Monday, October 20, 2008

Nandi Hills conquered again!

From the day since Harsha bought Trek 4300 bicycle, I had been reminding him for a ride to Nandi Hills. Harsha had done two rides to Nandi earlier with his Hero Swing. You should hear the story of those rides by him! Hero Swing is a heavy bicycle and you can imagine what would happen to one after he tries climbs Nandi on this heavy bike. And I had done a solo ride to Nandi last year. Now that he had Trek 4300, we planned for the ride. As I had recently sold my Thunder MTB, Harsha suggested that I should borrow Trek 4300 from Priya. Its slightly short for me, but I thought I could manage a single ride with it. Now we had another problem. Climbing Nandi non stop is challenging and interesting, but riding to the foothills of Nandi is boring. And ride back to Bengalooru after the climb is even more tiring. Harsha had solution for this too. For the recent Maharashtra trip we did, he had got his Swift fitted with a luggage carrier. Now plan was to tie his bike to this carrier, and another bike was to be put inside the car. In fact this is what helped us plan this ride.

The plan was to start early, at about 6 from Harsha's home, pick up the bike from Priya's house on the way, and start climbing at least by 8am. But we really ran late. We left his home around 7 after nice cup of coffee. Both of us were already feeling hungry. After taking the bike from Priya we drove towards NH7. The route we were supposed to take was Hebbal - Devanahalli - Nandi. There is one more route via Dodballapur. Due to the new Airport, The NH7 has been widened and work is still going on some stretch of it. The drive was smooth except for the a small stretch just before Hebbal. We stopped for break fast at a small junction just after ITC. We mucnhed Idli, wada, set dosa, etc,. Harsha munched an extra wada :). We reached the Nandi foothills by 9.50. We parked the car in front of a small hotel. We had coffee and requested the lady at the hotel to look after the car!

It had rained the previous day and weather was cloudy.
Soon, we took out the bikes and started check the air and other things. A group 3-4 people gathered around us, trying to touch and change the gears. We told them one should not try to change the gears when bike was stationary. We started climbing Nandi at 9.46 exactly. I told Harsha that I was already at the summit in the last ride. We really had expected the ride to be tough, without any warm up. As we started climbing, Harsha kept on telling me where all he had stopped for break in the last rides, even slept at one place! I kept on asking Harsha if we needed to stop at any point. Interestingly we were climbing slow and steadily with 1-2 gears. We never had to stop. I wanted to stop at curve number 33 and take pictures. But Harsha said we could take pictures on ride back. So we carried and slowly. Finally when I saw 1km mile stone, I was happy. After just two more curves we would at the top. We were at the stop, exactly at 10.40.

Harsha was really happy as this was his first non stop climb of Nandi. Usually the bicycle riders too are not allowed to climb further as there is a "no entry" rule for two wheelers! Some day I hope ride beyond this point. We drank cold tender coconut.
The tender coconut vendor was familiar with Venkatesh. He said he goes there often with foreigners. We sat for a while. Then took some pictures at the first entrance of the fort. Harsha clicked better pictures. On the way down, we stopped at one more point to click few more photos. We were at the foothills by 11.45 and were driving back to home by 12. We were excited to find that we could climb Nandi non stop, without tiring much. Soon Harsha was forming his next plan, to climb Nandi two time back to back, without break! Lets hope we get to do it. There is one more wish of mine. I want to fix a camera to handle bar and capture a video of the downhill ride. We had not planned for the same this time.