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Old 6th February 2016, 01:07   #1
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Default Our CCRO adventures: Ride from Bangalore to Kotagiri

The basic premise of the third weekend overnighter for our Team BHP weekend biking group was as simple as it was evil. Our ride was christened the CCRO (Chida Cant Ride Overnighter), to serve as a stark reminder to a fellow weekend biker and photographer extraordinaire, who had recently moved to greener pastures thereby taking one big step closer to his dream of owning a Triumph Daytona. The first two group rides to Somwarpet and Yercaud were unmitigated successes to the extent that the group had started talking about planning for the third iteration even before the dust had settled from their last ride.


After some deliberation, we zeroed in on Kotagiri as the destination and bookings were made for our stay at a place called Silent Woods (didn’t really live up to its name, but more on that later). Unfortunately not everyone from our group could join and even I wasn’t sure that I could make it until a few weeks before the actual ride. I will tip my hat off to the gentlemen who meticulously organized the ride, not only did they plot out the exact routes and locations for breaks with time durations but they also identified the best restaurants and planned the fuel stops to take care of even the most thirsty of our machines.


Sojogator, Porschefire and I met up in near complete darkness opposite Mandovi motors at 06:00 and proceeded to the meeting point at the junction of the Kanakpura – NICE Road where we waited for the other riders. They arrived soon enough minus Maverick46 who had mysteriously overshot the rest of the pack while they were riding through the city. Thus giving further credence to the popular urban legend that 110% of KTM riders are careless!

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Waiting for the KTM

With everyone accounted for, we quickly saddled up and with sunlight as a warm companion to battle the biting cold, our group made the most of empty 2 lane roads to cover a good distance at a steady double digit average speed. Some of the small lakes that we crossed were mesmerisingly beautiful and eventually we took a brief break to take a couple of pictures.

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Could you blame us for stopping?

Not wanting to lose our momentum, we pressed on and the sight of our group consistently sticking to formation on the empty highway roads was quite something to behold. To an outsider, it would have looked like 10 bikes riding past with their headlights on but the view from within the pack was a marvelously different to say the least. The air was cold enough to cut through our gloves and make our fingers tingle but it added to make the whole experience more memorable. Our next stop was after Malavalli where we gave our bikes and bodies a bit of a well deserved rest as a reward for the good progress we had made.

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Last edited by neil.jericho : 7th February 2016 at 15:37.
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Old 6th February 2016, 01:11   #2
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Default Our CCRO adventures : Part II

Refreshed and reenergized, we kept riding to our planned breakfast stop at the Hotel Annapoorna in Kollegal and after we asked around the town we realized that the popular place had shut down. We were left with the option of riding to the next big town of Chamarajanagar or stopping for breakfast on the way there. We ended up choosing the latter and pulled over at the first roadside hotel that we saw in the small taluk of Yalandur. With prices that would suit the most budget conscious of travelers and appetites befitting groups double our number, we happily wolfed down our breakfast and waited for two of our riders who had left Bangalore much later than us, to catch up with the group.

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Old 6th February 2016, 01:17   #3
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Default Our CCRO adventures : Part III

Having fallen behind our planned schedule, the 11 of us rode as a full group for the first time in steady formation towards Gundlupet but a combination of highway traffic, occasional bad roads and unplanned breaks meant that the single file group got split into smaller ones. Half of us also got stopped for random checking of documents on the way though the senior officer told the junior one to send us off when he saw us in our gear. After we reached Gundlupet, we took a couple of wrong turns and decided to tank up while we worked out where the others were. As we exchanged notes on respective fuel efficiencies in the welcome shade of the fuel pump, I was more than pleasantly surprised to find that the Continental GT with its amazing mileage of 45 kmpl trumped the others by a fair margin. The heat was beginning to tire us and we stopped at the CCD outlet on the Coimbatore – Ooty – Gundlupet highway to grab some coffee and cool down our weary bodies.

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The view from the CCD, the hills were plenty inviting

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Notice how sunny it was?
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Old 6th February 2016, 01:21   #4
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Default Our CCRO adventures : Part IV

The promise of a sumptuous biriyani in Ooty kept some of us focused on lunch and half the group proceeded on through the Bandipur National Park to Gudalur (via Theppakadu) while the others caught up on some well deserved rest in the cozy confines of the CCD. The ride through the National Park could have been special but it was marred by the plentiful speed breakers that contributed enormously to the physical and mental fatigue we experienced. I usually ride at the back of the pack just before the sweeper but somehow I found myself at the front of the line as we reached the 36 hair pin bends leading up to Ooty.


For the first few corners I pushed the bike through the tantalizing hairpin bends and realized that I had to wait for the others to catch up as they weren’t being as aggressive as me on the climb. After this happened a couple of times, I decided to go hell for leather and for a glorious few minutes, the Continental GT was at its very best and plastered the biggest grin on my face that Ive had in a long, long time. With our ascent, the air began to noticeably cool and this added immensely to the fun factor of hustling our bikes as the fatigue began to slowly slip away. Our lunch stop was at a very popular biriyani place in Ooty and given that it was really late, we were quite literally starving. A few starters, one jambo (that’s how they spell it, really) mutton biriyani and a couple of vegetarian biriyanis later, we were as content as we could be.

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We had to keep a close eye on our attention magnets


The second group had quite a scare as they left the CCD when an angry elephant walked on to the narrow two lane road, turned around and charged at some of our riders. Fast thinking and quicker reflexes ensured that they escaped unharmed and they lived to tell the terrifying tale of coming face to face with a wild elephant. Unfortunately we didn’t have GoPro footage to capture this terrifying ordeal. Cynical readers are probably thinking that it was a small little elephant and that I am adding a fair degree of spice to make this story interesting. I can assure it, this was no young elephant but was in fact a proper medium sized one!

Last edited by neil.jericho : 6th February 2016 at 01:26.
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Old 6th February 2016, 01:25   #5
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Default Our CCRO adventures : Part V

By the time our second group had reached the hotel, we were almost done and so we packed up another jambo (there’s that name again) biriyani for them before leaving for Kotagiri. We called up the caretaker at Silent Woods and informed him that we were leaving Ooty so that he could help us with getting to our resort. On the way, we just had to stop at a stretch and taking pictures because the view from there was just jaw droppingly incredible.

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A few riders got pictures clicked as they rode past our resident photographers while the rest of us sat back and enjoyed nature’s brilliance. With temperatures dropping to around the 18 degree mark and the sun slowly setting, we rode to Kotagiri where our caretaker, Mr Selva met us at the bus stop and directed us to the resort.
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Old 6th February 2016, 01:28   #6
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Default Our CCRO adventures : Part VI

Nestled in a magnificently green tea estate, the Silent Woods resort was a welcome sight for our sore bodies. The first thing I noticed after we got off our bikes, was the complete lack of silence that was far from the name on the signboards. The constant chirping of bulbuls, finches, hanging parrots and so many other birds were music to my ears and they just didn’t stop. Clean mountain air, the soothing sound of our two winged friends and a clear evening sky. Simply perfect!

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After freshening up, we enjoyed the welcome heat of the bonfire as it was mightily cold once the sun went down. Given how high we were (altitude of 1650 feet), the proximity to the stars was not lost on any of us and it is something we rarely see in the polluted confines of Bangalore. We enjoyed a round of introductions that never got completed with all the bonhomie and enjoyed music from the Eagles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, AC/DC, Aerosmith and Guns n Roses among other rock greats. OK so Khaled’s Didi and MLTR’s Someday did sneak their way in as well but lets not mention that shall we. With rib ticklingly funny stories from earlier rides, crazy experiences with other bikers and discussions about who made better motorcycles – British or Madras Customs, the group was on a roll. With virtually no cellular reception, we thoroughly enjoyed being far from the madding crowd. We eventually called it a night and soon Silent Woods reverberated with the sound of nearly a dozen snores as we blissfully welcomed a good night’s sleep.
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Old 6th February 2016, 01:33   #7
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Default Our CCRO adventures : Part VII

We had planned to return to Bangalore through the longer but faster Kotagiri – Mettupalayam – Avinashi – Salem – Krishnagiri – Bangalore route and 3 of our riders left early to ensure they reached Bangalore in time. If Saturday evening was beautiful, it was nothing compared to how wonderful it looked that morning. Once again the birds were at their vocal best and I had a hard time tracking them as they flew from tree to tree and disappeared into the foliage. After a tasty breakfast, we said our farewells to Mr Selva, the caretaker who had helped us with every request, big or small, since we landed in Kotagiri. Not only was he a very helpful person, he also ensured that the resort was immaculately maintained and service was good. I have no hesitations in recommending the place to others.

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The Ninjas play Spot Me If You Can

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We left by 10 AM and the picturesque ride down from Kotagiri was a simple test of the rider’s concentration and control. Too fast in the short straights and you would end up braking and losing speeds in the bends. Too slow and you would fall behind in the group. Maintaining just the right pace given that there was some traffic was a nice little test to start the day. The roads were just perfect and it is speculated that the ever watchful eye of an important politician keeps it in perpetually in that condition. If only politicians paid such attention to all our roads!
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Old 6th February 2016, 01:38   #8
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Default Our CCRO adventures : Part VIII

Our return journey was uneventful for the most part until we had to pull over before Avinashi because the gear lever of one of the bikes just fell off. I know everyone is going to suspect the Royal Enfields for good reason but surprise, surprise it was the Triumph Bonneville that decided to throw us a curveball.

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I told you it wasnt the Royal Enfields!

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Fortunately some local people had spotted it on the road and we quickly went back and collected it before it got lost or crushed. While we got it fitted back by a mechanic in Avinashi, many riders took shelter in the shade of nearby buildings to escape the sweltering heat. After riding through Avinashi, we joined the 4 lane highway that would take us back to Bangalore and pulled over at the Indian Oil pump with the adjoining CCD (again!). We sure needed to take a breather!

Last edited by neil.jericho : 7th February 2016 at 15:47.
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Old 6th February 2016, 01:44   #9
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Default Our CCRO adventures : Part IX

Since it was already past 12:30 we decided to make this our lunch stop and the air conditioned environs of the outlet provided us a most comfortable of breaks. The next planned regroup point was only at Shoolagiri which was 60 odd kms from Bangalore and that meant we had quite some distance to cover post lunch. With our bikes tanked up and chains lubed, we set off and rode in smaller groups.

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All systems check

While the other bikes could comfortably hold speeds in the three digit range, the Continental GT can match them but with telling vibes coming into play. With over 300 kms to cover to Bangalore, it didn’t make sense to wear myself out by trying to keep up with them and so I settled for a steady indicated 100 kmph on the wide empty four lane highway. Somehow from riding alone at the back of the line, I ended up being ahead of everyone else as they stopped to take occasional breaks so I pulled over at the BP pump in Thoppur and took a half an hour break to top up the petrol and refresh myself with fluids. I continued my solo ride to Shoolagiri where a few of the riders had already reached while the others were behind me by 10 kms or so. Most of the group snacked on the gourmet offerings from one Ronald McDonald while I grabbed a lime juice to quench my thirst.

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By then the sun was well on its way to setting to we packed up and rode back to the welcoming arms of urban chaos that is popularly known as Bangalore. We didn’t plan for a one last stop to say our final farewells as a group before dispersing back to our lives but 4 of us did cross over the border at the same time and wished each other goodbye. As I rode through the packed city streets and tried to shut out the honking, I couldn’t help but recall the wonderful weekend and wondered what the corporate world held for me in the coming week.

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Old 6th February 2016, 01:49   #10
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Default Our CCRO adventures : Reflections

So you would think that the Continental GT’s performance up those 36 hairpin bends, the charge of the elephant, our wonderful stay at Kotagiri and the synchronous beauty of the group riding on day 1 would vie with each other for the top memory of this trip. You couldnt be more wrong. Without a doubt, what I will remember the most though happened one day before the ride and that truly demonstrated what the clichéd biking brotherhood is all about.


A fellow rider from our group had taken his recently purchased Tata Safari out for a drive and had stopped at a Tata service centre to check on some warning lights. One of the mechanics was test driving the car to ensure that all the issues were fixed and ended up in a nasty accident. This bit of news crushed every one of us as we knew that our friend had harbored the dream to own a Safari for years and we were all as excited as little kids when he finally got his hands on it. This unfortunate accident occurred on Thursday and on Friday I was amazed to hear that 3 members of our group had dropped everything, on a working day mind you, and gone to help our friend.


What you should also know was that the accident happened in Salem which is 200 kms away from Bangalore! So they ended up driving 400 kms in a day to support our comrade and help him as much as they could and lift his spirits. Of course this meant that there was a chance that one of them could miss the weekend ride due to exhaustion but it was a price he was willing to pay to help a fellow rider. Im not taking names here, but it would be wrong for me to not mention this wonderful and heartwarming incident that shows that true biking spirit is not about the bike you ride or the top speed you can achieve or how fast you can go around a corner or even about how far you can ride in a day or the destinations that you ride to.


In his oft overlooked song Good People”, Jack Johnson asks a very poignant question

“Where'd all the good people go?
I've been changing channels
I don't see them on the TV shows
Where'd all the good people go?
We got heaps and heaps of what we sow”

They may not be on our current TV shows but some of them sure are right here on our forum.

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Old 8th February 2016, 11:33   #11
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Default Re: Our CCRO adventures: Ride from Bangalore to Kotagiri

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Motorbikes Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 8th February 2016, 12:33   #12
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Default Re: Our CCRO adventures: Ride from Bangalore to Kotagiri

Fabulous write up Neil. You have managed to put into words a wonderful experience. Was so glad to be part of this group. The disciplined riding keeping safety first, the humongous bakar (chit chat) amongst ourselves and the location, location, location made it one hell of a memorable trip.

Thanks one again for putting the trip in accurate perspective.

And the pictures are superb adding a lot to the feel of the trip

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Old 8th February 2016, 12:38   #13
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Default Re: Our CCRO adventures: Ride from Bangalore to Kotagiri

Brilliant write up Neil , just loved the way you've summed up the entire ride and of course hats-off to the brotherhood of TBBB
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Old 8th February 2016, 13:46   #14
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Default Re: Our CCRO adventures : Part VI

neil.jericho, Thanks for the well written account of your trip with the brotherhood.

It's been a long time since I've been to Ooty myself and this is an inspiration definitely !

By the way, I'm sure you meant 1650m
Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.jericho View Post

Given how high we were (altitude of 1650 feet)..
Do keep regaling us about your motorcycling adventures. You do write & click really well!
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Old 8th February 2016, 14:29   #15
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Default Re: Our CCRO adventures: Ride from Bangalore to Kotagiri

Brilliant write-up Neil. You've captured pretty much the entire trip elegantly. Not to mention that the pictures are excellent. While the elephant incident was a little harrowing, there was so much to the ride that can be captured in just words.
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