Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Bangalore > Ooty > Bangalore


The idea of this ride started from a proposal from Sriky (a bulleteer, has a day job in IT, heart in Indian Army and coincidentally was my neighbour) to visit Kodugu, which is commonly known as Coorg. Just like any other idea, it was more of a topic to talk about when we both are bored and tired of work schedules. But unfortunately it never materialised due to various worldly reasons. Soon I completely forgot that I was looking forward to a trip. Until one day my cuz Vikky, who had been to Ooty to meet some friends came to me and had a lot to share about the route of the tour bus, which passes through the jungle (Bandipur it was!). He knew it was good enough to get my attention. He too wanted to join me for a long ride and this route was something he was craving to see again. The idea of riding through Bandipur got me all excited as well and the moment he mentioned about the mountain roads with hairpin turns, I got a flashback of my last awesome ride to Baba Budengiri Mountains near Chikkamangalur, and I decided....we are riding to Ooty.

Ride Prep:

Once I decided, the first thing to do was to get the bike checked for few niggles which I wanted to be taken care of before I roll. So buzzed my trusted pal Sami for an appointment to leave my steed for a minor check-up. Alongside gmaps became the most common webpage on my laptop. I had a quick look at the map to get a birds eyeview of the checkpoints on the way and the average distance between those checkpoints, so that I can plan how and what time of the day to cover it. As Vikky had been there already, he had many valuable inputs to add, so I got away easily with this one. I prepared the following itinerary based on the distance and type of road:


8.00 PM - Start from Bangalore and take the route :

                Kanakapura Road > Nice Road > Mysore Road

11.00 PM - Reach Mysore and find an accomodation (139 KM)
11:30 PM - Have dinner (carry few sandwiches from Bangalore)


5.00 AM - Start from Mysore
8.30 AM - Stop at Mudhumalai Forest (102 KM)
10.00 AM - Reach Ooty via Gudalur route (58 KM) (deviating at Theppakadu)
11.00 AM - Find an accomodation and roam around the city


 5.45 AM - Start from Ooty
 7.00 AM - Cruise downhill through ghat (hairpin) roads via Masinagudi
12.00 AM - Reach Mysore (125 KM)
 3.00 PM - Have lunch and start for Bangalore
 7.00 PM - Reach Bangalore (139 KM) following : Mysore Road > Nice Road > Kanakapura Road

In short the ride would be like:

Bangalore > Mysore > Bandipur > Gudalur > Ooty > Masinagudi > Mysore > Bangalore

Pre-ride Checkup:

As Sami was fine with working on the bike on thursday, I got the following things checked/rectified:

1. Rear wheel wobble at straight road travel (Fixed the alignment for the rear tyre which was changed a month ago)
2. Front disc brake was jerky (checked the brake fluid level and removed trapped air)
3. Rear brake was making noise and not effective despite the new brake shoes (refitted the setup and I guess cleaned the brake drum of any dirt/mud/moisture)
4. Checked bike electronics like headlight, turn indicators and brake lights
5. Topped up engine oil
6. Last but not the least, set the tappet to loose setting for long route riding and rectified the oil leakage (which was due to loose nut which I didn't tightened properly the last time I had set the tappets myself)

So with all the above things fixed, I took the bike for a spin and tested the brakes and handling thoroughly before paying a mere 200 bucks to Sami for the checkup. I was happy that the bike hardly needed any new spare/replacement.

D-day Events:

On friday me and Vikky decided to make some sandwiches at home to carry for dinner on the first leg of the ride till Mysore, and even I feel safe with some clean and hygienic food during ride and nothing is better than home made stuff. So Vikky took up the task of making few sandwiches by the time I come back from office. I had planned to grab some nutrition bars (my usual intake during adventure trips), but couldn't take out time to buy those. I returned around 5 from office and headed straight to the water service station to get the bike a good shower. That done did my usual stuff of post cleaning polishing (this helps in repelling dust and dirt) of the metal and leather/rexene components.

Once the bike is all clean and shinny for the ride, now it was time for the rider to get ready. So rushed upstairs and pulled out all stuff needed for the ride starting with the tank bag. I enjoy such times thoroughly, where in am getting ready for some journey. Played some good old tracks of Lucky Ali (one of my and Vikky's all time favourite singer) and started packing. Following were the items we carried in case any of you need a hint:

    Tankbag: (water resistant with with a rain cover)

  • A big yet thin swimming pool towel (good for travelling as well as to wrap any delicate item to protect it from dings)
  • My Nikon SLR with lenses
  • Gerber multi-tool
  • A t-shirt, helmet cover cum carry case
  • Bike stand pad (small and round hard plastic plate supports the side stand on a muddy surface)
  • My bluetooth stereo headset (for music en-route)
  • A small foldable duffel bag to carry the complete tank-bag and contents of saddle bags while checking into the hotel/lodge

   Backpack: (waterproof)

  • An additional pair of jeans, socks, pair of tees and you know what:P
  • Bike documents, manual (must for enfield as you may not find a mechanic that easily), duplicate key for the bike (this happens too!)
  • Camera shoulder strap
  • Electronics bag (Phone Wall Charger, Bike port charger, a small lock, a wired headset for music/calls)
  • Vikky's clothes:D
  Saddle Bags: (water resistant and hard-mounted)
  • Spare cables (clutch, accelerator)
  • Spare tube for RE (it's a 19 inch size which is made only for Bullets)
  • Spare kit (ring spanner, adjustable spanner, tyre removal levers) and stock bike spares kit
  • First aid box (a must!)
  • Sandwich packs :D
 Additionally: (tied to the rear fender with bungee cord)
  • My Tripod (just in case)
  • Bike Cable Lock 

Day #1 Errr...Night 1 of the ride :

8.30 PM Started from home and went to the Shell Petrol Bunk near my home and filled for 600 bucks as I had filled for 500 bucks few days back. Then took a  u-turn and headed towards Kanakapura road. I was really happy that we didn't had to face the city traffic on this exit ride, which is my usual experience from previous rides. We cruised for few kilometers till the Nice Road flyover came, but due to lack of any sign board or lighting, we couldn't be sure if we can join the Nice Road at that point, so we headed ahead (that truly my friend is the beginning of the journey with first wrong turn:P). After a km or so I felt that we should have looked for the entrance to nice road near the flyover itself. So we stopped on the way I took out my new big touch screen phone (relatively big screen compared to my last most-efficient-and-reliable-phone-in-the-world BlackBerry Bold 9900) to get the directions. But alas Vodafone 2G was so pathetically slow I decided to ask someone on the way instead. We took a u-turn and headed back to the flyover and this time we could see the entry to the Nice Road (as usual no lights or signs). Paid a toll of 11 bucks (one sided travelling to Mysore) and hopped on the the awesomely smooth tarmac of nice road till it connects to Mysore road. From there till reaching Mysore, there was nothing special to write home (or even to write here) about. So the time we hopped on to Nice road was 9pm and the time we reached the traffic signal to Mysore was 11pm (as planned:D), but instead of entering the city we decided to take the by-pass and continue towards Ooty. We moved on towards Ooty on JLB road.
Odo reading before entering Nice Road..

 A stop on the highway side McD for a bottle of water and to stretch a bit. Vikky looking funny with his shuffled hair due to the helmet:P

Super-smooth, 3 lane JLB Road

Entry to Mysore City

Me Me Me and you can witness the super cool HID in play on my Bullet

WARNING - JLB road might be tempting for bikers (or even car drivers) to ride at a good speed but the end of the road is unexpected and to be more specific it's a dead-end! 

Yes and add to it there will be no street light where the road ends, so it's completely dark. I am still wondering why they created such a idiotic trap for travellers, despite the awesomely good condition of the road itself. At least few signs should be in place to warn people of the abrupt end of the road ahead will help immensely. Anyway, so from JLB we took the Kozhikode-Mysore-Kollegal Hwy/NH 212 towards Ooty.

Went past the Mysore airport road entrance..

We wanted to cover as much distance as possible, so that on Saturday morning we can enter Bandipur forest road early in the morning. Also reaching there early means we can make as many stops as we feel like without affecting the schedule. So we continued on NH 212 till the odo clocked around 170 kms. As we had already left the city, to avoid getting stranded in the night, we decided to make a halt at the next lodge/hotel we can find. Luckily a newly built hotel got our attention. After having a word at the reception we could strike a deal for a room for 800 bucks (initially the room was told to be of 1400 bucks). As we just needed a night's rest and not really expecting much of their other services, we were fine with anything.

Got a good room for the night..

I was happy with the parking space we were offered.

The hotel room...not bad at all!

Luggage and me taking this pic..

So we plugged our devices for charge and had a good sleep that night with an alarm set at 5:30AM (yes, we decided to have sound sleep for at least 6 hours, as we rode more tonight than we had planned) and planned to be ready by 7:30AM. Did I tell you we had the sandwiches and they were good:D

Day #2...Entering Bandipur Forest :

 I was the first one (as usual) to get up at 5:45AM and went for a shower with cold water. Yep, I have super human capabilities to do such a feat when it's about things I love doing. Like taking a cold water shower, this early in the morning, when weather outside is chilling. Anyway, took shower, put on the clothes and riding gear for the day and was time to wake up the pillion rider too. So we both were ready by 8 and we checked out by 8:30am.

While leaving the Karanji Residency on Ooty main road..

To be on safer side and to avoid running out of fuel in the forest road, we tanked up by another 500 bucks..

With sufficient fuel in tank and few hundred kilometers under our belt on the first leg of the ride, I was more than confident to enter the-much-awaited Bandipur National Park. I was fantasising about the experience of riding through a real forest with wild animals. Yeah it is a big deal for me as am a true nature lover and being a person now living in a dense city, it will be a much welcomed experience for me. This feeling of excitement and enthusiasm was shared by Vikky as well. As he had drooled over the forest route from the bus window and wanted to experience it thoroughly by riding through it. So after 70kms ride from our hotel we finally entered the Bandipur National Park around 10:30am.

First sign board to welcome us:)

There was a gate from Govt. of Karnataka welcoming visitors to Bandipur National Park. For any of you planning to ride/drive this way, you must know that this route opens from 6AM to 10PM (courtesy: some online blog). After reading all Dos and Don'ts while in the national park we proceeded on the way towards Mudhumalai National Park. Basically what I observed during this ride is, basically there is one forest area. The part of it owned by Tamilnadu Govt is called Mudhumalai National Park and the part owned by Karnataka Govt is named as Bandipur National Park. Other than a state border in between, there is nothing else that separates these two (so called) national parks. 

Yawwwnnnn.....am feeling sleepy now. So I will stop writing this blog here today. Rest of our journey of entering Ooty and loosing the planned route (yep you can call it the second best part of this trip! :D), I will post soon. 

Till then ride safe and ride far,


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