Riding on the trails of Kodachadri

Sunday, March 24, 2013

It probably isn’t going to be an adventure if this thought doesn’t come to your mind.
“Why the hell am I doing this?”

That's me riding on a trail through the grasslands atop Kodachadri. Image courtesy - Rajesh Nayak
Exactly this thought was going through my mind on that beautiful Saturday night. Even before we started assembling the bikes, people gathered around to tell us there’s no way we could cycle 8 kms uphill through the jeep track to reach the mountain top. We told them we’d get there somehow. It was 6.30 in the evening.

After few kilometers of rocky, slippery and uneven trail, the route evened up a bit.

9 of us together must've brought back kilograms of this red mud. Most of the route was covered in this soft red mud which made the trail very slippery.

8 friends and I were assembling our bikes at the base of this 1300m high peak called Kodachadri in the Western Ghats. By the time we had our cycles ready with our helmets and head torches on, it was pitch dark. The trail steadily climbs through thick forest to open into vast grasslands just before we reach the peak. It is a very uneven rocky trail with lots of stones and soft red mud. In the darkness we started pedaling uphill and within minutes almost everyone had their first fall. After few futile attempts of trying to cycle on the trail, five of us resorted to pushing our bikes uphill.

It was pitch dark, a silent night with a starry sky. And there I was, pushing my bike through the forest, along the twisting turns with not a soul in sight apart from me my friends. At times like this, it is only one’s sense of humour that can help. We couldn’t help but laugh at our situation, stranded in the night with nothing but our bikes, some water and a sleeping bag. Few hours later we managed to reach the top where we camped under the open skies. And as luck would have it, dinner was just a water melon.

That's part of the team making their way down the trail. Image courtesy - Rajesh Nayak

While I wasn't really comfortable on these trails, my friends were having the time of their life. Image courtesy - Rajesh Nayak

The real fun started the next morning. After all of the previous night’s trouble, today we would ride downhill. I wasn’t particularly fond of riding downhill on those crazy trails. Even in the city I have never driven any vehicle and when it comes to riding, the only experience I have is the few routes I cycled over the past two years. But this wasn’t going to be an easy ride and I had half a mind to hire a jeep to take me down. And my off-roading skills are so awesome, only a new born baby can do worse than me. This was when the thought crossed my mind again.

“Why in the world am I doing this?”

In the end, the lure of starring in an awesome video got to me and I decided to ride downhill. I would ride few meters only to be thrown off balance very soon. I walked my bike at a whole lot twists and turns but slowly I got the hang of it. After the initial few kilometers, the trail evened out considerably and at some point I was even having fun riding through the forest. But all the while, I could never let go of the fear of crashing and held onto the brakes with all I had. My grip on the brakes was so firm that my arms were hurting bad but I couldn’t let go.

We came across this stream at the end of the trail where we had a lot of fun crossing the stream on our bikes.

I was afraid to try this out in the beginning but it looked like a lot of fun and the photos and videos of the stream crossing looked awesome too. So I had to try it and it wasn't as scary as I thought it'd be. 

After 8kms and 2 hours of riding downhill, I found my answer. I was doing this because variety is the spice of life. Because we should never stop learning and there’s always a first time; because of the joy of learning, overcoming fear and the excitement of doing something new and adding more crazy experiences to my list.

Here is a video of the downhill ride - 

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23 comments

  1. Looks Iike you had good fun .. Let me know next time .. Will join you if I'm in Bangalore .

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    1. It wasn't that much fun when I was riding, good fun in retrospect though! :)
      Sure, I'll let you know. But you can also keep an eye on the Bangalore Ascenders page if you'd like to join for more rides.

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  2. Sounds like an amazing experience! You are really adventurous, Neelima :)

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    1. Thanks Renuka, I try to be adventurous, doesn't always work in my favor though. ;)

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  3. Really cool trip with some great pictures...

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  4. WOW ! Thats's a nice bunch of friends you've got....Kudos to u guys for pulling this off !

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    1. Truer words haven't been spoken. I am seriously grateful to my friends. :)

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  5. Superb... i visited accidently to this blog....at it was indeed worth... :)

    Even I ride MTB, weekend off ride and daily commute to office...would like to join your group if you are into any group.

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    1. Awesome that you also ride to work daily. I have only rarely been able to use my bike since I bought it. :(
      I am part of an online group called Bangalore Ascenders, I usually go for rides through them. You can check them at www.bangaloreascenders.org

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  6. Nice Blog.

    Check http://makealivingwriting.blogspot.in/ if you want practical information on how to make money by writing

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  7. I was just waiting to see u taking the bike.., travel in Andaman was awesome but I was like... bike. Bike where is MTB???? Kodachadri ride... Superb and the video was worth buffering… lol.

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    1. Glad you found the video worth buffering! ;)

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  8. Hey Neelima before our cycling plan to OOTY Doddabeeta we come across some of the cyclists like you. i seen some of your updates regarding adventurous trips and try to contact you, but unfortunately fail to contact you and we changed our plan to Coorg. while peddling we use to scold you too much as all of us are boys and we are feeling shame when we remember your cycling spirit. Because we touched cycles after 7yrs. but it was nice memorable time for us. Thank u for indirectly supporting us,by posting your updates and adventurous times....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Glad you had a good time and glad I supported you guys indirectly in getting back to cycling! I wish you more enjoyable cycle rides in future.

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  9. Kodacheri is mostly used for treks .. wonder how you managed with bikes .. A crazy one I must say :)

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    1. Ha ha, it was absolutely crazy. The only thought running in my head that night was what the hell am I doing?!! But once we reached the top in the pitch darkness and the crazy winds, I exactly knew why I was doing this. Crazy adventures. :)

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  10. Are there any plans like that in West Bengal??

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    1. Nope, not as of now. But I guess riding to Darjeeling from Siliguri would be fun. I remember the route and was discussing with a friend how awesome it would be to cycle on that stretch.

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  11. hello Neelima Vallangi, you had a good travel with the bike :)

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  12. The photographs are more beautiful than the description of ride. Awesome mind boggling photography.

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