Special word of thanks to Praveen Shirali for his help with the route and places to visit.
As for the blog, this time the pictures are from Praveen Selvam and the text from Allen Mathew Williams!
We’ve been wanting to rumble in the western ghats ever since we got back from the last road trip, but we couldn’t figure out a way to squeeze out time to do it. So we let the thought linger in our minds, but hadn’t any serious plans until one day, Praveen during lunch, says, “Hey, looks like we have a year end break.” and that was it, for all we knew we were all set for another trip, and as always, with just a vague idea that we were doing the western ghats.
A couple of weeks before ride day, Praveen meticulously begins to chalk out the trip, calls up his friends, talks to people, traces routes, and comes up with a neat plan. 8 days, Sat-Sat, with a buffer of one day just in case we decided to deviate and do some thing on the way. All set, Praveen talks to his friends Veda and Steve, they have similar plans as well, and surprise, surprise their ride dates also coincide with ours. we decide to mix plans and pick the choicest of places that we could visit. All said and done, one day before the ride, Steve and Veda confirm the ride, we are all set, Chennai Trade Center (CTC) – 4am – 20-Dec.
(Chennai – Bangalore – Chikkamagalur)
“Wake me up, when you get up” was the message from Praveen, I woke up in the morning to find Praveen’s text, looked like he had hardly slept awaiting the ride. Saddled my bike and rode towards CTC, I was there at 3:45, Praveen arrived momentarily.Steve wasn’t there,Praveen called him to find out that he came home late from work the last night and had dozed off. Steve asked us to carry on and that he’d catch up with us on the way. Praveen and I stared riding, slowly unwinding our way out of the city and onto the bye-pass, we decided to maintain a slow pace so that Steve could catch up. We rode for about 45 kms away from the city, decided to halt a while so that Steve could catch up.
In about a few minutes, whoosh… zipped passed a Karizma, it was Steve. Next stop was a place a few kms after Vellore. By then it was around six in the morning, we stopped for some tea and in 15 minutes we were back on the road, from there we proceeded to Krishanagiri, where we tanked up and sped for Bangalore to Veda’s place.
Irony, call it if you may,from up ahead in a distance Praveen was waving me to a halt, there seemed to have been and accident, and Praveen was in the middle of it, talking to some girl, Praveen walked back to me and said, “Recognize her?”, “Nope.” I didn’t. Praveen quickly pointed out that she was a colleague of ours. Her car had met with an accident, it had been bumped by a truck from behind. Thankfully no one was hurt. Having made sure of that, we hung around for some time, and Praveen gave her his number and asked her to call him if she needed any thing and that we will be in Bangalore till midday.
From there we rode off into the maddening Bangalore inbound traffic. On reaching the agreed upon sync up point Praveen called Veda, who then gave us directions into the city, in about 20 mins time, we reach a cross road and find Veda waiting there to pick us up. We followed Veda into an unwinding maze of roads that lead to Veda’s home. Parked our bikes out side and unloaded our saddle bags. Veda’s mother had prepared breakfast and lunch for us, we had a different kind of roti, we liked it, watched a few episodes of “Top Gear” by then it was 1 pm, Lunch time… Veda’s mother served us rice with sambar, that had a distinct Karnataka taste, we gobbled down the food, thanked Veda’s mother for the lunch, packed our bikes and rode on, next stop Chikkamagalur.
While on the way out of Bangalore, and on to the highway, we passed through a relatively populated area on the NH, the guys were ahead of me, so I down shifted and raised throttle, a few 100 mts ahead stood the Highway patrol interceptor. “Stop”, said the traffic constable. I park my bike and walk up to the traffic Sargent, who said that I was overspeeding. In the meanwhile the others had parked the bikes ahead and Veda was walking towards me. Veda tried to reason with the cops, but it didn’t work well since the speed limit was 50 kmph. He filled a ticket and handed me over a photo shot of me. I’d been jacked. It was a print out, which included every thing, I was doing 86 kmph, and there was nothing I could say or do, except pay the fine and walk out. The cops weren’t expecting a bribe, all I had to do was pay the fine and I was free to go.
I did that, collected the ticket and the printout, and walked up to the guys and said, “I’ve been jacked” and showed Praveen the print out. He immediately pulled it out of my hand, unfolded it and carefully put it in his tank bag. “We’ll put this in the blog.”, he said grinning. Veda then lead us out of Bangalore on to the highway to Chikkamagalur, on the way we spotted a sign that read “Cadbury”, u-turn, head towards that sign, stopped in front of the gate, the guards were concerned, “just a couple of pictures” we said, they looked relived, we clicked… and Oh.. did I tell you about Praveen’s DSLR?, long story, I’ll save that for another day, in short, He has a Cannon d-400 with a Sigma UV lens.
We were done in a few minutes, and were back on the road, riding towards Chikkamagalur. There were some rough patches on the road, the edges were covered with fine dust from the red mud that lay
beside the road, this made cornering slightly tricky, since the front tyre might skid if you hit the breaks too hard. In one such curve, Steve lost control slightly, we had to pause momentarily, checking the bike showed some bruises to the ride and the rider, thankfully again, nothing major. Veda called Praveen, asked him to stop, Veda tested the bike, the handle bar is slightly bend, but the bike was very much ridable.
A few kms down the road we find Praveen, He pulled out the first aid kit, I cleaned the bruise on Steve’s knee, and get back on the road again. Most other people might have called the ride off, after this skid.. but Steve chucked it aside and rode on… love the spirit man… keep riding.
At the next butt-break Veda told us that Chikkamagalur has an eat-out famous for Dosa..and for the next 100kms all I could think off was dosa. we reached Chikkamagalur in the evening, Veda found us a place and we dumped our bags in the room, and rushed (Chikkamagalur sleeps by 9pm, so we had to be there soon.) to “Town Canteen” to have “bennai dosai” as in butter dosai, unique taste, churned the dosai down. and headed back to the room to crash. The day was done, we’d topped our personal bests for total Kms done in a day, I’d done 640kms,Praveen and Steve stood close 600kms + as well.