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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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Yercaud

Yercaud a small hill station located in the Shevaroys range of hills in the Eastern Ghats 30 kms from salem was the location for this weekend’s visit. Though we had planned to go here last month, due to various reasons the plan had to be postponed. Finally with no commitments looming for the next few weeks, we headed to yercaud on sat early morning. It had also been a long time since i had used to cycle rack and as I was planning to cycle from the base to the top, this gave me a good chance to use the rack as well. Loading the car with luggage and my cycle we headed to yercaud.

Accomodation was booked in Hotel Tamilnadu beforehand. The 4 hour drive took us to salem and with a brief halt we proceeded to yercaud. We reached the base shortly and I unloaded my cycle. The car zipped ahead to its destination while my fight against gravity was about to begin. With a steady pace i continued to cycle uphill. The weather which was varying from cloudy to sunny and back, while the monkey’s and the trucks coming from behind along with other vehicles gave me company. There are total of 20 hairpin bends and one by one they were being covered in a steady manner.

With couple of breaks in between I reached yecaud after a gruelling 2 hour ride. Hotel Tamilnadu was just a km from the Yercaud Signboard and I soon reached the hotel thus completing a long awaited ride. Lunch and a small break later, it was time to explore yercaud this time on 4 wheels.

All tourist places in Yercaud are within 10 kms radius and can be covered in a day. We initially headed to Pagoda point which was around 5 kms from the hotel. As yercaud is a hill station there a plenty of view points although the scenary looks pretty much the same everywhere.  Passing the narrow roads we reached Pagoda point and went about exploring the place. With a small roof shelter to act as a view point there was nothing much to do there. Taking few photos, we decided to move on.

Pagoda Point

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The next stop would be the Lady’s and Gent’s Seat and the Rose Garden which are all half km distance from each other. With the roads being narrow, one has to be careful when navigating the bad stretches which were quite a lot on the way to the ladies seat.  Our first visit was the rose garden, which has variety of roses and other flowers on display. With few visitors around I could get good photos of the flowers. We Spent some time walking around the garden and taking photos, before moving to Lady’s seat which was at the end of the road.

Roses @ Rose Garden

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Lady’s seat is another view point from where one can see yercaud town and the lush green eastern ghats. A watch tower is built there which allows one to view the lush greenary. Apart from the view point, one can practise target shooting or pose for their portraits. Few photos of the landscape and headed back to the car after having a cuppa at the local tea stall. The Gent’s  seat was skipped as the scenery would be the same.

Landscape @ Lady’s Seat

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There was still enough time for the sun to go down, and the next place on the list was kilyur falls. Half way through the route we found large no of cars coming from the other side and upon inquiring we were told there’s no water in the falls and goin there would be waste of time. With so many cars coming back, even we decided to head back to the main road.

One of the locals told us all places would be closed by 5.30 and with another hour or so remaining, we headed to the lake which was across the road for some boating. Entrance fee and boating fee was paid and the a 10 min boat commenced.

Yercaud Lake

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With the boating complete the only place left to visit before everything closes was the deer park which was located next to the park. The place however was a disappointment. There were only two deers present in the deer park for namesake.  By the time we came out it was 5.30. As the lake was located next to the hotel, we headed back there to retire for the day.

Deer Park

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Day 2 of the trip was all about temples. 7 kms from the hotel is the famous maha meru temple which was visited first. The roads were amazing when compared to the previous day and so was the drive. Navigating the winding roads we reached the temple after 30-40 min of driving. As per the priest there the temple was built 3 yrs ago. There is s a big board detailing about the mha meru and the temple in general. The quick visit was soon over and it was time to head to the shevoryan temple for which one has to take a deviation on the way to the maha meru temple.

The temple is located atop a hill and the deity is present in small cave. The weather had turned little cold and couple of snaps of the scenery there we headed back to the hotel to vacate the place.

View at Shevroyan Temple

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It was time to get back on the saddle again for the descent which took around 45 min to get to the base. Mounting the cycle back on the rack we headed back to the salem thus ending an eventful trip.

Snaps can be found here

Cycling @Turahalli

Turahalli is one of the last green areas in bangalore and is favorite joint for bouldering and off late off road cycling as it offers some good trails for budding cyclists.  Off late lot of the local guys have been visiting turahalli for cycling so much so that we even a local downhill cycling race as part of the year long races that is held.

Inspite of me travelling on kanakapura road numerous times i was yet to pay a visit to turahalli. I decided to head out there with couple of friends to enjoy some trails. It was a delayed start and with a pit stop for breakfast, we headed to banashankri and then to kanakapura road. We reached turahalli after an hour of cycling and headed to the trail.

Start of turahalli trail

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Slowly peddling we continued onwards the temple and the trail was beginning to rough out and we enjoyed going through the steep ascents and descents without crashing. We spent some time exploring the trails. Since this was my first cycling downhill, had to be careful not to crash since i had gone there without any protection.

Offroading at turahalli

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Soon it was time to head back and it was a slow ride back home with a stop at BOTS.

Snaps can be found here

Cycling around Tattekere

There are not many lakes around bangalore which have been spared from pollution. A chat with a friend of mine a few days back lead me to tattekere lake near anekal. Googling for info on the lake showed the lake is pristine without any pollution. Reading a few blogs i came to know this is elephant territory and elephants normally come to the lake to bath and to drink. The place is also a haven for bird watchers as one can find various types of birds flying around

With the place decide I now had to finalize the route. One can reach tattekere either through banergatta or via harohalli. I decided to take the banergatta route as i would get a chance to ride inside the NP. The place and the route mapped out, headed out for another solo ride with hopes of meeting a few cyclists enroute. Reached banergatta in an hour and took the route to anekal. A km or two after crossing birla academy came across the signboards indicating the distance to ragihalli and shivanahalli.Confirmed the direction from a person standing there and took the road to ragihalli

The road to ragihalli is pretty much empty and in a couple of minutes I entered the banergatta national park

Roads inside BNP

The cloudy skies and the greenary made the ride more pleasent.

Greenary

A couple of kms of riding with a rolling terrain I was out of the national park , it was pretty much downhil till ragihalli and had a nice time zooming in the bends. Crossed ragihalli and shivanhalli where I again asked for directions. I was to take a right and keep going straight till I reach the main road from there tattekere was just a couple of kms

The descent

The tarmac ends after a short while and the road was filled with craters and loose mud everywhere. Since it was downhill one gets a feeling of doing off road cycling or a km or so. Reaching the highway I proceeded towards tattekere where I met another guy coming via harohalli. A brief chat with him and we headed to the lake.

One can go to the lake either by taking a left at the arch on the main or from within the village. It was another downhill off road ride and we got to the lake. There are electrified fences around the lake to prevent people from entering the lake

Electrified Fences

There was a small trail going by the side of the fences and we took that to reach the far end of the wires. Since there was enough space for the cycle to squueze through we did that and managed to get to the lake. The lake itself is pretty vast n serene. A small photoshoot there and after some relaxation we headed back to the main road

Thattekere Lake

Note: There are no boards around the lake to prevent people from trespassing.  If anyone intending to go to the lake trespass at your own risk

There might be another route to the lake from the arch or from the Kanve Mahadeshwara temple located close to the lake, which we couldnt do. One can ask for an easier approach path to the lake from localites

We headed back to the main road and it was continous uphill ride to jigani which we covered in an hour or so.

The road to jigani

It was already 12 by the time we reached jigani. A short stop for some snacks and it was a non stop ride back home which took another hour and half in the traffic. Reached home at 1.30 thus concluding a good ride to this little known lake

Thattekere Fact File

Name of the Lake: Thattekere Lake

Location: Mahadeshwara Forest

Distance From Bangalore: 40 Kms

How to Reach:

Route 1: Bangalore – Bannerghatta Police station. Take left towards Anekal route. Move further for 1-2 kms after crossing Birla Academy, take right. From here you really get into Bannerghatta National park. After 6-7 kms you will reach Ragihalli then cross Shivanahalli. Take right at shivanahalli and keep on the same road till u get a fork on the road, take left and keep going downhill. You’ll see the highway after half or one km. Tattekere is a km or two from here

Route 2: Bangalore-Kanakapura-Harohalli-Tattekere

The place is good for cycling and bird watching

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Snaps can be found here

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

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