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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
Pics can be found here
Snaps from Manohar’s cam
Snaps from vishy’s cam
Snaps from nithin’s cam
Snaps from Sathish cam