A Lonely ride

Suddenly waking up at 6.30 AM in the morning, which is very unusual, I started to freshen up. Carrying minimal gear for cycling, which consisted of water sipper, blow pump, repair kit, few punctures and also glucose, I’ve started off from home at 7.01 AM. At this point the odometer on my bicycle showed 1256.83 kms.

I followed the usual path, passing by Global Village Tech Park, RV College of Engineering, Kengeri Satellite Bus Stop, Rajarajeshwari Hospital, Decathlon Store and Rajarajeshwari Medical College. When I left home, I didn’t have a specific destination on mind.

However, I had two options: Channapatna and Manchanabele Dam which would be 100 kms and 60 kms respectively for the to and fro riding. I wanted to make a decision once I reach the Rajarajeshwari medical college, where I have to cross the busy Mysore road to continue for Manchanabele. From my previous experiences, crossing the road here is a bit difficult at times. I thought if I’m able to cross the road, I will continue to Manchanabele, else cycle till Channapatna and back.

Without dismounting the cycle, I was able to cross the road and started heading towards Manchanabele Dam. This route passes through many major villages like Ramohalli, Dodda Alada Mara, Byalalu. There are trees on either side of the road throughout this entire stretch of road. The road is in a very good condition and being a rural road, it is very favorable for cycling. Once I’m on this stretch I was feeling so lonely and had a very bad desire coming up my mind. I wanted to fiddle with the derailleur of the bicycle to have even smother ride. So, I stopped under the shade of a tree and it is hardly 40 minutes since I started the ride. I tightened both the limit adjustment screws on the derailleur. All this while, I was observing a village youth standing on the opposite side of the road and watching me intently.

Ignoring him, I started the ride again. Now, I feel that the ride was very hard and I really messed up with my derailleur. Since the road is downhill, I continued for another 4 kms. Another stop again, and this time I tightened as well as loosened all the four screws on both the derailleurs. This didn’t do any good for me or the bike and the chain started jumping a double on the rear derailleur whenever the shifter is pressed. Another 3 kms of ride with dissatisfaction continued. In these two instances, I helped myself by lifting the back wheel and pedaling with hand, along with using shifters. But at the third pit stop, I am frustrated and decided to bring the screws back to their old position, as I still remember them. I squatted myself on the ground and was busy working on the screws sitting behind the bike. I was suddenly startled hearing some voice and it took awhile for me to realize the words spoken. When I looked up, I see a cyclist completely dressed from head to toe and with a small kakhi backpack. The reason I mentioned about his dress is because many cyclists including me taking these long routes, usually ride with shorts and tee’s. He asked if everything is alright. I told him that I have this problem of chain jumping twice. Then emerges another cyclist, in usual attire and both of them help me lifting the bike and pedaling, when I fix the screws.

From here, three of us started cycling forward and their destination was Dodda Alada Mara. Both of them are riding on white Montra bikes and those are a bit high-end models than my Firefox. When we were riding up the slope, both of them were ahead of me. I’m not able to pedal with the same comfort level with which they are doing it and I lagged behind. Just round the corner I can see the Big Banyan Tree, which is their destination. I thanked them and zoomed down the road, planning to cut short my journey only till Byalalu. And even this place seems to be nowhere near, though I can see the antennas of Indian Deep Space Network belonging to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and suddenly after a blind curve I saw a BMTC bus and instantly knew it was Byalalu. I got into a local hotel where we get good Thatte Idli, similar to the one’s in Bidadi. This time there is a young guy who is in charge of the place, and I thought it could be the son of the person who runs this hotel. Last time, we had an annoying situation with that man. This young chap was attentive and instantly served me with two piping hot Thatte Idlis and a Vada.

He was free between work, so he came up to me and enquired if I’m cycling alone. It didn’t take even a second for me to lie and tell him that friends are following. He seems to be curious about cycling too and shared his experience going around Savandurga Betta and Magadi on “My Bike” of Decathlon. Then his father comes and amazed by the price of my bike, goes for a ride on it around the square. After finishing the sweet tea served, I had enough inspiration to continue my ride forward. At this point the reading on the odometer showed 1276.79 kms. Soon after leaving the Mysore Road, all this while, the ride was in general very calm. While going down the slopes, due to the wind, my body’s temperature gradually falls and become cold. From this point, the ride was quick and still getting cold and I decided to turn back exactly after finishing the 25 kms mark from home.

But once I reached the 25 kms mark, I could not stop the bike as I am going downhill over 30 km/hr speed and there were lot of turns. At this point, I decided to make it till the dam and few more kilometers of downhill ride, I can see in front of me the river which is however not abundant with water like it was during my last visit. Another steep turn, I am at the main gate which leads to the village, from where we can go close to the water body and enjoy the scenic view. However, as expected the gate is closed and guarded by security personal. I knew another walk path which takes us to a place, from where we can still get the view but it is very far from the waters. Then I realized there are many people on motor bikes gathered there discussing on how to reach the waters and behind them is the way I knew. I pass by them and to my surprise I see a gate installed there and locked. Now, I was in a dilemma if this is the way to the path or should I still go ahead and check. On inspection, I realized that this is the same path which is now secured with a gate and locked.

So, I turned back and parked at the bus shelter opposite to the main gate and sat on the cool slab. I started relaxing and could hear the calls of different birds. These calls were continuous and they sound like music. What highlights these sounds is the absence of any noise by machines or vehicles or even people. I sat there for about an hour and the watchman at the gate started up a conversation with me. He told me that due to lot of deaths at the waters these days, people are not permitted to get inside; however, he complained that three bikes have already trespassed, before he could come and guard the place. He was also surprised to know the distance between Kengeri Satellite Bus stand to this place is exactly 25 kms. Then I saw a BMTC bus bearing the route number 227V coming out from a village located inside and the guard opens the gate to let it out. Once the bus is out, lot of villagers get down with their huge bags. Most of them are heading to the market in Magadi, where they sell the contents of these bags. Reading on Odometer at this point: 1282.91 kms.

I started my return journey, and haven’t started cycling yet, as this place is too steep. It drains off all the energy instantly, if we try pedaling in this stretch. I’ve even seen many lorries and buses finding it too difficult to maneuver in this stretch. While sitting at the bus shelter, I saw two sand laden tractors passing by. When the drivers try to accelerate, the front portion of the vehicle lifts into air and I was scared if they vehicles would turn turtle. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. While walking up the road, I stopped by, to capture few shots of the water and the hill in the background on my mobile phone. Also, I got a few shots of myself along with the bike. Once I’m on the plain stretch of the road, I started peddling and in a distance saw a cyclist climbing the uphill with all his might. When I passed by him, we exchanged smiles and behind him I see another cyclist coming in great speed. As usual, we waved hands to each other. The road now is almost flat or downhill, and it is a very easy ride for me. After passing another 2 kms, I see two more cyclists, the usual exchanges continue. After passing by the ISRO ISDN Center, I halt at the same hotel to have a bit of tea. This young man was present again and asked if I finished cycling until Savandurga Betta. I start off again after a bit of rest, and checking if anyone tried to reach me on mobile, as I had it in offline mode to save the battery, so I can listen to the music.

The ride was very pleasant, accompanied by waving hands to some curious kids from the villages along the road. Once I reached Dodda Alada Mara (Big Banyan Tree), I was inquiring if they have butter milk on sale at the four shops there and all of them answered in negative. Here, I see 5 to 6 monkeys chasing a crow, which started feeding on the food that is supposed to be theirs. But this crow after a bit of running, fly off merrily with the food in its beak. The reading on the Odometer here is 1292.00 kms.

I continued pedaling until I found a coconut vendor under a shade and also all this while I felt the blow in the front tire is a bit less. First, I filled the tire with enough blow of air and ordered for a tender coconut. The water was tasty but the content was less. Being content to myself, I started off again, vowing to myself that this should be last stop. While I was cycling down a slope, I noticed the pillion rider of a motor cycle continuously turning back to look at me. It was followed by the rider itself. Being at over 35 km/hr speed, and deafened by music in one ear, I overtook them with ease and was ahead of them for over a kilometer. This chase game was interrupted by the usual sudden halts of a BMTC bus. In no time, I reached the Mysore Road and I started dreading that the worst is yet come, because the last time when we were on the same route, the stretch from here till home was so hard and tiresome. However, this time it wasn’t that difficult and I mostly cycled clinging on to the road, hardly going off from it. The reading at Decathlon store was 1300.00 kms.

From here, though the road until home was almost uphill, I covered it in short time and with less difficulty. Upon reaching home the reading on the Odometer showed 1308.87 kms. Once I’m at home, I looked at myself in the mirror, only to see the sweat is pouring down from my head to face and to the body. Soon after a cool bath, I looked at my hand and see that I was tanned a lot on today’s ride. The elbow covered with the gloves appeared very fair against the tanned background of the rest of the hand. After the ride, I’m so relaxed and my mind very refreshed, that I was able to sit and type this long boring article. Time for lunch – 1.33 PM. Bye.

Total Cycling Distance: 52.04 Kilometers

Starting/Ending Point: BHEL Layout, Rajarajeshwari Nagar (Adjacent to Global Village Tech Park)

Turning Point: Manchanabele Dam

It is always cool to see fellow cyclist on road.

 But watching random cyclists helping each other always make me proud.

View of the river with Savandurga Betta in the background

View of the river with Savandurga Betta in the background

View of the river with Savandurga Betta in the background

View of the river with Savandurga Betta in the background

View of the river with Savandurga Betta in the background

View of the river with Savandurga Betta in the background

View of the river with Savandurga Betta in the background

View of the river with Savandurga Betta in the background

Trying to get a should, I looked so serious... :p

Trying to get a should, I looked so serious… :p

Trying to get a should, I looked so serious... :p Bike can be seen in the background.

Trying to get a should, I looked so serious… :p Bike can be seen in the background.

The scenic view from the mirror.

The scenic view from the mirror.

Normal skin colour cue against the tanned skin... :P

Normal skin colour cue against the tanned skin… 😛

Normal skin colour cue against the tanned skin... :P

Normal skin colour cue against the tanned skin… 😛



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