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Thread: Ringing in the New Year in the Heart of Malnad: Bangalore - Sirsi - Bangalore solo.

  1. #1
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    Default Ringing in the New Year in the Heart of Malnad: Bangalore - Sirsi - Bangalore solo.

    Hey everyone, this is the first of many travelogues to come. Hope you enjoy it.

    Impromptu road trip:
    I sent my extended family to a farmhouse in Sirsi that I had booked for them for the new year’s celebrations. I couldn’t join them as I expected a lot of work around that time. (I work in the tourism sector, so the busiest times for us are when the rest of you are taking off.)
    Good news (or bad, depends on how you look at it) arrived in the form of heavy Fog over New Delhi and several flights being disrupted/cancelled led to many of my clients postponing their trips which gave me a much needed breather, and I immediately decided to go surprise my mother on their vacation.
    Having told an aunt about my plans and asking her not to tell anyone else, I set about prepping for the ride.

    The dramatis Personae:
    Meet Irene:

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    Named after Irene Adler, she is a Pulsar 220 of the Fuel-injected variety. She was originally bought by someone else in 2010 and had been on the roads for 17k km before being confined to the garage. I took over and after a thorough service, got her road-worthy again and decided to try her out on the open highway.

    Meet Me:

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    Hi, My name is Arjun. I’m from Mysore but shuttle back and forth between Mysore and Bangalore for work. I run a travel startup and help plan customized holidays within India. I’m 25 years old and admittedly gotten used to my car for touring over the last few years, and have decided to go back to my roots of being a biker at heart.

    Day Minus one:

    I decided to go, but had to make a few preparations for the ride, major among which was finding a way to take my luggage along. After a lot of deliberation which involved making one phone call to a friend of mine, I found myself headed toward Let’s Gear Up in HSR Layout to pick up the ViaTerra Claw Tailpack. However, I learnt that they are closed on Tuesdays and so I found myself buying the pack at X-Torque, HSR. The funny thing was, though they are authorized dealers, the staff had NO idea how to mount the bag on the 220. I then rode over to Coffee House with the bag in a carry cover slung across the throttle laughing at myself. After downing a few cups of coffee, my friend and I figured out how to mount it and I rode home to Jayanagar afterward. On the way, I filled up the tank to the brim so I could leave early the next morning. With all my gear in place, and the tailpack mounted, I settled for a good night’s sleep aiming to wake up and leave by 5 AM.

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    All set to go

    Day one:
    I woke up to the sound of traffic and found to my not-slight dismay that it was 8:30 AM. Cursing my extremely comfortable quilt, I dragged myself out of bed and got ready to leave. The upshot of all of this, was that I could have a nice hot Idli Sambar at the SLV near my place before leaving. Putting on all the gear, I wheeled my bike out of the apartment complex, getting curious looks from the other residents. However, very soon I was away! I took the ORR till the NICE Link road next to PES College and bought the ticket all the way to Tumkur road exit. It was almost around 9.30 AM when I opened up the throttle and gave it the beans on the concrete patches of the NICE road and very soon, I was pottering along in the upper 80s, dodging trucks and girls having their next DP clicked on the road. The first 30km went by in a blur and having gotten onto the NH4, I realized that the tyre pressure seemed slightly off. I stopped just after Nelamangala, 44km on the trip meter to have the tyre pressure checked and adjusted. Having completed the routine of take gloves off – take glasses off – take helmet off and vice versa, I decided my next stop would be at Tumkur. Being new year’s eve, traffic was sparse on the nelmangala- tumkur stretch and I made good progress all the way to Tumkur (Tumakuru) bypass. Here, I decided to take the deviation and go via shimoga – Sagara on the alternate route.

    If anyone ends up taking this route, there is a hospital on the left on the bypass road, in front of it is a small chai shop run by a lady. I strongly advise you stop there, it was one of the best Chai I’ve ever had.

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    Best Chai EVER stop

    I resumed riding soon after, and the two lane highway gave way to a single lane road. This is the more scenic route, however and I settled into a good pace, steadily munching the miles. Having passed through Tiptur and Kadur, I stopped next at Arsikere at the CCD. Sipping on a Cappucino, I also nibbled on some cherries, signifying the Touring Cherry that I had popped on my new bike.

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    Touring cherry Popped

    Progress was extremely slow after Arsikere partly due to it being a single lane road and partly because I was just getting used to the riding position and I wasn’t too confident about taking the curves at speed. It was almost 2:15 PM when I reached bhadravaty bypass and started looking for a place for lunch. One problem was that I had to find a place where I could eat with my bike in full view as I dint want to leave all my luggage on the bike and wander off nor did I want to spend time dismounting the tailpack and carry it in with me. Vishwas Dhaba on the highway heard my prayers and manifested itself on the left side. I belted some fresh biryani and coke and was ready to leave again.

    I missed the bypass and ended up riding into Shimoga city where I had my first heart-in-mouth moment. A private bus decided I wasn’t worth accounting for when he decided to overtake me from the left and kept going at an angle, and not heeding my protesting horn he clipped my left side handlebar with his tail. Thankfully, I had nearly stopped and the slight contact did not throw me off balance. However, I was not in the best of moods when I left shimoga, cursing the stupidity of bus drivers in general.
    I was in for a surprise however, as the stretch from Shimoga to Sagara is BEAUTIFUL. Gentle curves along a wide freshly laid tarmac through the lower Malnad region of the tropical rainforests, I found myself singing for joy as I took corner after corner eventually stopping outside Sagara to admire a lake.

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    Mandatory Bike by the road pic

    Darkness began to fall and after a chai stop outside sagara, I realized that I still had about 65km to go. Fatigue was setting in by now and when I reached the first deviation that marked Siddapura, I took the right and flew down that road. Its an amazing bit of road through lush green fields and lovely twisties, but inhabited sadly, exclusively by Imbeciles who ride/drive with the high beam on and refuse to dim the lamps. I found myself passing time inventing new swear words to attribute to each car and truck that made its effort to blind me.

    I was really exhausted and my eyes were hurting by the time I reached Siddapur, the final town before Sirsi. Although I wanted to soldier on, good sense prevailed and I stopped by the roadside and decided, “Let me have cake”. And so it came to be that on the final evening of 2014, the good citizens of siddapur town found a figure in a thick black jacket and knee guards settled on the side of the road munching on Brittania Cake and water. I cant find the English equivalent but we call it the “Katte” and that’s where I sat and even layed down for a bit, stretching my legs and loving the feeling of something solid for my back to lean on.

    I got up, however and began my final push, talking to myself loudly pretending to be the Navigator in a WRC special stage screaming encouraging words to myself as I pushed into and finally arrived at Sirsi. The farmhouse was another 12km away and I stopped one last time as I realized that I wouldn’t get cellphone coverage therafter. I shot off a few texts to everyone who knew I was on the ride wishing them a happy new year and about 20 minutes later, I arrived at the farm much to the surprise of my mother and aunts. The happiness on her face made the entire trip worth it. 2015 was kicked off in style.
    ODO reading: 478km.

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    Food, Family and Fire- Bliss.

    Day two:

    Jan 1st. The family pushed off to Bangalore in the morning and I did nothing, I mean absolutely NOTHING the whole day except relax and read and look at the trees. I ate the most amazing spreads of vegetarian Malnad Cuisine. Just existed.

    Day Three:
    Jan 2nd: It was finally time to say goodbye to Sirsi and its idyllic life as I prepped and mounted the tailpack again. I intended to leave at 12 after a quick brunch. However, laziness as well as the amazing allure of the food and the loveliness of the hosts meant that I was still reluctantly pulling on my jacket even at 2:30PM.

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    Heading back

    I left shortly after and decided to take the longer but quicker NH4 route and so, headed off toward Haveri. Progress was smooth with amazing roads throughout till about 20km before haveri where there is little to no road to speak of. The erstwhile road is being relaid and widened and so that 20km stretch took me almost an hour, and I was quite relieved when I finally hit the highway around 4PM.

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    NH4 - happiness

    There are very few more pleasurable things in the world above riding down an AMAZINGLY smooth well lit, well marked highway with relatively good driver discipline averaging a 110kmph. The going got really enjoyable and I found myself singing loudly again until darkness fell and I stopped for chai outside Chitradurga.

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    Sunset - Chitradurga Toll plaza

    The going was smooth thereafter except for the occasional Idiot lorry driving in the wrong lane with the high beam on, or the idiot X 3 set of lorries that take up position on the shoulder, the slow and the fast lane at 19, 20 and 21kmph respectively making the rest of us queue up behind them.
    So it was in relatively high spirits that I reached Tumkur again and stopped for dinner at “Kings Cottages” where the staff happened to be from Sirsi. They were all curious about the gear and the luggage, as were some of the other patrons and I ended up giving a sort of an interview. I will admit I quite enjoyed the attention and the envious looks I got.
    After dinner, I set off one more time, stopping only an hour and a half later at my apartment. I felt the adrenaline coursing as my numb fingers managed to remove the luggage from the bike and my legs jelly, I waddled up the stairs from my garage into my apartment and passed out shortly after. My last coherent thought was “What a lovely beginning to 2015”

    Gear and machine review:
    DSG EVO jacket: I rode with the thermal lining removed, and kept me condiserably warm and comfortable. The reflectors are bright and the padding sits comfortably on my shoulders.

    LS2 Solid full face helmet: I must get a clear visor for this as it becomes useless after dark. Otherwise, it feels solid and light on the head and keeps the wind and dust out of your face.

    ViaTerra Claw Tailpack system: ABSOLUTE ROCKSTAR of luggage systems. Shoot me if you ever find me trying to strap on backpacks to the rear seat with bungee cords. The three point harness is solid and the bag did not move an INCH throughout the ride and had more than sufficient space for all my stuff.

    Probiker Gloves: Does its job, nothing great to write home about.

    Axo Knee guards: Stable, doesn’t get in the way, doesn’t scratch the tank and doesn’t need constant adjustments.

    Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi: What a machine! No hiccups, no scares, and it LOVES being in that sweet spot between 6500 and 7000rpm. I wish it came with a sixth cog, but I’m not complaining. It is very comfortable both on highways as well as gravel roads.

    Thank you for reading, will keep posting my next rides as and when they happen! happy 2015 to you!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Ringing in the New Year in the Heart of Malnad: Bangalore - Sirsi - Bangalore sol

    Travelogue Approved

    Lovely to see the old workhorse the 220 Fi once again gracing the forum after a very long time
    Biking is not about what you have between your legs, its all about how well you use it!!!!!!!

    Give your details here if you want to help your fellow xBhpian stranded in your city

    Touring Blog: Cycling in Mongolia!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Ringing in the New Year in the Heart of Malnad: Bangalore - Sirsi - Bangalore sol

    Thank you very much, monk! :-)

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    Default Re: Ringing in the New Year in the Heart of Malnad: Bangalore - Sirsi - Bangalore sol

    Nice ride. wish you more rides and more miles.
    peregrine likes this.
    Pulsar 150 DTS-i(2005-present)
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    Default Re: Ringing in the New Year in the Heart of Malnad: Bangalore - Sirsi - Bangalore sol

    Brilliant trip log! Loved reading it. I feel a bit like nostradamus predicting that we will ride together in the near future! :P

    Ride safe!
    peregrine likes this.
    The more you know, the more you know how less you know.
    The less you know, the more you think you really know!

    Pune to Payyanur and back! 3 days on the road!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Ringing in the New Year in the Heart of Malnad: Bangalore - Sirsi - Bangalore sol

    Snappy writing. Pleased to see a 220 Fi running strong since I had one of those in the same colour.
    peregrine likes this.

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    Rusted krishna77's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ringing in the New Year in the Heart of Malnad: Bangalore - Sirsi - Bangalore sol

    Brilliant writing. Hope to see many such logs from you in the future!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Ringing in the New Year in the Heart of Malnad: Bangalore - Sirsi - Bangalore solo.

    Thank you very much, much appreciated :-)

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