Bike Ride: Dandiganahalli Dam

Ride to Dandiganahalli Dam near Chikkaballapur with a colleague and friend UmaShankar.

Most rides in 2020 are there just to escape the lock down and restrictions to stay at home. Also wanted to take the D250 for a spin and get more miles on the bike.

So off we went for a small breakfast ride through the backroads.

Instead of taking the airport road, we took the backroad through Hoskote to Sidlaghatta to Chikkaballapur. Beautiful road flanked by fields and lots of greenery owning to the rains.

At Chikkaballapur we stopped at a roadside thela for coffee. Would have preferred a filter coffee joint, but had to do with instant coffee.

Couple of dark cloud up ahead had me worried. I wasn’t anticipating rain and I had not packed any rain gear.

Turning off towards the dam, we found this large reservoir and stopped for a break and pictures.

Wild weed reflections in the reservoir.

Soon we were at the dam. Seemed a pretty popular place with a few cars, many bikes and a cycle or two. Mostly college crowd.

Walked around the place a little. There seems to be a way to walk to the further end of the lake, but we decided against it given the riding gear etc.

There was a fallen tree next to the lake which gave a few photo opportunities.

Having spent a little time at the dam, we decided to take an alternate route back to airport. Stopped in between for a picture.

Turning west and then south, we took the road going to Doddaballapur. This road has been completely transformed since I rode on it last. From an idyllic semi-rural road this is turned into a wide highway. Good for speed, but not for a morning ride.

Doddaballapur itself has changed. A big flyover and several new shops. The place looks completely different from the days we went to Pyare-Punjabi dhabha on Tumkur road.

Joining the Airport road we took a little diversion to Indian Parantha Place for breakfast and then back via Hebbal to home.

A short a sweet ride.

Ride Month: Aug 2020
Distance: ~200Km

Bike Ride: Good Bye Avenger

Last backroads ride with the trusty old Avenger. After 9 years of service, it was time to get a younger sibling. But this one is about the Avenger and the last beautiful ride.

Lock down had everyone cooped up in their homes. Not only it was boring it was stressful, especially for people like me who like their open spaces.

So the first opportunity, I went on the a small ride. The fact that Gulmohar’s are blooming late this year was a blessing.

I wanted to go towards Venkatagirikota and Koundinya Wildlife century, but the Avy had other plans.

At Hoskote I turned towards Malur. The Hoskote-Malur road was once a narrow lane lined with Gulmohar trees. One of my early rides on Avy was on this road. Below is a picture from that ride.

Much has changed since then. The road is no longer the rural back road it once was. The trees on the side of road are gone. The road itself is transformed into a divided highway, bringing with it a promise of prosperity.

A brick kiln or perhaps a poultry farm on the way. Soon these would be gone.

Some of the Gulmohar’s are still standing. These are mostly ones next to existing building giving joy to the people living nearby.

At Malur, I turned towards Tekal. Plan was to hear to Bangarpet and then towards VGirikota.

Few Km before Bangarpet, the plans changed. A nasty nail gave me a rear tire flat. Didn’t have much choice but to drag the to Bangarpet. 6Km of huffing and puffing with the heavy jacket and warm sun. Fortunately it was still early in the morning. So the hot summer sun was still not beating down mercilessly.

On the outskirts of Bangarpet, found a puncture shop. While the tube looked fixable to me, the person insisted that he needs to change the tube. Off he went to buy a tube and came back with one several size thinner. Didn’t have much choice and asked him to go ahead.

Post the tube replacement, I was not very confident of safety the new tube provided. Decided to change my plans and turn back towards the Kolar highway and then slowly limp back home.

So at Bangarpet, I turned towards Kolar. Stopped at the railway crossing just after Bangarpet and walked on the track taking a few pictures.

The Gulmohar’s were in full bloom and I started rethinking the plan of returning home via the highway. By the time I reached NH75, I had changed my plans once again and decided to head towards Srinivaspur and then return via Chintamani.

Tomatoes thrown on the way due to lock down.

Kolar to Srinivaspur route was a surprising find. The entire stretch is lined with Gulmohar’s blooming at the time of the year.

Enjoy the pictures below.

At Srinivspur, turned towards Chintamani. Took the bypass and reached Hoskote and home via NH75.

All in all a good last ride on the Avy – 9 years and 60,000Km of companionship.

Ride Month: May 2020
Distance: ~190Km

Bike Ride: Dominar 250 1st Solo

Having recently acquired a Dominar 250, and in a hurry to get the 1st service done, did a short 200Km ride on the backroads.

As usual, the route map. Headed North, then turned East and then South, then West to reach home. One good part of staying in the outskirts is the ease of getting out of the city.

Let somewhat late at 0530, yet it was still dark when I crossed the Hoskote toll.

By the time I left Hoskote behind for Sidlaghatta, the morning had turned grey with the sun obscured by clouds.

The road was surrounded by fields with a temple here and a graveyard there.

Stopped to take a few pictures next to an old shiv temple.

And then stopped next to a few graves. Also spent some time to figure out how to tie the tail bag so that it does not slip forward and push against the rider.

Another angle for looks.

After driving an Avenger for 9 years, getting used to the sitting posture of Dominar will take some getting used to.

I wanted to sit down and take a break, but could not find any place other than on the grave. Decided not to disrespect the dead.

How age changes ones perspective. Decades ago, when we were young, we used to play cricket in an open area of a graveyard in Nainital. At that time, I doubt any of us thought about how that would bother the dead.

At Sidlaghatta, I turned towards Chintamani. Till now I had not decided to turn toward Chikkaballapur or towards Chintamani. Decided at the spur of the moment and turned right.

Couple of Km before Chintamani, spotted this hill shrouded in clouds. Turned inwards to find this field with flowers. Time for some quick pictures.

At Chintamani, stopped for a coffee. Next to the coffee place was an idli place. How can one resists Chintamani Idlis. Few piping hot ones under the belt and I was off towards Kolar.

The road to Kolar was nice and green. Gone are the red Gulmohars which I enjoyed only a few months back.

Stopped next to a temple complex for a break and stretch my legs. Ate a guava which I had packed with me.

I was about to reach Kolar and was in two minds on whether to take the highway back home or extend in some other direction.

Finally, I decided to cross over towards Bangarpet.

The road from Kolar to Bangarpet, goes parallel to a railway line. I was hoping to get close to the tracks and get a picture with tracks receding in the background.

Didn’t have much luck with that. All crossing were either barred or an underpass built.

At Bangarpet, turned towards Tekal and then Malur – Hoskote – home.

In between, before Tekal, stopped for some picture near a stretch of yellow flowering trees. This was the stretch where I had a flat tire on the last ride.

The road from Malur to Hoskote has been upgraded to a mostly divided highway. There was time when this was a narrow road lined with Gulmohar trees. I came down this road when I had just brought the Avenger in 2011. The pace of modernization has now taken over. Below is picture from that ride.

I was home by 1130 and after 200Km ready for 1st service.

Ride Month: Aug 2020
Distance: ~190Km

Bike Ride: Mettur Circuit

The route map – 565Km of meditating on two wheels.

My usual Spring ride called the “Ides of march Ride”, though sometimes it happens in April. For some reason spring isn’t really here. Pretty much no flower laden trees. That was one of three disappointments I had on this ride.

I started a little late and decided to take the Nice Road to Kanakpura Road. Took me longer than expected, though I was able to avoid the construction on the Kanakpura Road. The sun was just rising over one of the lakes. Beautiful orange hues.

Stopped for the customary bike silhouette. The road was a little higher than the surroundings. That helped with the low angle picture.

Crossed Kanakpura. Was temped to stop at Vasu’s. However decided to skip since I was running late. They have a nice big board now. Good for outsiders who hear the name and come by to eat the yummy food.

The lake on the outskirts of Kanakpura has been developed well for locals to take walks and enjoy the outdoors. A big chariot is seen across the lake on the other end.

A little after Kanakpura, near where the Kavery pipeline accompanies the road, took a small diversion for taking some pictures. The road gently slopes up and then down, providing an excellent spot to take pictures. The early morning light makes the pictures glow. The rocks are great for sitting and taking a break.

At Malavalli, stopped for a tea break and turned towards Kollegal.

This stretch of road from Malavalli to the Satthegala Bridge is my favorite stretch in the Bangalore backroads. And that was the second disappointment of the day.

The road has been widened, cutting trees and removing various artifacts that gave it character. I have fond memories of this stretch. One of my first few rides out of Bangalore was here. That lamenting will wait for some other time.

One of the casualties of road widening is an old temple by the road side. This was once an invisible, hidden behind the bushes, temple where no one went. With the bushes being cleared someone is taking over. The old structure is being torn down.

The old hand pump is gone too. It’ll no longer fill my bottles.

A red brick house amidst coconut trees

After crossing the Satthegala Bridge, took a dirt track down to the river. There wasn’t much water in the river. I was in two minds on whether to go to Hogenakkal or take the Germalam route to Dhimbam ghats.

At Kollegal I took a break to buy some water, biscuits and chips. Couple of kids came to see the bike. One of them (one above with a mask) looked at the number plate and then looking at me said “Corona virus se bhag kar aaye ho?” (Are you running away from Corona virus?). Smiling I nodded.

Deciding to head towards Hogenakkal, I turned towards MMHills. The road conditions have improved since my last ride on this road. The terrain is always lovely. Distance hills mostly covered by haze and the fields in front lush green. A bush was flowering purple.

A nice tree with fresh red leaves was glowing in the sunlight.

Crossing Hanur, the climb to MMHills was somewhat monotonous. The day was hot and road wasn’t in great condition. That climb wasn’t much fun. At MMHills, they have build a huge weird dome next to the temple spoiling the beauty of the place.

Crossing the temple I started the descent towards Hogenakkal. Ever since they rebuilt this road, it has been in great condition. The hillside was turning yellow which was a pleasant sight.

At the bottom of the hill, I turned towards Hogenakkal. This is a fun narrow road that flanks the Kaveri river and the paved road ends at the Karnataka side of Hogenakkal falls.

The falls were the third disappointment of the day. The place was isolated, river bed was dry and I walked across the bed to the falls.

The elevated pathway to the falls was in ruins. I guess effects of previous year’s floor.

Walking on the rocks on the river bed was a surreal experience. Never imagined that I would walk on this riverbed which was always full or torrents of water.

After spending sometime at the riverbed, I drove back to the parking area. Had a packet of chips and bottle of water. Checked if there was an option of crossing the river with the bike. No option was available there.

Tracking my way back to the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border, I turned towards Mettur dam.

Two views of the Mettur dam.
After the dam it was a long stretch home. The sun was hot and there weren’t any photo opportunities.
I stopped at Mecheri for some coffee and a break. After joining NH44 at Thoppur, it was a break-less ride till Hosur.

At Hosur turned towards Bagalur. Took another break for tea. Then a short cut though fields to Chikka Tirupati and then home with a sore bum.

Ride Month: Mar 2020
Distance: ~570Km

Bike Ride: Bangalore Backroads – North East of Bangalore

Ride Map.

A ride after a long time. Just wanted to hit the roads, going no where and just enjoying the countryside.

Confident Aamoon on Kolar Road
Light trials at Confident Aamoon

Left around 0530 and took the 1st short break at Confident Aamoon. Sun was just rising in front and I was hoping for a good sunrise over the Narsapura lake.

The sunrise at Narsapura was a disappointment. Horizon was mostly clouds. Having no particular destination in mind I decided to head towards H Cross.

To my surprise the road has completely transformed. The narrow rural road is now a divided highway meant for trucks for going to and fro from the industrial area they are building at Bheemapura. I had some great memories of this road with a few great pictures. Ahh the cost of progress.

At H Cross, I stopped for a cup of tea and then turned towards Chintamani. Few Km down the Chintamani road, took another break in the fields. The sun had cleared the horizon and was now rising above the morning fog. It was time to take some pictures.

Took the Chintamani bypass towards Madanpalli. The road from Chintamani to Madanpalli is another one I have always enjoyed. The curved roads are flanked by fields, forests and a spattering of water.

Near a water body, couple of young guys were bathing their buffaloes. Took another break, chatted with them and took some pictures.

At Madanpalli, I was quite hungry. But first I had to refuel the bike. Having done that, I stopped at an idly truck for breakfast. Dosa, Omlette and fresh orange juice was sufficient to keep me going.

From Madanpalle, I turned north towards Kadiri, planning to cut west somewhere in between and join the Hyderabad -Bangalore highway.

That opportunity to turn west came at Balasamudram. Here I took a rural road which would eventually join the NH44 at Kodur.

The road went through several village and several road blocks where the locals were asking for money for upcoming Holi festival.

This was going to be the best part of the ride.

The landscape was mostly barren and shrubs with occasional tree breaking the ground to rise above the rest of the terrain.

I started looking for one such tree which would stand in contrast to the surroundings. Having found one such location, I stopped again to take some pictures.

The lone tree standing tall amidst a barren field, with a spattering of hillocks in the backdrop was a beautiful sites. Few clouds in the sky broke the monotonicity of blue.

Having joined the Hyderabad-Bangalore highway, I felt it was time for lunch. Spying a Rajasthani dhabha, I stopped for food. Chana masala was the day’s special and I ordered it along with roti and curd.

A hearty meal and I started on the last leg of the ride.

10 hrs and 375 Km later I was home with a good day’s ride under my belt.

Ride Month: Feb 2020
Distance: ~380Km