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MALNAD Cyclo Tour – 2015

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Cycling with Rafi is always great experience and most of them are expeditions. Last time I did cycling with him in SATARA will be remembered forever as one of our achievements. Last weekend of October I had already planned for a trek with BAT. Unfortunately last moment I had to cancel or postpone due to some reasons meanwhile Rafi watsapped me regarding MTB ride which he was planned for last weekend of October i.e. October 31st & 1st November 2015. Due to cancellation of planned event with BAT I decided to join cycling expedition around MALNAD on last weekend of October.

Adventure group: Planned by Mohammad Rafi Shaik

Event date: 31st October & 1st November 2015

Team size: 3 Cyclists from Bengaluru.

  1. Mohammad Rafi Shaik (Organizer)
  2. Shankar Shastry
  3. Gautham Baliga

Total Cycling distance covered during the tour: Around 192 Kms.

Cyclo Tour Plan: Please find itinerary planned by Rafi for MALNAD Cyclo Tour – 2015 below:

Leave Bengaluru around 11:45 PM on Friday night from KSRTC Bus stand to Chickmagaluru.

  • First day itinerary: Explore Ombattu Gudda and less explored Abbi falls near Hosakere. Finish off ride at Sakleshpur by night.
  • Second day itinerary: Explore 2 more falls including Mallalli Waterfalls near Somwarpet and Abbey falls near Madikeri.

Note: There is no time limit kept by Rafi because it is exploratory Cyclo Tour with goal of exploring 1 Peak &  3 Waterfalls in 2 days.

Difficulty level: Difficult since it is self supported bicycle ride and exploratory Cyclo Tour.

Nearest town is Chickmagaluru (Around 243 Kms. from Bengaluru)

KMs distances noted for the reference:

  1. Bengaluru to Chickmagaluru is 243 Kms.
  2. Mangaluru to Chickmagaluru is 151 Kms.
  3. Chickmagaluru to Sakleshpur via Ombattu Gudda Mountain Range is 97.3 Kms.
  4. Kushalnagar to Madikeri is 30.8 Kms.
  5. Sakleshpur to Madikeri via Shanivarasanthe/Kushalnagar is 114 Kms.
  6. Madikeri to Bengaluru is 268 Kms.
  7. Madikeri to Mangaluru is 138 Kms.

Note: These are Kms. distances collected from google maps, it may change depends upon where do you start from Bengaluru/Mangaluru.

Best time to cycle: Any time of the year. If it is monsoon, ride going to be epic one!

Cycling experience:

Rafi told me to book Volvo bus seperately To Chickmgalurur & From Madikeri since Shankar & Rafi already booked so i booked Volvo bus for myself on Thursday morning via KSRTC website. Plan was to board last bus to Chickmagaluru cos distance is not much from Bengaluru to Chickmagaluru. I got same bus as theirs since seats are empty. 3 of us met at KSRTC Bus stand on Friday night around 11:30 PM and loaded our bicycles on Bus luggage compartment. Started towards Chickmagaluru around 11:35 PM from Bengaluru and reached Chickmagaluru early in the morning around 4:30 AM.

Day 1: Chickmagaluru to Sakleshpur  –  31st October 2015 (Saturday)

Day in brief:

Plan for Day-1 was to explore Ombattu Gudda. Finish off ride at Sakleshpur by night

Assembled our bicycles at Chickmagaluru Bus stand. Freshen-up, had self-intro session at Bus stand and after few minutes of rest, started bicycle ride for Day-1 around 5:30 AM from Bus stand. Moved towards Mudigere on our MTB’s. Reached small village Handi before reaching Mudigere and had breakfast at hotel. While pedalling on the scenic routes of MALNAD, captured plenty of snaps and enjoyed mother nature to the core!!! Exploring new trails is always a great experience and this route will remain in the memory forever :)

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Blissful morning capture at Chickmagaluru – Mudigere Road
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My Tourmates – Rafi & Shankar enjoying beautiful morning
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One more click! – A blissful morning capture
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Shankar posing to my camera with scenic backdrop en-route Mudigere
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A classic capture in my Nikon…
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Nikon selfie – Single group pic of the tour :)
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Beautiful sunrise in my camera!!!
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My MTB KHS Alite 500 in posing mode…
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Coffee Estates + Beautiful Trees = Great combo
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Hotel Tourist where we had breakfast at Handi village
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Small Handi village in my camera…

Meanwhile we came to know about small falls existing near Gowdahalli/Hosakere. Name of the falls is less explored Abbi falls. Continued our ride to next destination Abbi falls near Gowdahalli.

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My best buddy posing en-route Mudigere
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Dream route for cyclists – Rafi with his MTB!

Scenic route of Chickmagaluru- Sakleshpur in my Nikon D3100

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Trek, KHS & Polygon MTB’s – Group pic of the Cyclo Tour!!!
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Rafi with Bicycles! – Nice pose :)
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Country side ride around Gowdahalli…

Abbi falls was less explored and situated near remote villages of Western Ghats. Took right deviation near Gowdahalli to reach Abbi falls. Spent good amount of time at falls and it was one of the unforgettable part of MALNAD Cyclo Tour organised by Rafi.

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Best click of the Cyclo Tour – Isn’t it?
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Pedalling towards Abbi falls through Paddy fields
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Off-road cycling + Cycle trek to Abbi falls was altogether great experience!!!
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Less explored Abbi falls
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Trek & KHS MTB’s in parking mode

While returning we had nice experience of Crossing streams and Paddy fields with our bicycles.

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Shankar & Rafi enjoying stream crossing with their MTB’s…
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Lovely capture – Rafi’s best possible pose
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Shankar enjoying these paddy fields to the core!!!

Time was 1:00 PM, when we completed exploration of Abbi falls. Lot of time left in the day and Rafi planned to hike Ombattu Gudda too.
Had lunch at small hotel near Gowdahalli and relaxed for few minutes. Decided to explore Ombattu Gudda which was near Hosakere so started towards OG base around 2:00 PM.

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At Lakshmi estate with our MTB’s

Reached Lakshmi estate which is base of Ombattu Gudda for trekkers while getting back after OG exploration. It was 3:30 PM, when we reached base of Ombattu Gudda.

Ombattu Gudda: Ombattu Gudda is one of the highest peaks of the Western Ghats range is located along the border line of Chickmagalur and Hassan. The entire to and fro trekking activity of the peak -which derives its name from the Kannada word ‘ombattu’ (meaning 9) and ‘gudda’ (meaning hills) due to its location and appearance – would cover around 18 Kms. over two days (Information Courtesy: Google).

OG trek is very mysterious trek and getting permission for the trek is very difficult nowadays. Few people have lost during OG trek in past that’s the reason forest department is not giving permission. Ombattu Gudda trek is every trekkers dream. It is one of the must do treks in Western Ghats and every trekker wants this hill to be in their Adventure CV :)

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Majestic Ombattu Gudda hill from the distance
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Classic view of Jenukallu Gudda hill too…

Ettina Bhuja: The Ettina Bhuja peak, which resembles the shoulders of an ox, is one of the popular trekking destinations around Bangalore. The 7 hour activity spans over two days and covers 8 Kms.(Information Courtesy: Google).

Ettina Bhuja trek also one of the must do trek in Western Ghats. It comes under Omabattu Gudda, Jenukallu Gudda and Amedikallu range.

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Yettina Bhuja i guess!

It looks difficult to hike OG because of less time left in the day before sunset and need to cover more distance to reach Sakleshpur. Decided to return back on Main road and reached Tar road around 4:30 PM. Started towards Sakleshpur which was nearly 40 Kms. according to Rafi’s GPS.

Note: We rode on Jeep trail at Lakshmi estate for nearly 3 to 4 Kms.

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En-route Sakleshpur offers great views – A lovely capture
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Fabulous click from my Nikon!!!

We stopped at some hotel at 6:00 PM for snacks. It turned out as our dinner too later. We had Chapathi, Akki Rotti and Coffee. We continued our ride at 7:00 PM. Road was Pathetic, No street lights and Street dogs are barking en-route Sakleshpur which is around 17 to 20 Kms. from the place made pedalling interesting one for us.

Reached Sakleshpur around 8:15 PM. One resident of Sakleshpur helped us and he allowed us to pitch Tent on his terrace. Told Bye Bye for the day after long day at MALNAD with covering distance of nearly 100 Kms… :)

  • Positives from the ride: Scenic route and plenty of off-road stretches throughout the route. One can enjoy the ride to the core!!!
  • Negatives from the ride: Getting lost & finding way back again while exploring Abbi falls is only negatives from the day. 

Cycling distance: Around 100 Kms.

Cycling route map: Chickmagaluru –> Handi –> Mudigere –> Hosakere –> Ombattu Gudda Mountain Range –> Sakleshpur

Terrain: Difficult since it is self supported bicycle ride and challenging exploration of Omabattu Gudda & Abbi falls.

Highlights for the day:

  • Scenic route of Chickmagaluru-Sakleshpur.
  • Exploration of less explored Abbi falls.
  • Breathtaking views of Ombattu Gudda, Jenukallu Gudda & Yettina Bhuja hills.
  • Cycling on beautiful terrain with Coffee estates on both sides of road.
  • Tasty coffee of Sakleshpur.
  • Camping on terrace of Sakleshpur resident’s house.

Day 2: Sakleshpur to Madikeri  –  01st November 2015 (Sunday)

Day in brief:

Day-2 plan was to explore 2 more falls including Mallalli Waterfalls near Somwarpet and Abbey falls near Madikeri. Distance will be more than 100 Kms. to cover, so decided to start around 6:00 AM in the early morning after long day on Saturday.

3 of us got up around 5:00 AM and freshen up. Removed pitched Tent and packed our luggages. Started pedalling around 6:30 AM from the house. Manjarabad Fort also on the way. We had thoughts of exploring the fort too but later cancelled it and moved towards Madikeri. Took immediate left deviation at Manjarabad Fort base on Sakleshpur-Mangaluru Road.

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Single photo of the day! Not took any photos for rest of the day :(

Stopped at Bykaravalli for breakfast around 8:00 AM. Had breakfast and started towards Mallalli Waterfalls. 3 of us went according to plan. Instead of taking right deviation at Bykaravalli circle we moved straight on Sakleshpur-Madikeri Road. When we reached further 5 to 6 Kms. from Bykaravalli, we realised that it was wrong route.

Note: Different routes via remote villages of Western Ghats were existing to reach Mallalli Waterfalls. Some time GPS might also go wrong we can’t go according to GPS every-time. Simple, plan well and then implement it.

Rafi wanted to explore Mallalli Waterfalls. Me and Shankar decided to split at some point so we can reach Madikeri safely by evening to catch Bengaluru bus at night.

It was around 9:45 AM, when we split. Rest of the ride I did with Shankar till Madikeri. Reached Kushalnagar around 3:00 PM. Had lunch at Hotel Atithi at Kushalnagar and started to Madikeri around 3:45 PM. Madikeri was nearly 30.8 Kms. from Kushalnagar. Sky is getting dark and sign of heavy rain is predictable in half an hour time. We rode around 7 Kms. more on Kushalnagar-Madikeri road before calling off days ride around 4:30 PM. It was started to rain badly at 4:30 PM and plan of riding till Madikeri is vanished completely. We got one small Tempo at some point on Kushalnagar- Madikeri Road. Loaded both bicycles on Tempo and reached Madikeri around 5:30 PM. Freshen up and waited for Rafi to join us. Rafi reached Madikeri Bus stand at 8:00 PM after drenching in heavy rain. Boarded last bus to Bengaluru around 11:45 PM and reached Mysore Satellite Bus stand on Mysuru-Bengaluru road at 4:50 AM in the Monday morning. Reached house by 5:05 AM. Rafi & Shankar decided to get down at Majestic bus stand.

Note: Not took any photos post breakfast. We simply rode that day to cover the remaining distance and enjoyed scenic route too ;)

  • Positives from the ride: Beautiful Coffee estates & Country side ride were positives from the day.
  • Negatives from the ride: Scorching sun at Coorg  and another long day of pedalling.

Cycling distance: Around 92 Kms.

  • Note: We called off days ride on Kushalnagar-Madikeri road due to heavy rain so distance is only around 92 Kms. Couldn’t cover planned distance till Madikeri Bus stand.

Cycling route map: Sakleshpur–>Kodlipet–>Shanivarasanthe–>Gopalapura–>Kushalnagar–>Madikeri

Terrain: Moderate to Difficult cos rolling terrain, distance to cover and scorching sun at Coorg.

Highlights for the day:

  • Beautiful Coffee estates.
  • Scenic route of Gopalapura-Kushalnagar.
  • Heavy rain in the evening while approaching Madikeri.
  • Classic roads for cycling.

Not to miss: Very tasty Coffee’s around Sakleshpur since place is famous for N number of Coffee estates.

Thanksgiving:

I want to thank Rafi for inviting me to this exploratory Cyclo Tour around Namma Malenadu. A dream route for most of the cyclists! Enjoyed each and every moment of the tour though we covered distance more than 190 Kms. It was unforgettable Cyclo Tour with Rafi & Shankar with stories…Looking forward to join more cycling events with you in future Rafi…

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