Thursday, July 06, 2006

Bangalore Yelagiri Bike Trip

This post is dedicated to that lunatic fanatic biker "Rameez Latheef".

"ollathu kondu onam polae"
-Malayalam proverb meaning live like a king with what you have.

If you have a Yezdi bike and enough money for filling the insatiable hunger of that powerful beast then you really can become a king on the road. No wonder they named one of the versions "RoadKing".

On a fine Sunday morning(29-May-2006) at the unholy hour of 6:30A:M I found myself sitting on top of a Yezdi bike, the sole reason being that I had not got a ticket to my native the previous Friday. The destination was "Yelagiri" in TamilNadu. 6 more guys came along for the trip. The cast and crew included, 2 Yezdi bikes, 1 Bajaj Discoverer and one Honda Unicorn. The people who participated were
1)Abraham Menacherry(me)
2)Rameez Latheef(Crazy Yezdi Bike owner)
3)Isaac Cheriyathu (Even more Crazy Yezdi Bike owner)
4)Shyam Chand Kalakad(Unicorn owner and my adorable roomie)
5)Jiju K George(My hostel-mate and hmm... the odd man out)
6)Naseeb(Poor Bajaj owner)
7)Jagadish(Poor Bajaj Pillion rider)

at abt 7 A.M we all had congregated at K.R Puram. The streets were deserted, we made good way in a short time span. Our first stop was at Hoskote on the Old Madras Road. We overshot it by a mere 7km before somebody got the idea that we were on the wrong track. The next recognizable spot on the map (yeah we had one) was the village called Malur. With all due respect to the utterly useless guys in BDA(Bangalore Development authority) the guy who made/maintains this road is even more incapable than you guys. In fact one shouldn’t exactly be calling it a road, it was more like a bit of tar spread around the potholes.

By 9 we had covered 100km even on those inhumane tracks. Our next major stop was at Bangarpet. It’s a small town like any other in south India. Here we had our breakfast from a small vegetarian hotel that was very overcrowded. The crowd was there for a good reason too, the food was very good.

From the map we saw that it was easier to go via "kuppam". But at least 4 people testified that there was no such road. We were crestfallen but fortunately just as we left the hotel we ran into a guy with an Enfield bike. He looked like the sort who would know the road to kuppan and he did know it!!!.

The route to be taken was via the Kolar Gold Fields. And what a road it was! This is what one will expect from a country road. Smooth surface, non-existent traffic, green surroundings and flowing curves that will satiate the thirst of even the most eager biker. It was a breeze from KGF to Kuppom and from Kuppom to Nattranpalli. Only difference was that ‘Halli Darigalu’ turned into ‘Uri Darulu’ and then into ‘Kramathu Salaigal’ in a matter of a few kilometers as we crossed two state boundaries.

Kuppam is a model town in Andhra, it is a beautiful serene place with flowing green fields having who-knows-what-crop and golden hay stacks bunched all along its roads, in fact its one village that would definitely get my vote for the "model town thingy".

On the way from Kuppam to Nattrampalli we stopped our bikes to take some snaps; we had not seen even one vehicle in about 20 minutes of traveling on that road. In our over-confidence we parked the bikes right in the middle of the road. Shyam's bike was right in the centre, after taking the snaps we were all climbing back on to the bikes and shyam was taking a leak when one Indica came zooming up the bend, Shyam (with his fly open) jumped into the middle of the road and waved his hands to stop the car, it was totally hilarious, actually the car driver had seen us and had slowed down so there was no real danger.

Another highlight of the ride was the much awaited battle between Rameez’s Roadking and the Unicorn. But again, it turned out to be a no-contest as the four-stroke Honda could not match the mind-boggling acceleration or the top-end speed of the sturdy quarter-liter Czech crotch rocket at any time during the ride. Both the Roadkings were miles ahead in the hills as well as during the highway run. One thing noted was the discrepancy between the speedometers of the bikes. When the Unicorn speedo was showing 120kmph, Rameez’s Roadking was showing 110kmph while my bike’s speedo was showing around 100kmph, all at the same speed. Both the Roadkings clocked 125kmph according to Rameez’s speedo and that would have been over 135 in the Honda speedo. Only thing that marred the image was the pearly Roadking’s engine getting seized after a long stint of speeds over 120kmph.

Due credit should be given to the Discover, which has not a 125cc heart, but a 110cc one, and still coped up with the other bikes boasting displacements of more that twice. It is not to say that the Discover was competing with other steeds, but it never got too far behind for us to wait for it at any time.

Having bypassed Jolarpet town we reached the foothills of Yelagiri by about 12 P.M. Next was the 14km ride to the top of Yelagiri. True biker that he is, Isaac left us all far behind, and then waited at each bend for us to catch up. The view while riding to the top is stupendous, you can see the valley below stretching for miles on end with rolling green fields and water bodies between them, and the thread thin roads, snaking through them. We stopped at many points and took a lot of snaps, with this view as the background. Actually the only thing we got in the background was the blue sky and the clouds. The valley was too far below.

By 1PM we had reached our destination. Lunch was from a tidy little hotel called "Surabhi" right next to the road leading to Yelagiri’s small lake. We had tomato soup, chicken fry, chili chicken and chicken fried rice. The food was ok, the soup was not. The options we now had were a trek to swami-malai and boating on the lake. We decided upon trekking.

On the way was this giant banyan tree, all of us got down and rested in its shade for some time, but the primate in shyam awoke and he took some snaps of himself hanging up-side down on its hanging branches. The trek would have been a non-starter if not for shyam and Naseeb who pushed us awake from the all empowering seduction of a siesta. After much bickering on the benefits of a good sleep and a good trek, we were back on our way to the village called "Mankalam". After losing our way a couple of times we reached the village. We parked our bikes and left our helmets in the care of the villagers there and started off on our 4km trek. After about 1km Jiju, Rameez and Isaac backed out.

The rest of us continued, initially the climb was ok and we were able to make good ground, but after some time all the junk food, late nights and no-exercise regime that we worship started taking its toll I was finding it hard to catch my breath. The path itself was not very arduous; it had some widely spaced stone steps and well beaten path in other stretches. Fortunately everyone who was climbing along with me except for Jagadish (who seems to be in prime form) was as tired as I was. We would climb for 5 minutes and take rest for 10 and this would continue. The villagers who had seen us going up had rightly judged us to be pampered town brats so they send up a kid to keep us company. The ease with which this guy was climbing gave a mighty complex. He offered to carry my bag for me after some time, but I declined, I was tired but I did not want to muddy the reputation of us town brats!

After climbing for what seemed to be forever (it was actually just over an hour) we reached the summit. There was a small temple there between two huge boulders (each one would be twice the size of my office) we took more snaps and rested for some time. Another strategic point on the hills had a boulder and an iron ladder attached to it. We went up the ladder and the view from there was...... well to experience that you have to be there, words are inadequate to explain the thrill we got. On top of this boulder was an iron railing to prevent any misadventure. It is really steep on three edges and I did lose my balance on the top so it was there for a good reason.

By this time the climate had chilled and there was a strong cold wind blowing at us. It rejuvenated us completely. After spending about an hour there, we went down, the climb down was a breeze, we almost ran the whole distance, and met up with the other three. We had tea from the local chai shop of the village, and one thing that we noted about this village called Mankalam was how neat the whole hamlet was... every little road was swept clean, every courtyard was spic and span all in all another good candidate for the "Model-village-thingy". Next destination was the lake, but since the time was already nearing 6pm we did not go boating.

On our way back the skies opened up with a mighty roar and we were pelted with furious rain. Each drop felt like a tiny hammer on our skin. This was really the most thrilling part of our bike ride.

The only major incident that happened during this rain-ride was a dog jumping in front of shyams bike. I and Rameez were just behind him so we were able to get a clear picture of what happened. When the dog ran into his front wheel shyam showed terrific presence of mind, his bike did not even waver, in the rain, with that speed, if he had braked or tried to take a sudden turn it would have meant disaster. Jiju was the pillion rider, he also did not move or jerk around even when he felt that the dog was going to crash against him, fortunately it did not. Anyway the dog got dragged for about 2 seconds and he slid for another two in front of our bike before he came to a stop in the middle of the road. It seemed that only his front leg was injured. Within one hour the rain had ceased but the wind was still very chilly and I felt like I had nearly frozen on my seat.

With ought any more incidents and with God's grace we were able to reach back safely.


Blogger Domestic Avalanche said...


great work... I had not known about it until one of my cousin pointed out this blog to me... I have put it in my blog too...

Co- conspirator...


10:54 PM  

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