Ride to Kolli Hills

For the past few weeks, the car has been doing the commute duties while the bike was taken out only on the weekends for 100+ km rides. Perfect. Been doing only short rides though. Home-IPC-Nandi Hills-Devanahalli-Hosakote-Home got boring after a while. Wanted to do something longer.

Woke up saturday morning and decided that I’m riding to Kolli hills. (yeah, just like that). Pinged the usual suspect, A, but no reply. He was probably sleeping. Asked a couple of other friends and they said it’s too far for the bike (pussies). Went back to watching TV and youtube. Around 11, A pinged and said he said let’s do it. He wanted to ride up and down on the same day. Said it’d be impossible as we get only an average speed of 50kmph due to all the breaks, but he wanted to try. Finally convinced him to pack some clothes, just in case. Oh, BTW, he rides a Twister. Yes, that puny thing who’s rear tyre is 30mm narrower than my front tyre.

Decided to meet at Shell Lingarajapuram, the usual rendezvous point at 12. Thanks to the rush, by the time we tanked up (or half tanked) and set the right pressure in the tyres, it was 12:30.  The route was Hennur-KRpuram-Silkboard-Ecity-Hosur-Krishnagiri-Dharmapuri and then google maps thereafter. First stop – brunch at Adyar Ananda Bhavan (A2B) Hosur.

Off we went, navigating through the never sleeping TinFactory-KRpuram traffic. Took about 45 minutes to reach silk board. Such times are unheard of for a saturday afternoon of a long weekend. Turned left to the Ecity flyover and sped to the lay-bye and then was forced to slow down as they were re-laying tarmac on one lane and everyone was forced to the remaining lane, including some crawler who was way ahead, with no room for anyone to overtake him. Paid 1 way toll and was stuck at the signal for long. Then it was non-stop till A2B.

Opted for meals as it’d available instantly and both of us were hungry like anything. Also, asked for 2 gulab jamuns from their bakery counter. One bite and we both knew, it was by far the worst either of us has ever had. It was bad beyond belief.But challenged ourselves to complete it and we did.

Ride resumed. Hosur-Krishnagiri was long, but not boring. Maintained good speeds of 80-90kmph with occasional bursts crossing 110 on empty stretches. On one slight downhill slope, hit 126, the top speed for the day. (All speedo indicated). The roads were mostly 6 laned and were smooth with no potholes or speed breakers anywhere. One of the safest roads I’ve ridden/driven on. The roads weren’t fenced,  yet no animals or humans on the road, trying to cross or to kill you.

Stopped a few times, like every 50kms as A is a compulsive smoker. T’was a good break for the bums and the bikes too. Also had an abrupt stop on the road as we spotted something weird in the sky.

 

Kept riding and once past Dharmapuri, we took the salem bypass and then on to the Salem-Madurai highway, NH44/AH43. Took a left at Kalangani. It was a road shock, switching from 6 lanes highway with a median to a single road with a white lane as the median. I was used to such roads in Kerala, but A took a while to get used. Got lost a couple of times as this was not the main route and there were no sign boards. (Note to self : Get a phone mount). Stopped at a tea stall and the guy vouched that the road we were on leads to Karavalli.

Reached Karavalli at around 6:30. It was almost dusk and this is where the climb starts. The original plan to reach up-top before sunset, but missed that. Now the rush was to climb up before it gets dark and so, we started. 70 hairpins. Yes, seventy. Stopped at a couple of them to click photos. The roads were a bit patchy until the 11th or 12th, but really smooth after that. They’re narrow though. There were a lot of bus/lorries (Dunno if it was because of the time). Bikes didn’t have to stop as the roads were wide enough for a bike and a bus together, but a car would have to get one set of wheels off the road, which is terribly inconvenient and scary at some patches where there’s no barricade. Anyway, halfway through, we saw clouds approaching and rushed up.

Reached the top safely and there was a market kinda thing going on. It started drizzling and we took shelter at a closed shop, near a Tea stall. Drizzle became rain and lightning and thunder. The ceiling of the shop we were taking shelter was pretty small and there was a lot of water being sprayed on to our jeans and shoes and they were getting drenched badly. Thought about taking shelter at a closed shop on the other side that had a sit-out kinda thing but the tea stall owner stopped us saying it’s dangerous as that building did not have a lightning conductor and people have gotten struck by lightning there before. Seemed true, because that was the only place that was somewhat guaranteed of not being drenched yet there was no one there and the entire market was taking shelter at places that’d get them partially drenched.

Rain started subsiding only after half an hour. Asked the tea stall guys about accommodation places and he said there are hotels/resorts 5kms further. Waited for another 15-20 minutes for the rain to stop, but it only slowed down to a drizzle. Decided to proceed anyway. A had a rain coat. I only had a mesh windcheater that was seeping water in. Rode 5kms and saw few lodges. Stopped at the first one to be told that no rooms were available and all the rooms in the entire town are taken. Called bullshit and decided to check out the other places and realized he wasn’t bullshitting. Everything was taken. Not the news you want to know at 9pm, drenched, cold and tired. Drizzle became rain again and we did not have shelter. Became ball drenched soon and started shivering. Stopped at a small place for dinner.

During the dinner, decided that there was no choice but to climb down the hairpins again. The nearest accommodation would be only at Salem, about 100kms. Might as go back to bangalore then. Had a pretty heavy dinner and the total bill came out to be just 120. Same thing at a similar set up would’ve been at least 3 times that. But anyway, tanked up (Yeah, there was a petrol bunk in the town) and proceeded to climb down.  Just before the hairpin, I decided to change my Tshirt as I was shivering. So, middle of the night, roadside, I stripped and changed. Climbed down the hairpins slowly and cautious. Was misty/foggy at some places. Reached down at around 10:30. There were few T stalls open. Took a break and went a few kms when A realized he forgot his backpack at the stall with his wallet and phone in it. Went back and it was there, safe.

Reached the main highway past 11 and a random police checkup just before hitting it. They didn’t believe that we were going all the way back to Bangalore. But anyway, got on to the roads and there was more traffic than daytime. Lorries, lorries and more lorries. Lorries everywhere. Trains of lorries. Swarms of lorries. One lorry at 30kmph on one lane, one overtaking it in the next lane at 31kmph and another one overtaking them both at 32kmph in the last lane. Not so much a problem for us as we were on bikes and there was sufficient space beyond the white line on the left. Despite the million lorries on the roads, it was very safe to ride. They always stuck to their lanes.

We had thought that the ride on the highway would be slow assuming it’d be cold and dark. But we were actually faster. There were street lights at some places and at others the headlamps from the lorries and other vehicles helped us. The median had big leafy plants that was blocking the high beam from the oncoming traffic on the other side. Took a couple of breaks, only at the toll booths at Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri. Agreed to do the last 100km nonstop. By the time we reached Ecity, my entire body was aching like hell. The arms, shoulders, back, thighs, legs, everything. The minor jumps on the flyover was sending jolts of pain all over the body. Post silkboard, decided to go slow as there are a lot of potholes and speed breakers.

Around 4:30 AM and there were a lot of bikes and zoomcars on the ORR. Took around 45 minutes to reach Kammanahalli. Saw more vehicles on this stretch at this time of the day than the entire to and fro journey on the highway. Also, this was the only part of the ride that felt unsafe or dangerous. Stopped at a tea vendor in kammanahalli and then parted ways to our homes. Reached home, took a shower and slept.

Total distance covered = 620km

Petrol = 1200Rs worth.

Mileage = ~31kmpl.

Misc expenses =~ 300 per head.

 

 

Published in: on August 21, 2016 at 12:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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