Posted by: Arvind | June 29, 2009

Solo Cycling Debut

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.



On closer inspection, this "beautiful" stream had more tannery effluents than water!

On closer inspection, this "beautiful" stream had more tannery effluents than water!

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.

Carpet export is a big business here, they say

Carpet export is a big business here, they say

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.

At Mukkoodal. Kaveri flowing in the background.

At Mukkoodal. The Kaveri flowing in the background.

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.

Sangameshwarar Temple

Sangameshwarar Temple

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 🙂

Breakfast Point

Breakfast Point

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!

I love the Thundu. Giri, thanks for the tip da :)

I love the Thundu. Giri, thanks for the tip da 🙂

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 :

  1. Backpack
  2. One and a half litres of water
  3. Cotton
  4. A towel (The Thundu 🙂 )
  5. A set of spare dresses
  6. Polythene bags
  7. Old newspaper
  8. Camera, spare batteries, tripod
  9. Bananas
  10. Biscuits.


Suggestions for other newbies out there:

  1. Don’t carry a backpack. Have something that you can place on the carrier.
  2. Don’t head to Bhavani expecting a nice dip in the river.
  3. Do NOT take your music player with you. Giri had warned me against it, and thankfully, I followed his advice.


  1. Nice Report! Well written.

  2. DONOT use local sunglasses. They do more harm than good. I import mine. You can wait for a while and go get yours there.

    I strap my rucksack to the top tube (crossbar). Mind you, the top tube of my cycle is longer than on most cycles. So I can easily strap it, and it doesn’t hinder the pedaling motion.

    Good gradually increase the distance otherwise one day you will get so tired you will begin hating it. Also as you increase the distance, you will lose lot of water. You HAVE to take some electrolytic solution. I prefer G’de (imported powder form in way better than locally available liq). In case that is not available I prefer Glu D (flavored). Almost half the liquid that I carry on board is G’de. One develops cramps when the electrolyte level drops. The muscles in your calves begin to ‘pull’ and cycling gets impossible.

    Take chocolate bars with you. They will give you instant energy. You will realize the importance of this after you start doing longer distances.

    Also when you do solo trips, try to look as simple as possible (if you are not sure how safe the place is). You don’t have to flash your camera unless it is very necessary. Keep all the main cash in a place that is not obvious (say some small pouch in the bag/back pocket and not in the wallet). In the event you get robbed, you will lose min.

    Never exhibit any type of ROAD RAGE, you are on the smallest vehicle on the road. I almost got run over by an MTC bus because I mocked at the driver.

    Hmmm you can learn other things by reading some of blogs. 🙂

  3. Why the devil would anyone speak in Hindi down south? Posh humbugs!

    Nice travelogue. Write more. And when you’ve exercised your calf muscles sufficiently enough, I suggest you cycle to Goa. 😛
    What? One would want others to break their legs too, just to feel good about oneself!

  4. Ummm… Kanpur?

  5. […] I can’t really get up early in the morning unless I go out cycling, I was told to cut vegetables on the previous day. I decided to make Green Beans […]

  6. Wow :)! Nice trip :)!!! I agree with most of what Giri says except the frightening imported equipment :O! Imported rehydration solution??? Ouch! I went on an 85 km cycling trip from Trichy to Mookambu and back, and all i carried was 2 bottles of water, my phone, biscuits and cash. It seemed ok then…
    @ Giri – Do you think it’s not enough?

  7. Thanks for the comments!

    @ Giri : Thanks for the note da. Will try to look more inconspicuous the next time 🙂 The foreign stuff will have to wait for one month, when they will no longer be foreign! I hope to increase the mileage to hit 50 km in a month. And yes, valid point about cash. This time I was stupid enough to carry all the cash in my wallet.

    @ Varsha : He seemed to a labourer. One of those millions of Biharis who can be found anywhere but in Bihar!
    Goa! Kanpur! What have all you people got against my legs? 🙂

    @Amritha : Kanpur? Would take me a few years to cover the distance. 😀

    @ Gargi & @ Giri : I’m not qualified to comment. I’ll leave you pros to argue it out! 🙂

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