This one’s an old draft from 4 years back about a beautiful cycling trip. I don’t know why I had not posted it though. I reproduced it here without any new changes. The post though ends abruptly for reasons I don’t remember now.
BTW, All the awesome photos thanks to Sandeep.
It was on a Friday night that Juergen, Sandeep and I took a bus from Bangalore to Thirunelli, a small village surrounded on all four sides by lush green hills, in Wayanad in Kerala. While Juergen would be with us for the next two days in Thirunelli experiencing village life and trekking, Sandeep and I had some bigger plans. Suraj would be joining us the next day, Saturday.
Saturday, we went around the village, the forest which is just next to my uncle’s house and the small river which runs through the valley in the village. On the same day, we also took permission from the forest office for trekking. On Sunday, we trekked straight up some 7 kms and reached Brahmagiri peak, which is on the border of Kerala and Karnataka. A green vine, a shield tail, a couple of wild squirrels and a few elephants far far away were all the wild animals we could spot. Despite the constant attack by the blood sucking leeches, we came back pretty much unscathed; reason being the use of snuff mixed in oil. Now it was time to sleep and get ready for the big thing.
Before all this, on Friday evening, I left office early, bought a box about 4ft x 3ft x 1ft wide for about Rs.10 so that I could pack up the most important thing for our trip. Sandeep had finished his packing on Friday itself. Suraj built a new one from old parts. Monday morning, I, Suraj and Sandeep were ready with our bicycles and a target of reaching the Kerala coast.
The journey started at 10 AM with a 20 km ride through the elephant infested forest’s curving, canopied roads. After a brief halt for lunch and then due to rains, we started again and reached an unexpectedly beautiful place called Boys Town! Here was a junction where 3 roads met, a bus stop neat and clean in one corner and a tea shop opposite the bus stop. Wherever our eyes could see, there were tea estates. It had just stopped raining and the sky had opened up quite a bit. As a result the contrast between the bright green estates, the tar black roads, the blue skies the brightly painted brick red bus stop was pleasing to the eye. One of those roads went down to a place called Kottiyoor which was at the bottom of the hill. We didn’t intend to go there yet since we had other plans. We just went to a view point close by from where we could see a waterfall, the splendid forests of Wayanad and all the hills which we might have crossed to reach this place. At about 4.30 PM, we started again towards a place called Kuttiadi. Here we made an exceptionally terrible calculation that we could reach the place in 2 hours based on the assumption that the place is 35 kms away. Probably I am to blame here considering that I was making most of the assumptions. 2 hours later, we had climbed up and down four hills and our progress was just 15 kms. The sun had long switched off and our brains too were about to. We even considered sleeping in a bus stop when a few passers by suggested that we try our luck at a village 2 kms away. A man in white shirt and a white shawl showed us the way to a 135 year old house built by some British officer of then called William Logans. Only the 3 of us would be the guests there. With no people to be seen around, this was a classic ghost house in the middle of a forest. That night, we slept like dead.
Morning came, we cycled another hour, climbed up a moderate hill and when we reached the top, it was time for collecting the reward. We were at the edge of the western ghats. In front of us, the hill would abruptly drop into sea level. 10 hair pin bends on the road lay ahead ahead of us and from where we stood, we could see the beautiful road turn, drop, turn and drop. After getting ourselves etched in Sandeep’s camera, we made a dash down the hill. No more pedalling but just controlling the handles, we glided down the hills turning left and right, at speeds close to 60 kmph. After some 10-15 kms of high adrenaline rush down the hills, we reached flat roads which meant we were closing on the sea. Cool weather at the hills was past us and we were now in hot, humid Kerala. A light breakfast, bad roads, ruthless traffic and a few liters of sweat later, we were looking at the sea. Oh, what a feeling! To cross hills, to ride so far and finally reach the sea. To just think that this would have been yet another usual day at office if not for a small idea to do such a thing. To look at the sky and think of how much it changed as we travelled, from clouds to rains to clear blue skies at the edge of the sea. To just look at one’s own legs and feel a certain amount of pride. To think of human endurance. To be with people who share your ideas. To live. We continued our journey along the coast towards talicherry since Mahe had nothing but wine shops and petrol bunks.
After a night’s sleep at a pretty luxurious hotel, we started Wednesday morning towards Muzhappilangad. After 10kms on the highway and another 2 km through coconut groves, the road opened into a wide wide wide expanse. What a beach! Ride the bicycle on the beach and the tyres don’t sink in the sand. It’s a drive-in beach. Splashing water on both sides, we rode our bicycles through the beach.