Archive for the ‘Cycle Tours’ Category

* the dumping lane for snow

Posted on January 21st, 2013 by Alex. Filed under Cycle Tours.

Finally: Last week it started snowing. By the 15th of January a layer of around 5cm (2 inches) covered the country side. I always looked forward to ride in snow and to slide around. Especially I have not seen any snow in the last years while staying in India. Cycling on snow or ice covered roads is very interesting. Nothing will happen as long as nobody jumps just in front of you and you can go straight all the time.

Grandma's Cycle in the snow

I took my grandma’s cycle into the fields surrounding the village.

The snow came right at a time, when my new job started to which I cycle around 22km (one way) every day. The snow plows with attached salt dispensers were out all night to remove at least a little bit of the cold cotton from the roads for the rush hours every morning. I have to admit that I thought about the danger coming from slippery roads, but not about the one coming from the traffic. Most of the drivers believe that they are running on railway tracks. In addition the snow plow removes the ice and snow from the road and dumps all of it on the right side of the road and sidewalk. Local residents are obligated to keep the side walk clean. In case of an accident, it is their fault and they can be sued otherwise. So they throw the ice and snow back onto the road. After some time the whole dump piles up between the side walk and the road where the cyclists usually go. Since this forces the cyclists to ride closer towards the middle of the road, dangerous situation occur quite often. All concentration is required by the cyclists to observe the road and its condition. They do not even have the time to take a sip from the already frozen water in the bottle.

Ice water in the bottle after the ride

The water is freezing in the bottle.


* bangalore, yelagiri, bangalore

Posted on September 24th, 2012 by Alex. Filed under Cycle Tours.

Abhijit, Mustafa, Nirmal and I started the Yelagiri tour on Friday night at around 11PM. The aim was to beat the heat during the day while riding on the highways. Since it is mostly downhill, Bangalore, Hosur and Krishnagiri were left behind within the first few hours. In between we had the time for a little bit of star gazing till the view was denied by upcoming clouds. In the early morning hours we reached Krishnagiri. Since we also wanted to do a recce for the upcoming 400km Brevet, we headed south till Karimangalam to find a suitable spot for a control. After having breakfast we started back to Krishnagiri. In the meantime the sun came up and gave us a taste what to expect during the day.

In Krishnagiri we took NH-48 towards the east while the sun was preparing to turn the highway into an well preheated oven. The next 45km were hot, bright, and kind of boring. At the turn off towards Yelagiri we found shade and took some rest at a coconut tender supplying us with one of the best coconuts I have had so far. After an hour of dozing in the shade, we turned towards the village roads leading to the base of Yelagiri. These roads are excellent, in a very good condition and covered by trees. At the base of Yelagiri we split. Two of us wanted to have lunch before starting the climb, whereas I still had the experience from one of the last rides in mind. We went to Anchetti and had lunch there. Unfortunately this town is located in a valley and the way back to Bangalore is obstructed with a long climb towards Denkanikottai. Full stomach and climb do not always go hand in hand. So Nirmal and I started towards the challenge of the day: 14km from base to Yelagiri on top. 12km climb from an elevation from around 350 to 1017 meters above mean sea level. Each of the hairpins is marked with a number. In total there are 14 of them and most of them are 50m apart in height and 1km in length. In the beginning this numbering is very demotivating. In addition youngsters coming down on their bikes, teased us and wished us good luck. But during the climb and with it the increasing number of conquered hairpins, the teasing is slowly turned into awe and respect. After around one hour we reached the top and dropped ourselves in the first chairs of a restaurant that we found. After we finished our belated lunch, we went to a ice cream stall and enjoyed several rounds of ice cream. While the second part of the group reached and we took rooms in a nearby hotel. Without the luggage and an hour of daylight left, there is not much that could be done. So we decided to visit the lake.

After the sun set, we took dinner, went back to the rooms, took a bath and called it a day. The idea was to get up early next morning, which obviously was foiled. So we woke up at around 8AM and started our journey back. Yesterdays climb turned into joyful and long descent which was over in a fraction of a few minutes. We again went back through shady village roads until we hit NH-48. Again the sun was merciless and did its best. Here Mustafa had his flat and we stopped Vaniyambadi. Form there we took village roads towards Kuppam. Although the roads were in an excellent condition and the traffic was very less, the sun scorched us. Mostly the only traffic that we encountered were tractors transporting Ganesha idols followed by villagers who dance to the drums played loudly.

From Kuppam we continued towards Bethamangala. After reaching Bethamangala we had some masala cucumber/pine apple and a friendly guy sponsored us even more. Shortly after the refreshment we continued towards Kolar while the sun set. Somewhere in between, in the middle of nowhere and in the pitch black darkness, Abhijit had a flat. A thorn of around 1.5cm in length went vertically through tire and tube. The tube was deflated so fast that the stuck thorn also pierced through the other side of the tube. Around half an hour later everything was fixed and inflated again and we continued to Kolar. Near Kolar we found a bottling plant in which drinking water was processed. With unlimited water supply at hand, we filled our bottles up to the brim.

An uneventful ride back to Bangalore on a highway was ahead of us. We reached Pavillion (an eatery in IISc) after a total of 407km (210.72km Bangalore -> Yelagiri, 196.27km return) at around 1AM on Monday morning where we ordered the first 5 items on the menu card and simply doubled the quantity.

Distance of the tour: around 211km + 196km = 407km total

GPX files



* solar panel for galaxy s (i9000)

Posted on May 13th, 2012 by Alex. Filed under Android, Cycle Tours.

For extended cycle trips I am using my Samsung Galaxy S for GPS tracking. However prolonged trips cause a serious power drain on the battery and an external power source is required. Hence I bought a small solar panel (Specs: Rated peak power (Pmax): 3Wp, rated voltage (Vpm): 8.5V) for Rs.450 (approx USD10) and some electronic components to get a constant voltage of 5V corresponding to the output voltage of a USB port.

While testing under several different conditions, if the phone charges, it turned out that the phone discharges at a fast rate, if the solar panel is covered by shade (even slightly) or the sun does not shine orthogonal onto the panel. The reason is that while charging, the CPU of the phone does not enter a deep sleep state in which it is partly switched off reducing the power consumption. If the panel is partly covered, the CPU draws more power than the panel can provide. In addition, it seems that the minimum frequency is set to 200MHz while charging. Hence the CPU runs constantly at 200MHz even if it does not have anything to do causing the power drain. As soon as the power is disconnected, 100MHz and Deep Sleep are added to the available frequencies (1000MHz, 800MHz, 400MHz, 200Mhz). CPU Spy is a small application allowing to check the history of used frequencies.

I did not find any solution to force the Deep Sleep state while the phone is connected to the solar panel (or any other power source). However a developer called existz published TalonDEV, a kernel that allows the CPU to be clocked at 100MHz even while charging. As a nice side effect after installing the kernel is the reduction of the screen brightness whose setting was too high in the Gingerbread-Samsung edition as compared to Froyo.

After installing the TalonDEV kernel, the charging ratings are much better. I still have to do further tests, but if the solar panel is shaded partly, it still charges the phone, which was not achieved before.

[Update 14/05/2012] After some testing with the TalonDEV kernel, I ran into stability problems. Random screen freezes occurred even with the unclocked and the most current version. In addition the back key stopped working and the gallery could not find any images anymore. So I installed another kernel called Semaphore. However only the Semaphore kernel for Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) supports the 100MHz frequency while charging.

After some further testing, I figured out that the Semaphore kernel clocks the CPU at 100MHz, if the phone is charging through the wall charger and not via USB. So the statement above is not entirely correct. I do not know about the behavior of the kernel that is shipped originally with DarkyROM, since I did not test it. Comments are welcome.

So the trick is to convince the phone that it gets charged by the wall charger. You can check the state, if it charges via USB or AC in Settings -> About phone -> Status -> Battery status. Digging around in the Internet and the disassembly of an emergency charger running on 2 AA batteries which put the charging state into the AC mode, revealed that the +5V USB line needs to be connected to both data lines (D- and D+) through a 470kOhm resistor. I updated the diagram below accordingly. Now whenever I connect the solar panel, the charging state is in AC mode and the CPU is clock at 100MHz at minimum.

Installation – TalonDEV

This section gives a brief guide, how to install the kernel. My Galaxy S is running on Darky’s ROM v10.4.2 [XWJW1] for quite some time now. I am not describing how I installed that one, since the are plenty of videos and installation guides in the forum which are easy to follow. Through DarkyOTA I installed the XXJVU modem, because I experienced some problems with my provider using the modem firmware of the original DarkyROM.

To install the TalonDEV kernel, download the zip file mentioned in the thread. I took, which over clocks the CPU to 1200MHz (as compared to 1000MHz). If you experience problems regarding stability, I suggest taking instead. I have not tried the BIGMEM version yet, since I am happy with the way it is at the moment.

Copy the zip file to your phone (internal SD Card), reboot into recovery (by installing DarkyROM you already know, how to do that) and install the zip file. After the installation is successful, reboot the phone which will take around 5 minutes. So have patience watching the original Samsung S symbol changing its color.

To further tweak the power consumption, I will start playing around with the voltages supplied to the CPU. The application Control Freak allows it easily through a GUI (There are several apps with the same name in Google Play. They are not the right ones.). I will start the testing as soon as I am convinced that the kernel is stable with the current configuration.

Installation – Semaphore

There is a nice installation guide on how to flash the Semaphore kernel in Linux as well as Windows.

The Circuitry

Thanks for planing of that circuit has to go to Abhijit of CEDT (now DESE) of IISc, who is the brain behind that circuit. I am somewhat illiterated, if it comes to electronics.

To get the maximum power out of the solar panel, I am using an LM1086-5V which constantly gives 5V at its output port. A 7805 will also serve the purpose. However the efficiency of that component is not as high as the LM1086. Although there is an LM1086-ADJ which is able to give a range of different output voltages, it will complicate the whole circuit due to the necessity of additional resistors. One aim was to keep the circuit as simple and small as possible. The less components the circuitry has, the lesser is the probability that something breaks midway through an extended cycle tour. And usually I do not carry soldering irons with me while cycling. 😉

The following diagram gives the required specs of the capacitors smoothening the constantly fluctuating output of the solar panel while riding, and the resistor avoiding spikes, if a device is connected to the USB port. I apologize for the somewhat crude diagram, but as I mentioned, I am not a electronics guy.

Version 1 of the converter. The phone charges in USB mode forcing the CPU to run at 200MHz continously.

Version 2 of the converter. THe phone charges in AC mode allowing the CPU to be clocked at 100MHz at minimum.

The whole circuit is integrated in a somewhat water resistant box which is attached below the panel keeping it away from rain.

[Update 22/07/2012]
For the Samsung Galaxy S III (or SGS3, I9300) the 470kOhm resistor connecting the D+ and D- lines (pin 2 and 3 representing the data lines) to the 5V supply is not required. In fact, the phone does not detect any charging, if the version 2 of the solar charger is used. In this case, some modifications are required: If D+ and D- are shorted the charging is done in AC mode with a higher current of up to 900mA whereas in USB the maximum drawable current is 500mA. If D+ and D- are left open and floating (like in version 1 of the charger), the phone is charged in USB mode. Similar to the S1, the charging mode determines the CPU clocks: While in AC mode the CPU can go into a deep sleep and consume very little power, the minimum frequency in USB mode is 200MHz.


* the search for the sign

Posted on February 8th, 2012 by Alex. Filed under Cycle Tours.

After a long time, I went to Germany for a visit. It was out of question that I am going to cycle in Germany as well. First I like it very much and second I ate all the tasty food that I do not get in India resulting in a increase in weight.

I had to go from my hometown Eschweiler to the finance office in the next bigger town called Aachen. Since they open early, I started at 6:30 in the morning. The weather was bad, gale-forced rain from the west was hitting me in the face like a thousand needles at temperatures of around 10 degrees. The open and hilly area tried its best to convince my body to turn back and take the car instead. However I managed in 62km on that day which took me almost 4hrs. Fortunately I had many breaks in between such as the already mentioned tax office, Lindt’s factory outlet where I filled my brother’s waterproof Ortlieb panniers with chocolate till the top, and my old university.

So what is the difference between cycling in India and Germany? In Germany you will notice that they simply love signals. It did not take me even 10 minutes to wait in front of the first one, followed by 10 more. So even before I could leave the town, it took me around 30 minutes just to cross the first 6km. In fact I saw a signal for a construction side. The side itself was not more than 3m long and blocked half the road like a bigger car or truck. On both ends of the construction, portable signals have been put up, just to control the non-existent traffic. It seems in one point in time, the Germans even put signals around parked cars to prevent any accident. Decision making by a driver on his or her own? Too dangerous, many things can happen.

In India the signals are a lot sparser and even not operational during the early morning hours. Apart from that the whole road is used by any type of vehicle. In India marking a lane just for cycles would be an impossible thing to do. The extra lane will be overcrowded by parked cars, auto-rickshaws, shops and pedestrians. In Germany however, many times a designated foot and cycle path exists next to the road such as the one in this photo.

Dedicated path for pedestrians and cyclists

Dedicated path. To Left of the sign for pedestrians, to the right for cyclists.Since no car is allowed there and Germans usually follow all the rules, it is very safe for cyclists and pedestrians to use it. In fact they have to use it. Using the road and ignoring the cycle path will result in a fine of EUR10 (some years back, probably more now). The same happens if there are cycle paths on both sides of the road and the cyclists goes on the left one (the traffic goes on the right in Germany).

This results that an rule obeying cyclist has to crane the neck searching for the next cycle sign in case the path ends. Overall the Germans seem to be more enthusiastic, if it come to putting up traffic signs. Observe the next photo. It has been taken on a deserted road in the fields where only a few people enjoy the fresh air mostly walking with their dog. Once every day a car or better a tractor might come by. Is there any chance that someone oversees a railway crossing with barriers? Probably not, if it is already announced like that well in advance (starting at a distance of 150m). I am just missing the flashing lights…. 🙂

Wondering what will come next on the deserted road? Railway crossing maybe?


* bangalore east

Posted on October 23rd, 2011 by Alex. Filed under Cycle Tours.

After a long time I went on a cycle tour again. This time the east of Bangalore was explored for the first and definitely not for the last time. We started at around 5:30AM in the morning. It was just about to dawn with very less traffic on the roads. An hour later we reached the outskirts of Bangalore east wondering how easy that went. Memories came up about tours towards the south of Bangalore involving the crossing of Sultanpet which is already very busy at that time with lots of traffic and pollution.

Smooth roads led to Devangonthi from which we went north. The roads are excellent. However nearby to that stretch are some terminals for gas and petrol, hence many tank lorries speed on the roads even in the morning. We had a little break at a shrine on top of a lonely hill. Based on chicken feathers that were lying around, a bloody stone and a cooking place, it seemed the shrine also functioned as a kitchen for some non-veg food many times in the past.

We had breakfast in a shack next to SH-17. The food was good and we watched the cow in front of the shack being cleaned with brush and even soap. We met with NH-4 in Hoskote to go back to Bangalore through the northern villages. On NH-4 we met a motorbike rider asking why we cycle. We explained that we do it just for fun causing him to shake his head in disbelieve. He wondered why we cycle without having a motto or a theme.

Recently many people ride through India (even from Kashmiri to Kanyakumari) having some motto in mind. Some want to create awareness for eye donations, some for the medical situation in some rural villages. Although I really appreciate the initiatives, too many and not related to cycling will cause more good than harm in the end. If everybody goes cycling to create awareness, the real cases drown in the sheer amount of cycling awareness programs.

Although most of the roads were in excellent condition there were a few bumpy stretches, but nothing spectacular nor impossible to go with a road bike.

The route can be easily altered regarding the personal fitness. For instance, if you go north on SH 35 towards Kadugodi instead all the way east to Devangonthi, the trip is cut short by about 20km totaling in 65km (from IISc). If you want to go a little bit further, the next option is going north in NH207, adding another 10km. But also extensions to more than the 85km that are described here are possible. However that will be reported another time.

Distance of the tour: 85km

GPX files



* bangalore-harohalli-anchetti-hosur-bangalore

Posted on May 30th, 2011 by Alex. Filed under Cycle Tours.

The month end long cycle ride by the Bangalore Bikers Club (BBC) went from Bangalore to Horahalli on NH209 first. Since we started from IISc at around 5:15AM, we had to cross whole Bangalore including its traffic first. Since we could not make it in time to the starting point, it became our job to sweep, meaning catch up with the last riders which we did on NH209. The ride was fairly eventless apart from a spectacular stunt performed by Nirmal, who while watching a bird, slipped from the paved road into the mud at the side. He was so surprised that he applied the front brake and showed us a beautiful Salto Totale including his cycle at its best. From that point onwards we tried to convince him to give another performance by pointing out all kind of flying species. But to no avail. Fortunately nothing serious happened apart from a few scratches at his knee and shoulder.

In Horahalli we got lost on the search for the breakfast point. After some searching, many questions and many more fingers pointing into the wrong direction, we found Jayaram Breakfast Point hidden behind some houses in a inconspicuous, unpaved side road. After loading ourselves with idlis and a much better lemon rice, we took off towards Hunasanahalli. These roads and the ones continuing towards Anchetty are full of scenic speed breakers which can be fully enjoyed while puffing and steaming up the hills. The scenic view of these roads with only minimal traffic is simply awesome.

In Anchetty we had lunch and we got annoyed by a fellow who tried to drag us into his restaurant while we sat in one of his competitor’s. He was very intrusive and did not stop at all even while eating he told us how bad the food is. After indulging with not-so-bad-at-all dosai and rice we turned north towards Denkanikottai and mastered the climbs in between. Last time when I rode on that road, it was dark and the steep ascend could not be seen. But during daylight it can be a little bit frustrating.

In Denkanikottai a 13 year old boy (name forgotten) who rode along with us, wanted to take the bus back to Hosur or better Bangalore. It was already 4:30PM and nobody of us had a head light. All roads leading from Denkanikottai to Thally or Hosur are pitch black dark and nothing can be seen. Hence it would be dangerous to ride on these roads after nightfall. So we thought that we tell him to wait there till the bus comes and load the cycle on top of it. However even here the people were very intrusive, touched everything and shouted at us. In addition some of them were drunk making a big fuss seeing us at the bus stand. Like “hawks” (recited from Nirmal, our bird watcher) they started to follow us everywhere within the bus stand, so we had to relocate ourselves once in a while. Usually people are curious but silent observers. Sometimes somebody is brave enough to step forward and to ask a question like “Gear cycleaaaaAAAaaa?” But everything in a very polite way. It is the first time that I experience such an aggressive behavior. So we did not leave the boy alone and slowly he rode with us. On the way we met another cyclist and the boy continued to ride with him while we started speeding towards Hosur to reach the NH7 in daylight.

From Hosur the ride was not very spectacular and nothing worth mentioned happened and we reached IISc at 8:30PM.

Distance of the tour: 210km

GPX files



* bangalore, pondicherry and back

Posted on May 13th, 2011 by Alex. Filed under Cycle Tours.

Bangalore -> Pondicherry

I started my solo ride in the night from Thursday to Friday at around 4:30am after a restless and sleepless night. The morning was fresh and cool and soon Bangalore was far behind while traveling on NH-7 towards Hosur. To avoid the heat and the sun of the uncovered NH-7, I left it and turned right towards Rayakottai and on the same road further south east up to Harur, where I had breakfast. So far the roads were in a very good condition and the intensity of traffic was less. After Harur, the road is not descending anymore and every little hill can be felt in the already exhausted legs. The sun burnt merciless and even the shadow of the dried up trees at the side of the road was not refreshing. Water consumption was very high and despite the fact, that I carried around 3.5 liters with me (when the bottles were fully refilled), it lasted only for approximately 50km, before the bottles went empty.
After reaching SH-6 I took a right through a small unpaved road for 5km after which the condition of the road became very good again. Following the unnamed river coming from the Sathanur Reservoir ensured no major climbs or downhills anymore. It became dark and the highway to and from Villupuram became very busy. Many times people on bikes road along with me trying to talk in Tamil. Usually I replied with “Enakke Tamil teriadu.” (I do not know Tamil. There might be a misspelling here, sorry for that). That was typically answered with the usual way, in which a question is formed in Tamil: adding a long aaaaaaa at the end of the just said sentence, such as: “Ohooo, Tamil teriadaaaaaa?” In any case, it was obvious, what they meant: Where are you going or where you are coming from? To cover both cases, I pointed forward saying “Pondicherry” and then pointed backwards with the thumb saying “Bangalore”. – “Bangalorraaaaaaaaaaaaa??? Ayyyyoooooo”.

In Pondicherry I had my last break due to a really bad cramp in both legs, front and back. No cycling and no walking anymore. Fortunately it went away after around 5 minutes in which I stood there at the side of the highway like a statue unable to move. Finally after 348.67km and after 18 hours and 46 minutes of riding (including breaks), I reached Pondicherry University and was warmly welcomed by my friends eagerly waiting for hours for me to arrive.

Pondicherry -> Bangalore

This time, I thought, yes, this time I am smart and beat the heat of the plain of Pondicherry by starting after sunset. Due to some emotional circumstances, I started rather late at around 9pm on Monday, but I wanted to cover as many kilometers as possible during the night. I also wanted to know, how it feels, when the shadows of the shrubs and trees zoom by in the darkness and through what problems the guys went during the Bangalore Brevets. It was disastrous. First of all I always overestimated the speed I am traveling: I assumed speeds of around 25 to 30kph which were in fact barely touching 20kph. The boards announcing the distances to Bangalore started at around 278km. After a felt hour of hard riding the next board announced, how much to go: 270km. I could not believe it. All the effort for a meager 8km. The thought crossed my mind: If I can only cover so much distance in that time with that effort, how will I manage the next 270km?

Nevertheless NH-66 to Tindivanam is very new and in an excellent condition. There are two NH-66 to Tindivanam: One is going through the villages (the old one), and the other one (which I took) bypasses all the speed breakers etc. In Tindivanam I continued on NH-66 towards Krishnagiri. But this portion of the highway is the worst I have ever seen. The whole night turned out to be one single pothole evading and dodging exercise. I decided that I take the bus from Thiruvannamalai or take a lodge. Just before I reached the town, I had an urgent call from Mother Nature. One advice: Do not eat chicken, egg noodles, etc the evening before, even if your friends just meant to help you. Punishment follows, guaranteed. Fortunately I got an additional bottle of water with me, so after successful unloading I felt quite refreshed and entered Thiruvannamalai. It seems that this town is a temple town and some sort of festival was approaching. So either lodges were filled, the receptionist did not answer my calls at something like 3:30AM in the morning, or the charges were quite high. In addition, no bus left that town into my direction. The buses only entered Thiruvannamalai from all sides. However since I still felt quite lighter (due to the unloading mentioned earlier :D), I continued the dodging exercise till sunrise. In Chengam I hit my lowest point in my motivation graph so far. I was simply done. Done with everything, cycling, walking, done with the whole world.

I did not expect a bus leaving to Bangalore from Chengam, but some friendly cyclist going to driving school in the morning pointed me out into the right direction of the bus stop and fortunately for me, a bus was about to leave to Krishnagiri. YEAH! I though, you are my savior. The helpful villagers lifted my cycle onto the roof of the bus and tied it with a 15cm long rope (see photo below) onto the carrier. I sank in one of the seats and waited for the lift off, which came almost instantly. PATSCHAK! Pothole! My cycle on top made a loud banging noise when it hit on the roof again. The speeding driver used all his force to horn people, lorries and other obstacles (like potholes, which did not move, so the bus took them anyway) out of the way, while I sat inside observing the windows closely and expecting a large shadow flying by at any moment, followed by a crashing sound when my cycle hit the ground.

After arriving in Krishnagiri, I expected nothing to find, when I climbed up onto the roof of the bus. But the cycle was still there. Somewhere on the way, the short rope teared off and the cycle was sliding back and forth with the movement of the bus. So it had some scratches on the handlebar, but no major damage. For the whole trip in the bus (around 100km) I paid Rs.22 for the ticket and Rs.20 for the luggage. It was worth it.

I had breakfast in Krishnagiri and that charged my confidence again. With the impression that Hosur is only 50km away and Bangalore another 50km after that (roughly), I started my journey again. This time, no shade on NH-7 and somebody forgot to tell me that Krishnagiri is 411m above mean-sea-level, but Hosur is 750m. The sun got its big artillery canons out and happily roasted and toasted the poor, little, struggling and lonely cyclist down on earth. The climbs between Krishnagiri and Hosur are pure torture, even without the headwinds and despite the good road conditions. So far I do not know, if I like or dislike the headwinds. On one side they hampered my enthusiasm to move forward, on the other side they were cooling a lot. Riding in sticky air is probably more uncomfortable. Anyhow it is always like this: Whatever you do not have at a particular moment, you want the most. E.g. in the night, you want light to see the potholes, but during day, you complain about the heat.

Again the discussion started in my head: You must be crazy, take the bus. And I promised myself, in Hosur I will. But after reaching Hosur only a few kilometers need to be mastered, so I continued despite the fact that slowly the chain ran out of oil and started to make the famous grinding sound. So next time, if I go on such long trips, I will take a tiny little vessel with me containing oil. As a alternative, you can also go to some parked 2-wheelers at the side and flick some drops of oil out of their engine. But this idea I had just now.

I left NH-7 in Attibele and went towards Sarjapur. Then I continued on Sarjapur Road towards Outer Ring Road. As some people are aware, there is a big sports store on the very same road and I could not resist and went shopping for a while. Sweaty, stinky, dirty and salty all over the place. At least everybody could see that I am not a pseudo sport activist doing 30 mins walk a day and searching for a pair of shoes in the range of Rs.5000 to show off. Anyway I did not buy anything (apart from a refreshing lemon juice).

I continued on ORR to avoid the well known Bangalorean traffic, in which vehicles are more parked than moved and with a dry chain I reached IISc at around 5:15PM and 255.89km (excluding the distance covered by bus which was 80.73km). On Tuesday itself and after taking bath, I walked around like a penguin. My legs were stiff and my butt paining. So I decided to go to bed at 6pm. Surprisingly next morning I did not feel any side effects from the cycle tour.

Some things that I learned during the trip:

  1. Take a rope with you. It should be around 3m long. First this will help to load and unload the cycle to the roof carrier of a bus, since you can hurl it up like a crane. Secondly you can secure the cycle properly.
  2. Even if you have panniers, do not fill them up, just because you have the space. Remember, every gram you load, you have to carry along.
  3. Eat well, but do it healthy. Avoid oily stuff in the night before.
  4. Do not ride alone. Especially at night. It is not because of safety, it is because the trip in the night becomes so much longer and very boring and frustrating.
  5. There is probably more points, but I will rediscover them next time 😀

Distance of the tour: 348.67km (Bangalore to Pondicherry) + 336.62km (Pondicherry to Bangalore) = 685.29km

GPX files

The yellow section represents the part of the journey where I “cheated” (that I covered by bus). In the GPX download above I merged the separated sections into one single file, so that you can follow that route easily.



* magadi, koppa, maddur, ramanagara, manchanabele

Posted on February 7th, 2011 by Alex. Filed under Cycle Tours.

We were supposed to meet at 5:15am at our usual meeting point to be ready to leave at 5:30am However also as usual we left around 6:00am for our trip to Magadi and Maddur. A practice ride for the Brevets held in Bangalore. After a few warm-up climbs on Pipeline road, we joined Magadi Road which was relatively empty and we could keep up a good pace till Magadi. In between the group was split up into 2 and while we had breakfast in Magadi where we tucked in the pizza-sized idlis with really spicy chutney, the others had it in Thippa Godnahalli (T.G. Halli).

From Magadi we went towards Hullyurdurga on nicely paved roads with very less traffic and mostly downhill. Shortly after Hullyurdurga we entered a village and had some snacks. There we did the mistake asking for directions to Koppa. Since there were 2 alternative ways, the question was which one had the better surface. The villagers recommended to take the shorter one. We told them to direct the riders of the second group into the same direction and left.

For the next 20km which felt like 50km, we experienced very bad roads with lot of cobble stones making it difficult to ride. Fortunately we came back onto paved roads near Koppa and we could keep a nice pace until Maddur, where we had an excellent lunch. While we had lunch, the second group caught up. Asking them about the hints we left behind for them, they said that the villagers who send us onto the bad road, told them to go the other alternative way and that they were wondering, why we went onto the recommended road. So, again one thing learned: Do not listen to and recommendations. Anyway there was no loss nor gain, since it seems that the alternative way was as bad as the way we took.

After Maddur we went on the Bangalore-Mysore Road towards Channapatna and from there to Ramanagara. Riding on the highway is one of the most boring things to do (one reason, why I do not like to ride the Brevets). The 20km on the highway felt like the longest one so far and it was literally never ending. From Ramanagara we went side roads towards Manchanabele through very beautiful scenery and less traffic. The climb at the Manchanabele dam was short and painful, but immediately rewarded with a steep descent. Passing the radio telescope and the Big Banyan Tree we went through the fields and villages to be welcomed back in Bangalorean traffic at the Magadi Road/NICE Ring Road junction. After a short stretch on Magadi Road we turned left to follow Pipeline Road in the same way back that we went in the morning. By now the Pipeline Road was crowded with traders, stalls and lot’s of people which was a unfamiliar sight, since I never took this road in the evening. The up and down hills of Pipeline Road were interesting, especially after riding for almost 200km on that day. The best comes last 😀

At around 6pm we reached ISKCON temple and we had some ice creams. While the second group was still riding. They continued on the highway and experienced heavy traffic. It seems that everybody who visits his/her family or goes on a trip during the weekends, returns on Sunday night and congests the roads.

Distance of the tour: 204km

GPX files



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