The Necklace Road Ride:
Having come back to Hyderabad after almost an year, I wanted to get started riding as soon as possible. The Bulldog was even eager to see new terrain and have fun. So on Wednesday, three days after landing in Hyd, I have decided to join Krish for a spin around the Necklace road. We met Krishna, Mr. Laxma Reddy, Mohsin Khan there.
So little has changed in the last year. The same cool morning breeze around the lake, the same escalating buzz of the early morning commuters on the tank bund, the same enthusiasm of the morning walkers and joggers around the Necklace road. Even the road work that started near Sanjeevaiah Park, over an year ago before I left for Vermont, is still a work in progress. So much and yet so little changes with time.
It is great to see the child like enthusiasm of Krishna again although it is sad to hear about Ramany’s accident. The retired Wing Commander is apparently on the road to recovery after picking up injuries while riding. Get well soon Ramany.
Another rider was Mr. Laxman Reddy, Chairman of St.Martin group of schools and colleges. He took up cycling recently for fitness and is enthusiastically spreading word about cycling as a sport among his students. Krish was on his BTWin folding bike which rides quite well and holds the pace with most bikes on the road despite looking so tiny. It was nice to ride with Mohsin Khan who is now organizing the rides around the Necklace road. These rides have always been great for the beginner to take a gentle spin around the Hussain Sagar in the pleasant mornings.
Total distance: 53.21km
Time: 2hr 25mins
Here are the photos from the ride: http://picasaweb.google.com/hivenkat.d/NecklaceRoadLoop09012010#
The Narsapur Lake Loop:
Waking up early eager to ride is nothing new to cyclists. Stretching the arms out of the window wishing that the monsoon does not wash away your ride plans is also nothing new for this time of the year. The optimism that the light drizzle at 5 am stays that way for all of the 100kms of riding planned for the day and doesn’t end up drenching you however, makes your family think that you are nuts. Which is again nothing new!
Maninder Singh joined me as I was making my way to Dr. Reddy’s to meet the rest of the group. He’s a lanky seventeen year old who turned up for the ride dressed in jeans and T-shirt along with a huge backpack and a camera pouch around his neck. He is quite a sport while being very aggressive with his goals. Apparently he wanted to complete 200km for the day on his Lumala dual suspension bike.
I’ve met Sunil after more than an year. He has been training hard with plans to follow the footsteps of his mentor and Ironman Matt. He has lost a lot of weight from the last time I’ve seen him and looks very fit. He’s fresh from winning a 30km running race organized by the Hyderabad Runners club just last week. He is an amazing guy and an amazing athlete. Someone I look up to. He was on his Trek 4300 and even on an MTB, he can give any road bike a run for the money.
The other riders for the rider are Gokul on his Schwinn cutter single speed bike, Kotsav on his Kona, Vasu and Raman on Act 110s.
The road to Narsapur is quite good with a nice tree line pretty much all the way. It goes through Narsapur forest and monkeys from the forest can be seen by the roadside. Once we reached Narsapur, we took a bit of off-road route to explore the surroundings of the Narsapur lake. The huge lake is filled to the brim thanks to the continuous rains over the past month. It was quite a sight. I was pleased that the Bulldog was able to handle the muddy off-road sections that we took to reach the lake.
The mobile stall that Maninder hid in his backpack fed all of us. He had dates, biscuits along with his trademark Amul sweetened milk.
After exploring the lake’s surroundings we decided to head homewards. We rode back on the Narsapur road and took a right at the arch after crossing Gummadidala to get on to a back road to reach Patancheru. The route is almost devoid of any traffic but for a couple of cow herds sauntering along. The greenery was simply amazing and we did stop a couple of times to take in the scenic beauty.
For me it brought back the memories from a ride I did more than an year ago with Shay, Krish and a couple of other riders on the same route. At that time, we stopped near a tiny pond under a couple of mango trees to rest and recharge. The tiny pond is now all filled up due to continuous rains drowned the area under the trees. We rode past a school where we stopped on one of our previous rides when the curious school kids swarmed all around us.
We miss Shay and Ed, both excellent riders and amazing guys. Shay used to explore so many places around the city that we never knew existed and helped us get in touch with our own city and its surroundings. The way he spurred the HBC activity with his love for cycling and exploring new places is amazing. Whenever I ride through a route that I rode with him in the past, it brings back memories of him and only one thing comes to mind. Just Ride. It was his mantra of sorts. Thank you Shay. Shay baba ki jai. 🙂
We rode into the NH9 through Beeramguda and reached home riding via BHEL and Chandanagar.
The terrain we came across on the route ranged the whole gamut. The smooth road to Narsapur, muddy off road sections to reach the Narsapur lake and the potholed and muddy MTB terrain of the back roads through villages. At one point the mud got struck between the tires and the mudguards of the Bulldog and acted as a natural brake system. It was quite effective too. I was hardly able to move an inch. I had to stop and clear the caked mud that was struck in the mudguards before being able to move again. But over all, the Bulldog proved quite capable of handling the challenging terrain and made itself home in Hyderabad as nicely as it did in the hilly Vermont.
Time: 4hrs 27mins
The last I heard, Maninder did complete 200km for the day riding long after the rest of us have called it a day. Great job Manu. May the madness and the force be with you 🙂
Trail Ride to Golkonda:
When I started riding MTB trails with Andy and group and single track trails with Mike Richardson, Rob Levasseur and others back in Vermont, I loved it so much that I promised myself that I would explore off-road and single track trails once I am back in Hyd. So, when Krish told me about an off road track to Golkonda fort, I was keen to try it.
On Sunday morning, Krish, Saravanan, Siddarth, Devaraj and myself got together at Krish’s The Bike Affair and headed out at around 6am. We took the outer ring road route which is around 16km to reach the fort. From there we got on to the single track to climb up to the ancient guarding post set up to guard the fort.
The track was quite manageable but for a few rocky sections which might need a 29er and better riding skills to tackle with out getting off the saddle. At places the wet soil gave away making the wheels spin with out the bike moving anywhere. One thing to be vary of though, is the thorny greenery beside the track at a few places. I suspect that it is one thing we can not avoid on off-road tracks in India. They are just a minor scare that should not deter the bigger fun of off-road biking. We just need to be a bit more careful.
We made up to the ancient guarding post and hiked up the last section to the post with our bikes on our shoulders. The view from up there was spectacular to say the least. We could see the ancient fort standing majestically on one side and the vast expanse of the modern city sprawled all over on other.
We posed with the gigantic ancient gun laying there before beginning the decent. The downhill section was too short. Felt like the fun was over as soon as it began. After we made it to the foot of the hill, we rode on the track beside the fort’s ancient wall to head out into the city. At the end of that wall was a short section of ancient stone steps. There, I decided to test the Rockrider 5.3 that I was riding to see if it is true to its name and can actually ride the rocks. It held up pretty well and descended the steps quite well despite the front shocks being locked away. It is quite a smooth bike with smooth shifting and disc brakes to handle most of the MTB challenges. I don’t really know the technical jargon of the frame setup etc but the bike felt really good. Thanks to Krish for lending me the bike for the ride.
There are many tracks around the fort that we can explore with more time. I am sure there are more such off road trails around the city that we could explore.
It was a pleasure riding with Saravanan, Krish, Siddarth and Devaraj. Saravanan looked like a beast of a rider hiding in a very lean frame. Gave me a hard time hanging on to his tail. Thank you Krish for showing us the trail.
Time: 2hr 6mins
Photos here.. http://picasaweb.google.com/hivenkat.d/GolkondaTrailRide#
It was a fun filled first week for the Bulldog in Hyd.