struggling in the heat. Finally at 6 in the evening myself and few others reached mysore. We came to know few of them were at Hotel Siddhartha and we went there, however they had gone to the bus stand by the time we reached. The canter which was booked was already full and the rest who had planned to return back the same day took the volvo. Some bravehearts even rode back in the night making it 300 kms in a single day.

A good night sleep and i was in a better shape to ride back the next day. Left mysore at 6.15 in the morning and met 3 others near the bus stand who were getting ready to ride back. The sun was just rising when I left mysore and it was a hard and fast ride in the hot sun on a relatively empty highway to reach home in 7 hrs compared to 12 hrs that I took when going.

I would like to thank Anil and Chiddu for organizing the ride and to all cyclists who took part. Had an awesome time riding with everyone.

Snaps can be found here

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2011 The Season Opener — Ride to OOTY

After a two month break from my last trek to Thadiyandmol and Nishani Motte I was ready to hit the road again. I had visited a couple of places when I was in mumbai, however when CAM announced the ride to ooty I immediately signed up.

With the usual formalities completed, we headed to ooty. We reached gundulpet in the wee hours of the morning, after refreshing , we got ready to head to bandipur. As usual, ,the support vehicles were ready with the cycles. The bus and the support vehicles reached bandipur-mudumalai border and the riders got ready to embark on an arduous climb after unloading the cycles and having breakfast.

Mudumalai Entrance

Day 1 – The Ascent

The initial part of the ride was through mudumalai forest and all the riders were enjoying zipping along the empty roads in the forest,  however the joy was shorlived, when we reached gudalur. The steep ascent to ooty was about to start, which also meant the fight against gravity was also about to start.

The ride begins

TFN 2010 was concluded recently and the route was marked with encouraging messages for the 100 cyclists who had particapted in that.

Never Give UP

The climb was slow, and the rising temperatures made the climb even more tough. Stopping after few kms we continued the climb. As we went up the climb became more steeper. A few of the riders decided to climb the support vechile and ride a short distance while the rest of them were slogging it out in the heat. Depleting water levels also meant the support vechile had to stop frequently to replenish the water for the tired riders.

Scenary enroute

Myself and a few others took a ride in the support vechile for a short distance . Frrquent stops to supply water for the other riders, also meant we could have our lunch also before we could start the climb again.

With 30kms to go to reach ooty, the riders in the support vehicle, including myself began the climb again. The climb was slow and we began to cover good distance. A short break for tea and we were off again. It was almost 4.30 and we were 6 kms away from reaching ooty. Time was running out and the support vechile was sweeping everyone and we had to reach ooty by 5. Another ride in the vechile and we reached ooty by 5.30. Accomodation was at YWCA. Rooms were allotted. A short rest and we headed out for dinner and it time to hit the sack and the thrilling downhill ride was waiting everyone the next day

Day 2The Descent

It was a delayed start as the many of us had opted to ride downhill though there was an optional ride to doddabetta which was done by a few expert riders. Since the ride was downhill we decided to take it easy. Stopping for photos we continued our ride. A short detour to pykara boat house and a short boat ride we were back cruising downhill again. We met a german couple who were cycling from mumbai to germany over a course of 1 year covering almost 25k kms. Pretty amazing stuff.

Lake enroute to mudumalai

A couple of hours of a thrilling downhill ride and we were at gudalur. A short stop for lunch and we were back riding to bandipur where the bus was waiting. Another couple of hours with short breaks and we were in bandipur-mudumalai border, thus concluding an amazing and wonderful ride.

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100 cyclists to tour across the beautiful ‘Blue Mountains’ range

Bangalore, India, Wednesday, October 13, 2010: Tour of Nilgiris (TFN), a flagship event of RideACycle-Foundation (RAC-F) and India’s original bike tour, closed-in 100 registrations for the year 2010. TFN 2010 (popularly known as TFN Ten) is in its third consecutive year where it has seen a 60% increase in the number of riders from its first tour in 2008. TFN has grown to be India’s premier cycling tour which trails across the beautiful Nilgiris Mountains in South India. It is a mass participative cycling event for professional, amateur and the casual cyclist.  RAC-F intends to promote the cause of cycling and bring awareness about the various benefits of cycling. The ride is stretched across eight days starting from the 16th to the 23rd of December, flag-off of which will happen from Bangalore.

“What started as a casual cycling trip amongst 40 friends in 2008, has now grown be the most recognizable and enduring sporting brand in India with a total of 100 riders, who were selected out of nearly 350 applicants for the year 2010″ said Ravi Ranjan, Co-founder, RAC-F. He further added “TFN has now grown to be an event for the cycling community. It is challenging yet non-competitive. The riders are in to enjoy themselves and not compete”

TFN is doing everything under the sun to keep up the fun factor as well. One such initiative is introducing a fictitious character named ‘Jack Lee’. Jack Lee has grown to be a character that is revered and hated alike for his impartial selection of riders for the tour. Jack Lee makes sure that his identity remains concealed until the start of the tour so that all cyclists stand a fair chance of being in the tour. And because of the growing popularity of the tour, it is a challenging task to choose the riders. Jack Lee also helps the riders plan and prepare for the tour.

When asked how Jack Lee selects the riders, Ravi told us “To make sure that the selections are impartial and fair, and in keeping with the vision of RAC-F, Jack Lee chooses riders based on first- come, first-served basis. In case a rider chooses to opt-out of the tour due to unavoidable circumstances, the slot gets vacant and the next person in line is invited.”

“Each year a person is chosen among the organizers and the identity is kept a closely guarded secret until the start of the tour, when Jack Lee is finally revealed in a fun filled party during the tour”, added Ravi.

As TFN Ten gets bigger and better, it leaves the participants waiting with bated breath for the show to begin!

To know more, visit: http://www.tourofnilgiris.com//

About RAC-F

The RideACycle-Foundation (www.rideacycle.org) encourages cycling as a form of recreation, sport and as a means to commute to work. The foundation actively works for the rights of cyclists and for laws that offer protection to cyclists through dedicated cycling lanes as well as through support for safety regulations. They hope to work with the government administration to bring about change aimed at encouraging cycling in all cities.

Several fun events like cycle treasure hunt, off road rides for children, dirt track races, and bicycle maintenance workshops are the various activities undertaken by RAC-F.

However, one of the first campaigns that RideACycle-Foundation has undertaken is to promote responsible and safe behaviour cycling within the cycling community.

To Joga on a cycle!!!!

After completing the serenity ride which CAM had organized in june, I was itiching to go for another round of cycling.  The bekal ride could not materialize as I was in chennai for official work. When CAM announced the route from kollur to sagar via jog  I signed up immediately. The first ride during 2nd week of sept and next ride was scheduled in the last week of sept. However the impending ayodhya verdict caused the ride to be postponed.

Finally with all verdicts done, the riders assembled at hockey stadium on 9th Oct. Cycles were already transported to kollur and waiting for our arrival. After the initial introductions, the bus left for kollur and reached kollur after a rather long journey.

The Gang

The people at the guest house were more interested in our cycles rather than where we were headed to. A  few of them even tried out the cycles. After breakfast, we were alloted our bikes and the expert riders began the steep climb from the kollur while the easy riders started the ride from from the kollur junction which was just after the 12km climb.

With the roads being smooth, everyone started off with zeal…

Excellent roads for cycling

The climb was a mix of ascents and descents. Each rider was in a world of his own enjoying the ride.  After 16kms of peddling we reached sullali, and after a short break, we began the journey to kogaru where we could have our lunch.

With excellent scenary keeping us company the ride continued.

Scenary enroute to jog

There was even a short spell of rain to energize us as some of us were feeling tired after continuous peddling. The support vehicles were right behind us,  and could be used, to refill the water bottles, or hop onto the vehicle if the riders found it difficult to ride.

We soon reached the half way point and the support vehicles and the other riders who had reached earlier, were having lunch.  The final part of the ride was still pending and we had to come more than 40kms.

Lunch was soon over, and the second leg of the journey began. We were now riding inside sharavathy forest and we were expecting to see some wildlife. However this wasnt the case.  The road condition was also bad and progress was slow.

Finally we were just 6 kms from jog and the rest of the ride was downhill. The setting sun provided an excellent backdrop as the descent began.Another half hour and we were at jog. Rooms were alloted for us and after dinner the tired bodies were given a rest, as the climb to sagara was waiting for us the next day

Day 2

Sunday morning began with a visit to jog.

View of Jog Falls in the morning

The ride to sagar started on sun morning. With cool weather keeping us company,  the climb to sagar began. The climb was quite long and the riders took it easy as there was enough time to the complete the ride. Green fields greeted us after a few kms and the road became flat and riding was easy

Green fields

Reaching talguppa we had breakfast and relaxed for a while. The expert riders took the road to linganamakki dam, while the easy riders continued to sagar. A couple more hours of riding and we were at sagar, with the support vechile and the bus already waiting for us.

Karnataka — One State Many Worlds — How True

The expert riders completed the visited to linganmakki dam and were back to sagar thus concluding another wonderful ride.

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Snaps can be found here

Serenity ride- sakleshpur-somwarpet-madikeri

My tryst with cycling started last year, when i was looking to do something else apart from trekking every weekend and I decided to venture into cycling to see how the experience would be. I had chanced upon CAM’s website(cyclingandmore.com), however, i wasnt sure whether they would give cycles for hire. Buying a cycle was ruled out as my dad was against buying one.

My friend recently sent me a link which showed CAM organizing a ride from sakleshpur to madikeri. I checked the registration page and saw that bikes could be rented. I immediately signed up for the ride. After a few mails with shreeharsha, i met harsha near my office and payed him the cash. The next part was to get a bike to ride, as i was ride a cycle after a gap of 9 years. Harsha told me that cycles could be rented from wheel sports. After getting the address, i went on the first weekend of june, to get a merida for rent.

After getting the hang of the gears, i cycled back home, and spent the rest of sat and sun, riding around, so that i could get more comfortable with the cycle and gears. By the end of sun, I was confident of the gears, and knew I wouldnt have to struggle when the actual ride starts.

Finally, on 25th night, after getting the mail from CAM, regarding the starting point, i headed to the hockey stadium, to meet my fellow cyclists and head to sakleshpur for an action packed weekend

The group was a mix of expert riders and beginners like me. After a round of introductions, we headed to the bus to begin the long ride to sakleshpur.

The peleton

Day 1

We reached sakleshpur, by 5 in the morning and checked into a lodge to freshen up. Soon, everyone we ready, and the bikes were taken out from the canters, and were inspected for any faults. Those who had opted for rented bikes, were given the bikes, and were asked to ride it to see if they were comfortable

At 6.15 everyone were ready were ready with their bikes , and we headed off towards manjarabad fort, from where we would take a deviation and head towards somwarpet

All set for the long ride

The weather was cloudy, and it was raining intermittently. Cycling in this misty weather was even more fun. People on the streets were suprised to see 30+ people on cycles riding together. As the ride progressed,  some of the people and the kids began waving at us.

Dark clouds at the start of the ride

There were a few ascents, which was done easily, as everyone where in good spirits. Taking a deviation near manjarabad fort, we headed towards the ghats of somwarpet. With short breaks, for taking snaps and taking a breather from cycling, we proceeded further. Some of the guys, who were used to cycling, zoomed ahead, ,while the rest, took it easy. Our breakfast point was at sukravarasante which was 13kms from manjarabad fort. With the terrain being relatively flat, with a relatively few ascents and descents, we reached the breakfast point by 7.30 after an hour or so of cycling.

Lush greenary

The support vehicles also reached, the spot, and we soon had the idly-vadas which were parceled for all of us. Breakfast was followed by a round of coffee and after a short rest, we were back on the saddle for the next leg of the tour

The terrain soon changed, and there were quite a few ascents. Peddling in those ascents was quite tough and everyone, had to peddle quite slowly, as there still quite a long way to go. With the scenery improving at every turn, the cyclists continued their journey.  There were a couple of ascents which was really steep. I was really finding it difficult to continue peddling on those steep climbs. After taking breaks , the climb was managable.

The ride continues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few more hours of cycling took us to to sanivarsante via kodlipet. It was 10 in the morning and we still had another 14kms to go before we reach somawarpet. The stretch from kodlipet to somwarpet is a continous ascent, and my legs were already feeling the stress. Some of the kids, asked us whether we had cycled all the way from bangalore 🙂

The support vehicles were just a phone call away, and they were used effectively when water was running low or for other purposes. The initial plan was to reach somwarpet by 12 noon and after having lunch, the expert riders would cycle till the base of pushpagiri and return back.

Cycling the last 8 kms, was proving to be really difficult as the ascent was quite steep. With my thighs ‘screaming for mercy’, i decided to walk a couple of kms and then cycle for remaining few kms

8 More to go

The ascent

Finally at 1 in the afternoon, I reached somwarpet. We were given instructions during breakfast to proceed to hotel aloka where lunch was arranged.

With lunch completed, a few of us headed to hotel suvidha, where our accomodation was booked. After parking the cycles in the cellar, we went to our respective rooms, while the experts, got ready to go to pushpagiri.

With the easy ride !!! over, it was time to catch up on some sleep before dinner. Dinner was again at aloka and after finishing dinner, we hit the sack as we had to get up early in the morning

Route for Day 1

Sakleshpur-Manjarabad-Shukravarasante-kodlipet->Sanivarasante-Somwarpet

Day 2

This would be the last day of the tour and the route planned was relatively easy.  We started early by 6.30 from somwarpet.

Early morning in somwarpet

Starting the ride from somwarpet

After the inital ascent, we had a few spectacular descents. In addition to the descant, the scenary was simply mesmarizing. All the riders seemed to be enjoying the scenary as they zipped downhill.

Amazing scenary

As it was the last day, people were taking it easy, and posing for snaps.  After a couple of photo sessions and a bit more of cycling, we reached madapur, where we had our breakfast.

We had another 5 more kms to go before we concluded the tour. The last 5 kms would take us to hattihole and the expert riders would carry on till madikeri.  Post breakfast, the support vehicles moved out, while the cyclists started their last leg of the tour.  The route was generally downhill, and within no time we were in hattihole.

The easy ride concluded here, and the experts continued uphill.  Instead of sitting idle, i suggest, to dixitha and others that we head to a hanging bridge which was located 5 kms from hattiihole bridge

There is a hanging bridge near the hattihole river which can be accessed by foot. Myself, dixitha and other guy cycled to the bridge. After peddling for half hour we reached the bridge. The bridge is constructed accross the hattihole river, which allows ppl to cross the river easily. Having spent some time on the bridge, and taking a few snaps, we headed back.

After freshning up, we waited for the other riders to return back.  The bikes were back on the canters and we headed back to bangalore.

The rest of the journey was spent playing dumb sharats and other games. We reached bangalore by 8. After bidding goodbye’s to each other we headed back to our homes, thus concluding an amazing weekend.

Route for Day 2

Somwarpet-Madapur-hattihole-madikeri

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Pics can be found here

Snaps from Manohar’s cam

Snaps from vishy’s cam

Snaps from nithin’s cam

Snaps from Sathish cam

 

 

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