Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Bangalore-Yercaud-Bangalore Cycle Ride

For those who don't know this yet, five of us rode from Bangalore to Yercaud on Saturday. Here is the ride report for the benefit of others interested in riding to Yercaud.

My alarm went of at 2:00am on saturday morning. I finished my morning chores and started from my home at 3:15am. After just a few meters of riding I got a call from Shashi confirming that all other rides have started and were on their way to Silkboard. I started pedaling slowly and met Ramey (another rider in crime) less than a kilometer from my home. After a brief conversation, he cruised ahead to silkboard. I was riding slowly. The road was mostly empty except for the night patrol. I reached Silkboard and waited for Shashi and other riders from Kanakapura road to join us. Shashi, Harisha & Prakash arrived at Silkboard a few minutes later. Myself, Shashi and Ramey were on hybrids, Harisha and Prakash were on mountain bikes.

We all started from Silkboard at 4:05am. The road was lit up with streetlights till Electronics City after which it was dark. We rode mostly on the service roads till we reached Hosur, where we stopped for tea at around 5:15am. By the time the sun came up, we were half way between Hosur and Krishnagiri. The route from Hosur to Krishnagiri was full of downward slopes. We stopped for breakfast at 7:30am at Krishnagiri near the Krishnagiri-Chennai diversion. We rode at an average speed of 32km/hr from Hosur to Krisnagiri. Shashi had convinced his brother Sridhar and his friend Sandeep to come to Yercaud in a car. Special thanks to them for carrying our bags. Sridhar and Sandeep arrived at our breakfast place just before we finished our breakfast.

We left the restaurant at 8:30am and headed toward Dharmapuri. We stopped for tea somewhere before Dharmapuri. I don't remember the time we crossed Dharmapuri, but we reached a place called Deevattipatti around 2:30pm. We stopped for snaps at multiple places before Deevattipatti. We decided to take a shortcut to Yercaud avoiding Salem. Harisha had a puncture before Deevattipatti. Luckily there was a puncture shop close by and we got it fixed quick. We took a diversion from Deevattipatti towards a place called Danishpet. The road from Deevattipatti to Danishpet had only a single lane. It was surrounded by a few streams and lakes. We stopped at Danishpet before a railway cross for tea. Danishpet to Yercaud base was around 25km. Taking that route turned out to be the biggest blunder we made. The route was full of mud and stones. There were no roads at all in some parts. We had to lift our cycles and walk to cross one of the small streams. It is worse than the worst road you would find along the Anchetty-Hogenakkal route. Luckily none of us were on road bikes. I wonder why Google maps lists these roads. Every local we asked said the main road was 2-3km away at every point. But we never seemed to hit the main road. After cycling around 25km we reached the main road. We took almost 3 hours to cover those 25km in jungle. My front tire was flat once we crossed the forest region. I didn't have the patience to fix the puncture. So we just changed to the spare tube and headed to Yercaud base.

We reached Yercaud base at 6:30pm. We took a few snaps at the 1st hairpin bent. It was already dark and we had 21km with 1594 meters of ascent to climb. Unlike Nandi, the hairpin bends were smoother, but the straight roads were steeper. I climbed along with Harisha and we took breaks almost every couple of kilometers. There were lot of monkeys along the way. We ran out of all the water we had and there were no places along the way to get water from. It drizzled for a brief period, and we stopped under the shelter of something that looked like resting place for travelers. Couple of other people stopped at the same place and shared their water with us. We were only half way to Yercaud and we were extremely hungry. Luckily Harisha had some dry fruit. Shashi was hitching along with a moterbike and came to the top. Shashi mentioned that one of the police guys said that there was a bison roaming around, but we never encountered the bison. Three of us started climbing together. After another couple of kilometers we ran out of water again. At the same spot we found a hut in one of the coffee plantations and filled our water bottles there. After having water and dry fruit, we started climbing again. Ramey and Prakash boarded a lorry that was climbing up. At 6km point the lorry caught up with us. The lorry guys offered to give us a lift, but we declined and continued to climb. At around 10:15pm we reached the top. We rode the Lake Forest resort from the top. We had covered 236km in total. Sridhar and Sandeep had arranged for a nice dinner. We freshened up, had dinner, and dozed off.

The next day we went around Yercaud for sightseeing on our bicycles. Shashi went to Salem with his brother to meet his relatives. The rest of us went to couple of temples, and went boating. I roamed around one of the coffee plantations. I dozed of at about 8:00pm. I guess everyone else had dinner after that.

We started back from Yercaud at 4:15am on Monday. We rode slowly till the base. Stopped multiple times for snaps. The sky was clear and the stars were clearly visible. The moon was yet to rise, I guess. The horizon was also clearly visible. It is one of the best places for star gazing. I wished I had woken up couple of hours earlier to gaze at the sky. BAS (Bangalore Astronomical Society) members would love the place. The view of salem from the top was also awesome. We met a few people jogging at the base, took a few snaps at the last hairpin bent.

Ride from Salem was uneventful till the Dharmapuri ghats. We stopped for tender coconuts at multiple places. Sridhar and Sundeep were on their car and caught up with us close to the toll booth before Dharmapuri. Harisha had a puncture at the toll booth. We removed his tire and I took it to the nearby puncture shop to fix. One of the moterbikers offered Harisha a lift and he came to the puncture shop carrying his bike. We got the puncture fixed and went to A2B before Dharmapuri. Shashi and Prakash were done with breakfast by the time we reached and they started riding ahead of us while we had breakfast. After breakfast we started climbing the Dharmapuri-Krishnagiri ghats. It was a steep upward slope and we took multiple breaks. We reached Krishnagiri at 1:30pm. Shashi and Prakash had also arrived a few minutes before. All four of us had lunch and started riding towards Hosur. Krishnagiri-Hosur route was full of steep ascents. We had cruised the same route at 32km/hr during our onward journey; on the way back we stopped multiple times. I guess we were riding at 15-18km/hr. Shashi had a puncture and fixed it with Prakash while Harisha and I stopped at a dhaba and had some food. At around 5:30pm they caught up with us at the dhaba. Hosur was around 20km away from us from where we were. We started riding and reached hosur around 7:00pm. Hosur has some of the worst possible roads. The local traffic mixes with the highway traffic and there were lot of people riding on the wrong side. It was very difficult to cross Hosur. Me and Harish reached Silkboard at 8:45pm and parted ways to our homes. At around 9:15pm I reached my home. The 470km ride was over! Got a call from Shashi at 9:30pm informing that he has reached home.


Vijay said...

Hye..nice to see Cycle riding i am also planning for that can u guide me for how we can start and what are the precautions we need to take pls..

Vee... said...

i used to do short motorbike rides when I was around Bangalore. your post reminds me how much I miss those days! Great pictures, and it should be super fun to go on cycle around!

chatterbox said...

I work with your brother. He showed me this write-up of your cycle tour. What an adventure...and nice pictures! I also like to cycle tour, but have never done 260km in one day. That must feel like a great accomplishment.

Sandra said...

@Vijay this may be something I take up in the future as well! Great post, I love the pic of all of you with your bikes! http://photographicmemorypro.com

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