What else could have I asked for to make an otherwise lazy weekend an enthralling experience? A bicycle, fellow riders, rain and an open road. Then It was all me, me alone. Alone with my fellow bikers, alone amidst paddy fields and coffee plantations, in pouring rain and chilling fog. When I sit now and recall the things which were rolled on those couple of days, I wonder with awe, I wonder If I were the one who rode 150 KM’s in a day and half.
“Experience Serenity on two wheels” was a two day cycling event organised by Cycling and more (CAM) on June 26th and 27th. CAM has been conducting cycling expeditions for quite a some time and it was only last month that I came to know about it. The scheduled ride for June was from Sakleshpur to Madikeri via Somavarpet. I happened to be a part of the journey with my newly bought Hercules Ryders Act 110.
The transport of cycle and the cyclist, both to and fro the ride location, is taken care by CAM. As pre notified, on 25thevening all the riders got together at the Hockey Stadium near Shantinagar Bus terminal. The bikes were loaded into transport vehicles and we were in a bus. Reached Sakleshpur by 5 AM on 26th morning.
Sakleshpur is the last town of Hasan district on Bangalore-Mangalore Highway before descending the Shiradi ghat sector. The ride was kick started by 6 AM and the riders brigade headed towards Mangalore in NH 47. Manohar, Vishy, Yateesh and other CAM members were accompanying us and along with them was the early morning monsoon drizzle. I was in my ACT 110. We took a left deviation near Manjirabad fort and moved towards shukravar santhe. Reached Shukravar Santhe after an hour and half. As a rare scene, the local folk could spot different kind of bikes breezing on the road. There were those muscular Rock riders, Meridas and Treks. There were those beauties like Bianchi’s and BSA’s and what not.
After the breakfast it was time to pedal towards Somvarpete via Kodlipete and Sanivarsanthe. This stretch of the road was very beautiful which passed in between paddy fields, free plains and waterlets. I was enjoying the early morning cold breeze while some of the bikers were ripping on their bikes and crossing like a breeze. Everyone was in their own world having a time which they could not forget for a long. I reached Somavarpete by 11:30, but there were guys who reached by 10:45 or even earlier. Extreme riders they are. In total we covered 67 KM’s in the first lap.
Somavarpete is a small sleepy town which is one of the three Taluk headquarters of Kodagu district. CAM had arranged nice lunch at Alok. After the luch, there was an optional ride towards Pushpagiri Base. The Kumara Hills is famously called as Pushpagiri in Coorg. We started the 2nd phase by 2 PM, when we were half way through towards Pushpagiri it started raining Cats and Dogs. Because of the rain the ride had to be cut short and we could move only upto Shanthalli which is 14 KM away from Somavarpete. On return the road was completely covered by fog,the ride was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Total distance covered on day 1 accounted for 95 KM’s. My longest ride in a day.
On 27th moring we started by 6:30 AM from Somavarpet and moved towards Madepura which is at a distance of 20 KM’s. This route is a descent surrounded by coffee estates on both sides and it was almost an effortless ride. Breakfast was at Madepura and then the last destination for easy riders and beginners, Hattihole by 9 AM. The last phase of the event, Hattilhole – Madikeri route, was a real nightmare because of the nature of route. A 15 KM’s continous uphill strecth is never an easy task even for an expert rider. But there was this never ending spirit among the bikers which made us conquer the route and make it to Madikeri and then back to Hattihole.
That was the end of the journey and the meter read 153 KM’s. An adventure which I will cherish for a long time.