Cruise to Coast – Day 1: Drive to bhagmandala

Ever since CAM announced the Cruise to coast weekend cycling ride from bhagmandala to bekal fort via panathur I was itching to go. However various situations conspired and I was unable to cycle. With rising costs I was unable to pursue the cycle ride but this didnt mean I would abandon trying the route altogether.

CAM announces Coast to Coast as one of its popular rides and the route they take is given here

I had decided if i cannot cycle I would atleast drive down the route and enjoy the scenary and the route as the cyclists would. Finally all stars aligned and myself and srikanth set out to explore this wonderful route.

We knew it would be a long drive and 2 days would not be enough to cover the entire distance, hence we planned this as a 3 day drive. We left bangalore on friday morning after a heavy breakfast and snaking through mysore road which was choke a bloc as usual we reached mysore by 12-12.30 with a pitstop in between.

Finishing our work there and after a full course meals we headed to bhagmandala. The weather was cloudy with intermittent spell of light rain. As we reached madikeri the rain also increased.

The scenary was as usual amazing and with rains coming intermitently we were cruising along the downhill stretch. An hour of driving later we reached bhagmandala. We were initially sceptical of getting accomodation hence we had packed our sleeping bags as well just so we can have a nap in the car itself if we dont get any decent accomodation.

We were however suprised to see good no of lodges. We checked into kstdc’s hotel and dumped our luggage in our rooms and took a breather. Evening we went to visit the forest office which was couple of meters from the hotel to inquire about permissions for trekking. A light dinner and we hit the bed, thus concluding the long drive.

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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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(, 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


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


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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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