Bugged by the fact that beach cricket’s ruled out in Erode, I wanted to do something, actually, anything to avoid starting the day at 11 AM. So I decided, yesterday, that I would head to Bhavani, about 16 km away, by cycle. After adequate preparations (Thanks, Giri!) I was all set to make my first solo cycling trip.
I woke up a couple of minutes before the alarm went off, something I’ve been doing frequently, of late. I boiled milk on my own, convincing myself that it was a part of the cooking lessons that I am supposed to be undergoing.
After promising to update Appa every half an hour, I set off at 6.03 AM. Heavenly weather and no breeze at all! I was only praying it would remain the same during the return journey. I got out of the city in about 15 minutes. And in half an hour, I was just 7 km from Bhavani. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel like taking more than a couple of pictures on the way.
I actually surprised myself with the speed at which I was covering the distance. I was expecting to take about one and a half hours to reach Bhavani, but at this rate, it would take less than an hour! And as you can see from the video, I wasn’t going too fast either. (The shaky nature can be attributed to my lousy multi-tasking skills than the road condition)
After the promised SMS update, I continued. I reached the NH 47 intersection in a shortwhile. I was a little unsure if I had to take the flyover. I asked some guy who was walking by for the route to Bhavani. He said something seemingly unintelligible and pointed in all sorts of directions. Soon it dawned upon me that he was speaking in Hindi. He was genuinely surprised when I asked him again in Hindi. He now pointed me in the direction which didn’t require climbing a huge flyover. I thanked him and proceeded.
At 7 AM sharp I reached Bhavani, a.k.a Carpet City. I then took a detour to Mukkoodal, the place where Bhavani and Kaveri meet. The usual obession for the third river meant there was an underground stream (of course!), named Aagaya Gangai (Akash Ganga, for the uninitiated). Wicked! Again the promised SMS update to Appa.
The river(s?) wasn’t very clean and the place was crowded too. But I was sweating so much that I didn’t mind the dip in the water. Why isn’t the water cold at 7 in the morning? Beats me! Another couple of photos and I set off to the Sangameshwarar temple, a minute’s walk away. Since it was only 7.15 and not yet time for the next update, I didn’t switch on my phone as yet.
A long chat with the Pujari about the temple’s history and the number of sannidhis in it made me spend nearly 45 mins there. It was totally uncrowded and thus extremely peaceful.
8.00 AM : One hour since the last update and phone switched off. Faced the repurcussions :)
I then set out in search for a joint to have breakfast at. Found a road side stall that was selling Idlis, Dosas and Parotta (No! It’s not Brotta!). It cost me just 16 bucks and I was full enough for the return trip to be comfortable :)
I set off on the return trip wondering if I could manage to cover the distance in one hour. I stopped to buy sunglasses, and made a great bargain (I think!) for 35 bucks. It was starting to get hot and the traffic had become denser now. So, I really thought I wouldn’t be able to meet my one hour target. I once again surprised myself with my speed. I was greatly helped by the fact that there was no wind now, though!
I got a lot of weird looks from the people on the road (the roads were more or less deserted during the onward journey). I have to accept, I was quite a sight. A cap, sun glasses, three-fourths, backpack, shoes, on a cycle and to add to that, my latest love, The Thundu!
Out of the 17 kms to be covered on the return trip, I had about 9 kms left at 9.00 AM. To make it by 9.30, I would need to clock the quickest half-hour on the trip and had the suddenly maddening traffic to deal with. Again, it wasn’t as difficult as I’d imagined it would be. I reached home at 9.30 AM sharp, and I wasn’t exhausted.
I guess I’m up for bigger challenges, maybe something over 20 km this week. Any suggestions, anybody?
This is the route I took today :
I shall upload the rest of the pics and the videos later today.
Trip Statistics :
Distance : 33 km
Time : 2 hours riding time, one and a half hours halt
List of items I carried :
- One and a half litres of water
- A towel (The Thundu :) )
- A set of spare dresses
- Polythene bags
- Old newspaper
- Camera, spare batteries, tripod
Suggestions for other newbies out there:
- Don’t carry a backpack. Have something that you can place on the carrier.
- Don’t head to Bhavani expecting a nice dip in the river.
- Do NOT take your music player with you. Giri had warned me against it, and thankfully, I followed his advice.