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.