Monday, December 31, 2007

le Tour Coorg – The Bike trip – Story (Day 1) Dec 21, 2007.

Day-1 Dec 21, 2007
At 2.00 A.M I tried for half an hour in “Vasavi Lodge - Sakleshpur” for Mobile-blogging, but in vain. The text box was too small for any story, and I thoght it is not worth trying any more.

Reached Sakleshpur at 1.30 A.M, got into this lodge for 425 rs. The journey was not very pleasant though.

The Journey

Thanks to “Neel” (My colleague) for transporting myself and my bike to the Bangalore bus-stand ad-midst heavy downpour and ever-crazy traffic the previous day.
Manohar and Prashant (Henceforth M and P respectively) were waiting for me in the luggage section. We had booked tickets for a 1800 hrs “Airavatha (VOLVO)” bus to Hassan. These busses have good luggage space. We could easily fit 3-bikes in the underneath-luggage compartment.

View Larger Map

It was 1830 Hrs when the bus departed the terminus; we were stuck in eternal-Bangalore traffic for a long long time. It was 12.00 midnight when we reached Hassan. Luckily got a bus-with-carrier to Sakleshpur.

Forgot to mention about the bikes.
M - Hero thunder MTB, an all aluminum bike.
P - Hercules Omega, nice light weight bike. P was zipping on this throughout the trip.
Me – Hero Hawk (road bike), Nice on flat road and slight gradient. But difficult for big climbs due to it Gear-ratio and built.

We started pedaling at 7.00 AM on Dec 21, after a short knap of about 4 hours. Got a call from Shree, he was returning my Missed-Birthday-wish-call from “Garo-Hills” on his bike, part of East-to-West bike ride ( He mentioned that biking to Bhagamandala (140Kms) in a day would be almost impossible due to couple of good climbs and road condition. Although we started with Bhagamandala in mind for the first day, after couple of hours we realized that we need to settle for a Madkeri stop.

Left - Entering Shukruvarasanthe Right - Board just after Kodlipet

The breakfast stop was at Shukruvara santhe, a typical coorg town with a single “main road”. Food was not-bad. We had the first bunch of questions tossed at us by the curious onlookers. The popular one being “Yaava ooru?” translates to “Which town (or place)?”. The road till now was very good and smooth. There were occasional climbs, but most of the places, we were descending.

Kodlipet was the next destimation (35 kms from the starting point), this was a slightly bigger town, includes a “Junction” in the middle of the town. Just after Kodlipet, we stopped for 10 minutes, ate bananas, made some calls to family and started towards Sanivarasanthe.

Sanivarasanthe is at a slightly higher altitude than kodlipet, bigger town than kodlipet stopped for a coffee break in “Hotel Srinivasa”, M got some grapes too. Right after Sanivarasanthe, one has to counter a killer climb, the steeper so far for the day. This only suggested us the climbs that were being unfolded throughout the day.
Somwarpet, one of the taluq headquarters in Coorg district is situated almost at the same altitude of Madikeri (the district Headquarters). This means that we need to gain an altitude of around 250 mtrs in 8 kms. By this time, i had developed a “Niggle” in my right knee which was slowing down the pace. Because of this, i could not get out of the seat to pedal. To counter this, i started putting more effort on the left thigh. Due to which, during the last climb, i developed cramps in the left thigh and had to give it a good amount of break. Reached Somwarpet at around 1 P.M and had a hearty lunch, rested for an hour and a half. M shopped for some Electrol, which would lessen the chances of cramps by giving salt to the body.

“The Equation is very simple from here boys, 20 kms of complete downhill upto Madapur and another 20 kms of uphill to Madkeri”
I still remember the statement i delivered during lunch.
Madapur is atleast 300 Mts below Somwarpet, and the stretch from Somwarpet to Madapur was mostly downhill, with beautiful Coffee estates surrounding us. One thing I noticed during the trip was, a major town in coorg is either on the top of a hill or situated in the valley between two mounts. So, if you reach a town by zipping down a descend, dont smile yet, a torturous climb would be awaiting you. Such was the case with Madapur.

op- Resting point, just after the Bus stop.
Bottom - May be pushpagiri
Refreshed ourselves with Hot coffee and Veg-puffs at Madapur and started last climb of the day. The first five kms seemed easy inspite of good-climbs, stopped at Hatti-Hole for some snaps. We could see Madikeri-the-mountain from here, each one didnt want to accept that it was Madkeri as the thought of climbing at the end of a tiring day was ?????.

Last 15 Kms and we planned so that we would reach Madkeri atleast by 7, this meant a measly 6 kmph over-all average from now on. P was flying on “Omega” but made a point to stop after every 3 kms, M was giving me company all the time as I was struggling with pain in the knee. The climb upto makkandur is very challenging, not a bit of downhill or flat terrain, the climb keeps on coming at you. I was always hoping that the climb would end at the next turn :) . Me and M stopped at many places to click some photographs and also to get a view of some of the Highest peaks of Coorg “Kottabetta”, “Pushpagiri” and “Mandalpatti”. These brought back the memories of my trekking campaigns.

We missed a beautiful Sunset view just before Aladur. Aladur climb is the biggest of all so far, after this, we encountered a 3 km downhill with flat terrain upto makkandur. With 5 kms to go, it was getting dark and colder. We pulled out our torches/headlights and started pedaling a bit more swiftly. Just 2 kms to go, and there was a Circle(Junction) in front of us, we took the right turn which took us directly to Madikeri bustand. The left would lead to Mysore road and later towards Madkeri town.

The Final 1 km or so was completely downhill. There were many a nice views of Madikeri town enroute. The town seemed to be situated in a crater, with umpteen hills along its circumference.

Got into Woodlands-Hotel at 7 PM, dinner followed. The lights were off at 9.

Total Distance – 108 Kms

The route on Day 1.

Sakleshpur – Continue on Mangalore road.
At Donigal (4 Kms) – Take the left side of the fork which goes towards Kodlipet. Right goes to Mangalore.
At Kodlipet (38 Kms) – Take a right turn towards Sanivarsanthe.
2 Kms from Kodlipet – There is a fork and an elaborated board with distance and direction, continue on the road and dont take the left turn here.
At Sanivarasanthe (53 Kms) – Dont take right turn and go inside the town, ask for Somwarpet and continue straight.
At Somwarpet (67 Kms) – Follow the Madkeri road which is a Highway upto madkeri.
2 Kms before madkeri (106 Kms) – Take a right turn at the circle, and descend towards madkeri.


Breakfast – Shukravara santhe, only one hotel. Not many options. Kodlipet is a better place if you have energy to pedal another 20 Kms
Lunch – Somwarpet. Couple of good places to eat here. We had lunch at a basement hotel (forgot the name) opposite to bus-stand.
Snacks – Madapur is the last recognized town before Madkeri, its better to refill yourself here.
Dinner – Madkeri, the capital of coorg has pretty good options. We had in Woodland hotel, nominal price and OK taste. There is Highly recommended athithi-Veg and also a couple of Udupi restaurants.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

le Tour Coorg

What else would be a better and healthier way of spending long weekend for bikers?

This (2007) December, 21st to 24th. Me and Manohar are planning to "Criss-Cross" Coorg district of Karnataka. Prashant Kota, a very motivated cyclist is joining us for the ride.

Starting point : Sakleshpur
Ending at : Mysore
Duration : 4 Days
Total distance : 400+ Kms.

Planned route

View Larger Map

Day 1 (134 Kms): Sakleshpur -Kodlipet - Somwarpet - Madikeri - Bhagamandala
Day 2 (70 Kms): Bhagamandala - Talakaveri - Virajpet
Day 3 (111 Kms): Virajpet - Gonikoppal - Balele - Titimati - Pollibetta - Siddapur - Kushalnagar
Day 4 (100 Kms): Kushalnagar - Piriyapatna - Hunsur - Mysore

The Preperation
Manohar : Most experienced of the three, participated in "Mountain to Sea" ride organized by Shree. Regular weekend rides of around 70 Kms.

Me : Pretty regular in weekend rides from 3 months, most of the time with Manohar. But Never done a 4 day Back-to-Back ride.

Prashant : Nick named pkota. He rides on a "Hercules Top Gear" which is considerably heavier, but easily catches us even on inclines. His preperation for the ride is pretty good, as I remember he has done atleast four 100-Km rides within 3 weeks.

Tools and utilities:
We have got almost all the spanners and Alen keys required to dismantle the cycle.
Planning to carry an extra tube.
GPS receiver.
Cyclo computer.
Extra brake wire and shoes.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Biking around Bangalore

It was quite some time since I took my "Hero Hawk" for a long ride (around 8 months).
Thanks to Shree's narration on his experience of "Tour De Coorg" (http:\\, which motivated me to restart pushing the pedal.

All started with me and Shree planning for a 4 day Mountain-to-Sea cycling trip (Ooty to Kasargod), this time I had to practice well to keep up with him and his new found team.

Big Banyan Tree – Sept 8th (Wrong road at a wrong time…)

This was aimed to be a pleasure trip, Me, Shree, Manohar, Priya, Miraj, Choodi and Vishnu started from Padmanabhnagar at around 6.45 A.M.

Manohar : Awesome strength and stamina, ready for Trek and/or cycling on any weekend .

Choodi (Vishwanath Choodi) : My Colleague, and a very enthusiastic person. Very active and athletic. Cricket, Trekking, Cycling, Yoga etc..

Miraj : My colleague and a proud owner of new “Hercules Omega”.

Vishnu and Priya : Introduced earlier!!

All started with clicking a photo of Choodi tranporting his bike to the starting point from his house, half cup chai to celebrate the start :)

Road upto Kengeri Via Uttarahalli was in a very bad shape.. the only respite was the predominant downhill. We took 45 minutes to cross around 10 Kms with frequent breaks.

Breakfast at Kengeri and proceeded towards the Doddaladamara deviation on Mysore road. Being on a Road bike, riding 4 Kms on this smooth road was respite for me and my back.

After the deviation we had to travel another 13 kms, apart from the first 5 kms the rest of the path was very bad. Not much traffic on the road though. The path passes through lot of Nurseries and Farms.

Reached Big banyan tree around 11. The shady park under the tree was inviting for a nap, we just rested there, emptied 2 ltrs of “Slice (Mango Drink)” and started our journey back at 12 Noon.

Note : Manchenbele dam is around 8 kms from this place. Its a nice scenic water spot.

On the way back, we stopped for a nice Lunch on Mysore road-BigBanyan tree Junction and decided to take the NICE road towards kanakapura road. This i would call Bad Road at a bad time, it was 1 PM when our bikes entered this road. There are no shades/ trees on either side of the road (Obviously). We took around an hour to cover nearly 10 kms of this stretch. Most of the time resting under “Fly Over Bridge”.
Shree was particularly not happy since he had to cycle slowly and expose himself more to the sun.

Nice Road-Kanakapura road Jn was a welcome sign, due to the shady trees around the latter. We stopped for tender coconut drink on the way and reached the Family Mart junction around 2.30 P.M.

Choodi, Shree, Priya and Me turned right towards BTM Layout and the others Left towards Padmanabhnagar.

Total Distance : around 65 (BTM to BTM)
Road Condition : Not good for road bikes. Mountain bikes might enjoy riding.
Food: Kengeri is a good option. The place where we stopped for Lunch (Mysore road – Big banyan tree road Jn) is also decent. There are lots of shops around Big Banyan tree for water or snacks, but we could not find a decent hotel for Lunch here.

Sarjapur - Hoskote - September 16th (Awesome Ride …, bike trouble)

Me and Manohar set out for a 90 Km in 6 Hour ride on a sunday morning. The route was the one Shree had explored an year earlier.
This was my first time riding to Sarjapur, and belive me.. some reason or the other, i am on this road pedaling 5 continous weekends.

I met rather gloomy looking Manohar at 5.15 A.M near Advaith Petrol Bunk (BTM Layout). Front wheel of his bike had no air. Got to know that it is flat inspite of pumping some air in the morning.

Luckily it was not a puncture, I just pulled the wall-tube out re-fixed and pumped some air... everything was fine after that.

It was around 5.50 A.M when we started... met Choodi and his friend near ORR-Sarjapur Road Junction. Choodi's friend was struggling a bit because of his bike condition, we decided that me and Manohar should continue to meet our 6 hour deadline. Choodi and his friend decided to ride slowly to Sarjapur and return.

The Road is very good, newly laid. After 55 Minutes and 20 Kms of cycling we were inside Sarjapur town. One need to go through the town and take a left turn towards Chiktirupati. Chiktirupati is 13 kms from Sarjapur, the path is mostly uphill, and the road not as good as the previous stretch.
Reached Chiktirupati around 7.40. Stopped for tea, took our first break of the ride (20 Minutes).

Hoskote is 28 Kms from Chiktirupati, we decided to do this stretch and stop for breakfast. The ETA at Hoskote was 9.30.
But the cycling gods were not with us (Manohar) on that day and just 6 kms before Hoskote, rear wheel of his bike got punctured.
I continued riding towards Hoskote in anticipation of finding a cycle shop and Manohar started hitch-hiking. Luckily, a Tractor fellow stopped and obliged to transport him and his biketo our next destination.

I reached Hoskote at 9.30, Manohar arrived 10 minutes later. Dumped his cycle at one of the shops and off we went in search of a hotel. Manohar tasted his first Davangere Benne Dose. It was 11 before we could get the cycle repaired and start our journey back to bangalore via KR Puram.

We knew that the deadline cannot be met as one hour was wasted for the repair. The revised time now was to reach my house (BTM) by 12.50P.M. The rest of the journey was non-eventful except for the heavy traffic on the Highway and the scorching sun.

We were sipping cold Apple milkshake prepared by my mom at 12.45 at my house.

Total Distance : 93 Kms.
Stretch 1: BTM to Chiktirupati – 33 Kms, good road, nice scenaries. Lots of elevation changes.
Stretch 2: Chiktirupati to Hoskote – 28 Kms, road quality was O.K, not as good as the previous one. Sparse traffic. Mostly flat terrain.
Stretch 3 : Hoskote to BTM (Via Indiranagar) – 31 Kms, road quality was good. Lots of traffic. Mostly Downhill.
Food : Hoskote is a good option for Breakfast, for early eaters Sarjapur would be a better option. Tea stop at Chiktirupati.

An alternate route would be : 11 Kms before Hoskote, take a left turn towards White field. Then you can reach BTM via Outer Ring road. One can avoid much of the Bangalore-Kolar Traffic on this route.

Kanakapura – Bidadi – September 22nd (Change of plans on the fly)

Sarjapur – Chiktirupati – September 23rd (Journey too good when compared to destination…)

Dommasandra – Varthur – September 30th (Pleasure trip?!...)

Kaggalipura – Bannerghatta – Oct 2nd (no Yogavana hills  )