Monday, August 02, 2010

My First Ride To Nandi Hills - Biking Carnival

It has been a week since I bought a trek 7100. I have been waiting for an opportunity to go for a long distance ride. Bikers from Bangalore Bikers Club (BBC) were organizing the month end long ride to Nandi hills. So I decided to bike along with other bikers to Nandi on 1st of August. More than 100 people signed up for the ride.

I woke up at 4:00am on 1st August, took a shower, drank two liters of water, finished my other morning rituals and went to Cubbon park at 5:30am along with Ram. We were the first two bikers to reach Cubbon park. During the next few minutes, bikers started to pour into Cubbon park. Ram borrowed a hand pump from one of the riders and inflated both of his tires. There were roughly 30 bikers at Cubbon park by 6:15am. Kiran Jonnalagadda and Nitesh were also there. Yogesh from BBC made few announcements about support vehicles, safety measures and emergency contact numbers.

At 6:15am we left Cubbon park. I was riding with Ram and Nitesh until Yelahanka. After reaching Yelahnaka, I broke away from the group and started riding ahead. I met Yohesh on the way, had a small chat with him and broke away from him. We had Army trucks, and jeeps riding along with us. There were few guys distributing juice to riders on the way. We were riding in the airport road on the shoulders. Around 7:30am or so I reached Bangalore International Airport, which is 40km away from the city. I took a diversion there that led to Devanahalli. The road to Devanahalli was less crowded. I overtook two fellow bikers somewhere between BIAL and Devanahalli and one of the bikers shouted Deepan. It was Venugopal riding his Btwin sports bike. I had a small chat with him and cruised to the front. I overtook a long truck along the way and the truck again overtook me. I smiled at one of the guys in the truck and he smiled back. I guess I was at Devanahalli at around 8:00am.

There were few riders at the Nandi road diversion in Devanahalli chit chatting. The road to Nandi from Devanahalli was little narrow, but was almost empty. The ride to idly point from Devanahalli was uneventful. There was a billboard on the way that said: "The Falcon is coming". I reached idly-point at around 8:30am. I stopped for breakfast. The idly shop ran out of idlies because of the biking crowd. I had rice bath and started again.

I reached Nandi statue at the base of Nandi hill at 9:05am. Riding until this point was quite easy. I guess I rode at an average speed of 25km to 30km per hour. I remember at one point my speedometer read 44km per hour. Now I changed my gears to 1-3 and started climbing up the hill. Within the first few hundred meters I realized that it is excessively difficult for me to climb at 1-3 gear. I changed to 1-2 combination and started pedaling. Opendro was climbing along with me. He said that this was his second Nandi ride. My bike was making some noise at 1-2 gear. He suggested that we fix my gears. So we stopped and Opendro fixed my gears. We started riding again, and the noise from my gears was gone. We came across another rider fixing his bike. Opendro stopped to help him and I continued. The ride up the hill was the most difficult part. I was riding almost at walking speed. There were few riders riding downhill at full speed. Almost every rider riding downhill was smiling, encouraging uphill rider. Almost after half an hour of pedaling up I saw the Nandi signboard that said 5km. There few people and parked cars on the way. Some of them were posing for pictures. Somewhere along the way I changed to the lowest gear possible. I was pedaling uphill through the clouds. I badly wanted to stop, but resisted in order to not lose the momentum. A government jeep overtook me somewhere close to the top. It read RTO on the back. The acronym RTO stands for Road Transport Officer. The RTO of Devanahalli was driving to Nandi top to greet all the riders. The RTO was smiling at me when the jeep overtook me. I saw the 2km signboard sometime after that. There was a rider coming down and he said: "You are almost there". I felt encouraged. The last two kilometers ride on the top seemed to be going forever. I was probably riding slower than walking speed. I remember the speedometer reading 5km or 6km per hour. I was pedaling at 1-1 combination in standing position at one of the U-turns at top. There were moments when I felt that the cycle was standing still. After that I saw the arch on top of Nandi. I was very happy.

When I entered the arch there were few people distributing juice. They said there was breakfast on top. I enquired how long it is. The guys said two kilometers. It was disappointing to know that I have to climb two more kilometers for breakfast. Fortunately the road further was not that steep. I rode to the top and RTO was greeting everyone. He had also arranged free upma, lemon rice, coffee and tea for all the riders. I was cursing myself for having had breakfast at the idly point. I had breakfast once again.

After breakfast, I tried calling Ram to figure out where he was. He was not reachable. So I decided to ride back searching for him. I crossed the arch and rode few hundred meters. In one of the hairpin bends I saw Ram coming up. He said his thighs were paining. Together we walked up the last few hundred meters and reached the arch. We walked uphill after a stopping briefly for pictures. We reached breakfast point. I had a coffee again while Ram had breakfast. After resting for an hour or so, we started riding back. The downhill ride was awesome. Unfortunately one of the riders met with a small accident. One of the fellow riders was hit by a rogue motorbike rider. We stopped there and called for the medics where riding along with us. Within moments the army jeep was there at the accident spot with the medic and first aid kit. I met Barani at this point. The injured biker left in the army jeep. We started riding back. We reached Nandi base within few minutes. My speedometer was reading 40km on the downhill at multiple spots. Brigadier Vijay had arranged for lunch at the base. We stopped for lunch at the base and started riding back. Riding back was very difficult since I was very tired. I remember reaching Devanahalli at 2:00pm. I was riding at an average speed of around 13km until BIAL. After that my average speed declined further to 10km per hour. Along the way I had jackfruit and tender coconut. I reached Hebbal flyover at around 4:15pm. I reached home at 5:15pm. I cycled 130km in a span of 11 hours. I took a shower again and had dinner. I went to bed at 8:30pm and slept for next 10 hours like a baby. It was a wonderful experience.

I will try to ride to Mysore soon. Stay tuned.


Gaurav said...

Nice writeup Deepan. And congratulations for your first Nandi climb. All the best for the future rides. Burn the tar!! :D

manasij said...

well written Deepan...I hope you keep riding and keep posting often :-) cheers mate!


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