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: Of Biryani and Waterfalls – Triplog

Trip Date: Dec 20th 2015

After abandoning the biryani plans on last month’s ride, I was eager to make another attempt. I also wanted to checkout a place called Bheema Falls in Jawadhu Hills.

Lily, my dog, was surprised at the early walk and feeding. And before she had finished her meal, I was heading out. The sky was overcast, but there were more open patches than covered.

While the obvious route to Vaniyambadi was via Hosur/Krishnagiri, I exited Bangalore towards Kolar. The plan was to cross through the Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) and join the Krishnagiri-Chennai Highway at Pachur.

At Kolar I turned towards Bangarpet. The clouds soon parted to give a spectacular sunrise.

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Sunrise among the coconut trees

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Customary Selfie

After Bangarpet, I recalled a small darshini where I had stopped on one of the previous rides. The place served excellent pongal.

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Yummy Pongal

Breakfast wrapped up, I headed towards KGF. It was interesting to drive through the town, with its old British style bungalows bordered by large lawns.

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Entrance to an obscure temple

Soon I reached the Krishnagiri-Chennai highway and turned East. Decided to go to Jawadhu hills first.

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View from Krishnagiri-Chennai Highway

At Vaniyambadi I got off the highway and onto the back roads. Crisscrossing though the villages, I made my way up to the Jamunamarathur. After asking around and a couple of false leads, I made my way to the falls.

The falls descend in two stages. The 1st stage, is a short fall and ideal for a leisurely bath. The 2nd one is a much deeper plunge.

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Bheema Falls – Stage 1

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Bheema Falls – water glow

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Bheema Falls – bathing arrangements

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Bheema Falls – Stage 2

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Bheema Falls – water cascades

There were hardly anyone at the falls. Which is why the place was quite clean. After spending a while at the falls, pangs if hunger started. So I traced my way back to Khaja @Vaniyambadi. The place has been renovated and upper floor with AC is available for patrons.

So I got down to fulfilling the purpose of this ride.

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The famed Vaniyambadi biryani

After polishing off the last bone, I turned my attention to the route back. The easy option was to follow the toll highway to Krishnagiri and then Hosur and back. The more interesting route would have been over the hills to Venkatagirikota – Kolar and back.

Given the full stomach, I decided to take the easy route back. The ride back was boring to say the least and soon I was back home.

map
Route Map

Trip Stats Distance: 420Km
Start Time: 0515
End Time: 1630
Expenses – Food: 430
Expenses – Fuel: 500

Bike Ride: Chased By Rains – Triplog

Trip Date: Nov 15th 2015

After a crazy week between work deadlines, Diwali and Kids school functions, Sunday was planned to be chilled affair. However, last minute decided to ride to Vaniyambadi for biryani. Given that it had been raining for almost two weeks, it would have been prudent to check out the weather forecast. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I did not.

Morning started out as usual. A spattering of clouds on the horizon raised hope for a spectacular sunrise. I headed out my favorite Bangalore exit – Kolar highway

AbortedBiryaniRide_009Pharaoh statue outside Confident Amoon

By the time I reached Narsapura lake, rain clouds had captured the blues of the sky. Off towards my right, the clouds hung ominously. I was starting to have doubts about the ride towards Vaniyambadi. Suddenly the recent Chennai rains came to my mind. Looked like another low pressure buildup in that direction. Though I was prepared with the rain gear, I wasn’t really in the mood to ride in the rain. This was supposed to be a warm sun-on-my-back ride.

AbortedBiryaniRide_014Fog and Clouds on Narsapura Lake

At Kolar I turned towards Bangarpet, fully aware of the clouds ahead. Still hoping to catch a lucky break. A whiff of rain sprinkled the visor. Now I really wanted to turn back. Maybe I could get a coffee in Bangarpet and turn round. I also wasn;t sure where to turn towards. Cutting the ride short wasn’t a pleasing thought.

AbortedBiryaniRide_018The tree lined road to Bangarpet

A little ahead, I spied a railway line parallel to the road. Cutting a diversion I did a short photo shoot. As the rain started its steady drumbeat, I decided to turn back. The skies up North were more welcoming. So I turned towards that. Now I was being chased by the rain. Little did I knew that this is how the day would proceed i.e., rain on my tail.

AbortedBiryaniRide_028  On the tracks

AbortedBiryaniRide_035-BWMonochrome Experiments

Once inside Kolar, the cravings for a hot cup of coffee increased. Stopped by a small shop and hot idlis emerging out of the steamer were too tempting to resist.  AbortedBiryaniRide_040Fresh filter coffee: charm of riding down rural South

As I wrapped up my breakfast, rain again caught up. Took out the rain gear as a precautionary measure.

After crossing Kolar, I saw a board to Madanpalli. Decided to turn in that direction. Worse case I could ride till Horsley Hills and return; though that was something I didn’t want to do. The Chintamani-Madanpalli road is something I like. It is flanked by good amount of tree and there are a few rain fed ponds which make for good break-points. My guess was that I would join that road somewhere in between.

Riding ahead of the rain, I hardly stopped; hoping to keep the lead and stay dry.

AbortedBiryaniRide_044  Kolar-Madanpalli Road

At Madanpalli I turned North again. By now I had a rough plan in mind. I would head North/North-West till I get to Bangalore-Hyderabad highway and then make a straight run home on the highway.

Past Madanpalli, I went offroad up to a small hillock and sat down to enjoy the view. A cool breeze blew across bringing a few drops of water floating through the air. Somewhere far south it was raining with abandon. I sat around a little longer, contemplating whether to take a nap or not. The arrival of a local cow grazer broke my reverie.

Unable to get me to answer his question (asked in Telagu), he gave up and sat down besides me, shifting his gaze from my bike to his cows. I wondered whether he sought the similarities between the two.Or maybe the wastefulness of one vs the other.

With a wave of hand, I ended the silent conversation between us. For some reason I felt that burning an image to camera’s memory would be insulting to the moment. Slowly I rode down the hillock fully aware of the stare on my back. At the bottom of the hill, I turned round to wave another bye. He was still sitting, hand raised as if anticipating my wave and ready to reply in kind. Both of us mirrored the gesture and then tar blurred under the rubber.

AbortedBiryaniRide_056Atop the hillock

AbortedBiryaniRide_065  A hilly break

North of Madanpallli, the landscape opened up. Trees gave way to open grassland punctured by occasional rocky outcrops. Habitation was few and far. It was fun going off the road into one of those mud tracks and letting the tires frolic with the dry grass.

AbortedBiryaniRide_071-BWMore monochrome experiments

AbortedBiryaniRide_074Off among the grasses   AbortedBiryaniRide_088-093  Open terrain – a 6 shot panorama

The ventures into the grasslands had slowed me down. As a result, the rain again caught up and was chasing my tail. At Kadiri, I gave up running and turned West to catch the Balgalore-Hyderabad highway. On way saw the ancient Madhavaraya temple at Gorantla.

AbortedBiryaniRide_111Madhavaraya temple, Gorantla

Somewhere near Hindupur, I joined the main highway and turned South towards Bangalore. A few Km down the full force of rain caught up with me. The home run was going to be a wet affair.

As the rain intensified, I took a lunch break at a small dhabha.

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Basic lunch of roti/sabzi AbortedBiryaniRide_116Drenched in rain

It wasn’t much fun riding on the highway, so after reaching Devanhalli, I took the back roads towards Hoskote and then home.

mapTrip Stats Distance: 430Km
Start Time: 0530
End Time: 1700
Expenses – Food: 122
Expenses – Fuel: 650