Just one of those days when all you want to do is Ride, Ride, Ride!!
A few days ago, I accidentally ended up with an extra day’s holiday. We had taken a family vacation for the whole week, but we were going to be back by the Thursday. This left one whole Friday to ride.
I informed the Biking buddies that I planned to ride all day. Of course, it could have been better planned with more notice to people to join. But heck what is life if not impromptu ride planning.
A couple of my riding friends concurred that riding all day was a swell idea and signed up. I needed to get to Mysore by Friday evening, so the ride would need to end there. A riding buddy who has frequented every route in this part of the state on his RE and now Versys, suggested a route.
Bangalore to Mysore the long way. The suggested route was to go from JP Nagar South Bangalore to Bellur Cross, breakfast at Mayura, ride on to Hassan, take the bypass to Kushalnagara, take a look at the Buddhist Monastery there, a spot of lunch & then head to Mysore. Further socializing of the plan got a good recco for a Tibetan lunch at Kushalnagara.
Had all the markings of an excellent ride plan.
All set for a ramble on the road….
1st June Morning, I had some helping out at home to do, getting the kids all set for school in the morning etc. So, had to delay the take off by an hour. I finally managed to get out at about 7:30 in the morning.
When you are riding only for the joy of riding there is no undue pressure of the clock. It also helps when you have friends who think alike and don’t mind the slow start to the day.
First stop as always, the fuel pump to get the tank full, with the big tank that the Thunderbird has (27 liters) it gives a range of 300+ Km – enough to keep me going for some time.
Bannerghata road was the usual mess, since we were already in to commuting time. Just getting to the beginning of the NICE Expressway was a chore. But luckily that was the only traffic part of the day. Once on to the NICE expressway it was a pleasure to ride. While the expressway was a little busy with the commuting traffic, there was enough room and empty stretches to make you sit back and relax while the bike does its bit.
Of course, the entire NICE expressway stretch lasts only about 15 minutes, at the end of which you reach Tumkur road, these days the entry in to the Toll part of NH4 from the NICE exit has become a major bottleneck. It has been so since about Oct’ 17. Some roadwork going on, hopefully a long-term solution to the bottleneck problem. Once on the toll road it is a reasonable ride up to Nelamangala, where you turn off and on to Hassan road.
From there till you reach Bellur Cross it is bliss, excellent road and very little traffic. What I like about the road is the visibility it gives you at most times, you can see ahead for more than a KM at most times and the road is of excellent quality (guess big politicians frequently doing Bangalore-Hassan commutes is one reason for this, I am not complaining)
The simple pleasure of riding a Cruise bike like the Triumph Thunderbird LT is that you can actually sit back, keep the throttle steady and enjoy the feeling of the highway going past beneath and the sky above you. There is enough room and comfort on the bike to be able to do the ‘relax’ bit easily.
Built for comfort 🙂
It is such a joy to ride this route. No wonder it is one of our favorite breakfast ride destinations.
At Bellur we met a couple of other bikers who were also out on a random ramble, the kind where you decide where to go while on the road. The food and ambience were perfect, as expected and with it being a weekday, there was very little crowd. Most of the time when bikers get there, we sit outside on the patio, it is really nice. So much so that in the 4+ years that I have been going there I have never seen the inside of the place J
We did a bit of thinking on the route and decided to stick to the plan. Kumar, who I was riding with, was quite familiar with the route and would lead the way. Like me, he too is of the opinion that riding at a steady pace and enjoying the ride is more important than getting somewhere by a particular time.
The next stage was a nice longish stretch from Bellur Cross to Kushalnagara. Big highway up to Hassan and then a left turn to get in to A & B roads. The road quality was very good though it was a single lane with no divider. Very little local traffic and generally scenic. After riding for an hour or so, we stopped to take a couple of pics – farmland in the background and asphalt in the fore.
From thereon, the road afforded a lovely meandering ride. Slow riding on small roads with the wind blowing in your face (helmet in our case) has a joy of its own. The fact that you are out there just to ride means you can take this kind of opportunity to enjoy all the space and breathe in the freedom.
Further riding brought us to a small town where we stopped for some coconut water. The thing with an eye-candy machine is that you attract a lot of attention and people always have two questions that all bikers are familiar with.
“how much is the cost?”
“what is the average?”
This town was no different. I stopped at a point to click some photos – there were plenty of Brahmini kites swooping around. The bike was immediately surrounded and there were the usual 2 questions and requests for selfies with the bike.
The guys we met at breakfast had suggested stopping at the Café Coffee Day near Kushalnagara. Soon, we pulled up to the CCD. It is a truly picturesque one. Would totally recommend it to anyone visiting that area. To top it all, there was an offer of buy one and get one free on their milkshakes. Nothing better than a cold milkshake on a sweltering day (Well, beer of course, but then we were riding…)
This CCD is pretty close to the turn-off for the Monastery. Having cooled ourselves down a bit we headed to the monastery. Surprisingly there were plenty of tourists there. The place has an organized parking lot, with a security guard. So, we were ok to leave the bikes in the parking and look around the monastery. Laden with riding gear and walking on riding boots, there was not much we were going to achieve in terms of a monastery visit. So, we just sauntered around a bit, clicked a few photos and we were soon back at the bikes.
We had a recommendation for lunch, at a Tibetan restaurant called Potala. We headed there from the monastery. It is in the market section of the Tibetan town. Feels so quaint to be in a Tibetan town just 80 KMs from Mysore in the heart of Karnataka. Also feels good that our country continually finds it in our hearts to provide refuge and livelihood to those who need it. Parking here was a bit tricky, no specific parking place, but for some reason the crowds were all at the shops & restaurants near the monastery. There are plenty of nice Tibetan shops here and I am sure my wife and kids would love to shop in these.
The Monastery – well worth a visit
Authentic Tibetan Food
Lunch was superb. Both of us are veggies and we had a simple lunch of Momos, Thukpa and some fried rice. The quantity was sumptuous and the taste was authentic. Loved the meal. Totally worth riding all the way there just for the food.
All that was missing for us was coffee. That would have to be remedied back on the highway. From Kushalnagara to Mysore is a nice 80KM ride, however as you approach Mysore the road starts getting busier obviously. The road also has its share of Potholes. Do watch out for the potholes and for sudden swerves by those looking to avoid the potholes.
There are plenty of places to stop for a coffee, we chose a random small tea stall. The chap was nice enough to make fresh coffee for us. We answered the two questions to satiate the curiosity of a few locals while we waited for the coffee. A fun thing on the roads approaching Mysore are the Mango vendors. They stack the fruits up in the most colorful pyramids. Couldn’t resist the desire to click a few snaps with the mangoes.
Shortly we were in Mysore (5:30 pm) and reached the hotel we were checking into, thereby bringing the ramble to an end.
I for one totally loved the day and the feel of being in the saddle all day long. Nothing better than to spend a day riding. Already looking forward to the next one.