Monday, August 20, 2007

The Hills Trilogy - Part I - Nandi Hills

Nandi Hills

As a boy I always fancied looking down, perched on the petrol tank of my dad’s Jawa and watch the road blur under me. I am growing up to be that boy again!
For a brief moment, it took me away from the sore lower back, the headwind and the afternoon sun; I was translocated. Every shiny dot on the tarmac stretched to form a line, joining the hundreds moving under me. As I bend down to dwell upon my shadow, the knees incessantly move in tandem, the white lines on tarmac paused and went… the hot, dry air made way into and out of the bellows. I craned my neck briefly to sample the uphill left to climb and the childhood fantasy was snapped.

Last Saturday, 11th Aug, Ananth and I cycled up to Nandi Hills and back.

5:20AM Hebbal Flyover - the start
7:00AM First Break just off the Highway, after about 35kms
7:38AM Stop at the ruins just as we begin the ascent
8:15AM Stop at the 4km mark
8:27AM 5.5km mark, disembark from the saddle.
9:00AM Reached the top, park and scout for tea!!
(45kms+8kms uphill in 3hours 40mins)

The onward ride was not as difficult; we rode up 5.5 kms uphill as well, before we got off the saddle. The temperature dropped quite a bit as we approached the top, 4850ft high. At 8:30AM, we were literally walking on the clouds. The roads were wet and the sun was waging a condensation battle with the fog and the cloud. One of my favorites is that moment as the sun clears up the hazy obscurity.

Nandi hills is ‘the’ favorite among the coo chi-cooing couples and dare devil bikers. The 90acre area attracts more than a 1000 motorists on any given weekend and could turn into a disaster if you think you were leaving the crowds behind in Bangalore. It is highly recommended to leave Bangalore early to catch the sunrise and then head back.

We stayed on top for about 30mins or so, searching for a tea kadai and filling up our water reserves. My chocolate bars and biscuits came to the rescue of the empty stomachs. What muscles are worked while you ride downhill?? The Forearm! I had to work hard with the brakes to keep myself from falling off, new brake shoes really help.

I love it when you can exchange ta-tas from kids on my bullet rides. When you are on a cycle, you can also hear them scream and they can see you grin. At one stretch near Devanahalli we were welcomed by drum beats by a school band practicing for the upcoming 60th Independence Day celebration. The Blow of the trumpet grew louder as we passed. I was wondering what independence we were celebrating if kids had to rehearse for the march on Service roads in blazing sun.

And then there were children near the hills who were collecting Ganesha Festival Funds!! Their WMD was a length of rope tied around two trees on either side of the road. After our break near Chikkajala junction around 1130, a motorcycle slowed down to my pace and the pillion shook hands with me. The guy was himself a long distance biker and was happy to see like-minded insanity on the highway.

Ananth is a fellow Hasher and rides a Firefox. His pace was perfect for me, chatting when I was bored and egging me on when I needed it. The fact that we took only 3stops on the onward journey was largely because of his girt. Thanks mate!

The last stop was after Jakkur for tender coconuts, it was 1230 and I had one last uphill to climb before the flat home stretch. I reached home at 1pm in time for a warm bath and delicious Pulav… thanks mom!!

I was happy to finish the 110kms in good shape in stark contrast to the previous Nandi Hills ride. It did get Ananth and I accustomed to the crosswinds to expect on the longer Pondi ride…

Checklist for long rides:
Check for appropriate tire pressure, pedals in order, good brake shoes.
Carry plenty of water, glucose, biscuits, chocolate bars.
Carry a tool kit, puncture kit, spare pedals.
Stow these on a carrier, securely fastened with bungee cords, keeping the shoulders free.
Rub Vaseline on crotch, underarm to help reduce friction.
Use sun block, sun glasses, cap/helmet to keep the sun out.

The fotos are here.


Aravinth said...

Cool Blog buddy. Guess I started getting the quarter life blues you had mentioned somewhere in the blog, which of course logically lead me to this site. So, here's the thingy. I'm planning on my first solo ride to Madurai from Bangalore. I desperately need someone's advice and experience on the DO's and DON'Ts. Hope you see this comment. Give me your Y! id or something where I can get in touch.

manoj said...

Thanks! shoot a mail at the id given in the blogger profile.. will be glad to give any gyan reqd..