Saturday, March 24, 2007


It was yet another long weekend. My plan for the weekend was swinging widely between a 500km ride to Munnar to playing couch potato. Inertia was taking over, as I prepared myself for a quiet weekend at home.
The tipping point:
I was watching with awe the kindergarten kids perform at Bishop Cottons Annual school day (my nephew, Rishabh received a prize for academic excellence n all).
All was well until my brother-in-law threw a casual, “Hey, how far is Yercaud from here?”
It was only at 4 in the evening, it seemed possible to join them, I left at 4:30. There was also a new silencer and carburetor to put to the highway test. Yercaud is about 250kms and for most part on the 6-lane NH7, perfect for the testing.
It took me an hour of restrained navigation in the traffic before I could open up. On an empty stretch of Hosur Road, I opened throttle, there was a definite missed beat. For a moment I thought I was imagining things. Robert Pirsig talks about one having to be at peace with himself if he expects the same from the bike. I attributed what I thought was a missed beat, to my conflict of my perceived self and actual self; one ordering me to turn back and conjuring these cheap tricks (while the other made this theory up!).
The theory fell apart as quickly as it came up. The next open stretch and this time, I was looking for it, it was there, a series of missed responses. There was a problem with the new carburetor, the floats that moderate the supply of fuel into the engine was not working in the mid-range. It would work well on full throttle. (I promise I will spruce up the technical section of this blog). It meant I had a situation like in the movie Speed – you can ride only if you are over 100kmph. Just what the doc prescribed, I chucked all plans to abort. At every stop, I spilt some 50ml of petrol from the overflow outlet, I wanted to keep those to a min.
Hosur at 6, Krishnagiri as the twilight faded, another 130 odd kilometers via not so good roads to Dindugal and Salem. Rides in the night are a mental drain for the amount of concentration to keep yourself on road, alive, multiplied manyfold, in this case, by the ‘speed’ constraint. I reached Salem at 9, tired slightly, not particularly happy with my decision to ride in the night.
There is sheer Magic in the cool, crisp, pristine breeze that welcomes you at the ghats. And in the night, it offered an unparalleled spectacle of sparkling diamonds which transforms into Salem city under the sun. The climb of 28kms took me an unforgettable 60mins, rejuvenating me, simply sooper it was.
My sis, bil, and nephews – Rishabh and Aryan were booked at Sterling Resorts, perched right on the hill overlooking Salem. However, this competitive advantage of the location, makes up a bit for the lethargic service.
Any hill station worth its salt must have a lake, a few viewpoints, a waterfall and, of course, all those honeymooning couples. After pedaling the full family across the lake, we left the top by 1pm. At the bottom, I bid goodbye to sis, they had plans of visiting Tirupur about 140kms from Salem before heading back. I decided to carry on, my carb still generously donating petrol to the tarmac. Struck a conversation with an old man on a Luna Super, “All the way to Bangalore! don’t feel tired? etc, etc”.
I was well on target to be back home by 5-6. On the outskirts of Salem, I realized I probably forgot the novel “A Suitable Boy” back at the resort. One quick dive into the tank bag confirmed it. Is it true for everyone or is it only me, I do have these strong premonitions or do I simply call it a ‘premonition’ only if in fact it turns into one! That is how weird you think when you have to navigate 20 hairpin bends up and down in 2 hours. But fortunately, the Yercaud ghats are very precise, one right hand bend, a few smaller ones and invariably a left hand turn follows. Left-right-left-right right-left-right-left and I get back to the Salem Airport deviation, exact 2hrs after, A Suitable Boy stowed up safely. But honestly, it was more than pleasurable to take those curves, twice over!
(There is a mischievous plot brewing up with the suitable boy, the fantastic curves, the coming twice, etc, I leave it you to sew it up.)
Salem, Dindugal, Krishnagiri and Hosur came and went in one hour intervals and I was back home by 730.Pleasant ride, a treat to the eyes and lungs and a leaky BS29, that was the ride for me.
Total Distance covered: 540ms
Route: Bangalore-Krishnagiri-Salem-Yercaud.

Value Lanes

Event: RTMC meet
Location: Value Lanes

There is always a wedding ceremony every weekend that my parents want me to attend. All the more reason for me to jump on saddle and ride out. I did just that, on Sunday morning after promising to attend the reception party.
At RTMC we were having our annual meeting at someplace close to Manchinbele dam. I couldn’t make it to the starting point at the appointed 930. With no mobile signal at the venue, and unaware of even the name of the venue, I had to rely on the ultimate signpost – Bullets!!

“Look out for Rajarajeshwari Dental college, an International school on the left side about 5-6kms later and then a right turn leading to $&^% village (name changed upon request, ha ha) off Mysore Road”, “the rest I don’t know, coz we haven’t got there yet”, was all I could get before the signal died down.

Some amount of riding up and down ensured that I found the turn to take. What next? There are two things I knew – the place was some kind of a resort and the track was warm with Bullet marks, at least 25-30 Bullets were supposed to have preceded me. One ruralist said there was one resort belonging to Upendra. Half-baked ones are easy to mislead and from then on, I was asking for Upendra’s resort. While one took a lift in exchange, another zealously enquired if superstar Upendra was in the MUV that had just passed. Fortunately, I caught up with Rakshas who had all the directions to the venue and put those direction-(mis)adventures to rest.

A stretch of dirt road opens to the glassy reservoir of Manchinbele. The backdrop of beautiful hills reflecting off the still waters was truly transcending. The place is more appealing on account of its conspicuous absence of humans.


Simply superb place, I say. It is an ideal destination for any rugged outdoor / team building activity. The hospitality of Major Kapoor who runs the place is the cherry on the top. To know more, click here.

The meeting went on in a very civilized (by most standards) manner indeed. I can’t quite say the same thing about the lunch.

We rode back through Manchinbele dam and Big Banyan tree. A great off-roading location and ‘the’ place if you are looking for a quiet Sunday not far away from home.

Friday, March 02, 2007

An announce ride called BLUFF


intransitive and transitive verb pretend to be confident: to pretend to have strength, confidence, or the intention of doing something, in order to deceive somebody

I should have guessed this when RTMC announced a ride to Bluff aka Shivanasamudram. Bluff 1: It was supposed to be a ride on road, not off-road.
Bluff 2: Since when did you call tender coconuts, “Breakfast”
Bluff 3: It was supposed to be a waterfall that we were riding to!!!

It was a good turnout at 7am at town hall – Sam (on his F650) and Sumanth, were doing the ride captain honors. Boom, Cup, Anand, Dom (Jawa 350) and Karna joined in. There were lots of newbies – couples, dhoni hairdos, shutterbugs, 19 bullets in all.

First regroup point was Khoday’s Breweries on Kanakpura road. Roads were reasonable till Kanakapura. The restaurant before Kanakapura was closed, the Plan B was to call the ride a diet ride and continue.
As we headed towards Malvalli (root mal = bomb?, halli = village), we were in for a surprise. No bombs and what should have been a road was more like the test bed for rover, the moon explorer! After this one, am sure we won’t be seeing as many pillion riders in the future. Amidst all this, there was this one newbie couple chatting incessantly. Parks (not rides) are places where you go if you want to talk, at least you wouldn’t slow down the sweep (read, sam on the F650) to those miserly 40kmph speeds.
The next pit stop was at Malvalli, Hotel Nisarga (?) for food. Following the principle of Henry Ford, the hotel offered “any customer any dish ordered, so long as it’s a dosa”.
About 15kms from Malvalli, there is a road going to the left. Gaganachukki falls is about 5kms.
It sure was a bad time of the year to visit the falls and we were disappointed (talk about sharing water with TN now). The falls is quite a sight when in its full majesty. Sam gave the hamari paramapara talk at the circle, and intros went around.
We headed back via Maddur and got along full throttle on Mysore road. Lunch happened at 3:30 on this quiet place behind Café Coffee Day on Mysore road. The last regroup point was opposite KaduMane.
In all, yet another good ride with RTMC!!

Total Distance: 140kms
Route: Bangalore > Kanakapura > Malvalli > Shivanasamudram > Maddur > Bangalore