Friday, January 1, 2016

Bengaluru to Mysuru - 160km of exhilaring Cycling

I was just into second year of long distance cycling. Had heard cycling feats of friends completing 300+ kilometers of cycle ride in just one day (to and fro from Bengaluru to Mysuru). And of course, there were events like 1000+ KM rides in western ghats. Whilst I knew these beyond my endurance and desire, there certainly was a wish to ride somewhere far from Bengaluru.

So, on 23-December-2012, I went along with Yatin and his friend (who had also lent his Rockrider for me to use) on a trip to Mysuru. My fellow riders from previous trips - Praveen, Mithesh and Yashwanth couldn't join. I had stayed overnight at Yatin's place near Windtunnel road. We started very early in the morning, around 5 AM, braving the chill. It was a touch difficult to ride in the dark upto Madiwala and then traffic and street lights were sufficient.

We rode non-stop for about 40 KMs, down-slope going out of Bengaluru helping. Hands were numb after the hard ride, but gave sufficient warm-up for the toil ahead. Pro-tip: use gloves! We had consciously made a choice to take the Kanakapura road instead of Mysuru highway - adding distance but at the same time much emptier road than the highway. Don't remember correctly, but I think we stopped for tea about 5-10 KM before reaching Kanakapura - where we had breakfast.

It was much more sedate pace after that. After an hour or so, we stopped to have tender coconut (sugarcane juice also helps a lot on long rides). Often, Yatin's friend had to wait for us to catch up, he being a pro cyclist and used to much longer rides. Route was pretty much straight forward to follow, other than some turnings near lunch time. I think it was Malavalli where we stopped to have lunch, about 110 KM ride since morning (around 70 mile mark in the map below). We were now much confident that we would be able to finish the ride, despite uphills ahead. And importantly, plenty of time remaining in the day. The lunch spot had convenient narrow lane to park our bikes and remain in our sight from tables.

Created on - check above map here.

After lunch, our pace got even slower. The afternoon heat didn't help as well. For most part, we rode at our own pace and catching up during breaks. Large sections of roads without habitation around. Thankfully, there was a tender coconut seller at some village bus-stop. The seller became very interested seeing my attire and bike, where I came from, my destination, etc. Even wanted to have a ride, somehow managed to convince that it wasn't my bike (which was true) and escaped from there :P

Last 15-20 kilometers were pure test of will to peddle despite the cramps. Only the closeness to destination kept myself and Yatin going. We would stop every kilometer or so to catch breadth, thankful for even a bit of downslope (which meant no peddling). At that stage, even relatively flat road becomes tough to ride. Not to forget, sitting on the saddle was painful. Pro tip: use padded cycling shorts.

As we entered within limits of the city, we often asked for directions to the Mysuru Palace. And stopped at a medical store - don't remember for what, might have been spray or moov. There was some protest going on at the palace, so in a hurry, we couldn't get a proper photo with the three of us! (I am the blurry figure on the left)

Few minutes were still left to 6:30 PM. After a discussion, plans to stay overnight was shelved and we went to bus station instead. We fit our bikes on the side luggage compartment of Volvo bus (bikes were fit in standing position with some adjustments for height) - the luggage charge was like Rs. 50/- or something, after some negotiations.

On the way, we had dinner stop, so no worries on that aspect too. We slept for most part of the journey. On reaching Bengaluru (Shantinagar depot) around 11 PM, we had to ride another 10-12 KM. I thought it would be difficult to get the legs moving so soon, but it turned out much easier. After dropping off the cycle, Yatin's roommate Devang was kind enough to drop me back to my place in Indiranagar.

And that is how, for the only time so far, I did 160+ KM on a bicycle in a day :) So proud of myself and the memory is ever so sweet to recall. Hoping that I will do some 100+ KM ride this year too :)

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