Two Wheels to Move the Soul

Writing about my motorbike rides and other motorcycle related stuff

India Bike Week

The one big event of the year for all bikers in India is the India Bike Week. The IBW happens in Goa in the month of February.
The perfect setting. Beach, Babes and Bikes!

Yeah, I know it’s not exactly Miami or Santa Monica but it’s the best we have and it’s pretty good.
The group I ride with, Riders Republic, had plenty of riders going to Goa for IBW ’16. All told I think we were about 120 bikes in our group from Bangalore. There were riders from Hyderabad and Cochin as well all part of the Riders Republic. Then there were the families and those not riding this particular time but driving or flying. All told we had a group of over 300 people making our way to Goa for the party.
More on that later, this post is on the ride to Goa.
630 kilometers, about 230 of that on a single lane state highway is a fairly long ride.
Considering the number of people that would be riding at the same time it was a ride that needed to be well planned. Besides the RR group there was the Harley Owners Group who were also riding. Other bikers from Chennai and most other southern cities would also take the same route. Imagine 200 bikes lining up for fuel or 250 hungry people landing up for breakfast at any joint on the highway. Either of those scenarios would take up more than an hour causing delays and general chaos.
The big boys of RR did a fantastic job of planning this one. They separated the bikes in to three main groups, superbikes (the racing types), forty eights (since they have a really small fuel tank) and all the other big bikes. The last group was further divided in to 3 sub-groups.  So, we had a staggered departure from Bangalore starting from 5-00 a.m. onwards.
The journey started from UB city in the heart of Bangalore. My group rolled at 6 sharp. It was good fun riding with a group of big bikes rumbling through the city when the roads are mostly empty.

Wee Hours Ride Through Bangalore
In almost no time we were on the outskirts of Bangalore. All set to ride to Goa.
The route we were to take was all along the NH 4 from Bangalore to Dharwar and then turn left onto the Goa road

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But then, the best laid plans…

Shortly out of Bangalore we hit a major hitch. An almost total jam on the highway. Trucks lined up for as long as we could see. There seemed to be no movement at all. It was early morning and the sky was gorgeous, but we were stuck and did not really have an eye for nature’s beauty.
Our bikes are not small enough to do the maneuvering needed to slip between trucks and find a path. So we were literally cooling our heels. Finally, some of the locals came to our rescue and carved a little path for us to get to the wrong side of the road. There on we got on to the service lane and slowly made our way across the jam. It took a good 15 minutes of wrong side riding before we were through the bottle neck. Our tight group had also been disbanded.
We regrouped at the toll gates and waited for the rest to join us. Soon we were all together again and once more we set off.
The ride can be broken in to sections. Once clear of Bangalore, the road up to Tumkur is a busy road with a lot of trucks, buses and smaller transport vehicles. There are also a number of smaller roads which join the highway at intersections making it quite busy. However on this day because of the jam behind us we got a free ride almost up to Tumkur.

Tumkur to Sira

The next part is from Tumkur to Sira – this is a lovely broad road with three lanes on either side of a large divider. It is a pleasure to ride on and most riders can clip. If you leave Bangalore early in the morning, then Sira is a logical break for breakfast. It helps that there are 3 fuel pumps close together making it the ideal place for big bikes to take a break as well.
For us RR folks the Kamat at Sira had setup a tent with buffet breakfast. This helped us all eat quickly, get a little rest and be on our way. This is a Kamat I stop at quite regularly on my way from Dharwar to Bangalore and it is just OK most of the time. However, this time the breakfast was really good. Dosa, Idli, Vada, Upma etc. the usual components of a south Indian breakfast. The coffee was not too bad either.

Quick refueling of self and bike and we were off again. Not before taking a count of all riders of course.

Sira to Hubli

The road from Sira to Hubli is an excellent road all the way. We rode mostly non-stop up to Ranebennur. The ride from Sira to Ranebennur was well-paced without a break on a lovely road and in the early part of the day. I took a quick break on the way just to take a couple of snaps as we passed the windmills in Chitradurga. Didn’t carry my SLR this time so just mobile camera shots.

Windmills in the background 🙂 

Near Ranebennur there is a Reliance petrol bunk with a Kamat, this is another regular haunt for travelers on this highway. Even when the petrol bunk was shut for business the restaurant had remained open all through, it has always been a popular stop. This was just a pit-stop on this run, only for petrol and a short break for the bikes and the riders.

Riding on the Highway
From Ranebennur to Hubli was another reasonably quick run. The day was getting warmer but it was still quite pleasant. The traffic however does pick up a bit as you get closer to Hubli with more two wheelers, tractors and local transport /conveyance vehicles. I stopped for a quick bio-break along the high-way. A local farm-worker who was going by was most curious about the bike. He had seen a number of bikes noisily going past. He wanted to know who I was, where I was coming from and WHY we were all riding. Existential questions these! I chatted with him for a bit answering his questions. It was a nice, out of context conversation, an intersection of two disparate worlds.

The fun part of this ride was of course that there were so many of us. People along the road were expecting to see bikes and kept clear somewhat. It is also fun to wave to the kids you pass by, they are super excited by big bikes. I know I used to be as a kid, heck I still am!
From Hubli to Dharwar the highway is a single lane on both sides with no divider. With truck traffic aplenty and cars trying to overtake the trucks, it is always a tricky section. This road needs to be treated with caution. Of course having a big engine and a fast bike helps you get through the traffic.
At Dharwar we turned off the highway (NH 4) and moved on to the smaller road (AH 47) which leads to Goa. There was one small petrol bunk on the route which is the last one for a 100km before you hit Goa. Time to tank up!

We took our lunch break at the Hill-View restaurant which is just a few KMs down the road from the highway intersection. Once more the organizers had outdone themselves and we had a buffet waiting for us. Nothing like hot food waiting for you as soon as you park and swing your leg off the bike.

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Post lunch was the tough part of the ride, technically and physically. The road is narrow, not very good in patches and winding for most parts. The temperature was now soaring, making it uncomfortable given all the gear we were wearing. It does not help that our bikes heat up quite a bit too adding to the discomfort. There was a lot of motorbike traffic all heading to Goa on this road. In spite of the heat and the general discomfort of having been in the saddle for half a day it was still enjoyable.

There is magic in riding through woods on winding roads, the kind of magic that kindles the biking spirit. It was a pain that the road was in bad condition up to the point of reaching Goa. Once in to the jurisdiction of Goa the road improved significantly. It was a pleasure riding through there.

Curves on the roads !

We took a break once we were in to Goa at a little nook in the road. The usual Indian setting of tea stall and cows. The lady at the tea stall was overwhelmed when 20 of us landed there asking for nimbu-soda with lots of salt. We were all quite dehydrated with the heat so fresh lime-soda was the perfect pick me up. Some of us took up the task of slicing the lemons to help the lady out while she prepared the drink for us, she was also short on glasses so we all had to take turns. But all through she was smiling and joking with her customers, though mostly everyone spoke in different languages.

A nice little break to recover from the bumpy ride.

From here on it was good roads but lots of traffic all the way through to the resort. It was good fun to ride through the Goa roads. There were 20 of us riding closely knit together and the lead rider made sure none of us got lost at the multiple junctions and signals. There were a number of people riding alongside us taking videos and generally having a good time. By this time of course the saddle was making me quite sore in the derriere and I could hardly wait to get to the resort.

We finally reached the resort by 5 pm. As we parked and dismounted, feeling slightly sore our hearts were still beating with the adrenaline from the ride. A little tired but we were all in good spirits.


Boy what a ride!

Ride around Arpora  to wake up the neighbours. 

India’s most exciting new Motorbike

Well, we have all been reading about this for a while now. The Himalayan from Royal Enfield.

Here is a very nice story by Siddhartha Lal the CEO of Royal Enfield and a really inspirational motorcylce rider.

Story Here

The RE website also has a few pics and videos of the bike. Here are 3 representative images from there. You can look up the videos too.

As a kid growing up in India there was always a dearth of exciting motorcycles. Those days there was the Java, the Yezdi and the Bullet. All big badass type of machines not your off road all -terrain types. Then came the 100 CC onslaught and there were numerous 2-stroke 100 CC machines from the good old Yamaha RX-100 to the Suzuki Samurai. These were noise sub-par on power and fuel guzzlers but we loved them all the same. This was followed by 4-strokes from the Hero Honda combine. I owned and rode one of these – The Hero Honda Sleek it was called. But if you look back they were all mostly similar, urban commute vehicles and nothing else.

In more recent times the Pulsar (from Bajaj – Kawasaki technology at some point) and Karizma have been a little exciting to see though still largely urban vehicle albeit more powerful.

It is only in the last 4-5 years that we have had an influx of motorbikes from all over the world vying for the Indian customer and those with aspirations of buying something different have been able to access the Triumph-Tiger or the BMW off-roaders.

Though there is still a singular lack of a good Indian off-road bike.

Ladakh / Leh the mecca of all Indian Bikers and wannabe Bikers is best accessed on a Royal Enfield bike, most importantly because you can find a mechanic for a Bullet in most parts of India. If your purpose built tourer had a problem in a remote corner, well you will be truly stuck. So, a glaring hole in the market for a reliable tourer / off-roader.

Finally, the guys at RE have decided to plug it. I do believe that it has been in the pipe for a while and maybe it does take a while to design and delivery a reliable motorbike but now we cannot wait to see it on the roads.

These few glimpses of the Himalayan have certainly whet the appetite and I for one am totally excited about this launch. AutoExpo 2016 is when it is expected to be.

Wait…..just a little more !

Go north

So continuing the theme of breakfast joints the newest one on the list is the Indian Paratha Company.IPC Map
This is just north of the airport. It is a nice stand-alone building on the left, along a service road next to the highway.

Based on where you start from it is not too far from the city to get to. So in case you are looking to do a 200 km type of ride it is a good idea to ride up to the Penukonda junction and then back. It is about 110 KM from the airport to Penukonda.
Some of the more foodie types can also stop for a small snack at the Kamat Upachar over there. Something my bunch always does. Though frankly in the hierarchy of Kamats this one would rate pretty low, but its location makes up. In fact just going up to the Kamat and back makes for a pretty good ride.

on the way there and then turn back and ride to the IPC for a hearty breakfast. True to its name it serves paranthas of all hues. The lassi is pretty good too. If you are truly hungry I would recommend a lassi with a paneer parantha over here.

The best part of IPC is the ambiance. It is open air with nice seating places. There are Hills in the back drop and the highway in front.

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Waiting for the Parathas to be delivered !

It is turning out to be quite a popular haunt for a lot of bikers. It also has the advantage of being open till late making it an ideal midnight ride place as well.

At most times you are likely to see a bunch of bikes parked in the front. From bullets to apprillas with a smattering of Harleys.

It is always nice to run in to fellow bikers wherever you are.

So people if you are looking for a breakfast ride option towards the north you can definitely make the IPC a destination. Do wave at the other bikers you see there.

Ride on !

Ooty ride

A few weeks back I rode to Ooty in Tamil Nadu. This was with a group that I ride with regularly, called Riders Republic. It is now India’s largest independent group of riders. It consists of people riding super bikes.
On this particular ride the smallest bike in the family was the Harley Street 750. The majority of bikes were Harleys in the group but there were also a number of street-bike style and tourer style super bikes –  Kawasaki, Honda,  Yamaha, BMW and Triumph were the others. There were two Ducati Diavels which were gorgeous beasts.

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There was one Triumph Thunderbird – I just loved the looks of that bike, simply awesome.


Among Harleys my favorites were the Fat Boys – beautiful machines they are.
All told there were more than 150 super bikes making the trip.
It was the third anniversary of Riders Republic which meant it was going to be a big party in Ooty.
There were quite a few couples riding together and some kids riding with their dads. There were a number of people who were driving there as well. My wife also joined for this one though by car and not pillion.
The whole gang got together at the usual meeting place in Bangalore which is the cafe coffee day at the corner of Vittal Mallya road. The program was to roll at 6-30 a.m but as it is with a large group it took a little while before everybody was in place and ready to roll.
The route we took was via Hosur road on to Salem then Coimbatore highway up to Avinashi turning off towards Ooty. approx 400+ kms

Route map

Some roads are just meant for long bike rides and the Salem Coimbatore highway is certainly one of those. Lovely broad road with 3 lanes on each side of a wide divider with plants to obscure headlights from the other side and mercifully little traffic at most times.

Superb road to ride on

It is a road on which you can ride for a couple of hours just being one with road and bike. If you are riding with a group of other bikers so much better. But I am getting ahead of myself.

First things first – breakfast!

As usual food is the most important ingredient of any ride. We rode for about 50k before coming to the pitstop. This is a nice pitstop for whenever you are heading towards Chennai Pondicherry or Yercaud from Bangalore. There is a Shri Krishna (south-Indian fare), a McDonald’s , a Cafe Coffee Day and one other restaurant, decent toilets and a large petrol bunk. We of course choose the south-Indian one, being lovers of idli-vada and suchlike. The organizers of the ride, phenomenal chaps, more about them later, had already planned the breakfast and all we had to do was pick up a plate. It was the usual fare of idli vada and dosa something the restaurant knew how to make really well. This was followed by coffee, if I were nitpicking I would say that there are other places with better coffee. The food however was superb.

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Vedant on his super-loud 750
Handsome Sudeep, one of the key guys for figuring the route

There is nothing like riding with a big bunch of Super-bikers and then having nice breakfast. I met a lot of my fellow riders for the first time over breakfast, it was a brilliant start to the three day ride jamboree. We talked bikes and accessories – what else!

The next section of the ride was on the Salem Coimbatore highway. This was the highlight of the ride, ripping on the tarmac with my fellow riders. That day we owned the road. The highway passes through a section of Salem which is a short revisit to reality when you wait at the signal. Soon , however, you are on your way again on the highway. At this point you pass by Sarvana bhavan. This is a great place to stop for traditional lunch in case you are ever in the vicinity. We did just that on the way back. On the way out it was too early.

Continuing on the route we rode for another hour and a half before stopping off the highway for chai etc.  Don’t know the name of the place but it was a great little nook where we had refreshing coffee & tea. Some of us were brave enough to go for fresh lime juice. The place also had those things I know as bobbys, little yellow crisp things that you can stick on your fingers and eat.

We spent a good twenty minutes chatting and relaxing. The weather from Salem on wards was seriously warm and all of us in our riding gear were literally melting under the sun. It was coming on to midday and getting hot so we needed the refreshment and the time of of the saddle as well.
A little further on we reached Avinashi. There were dark clouds in the distant sky now. The weather looked like it was turning in to great riding weather but then we were a bit worried about doing the steep and sharp curves to Ooty in the rain.
At this point some of the riders, my buddies Jayanth-Street Bob (since then he has become Fat Bob) and Dev – Fat Boy were so in love with the road that they missed the turn off and rode on almost to Coimbatore.

Jayanth & his Street Bob
Dev’s Fat Boy

We waited for a while to let them come back and catch up with us.

From Avinashi we left the highway and took the smaller road towards Ooty. This was much busier and gave little room for maneuverability. We had to be content with riding in a long single file and ride through the traffic.
Shortly the ascent to Ooty began, lovely curves on the road. I really enjoyed this section of the ride. The weather turned and it became quite chilly. The layers we had shed on the highway all came back on and we rode.

Clouds gather in the distance as the wind picks up
Clouds gather in the distance as the wind picks up

At times we got to ride through the clouds. Riding through clouds is always magical it is as if you are suddenly in a fairy tale and riding in a fantasy land.
Around this time the bunch I was riding with got somewhat separated. We ended up riding a little extra through Conoor and Wellington which was not necessary but thoroughly enjoyable nevertheless.
So, by the time we made it to Ooty and thence to the hotel it was past 4 pm. The guys at the hotel were kind enough to hold lunch for us. The parking of the hotel was a sight to behold.150+ superbikes adorned it.

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With some good liquid and solid lunch in to us some of us retired to our rooms for a well earned snooze. The wife had already reached having taken the much shorter route via Mysore.
But the extra 160 kms we rode was well worth it, kudos to the organisers who planned the route. It was a fantastic ride.

The evening was a full on party with a white theme and next day we spent time chilling in ooty walking around the market etc and letting our derrieres regain their shape. The wife and I found some interesting stuff to shop at Mohan’s. We had lunch at Ooty’s oldest Chinese restaurant. A nice quiet affair.

On the way back, it was well after 10 a.m. before we set out. Plenty of people were working the previous nights revelry out of their system, which is what delayed us.
We made quick time down the slopes and on to the main road. It was baking on the highway and since this was the end of a long weekend there was a lot more traffic going towards Bangalore. But still the road was relatively empty. We hit serious traffic close to Hosur much later in the day.
In this leg we stopped at Sarvana Bhavan for a good south Indian lunch. This was served in the traditional way on a banana leaf. It was a splendid meal.

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Unfortunately for me I got separated from my camera most of the time. It was being carried on Jayanth’s street Bob and we just ended being in different parts of the route. So I did not get much in terms of photos on the road.

From Sarvana bhavan on it was a much more tedious ride through traffic and as the day wore on and evening approached it was a little fatiguing too. My buddies and I were wondering if we shouldn’t have just started much earlier.
We reached Hosur by twilight and then through the nice expressway to home.

The best riding group there is !

Hats off to the riders Republic for having organized such a fantastic event. Can’t wait for the next big ride.


Last weekend, I rode to Avalabetta with a bunch of superbikers. This is a group called Riders Republic, an amazing bunch of people to ride and to hang out with. This was my second ride with this group and it was great fun.

We were scheduled to go to a place called Avalabetta, this is a little north east of Bangalore towards AP. It is about 70 Kms north of the airport.


The group met at 6:30 near UB City, this is a pretty popular meeting place in Bangalore next to the Cafe Coffee Day. As usual it took a little while to get everyone assembled. Once all were in we rode off.
Riding in a group like this is a real pleasure. They take care to have a designated pilot and a sweep. You feel secure that you know where you are going and that you will not be left behind. There were some huge bikes and some real beauties on the ride, the pictures will speak for them.

From UB City we rode about 70 Kms to get to a Kamat on the highway. As always, a hearty breakfast is a must for all bike rides. This is the only decent place to get breakfast on this route. It was the usual fare of idli-vada, chow chow bath and dosas that was ordered. There was food mayhem for a while as we all got hold of what we wanted and got down to polishing everything off. The food was decent nothing spectacular but good enough to keep us happy for a few hours.

The eating was followed by coffee and of course with coffee comes conversation. It was story time as some of the guys regaled us with interesting stories of happenings in Bangalore including a strong rumor that dance-bars are once more functioning in the city. This of course made the conversation a very engaging one.IMG_7846 (Large)

From here we all rode off in a tight group and were soon off the main highway and on to a small country road. This was a decently made road, few bad patches but largely a nice enough road. The best part was that this road passed through villages and there were a number of little kids in the villages who wanted to high-five us. This was great fun, it was fantastic to see the joy on the faces of the kids as the bikes rolled by. One of the kids was brave enough to ask for a ride and was promptly offered one by one of our guys who took him pillion for a bit. That kid has a great story to tell for some time now.

Avalabetta turned out to be in a tucked away little corner somewhere. With a short winding hairpin road to get to the top of the hill. It is quiet, serene and has beautiful views on all directions from the top.
The best part is that it is untouched by commerce. So no chips wrappers and other Plastic evidence left by human tourists. In the 45 minutes or so that we spent there we only saw a few other bikers. If you are planning a picnic then this is the perfect place except that you will have to carry everything with you.


We hung around here talking bikes and components. There is a little guest house of sorts which has a terrace affording the best view. So that’s where we congregated.
Soon it was time to head back to the city and on with our normal lives.
Something about the road needs to be said here. It is a glorious road especially after the airport. Wide and free of traffic. The weather on the particular Sunday was perfect and it made the ride a complete pleasure. The route on the way back was still reasonably free of traffic up to the airport toll booth. It was great riding up to there, after which you got in to city traffic and it was the usual drudgery all the way home.
The highlight of the ride for me was riding with a brotherhood of fellow bikers and riding at good speeds on a lovely road in great weather. Signing off with a few photos from the ride.

Riders on a ride
On the small country roads through villages
Line-up of lids !
Some Really Beautiful Bikes were with us !
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Big Boy Bike !
Yours Truly !

Until next time !   Keep Riding and Stay Safe !


Most of us riders like to ride out reasonably early in the morning. That’s when the roads are empty and the weather is nice and fresh. Bangalore is blessed with brilliant weather all year long and early mornings are usually crisp and cool. Even in the rainy season it is rare to find showers on a morning.

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Therefore stands to reason that, one of the most important things of a morning ride is the need to have good breakfast.

Consequently most of the bike riders around have their favorite breakfast joints mapped out.

What makes an ideal breakfast joint?
It should be a reasonable riding distance from home. Not too far and not too close. Typically if you are on a big bike you want it to be between 50 or 100 km from home in the least. That gives you the opportunity to ride a little before reaching the breakfast joint.
Then of course the breakfast joint should open shop early. Since we ride quite early around 6 to 6-30 a.m. on most days we end up getting to the breakfast place by about 7-30 or so. No point going to a place that does not open till much later if you are hungry at 7-30 or even 8 in the morning.
The route to the breakfast joint should have good quality roads, preferably with very little morning traffic.
And finally, last but not least, they should serve good hot tasty breakfast.

Most importantly they should have very good coffee.

Thus with all these conditions if you cast your net around there are only a few breakfast places that emerge. In this post I will talk of a couple of them.

Of course on the particular day where you decide to go depends entirely on how much time you have before returning to domestic duties. Weekends as we all know are full of domestic stuff and rides are the small islands of pleasure we get to enjoy between the immersion in domesticity.
I live in South Bangalore, J P Nagar. Therefore it is easiest for me to head out of the city to the south.
For most of us heading out of the city to the south, Kanakapura road is typically the road to take.

Going south on Kanakapura road, you hit Harohalli in about 40 KMs from JP Nagar. Here is a simple basic small restaurant “Upahara Darshini” – it is right on the main road and is open by 6:30. Though he doesn’t have a full menu ready to serve till about 7 a.m. His stuff is quite nice, always freshly made. The place might not be spectacular but he makes a very good cup of coffee. It is a place where plenty of motorcyclists and cyclists both hang out to have a bite. There are plenty of locals around too. It is always a nice pleasant coffee pit stop. Not only do our very short rides end up here for breakfast, we often stop here when we are driving out on a holiday. Undoubtedly one of my favorites for a quick pitstop. You might have seen this place mentioned in some of my other posts.

Upahara Darshini 3
You would see this on most weekends, a number of motorcycles lined up for a cuppa ~
Upahara Darshini 2
Nothing like some good coffee and conversation
Upahara Darshini 1
Even on weekends when we don’t have much time on our hands we will make the trip up to here 🙂

Further down Kanakapura road you come to the town after which the road is named, Kanakapura. Here there is a little stand and eat joint tucked away in a corner of the main street. This place serves a very nice Dosa and also good coffee. While it gives us an opportunity to ride a little further it has a couple of drawbacks, stand & eat, there is no seating, and it is always quite crowded. This is a good thing of course, it means he makes good stuff and it is always freshly made. But this is a rare stop on our trips not one of our favorites. But the quality of the dosa and coffee draws us there once in a while.

Next up, a bit further out, turn right in Kanakapura town (there is a board showing directions to Ramanagara) you can get to the Silk town in about 20 – 25 minutes from here.
This is a lovely picturesque road with fields, villages and rocky hillocks. A place made for taking photos on the bike or off it. This is not a road where you can speed though, it is a road meant to be savoured. There are plenty of sweeping turns on the road and you do need to keep an eye out for village traffic. But none of this takes away from the fact that it is a pretty ride.

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Lovely back-road between Kanakapura and Ramanagara

After 25 minutes of this you get to Mysore road where on turning left you will see Kamat Lokaruchi in a few minutes on your right hand side. Bikes get to park right up to the entrance just next to the jalebi stall.

Lokaruchi 1
Harleys and Jalebis

Lokaruchi 2

With the discovery of this inside route of getting to Lokaruchi it is becoming a firm favorite. Going by Mysore road is a chore even at 7 a.m. that road is busy with a number of 4-wheelers jockeying around for position and overtaking from left & right. Completely avoidable for those out to enjoy a bike ride.

Lokaruchi has two options, a full spread breakfast buffet very reasonably priced and of course the a la carte menu. We typically go and order the stuff we want. We typically avoid the buffet since one does tend to over-eat at a buffet, especially if it is as tasty as they make it.

My favorite dish at this place is the ‘chow-chow’ – a small serving of upma (khara bath) and sheera (kesari bath /halwa). They do a brilliant job of both. I would absolutely recommend it the next time you are there. There is also hot-jalebi being made there all the time in case you have a sweet tooth. Their coffee is excellent too.
I have heard good things about their Jowar roti meal but since I am usually there at breakfast time and not had occasion to try it.

One heads up about this place though, it is immensely popular so if you are not there by 8 latest you can expect to wait for a table. The buffet section takes a little longer to fill up but after 9 there is a long line of people waiting to be seated. So if you want to hit this joint get there early.

The way back from Lokaruchi we can take Mysore road, since at that hour there are not too many people heading to Bangalore.

Once you cross the traffic signal in Ramanagara it is straight through till you get to NICE expressway. at 8 or 8-30 in the morning Mysore road in this direction is a pleasure to ride on. The other direction is a total pain and best avoided. You can make it from lokaruchi to Konankunte cross in about 35-40 minutes on the way back. So that works out very nicely for the domestic types.

I do believe this will be my favorite breakfast destination for the near future. ride about 100 kms get a good breakfast and ride back about 50 kms with a nice warm feeling in the tummy. The best way to start a weekend morning.

Shortly, I will post about some of our favorite joints further afield.

Until then…..

Keep riding & stay safe….

Bike & me
Keep Riding !

Brahmin’s cafe

Brahmin’s Cafe – The life saver of morning birds like me.

Many times on weekends I like to get up really early and go out. If it is not a ride with a group then I just get up and go ride around the city. One key requirement at this hour is coffee and food. I am talking of 6 to 6-30 in the morning.
Many a times I have headed out at 5 a.m., riding around for an hour and then struggled to find good coffee.

The one place where I can reliably find excellent coffee is Brahmin’s Cafe. Really good filter coffee. The kind that leaves a lingering taste long after the coffee is over. Ahhhhh!!!

What is even more amazing is the fact that at 6 a.m. they have idli, vada, khara bath (upma) and chutney fully ready to serve to hungry souls. I have never yet gone there and been told it is too early to get food. Too late yes, they do run out of stuff, esp. in the evenings but at 6 a.m. you can reliably find succor.

IMG_20150713_184949Let’s talk about that idli and vada for a minute. Super fresh, super soft idli freshly taken out of the cooker served immediately. No other food can beat fresh idlis in the area of fast & fresh food. I know there are plenty of people with many polarized opinions on which is the best idli south of the Vindhyas but as a package of idlis vada and coffee I put Brahmin’s right up there.

Talking of vada, these are among the crispest and freshest I have found. Seriously good vadas.

The quirk with Brahmin’s is they don’t make sambar, I mean seriously there is no sambar on offer here. Their chutney is a little more liquid that what you get in other places but super tasty. It is the chutney of course which quite defines the place. There is an unlimited supply of chutney to keep refilling your plates with as you savor the idli and vada.

There is a person who sits separate from the food counter whose sole purpose in life is to ladlChutney Chape out chutney in to dishes where it has been mopped up. The chutney-chap is a classic, if you are there I would recommend spending a few moments observing him. He dispassionately dispenses chutney in to dishes, giving everyone the same amount in each serving irrespective of their station in life and not withstanding any pleas for special favors. Chutney-chap, the great social leveler.

Once you are done with idli, vada and chutney that is when you have set the stage for the grand performance of the filter coffee. There is of course the usual options of badam milk etc. but really it is the coffee which makes the real grand entrance. Of course here too the coffee server is a classic. Anyone who can elicit a smile from this guy will get a weCoffeeek’s worth of idlis from me. If the chutney-chap was dispassionate this guy knows he is dispensing the world’s best coffee and you are nothing but a mere mortal waiting for a taste of the nectar. if ever there was anyone who poured down coffee at you it is this gentleman. He stands on top of the coffee mountain and pours out small portions of the nectar for mortals. But it is worth it, great coffee needs a little sacrifice.

Just to complete the list, the chap who serves you idli/vada/khara bath is the most friendly of the lot and actually talks and chats with customers, the anarchist.

Having had this dose of brilliant food, coffee and anthropology you can ride on with the lingering taste of good coffee all set to have a smashing day.

Ride Safe !

Mysore Ride via Kanakapura Road

Mysore ride!

Last weekend we rode out to Mysore.
It was a boys night out that we had been planning for a while. We were to do this a few weeks ago but that was rained upon. Though we did have the night out it was a drive and not a ride. So that didn’t count.
This time we were determined to ride out irrespective of the rain.
The Mysore Sports Club serves a fantastic chicken biryani and they do this on Friday nights. So the rest of the gang (I am a veggie) wanted to be there on Friday night. It was a working day as well. So we decided to leave around 2:30 pm in the afternoon, leaving us enough daylight to get there.
Well, we did not manage to leave at the planned time of course. One of the bikes had a bit of a starting problem. It was a battery issue. After struggling with it for a good 45 minutes, my friend decided to use my C500 instead. So, both my bikes got to ride out. We were finally on the way by 4 p.m.
Our first stop was of course, the good old Harohalli joint, “Upahara Darshini” – it is about 30Km down the road and serves a really good coffee. It is always a pleasant stop whether we just pop there for an early morning breakfast or stop on the way somewhere.
Having thus refueled ourselves with good old filter coffee we were back on the way to Mysore.
About the route: There are two options (aren’t there always) the Bangalore – Mysore highway and the Kanakapura road. Both of these run quite parallel to each other (asymptotic for the pedants out there).
The Mysore highway is a good road mostly 2 lanes on each side of the divider. There is a divider for most parts of the road. BUT- there is a problem with the road. It has a ton of speed-breakers all through. More recently these have been replaced by traffic constrictors all along. Every few kilometers there are these barriers which makes the road really narrow. To make it worse there are really aggressive (almost reckless) drivers on this road.

Kanakapura on the other hand is reasonably quiet after Harohalli and esp. so after Kanakapura. The road is narrow – only two lanes with no dividers. But bereft of traffic almost throughout. For about 50 Kms after Kanakapura it is quite winding and you need to be a little careful approaching the curves as some of them can be quite sharp. But otherwise, for any biker I would expressly recommend this route over the other.

We rode at a comfortable pace, stopping to take in the scenery. With the delay in leaving we got quite lucky. We missed the rain, we drove on plenty of wet roads but it did not rain on us. The last section of the road was quite bad in patches because of the rain. If you have a seriously big bike, that part is a bit of a pain. Even with my smallish Harley it was quite painful. The rear tyres don’t really grip anything other than tarmac.
Having maneuvered through the dirt and slush patches we took a mini-break just outside Mysore. We reached Mysore shortly after 7:30 p.m. It was a good ride.
Towards the end of a nice ride
The Mysore Sports Club is a place built a long time ago and it stayed in that timezone. Feels really great in the high ceiling-ed lounges and the classic décor with animal pelts on the walls. There is a bar called Yezdi (it is Mysore), unfortunately they redecorated it recently and removed all the Yezdi engine parts that were on the walls there.
The place has a fantastic old world charm and the food is just awesome. Everything that we ordered was really well made. The Biryani was apparently good enough to move some of the guys to poetry. There is nothing like a nice boys night out to get the batteries recharged.
The ride back was also good fun. We wanted to stop at Mayura resort, right on the bank of the river Cauvery. If in the vicinity you should check this out. A great place to have a coffee break watching the river go by. A most tranquil setting.
However, in this instance, there was road construction going on and we could not reach the resort.
In order to visit Mayura which is near Srirangapatnam we had to take the Mysore-Bangalore highway. Our preferred option was Kanakapura of course, so after Mandya we turned right to get back to Kanakapura road. This added a good 25Kms to the ride. And most of the 25Km was really bad road. This made the ride quite uncomfortable.
In patches there was good tarmac and lovely green fields on both sides which was a pleasure to ride through – unfortunately not enough of that kind of road.
It was a relief to finally reach Kanakapura road again, good smooth tarmac. From there on we made it back to Harohalli in good time. Lunch at our favorite roadside joint and it was time to head back home.

All in all it was a very good ride and the boys night out was a bonus.

Keep Riding ! Stay Safe!

New Sibling In The House

Interesting thing happened the other day, well it wasn’t exactly an impulse thing. I had been planning for a while but at the point of execution it was still impulsive. I managed to buy a real life Harley Davidson Motorbike and my good old C500 now has a younger sibling. It is a bit like the Williams sisters the younger one is much bigger in CC 🙂 

Yes I know, been an RE fan but then I was also an HD fan. So, just did it!

There, now that I have broken the news, let’s talk a bit about the ride.

My word, what a ride.
The sheer acceleration and feeling of power is awesome enough but to top it off, there is the sense of much more power available to tap in to, if you want. The cruise speed I have been on is around 120 and have hit a peak of 140kph. But the bike still has a lot more to give. Don’t think I am going above 140 anytime soon, but that’s only because I am drawing a line there. I was amazed at the way the bike moves from 120 to 140. At 120, open the throttle on a flat road and there is a smooth movement of the needle to 140. Scary!

While talking of speed one needs to talk of braking as well. While I have read that the Superlow braking isn’t the greatest, I am quite happy with the way the bike slows and stops so far. No cause for complaint. Use both brakes simultaneously and the bike slows down without a wobble and stops when and where I want it to.

Speaking of wobbles, there are none. At 120 the Superlow has fewer rear view mirror vibrations than the C500 does at say 60 KPH. The bike is almost 100 kilos heavier. Cruising at 120 it is absolutely rock-steady.

The bike sits a lot closer to the ground. The rider is part of the bike in this case. The much larger rear tyres and the lower centre of gravity make it a great bike to take corners and turns. On winding roads and sweeping curves it is a pleasure to ride.

But seriously there is a lot of power under your butt here. This is a machine that tests your self-control. All that power to tap, you need to be sure about yourself before releasing that power. 

Some specs of the bike from the Harley site –
  • Length 2,215 mm
  • Seat Height, Unladen 695 mm
  • Ground Clearance 100 mm
  • Rake (steering head) (deg) 31.1
  • Trail 145 mm
  • Wheelbase 1,500 mm
  • Tires, Front Specification 120/70 ZR-18 59W
  • Tires, Rear Specification 150/60 ZR-17 66W

With the territory comes some additional hazards and therefore requirements for safety.
When your cruise speed moves up from 80 to 120 kph you need to make sure you have the right equipment to support your ride.

The basics to have in place, a good riding jacket with armor, a very good helmet (preferably full face), Knee and shin protectors – these are a bit tricky to get right (more further down) and good shoes.

I went and got knee + shin protectors from Dainese, a lot of my friends who ride similar bikes recommended it. They sit snug on my legs and give me good confidence on their ability to protect. Shoes deserve a complete blog post of their own, so I shall desist. Also I am still riding with my Salomon hiking shoes and need to get a proper riding pair. But the bike itself has blown such a large hole in the pocket that it will be a few months before I will get the shoes I want.

Well the bike looks a beaut !!  

Both Siblings Sitting Pretty !

Keep riding and stay safe! Adios!

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