Woo Hoo!!! W00t w00t!!! Yipee aiee aiee!!! Yipee aiee aiee!!!
I did my first half century ride. The location was picture perfect. Beautiful roads (uncharacteristically still in good condition after enduring two rain seasons.), awesome scenery all around and most importantly I wasn’t zipping past in a bus or 4 wheeler thinking “Damn! If only I had my camera, and we could stop here”. I had my camera, and I stopped wherever I felt like it. Took a whole lot of pics.
Other than this being my first real long ride, it was also my first ride with a partner. Rajiv Belikati joined me with his Hercules Ultima 6-Speed [Piece of shit edition – courtesy shankarbn (not the bike – the phrase)] and I respect him for that. It was like trying to climb Mount Everest by using a table fork as a pick axe.
The morning started early for me (read 8am on Sunday) and I was all excited to go on my first long ride. But alas I was in for bad news. My RD started giving me trouble and the chain wouldn’t mount the largest gear. I looked up BZ and youtube, found a couple of DIY links and tried to tinker with my RD settings and Managed to screw it up bad. I had to call my LBS mechanic (turns out he’s good with bikes. Knows his stuff and more than that he’s genuinely interested in bikes) and take the bike there. He fixed it for me, Lubed it properly and gave both our bikes a final looksie and off we went.
The time was 12 noon by then, but the weather gods were very generous with us. The day was cloudy and windy. Drizzled a bit but all in all it was great to ride without getting exhausted soon.
We rode along and encountered 4-5 hills along the way. Where we couldn’t ride we walked (well it was our first ride, so we took it easy) and clicked away at the aforementioned picture perfect spots. Got some weird looks from people (I was in helmet, gloves, full sleeves jersey on a “Racing/Geared bike”). Had a couple of people wave at us from 4-wheelers and give us the thumbs up, which felt good and gave us a sense of pride (until we encountered the next steep hill..)
We carried 4.5 liters of water between us and had a good heavy breakfast before leaving so hunger and thirst wasn’t a problem. Carried chikki’s with us for snacking along the way.
Jamboti is a forest, situated on the western ghats, roughly 25kms away form Belgaum city on the way to Goa (Alternate route). When we reached the forest area it was like we entered an air-conditioned environment. The temperature dropped some 6-8 degrees. The difference in oxygen levels was evident. We could ride hills which we would have otherwise walked…
We reached Jamboti around 14:30 and had lunch at the lone decent looking hotel there. The Bhaji Pav (and not Pav Bhaji) tasted like gourmet Cuisine to us. After gulping down the last of our water bottles we bought three liters of chilled mineral water and headed back towards Belgaum.
The ride back was fun, as we coasted most of the way. We went up the the steepest of hills we had encountered on the way up to Jamboti, so going downhill in rolling terrain was beautiful.
A word on the Schwinn at this point : The bike flies. I mean roadies may be sniggering, but a 96 kg fat guy on a bike hurtling downhill (atleat doing 40kmph – No cyclocomp to verify) overtaking triple seat riding mo-bikers on the way is no mean feat. The road grip of the tyres was too good. The braking is spot on and responsive. I felt so much more comfortable and confident (also the helmet helped).
We took some breaks in between, did some photo ops in burst mode and finally reached Belgaum city at 18:00.
All in all a very memorable first long ride, and my first half century. I am finally living my school boy dream of riding a “Mountain bike” (will happen soon ) on the trails abroad (will happen in good time)
Pictures : Pictures Uploaded to Facebook – Public Link
PS : On the way back, we were pretty tired. But what I saw next was scary. I thought we were hallucinating. I mean take a look…
The Route map :
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