The AK-BCB auto pilot ride

A bunch of riders , and rather a big bunch , is riding to Mysore on the 21st Sep(Saturday). It started with a mail from Anil Kadsur

We are riding to Mysore via Kanakapura Road. The ongoing journey is expected to be relaxed ,and we’ll be taking breaks and riding.  The return ride is probably going to be a brisk affair, given that most folks would be wishing to return home early.

The ride features folks who have done longish brevet riders as well as folks who are doing 100+km the first time. We’ll have MTBs, hybrids and road bikes. You never know, we might even have single speed riders.

Poster for the AK-BCB ride

Poster for the AK-BCB ride

  1. Some body (anonymous to me so far) has made up a nice poster for the ride.

Please make sure that you have the following for the ride :

  • A cycle to ride. Its a cycle ride, so it makes sense to ride on one
  • Yourself (or whoever else is going to be riding the cycle)
  • Spare tubes/puncture kit – Its a long ride , you need to be able to fix pnctures.
  • A relaxed mind (There are going to be 100+ people on the ride)
  • A reflective jacket
  • Front headlights
  • Rear lights
  • The above three are all the more important if you plan to ride back.

Flashback :  Back then, in the year 2009 (which sounds really ancient now) , we used to ride every month in what was then called the monthly BBC long ride. Our chief mentor, chief publicist and chief motivating officer , Shri Yogesh Rao would be at it from the beginning of the month plotting a big ride in the country side near Bangalore, and I would be a willing accomplice. To have an idea of how far back 2009 was, picture this. We did not have BRM (brevet) rides in India then. Yes, it was that ancient. In fact none of the cyclists in Bangalore knew about the PBP ride. There were no registrations, no homologations, and a distance of 250 odd km was considered a massive ride back then. Of course we have progressed a lot now, and we know a ride to Mysore and back is at best a day sojourn.

But hey, wait, if the last paragraph intimidated you as a novice rider , relax. That was just me being wicked.  You’ll also get there one day. Seriously there are enough riders of all capabilities riding on that day, so you should be able to find a handful of people who will ride at your pace. And a few of us ( me included) will be sharing our phone numbers, so you don’t get lost. (Again, difficult to get lost , since we are going in a  straight line)

Spread this post far and wide, and ask interested folks to join. Simply show up to ride, no registrations needed. Or just stay put somewhere in the middle of Kanakapura Road at 6 am on Saturday. The thundering train of 100 riders might just sweep you off your feet wheel.

What’s with the name?

BCB stands for Bangalore  – Chamundi – Bangalore . As the name suggests, the folks who are riding back are very religious and they will do a Parikrama of the temple on their cycle before heading back to Bangalore.

AK – Anil Kadsur. The ride was conceived by Anil Kadsur, the original barefoot runner and cyclist in Bangalore. And so the name.

Auto – pilot ?: The route here is really remarkable. Even theough the distance is about 300 km , you just have to break it down into sections to realize that most of it can almost be done on Auto Pilot. We can divide the route into the following sections

  1.  Bangalore – Harohalli : Mostly Downhill I’ve seen most newbies ace this section in 1 hr 15 mins.
  2. Harohalli  : Kanakapura  Rolling terrain Not as easy as the previous section but not very diffcult either , a bit of rolling. 18km distance, and we are at our breakfast point
  3.  Kanakapura – Sathanur  Rolling terrain This section can feel a little difficult but the scenery makes up for it. Vast expanse of beautiful open terrain
  4. Sathanur – Halguru – Malavalli : Downhill Not downhill as you are tumbling down a mountain, but a gentle downhill throughout , minimal pedalling effort , you are chatting with your riding mates ,and boom you are in Malavalli
  5. Malavalli – Bannur : 20km of almost flat terrain . And a canopy throughout.
  6. Bannur – Mysore : Uphill  But you are nearly there now, and it is not steep uphill, but steady relentless uphill needing you to pedal constantly.

The way back is similar: You make it to Ramnagara , it is downhill, almost downhill throughout, and now you have only 50km to go to reach Bangalore. Your homing instinct kicks in, and voila , you are home.

A bit of detail on the plan for the actual day

Here is a rough plan that we have chalked out.

We’ll divide ourselves into three distinct groups.

1) Folks who will ride both ways , same day
2) Folks who will ride one way, return by bus same day
3) Folks will ride one way, stay overnight and return the next day.

Within these groups, there will be sub groups based on speed. It will be difficult to go into too much detail here , but basically on the day of the ride, try to find a group which rides approximately at your pace , and try to stick with them. I’ll (and a few others) will share our phone numbers, so you can ping us for co-ordination.

For groups (2) and (3), I would presume that it would be okay for you guys to reach Mysore even late in the evening. Abhay Kerur has made a list to get an idea of how many need transport on the way back, a separate exercise will have to be undertaken to finalize that by the interested parties.  The rest of the mail below is going to assume that you are going to ride back the same day.

We plan to reach Kanakapura around 8- 8:30 , have breakfast and leave by 9 am. We expect people to take shorter quick brakes on the way for quick bananas, refill etc. We expect most riders to reach around  1 to 3 pm. That is between 7 to 9 hours from the start, and should be more than enough time to cover the distance (especially if you are targeting the return leg). (Of course a fast group can reach around 11:30 – 12:30 as well but we don’t need to worry about them , they will be probably okay )  I plan to ride up Chamundi via the road that goes by the Nandi (this is the shortest and the most challenging route,and also a very peaceful road with a bit of shade, and walkers ),. There are two other routes – the most common being via the main road taken by the buses.

Folks who simply plan to go to Mysore and back (without the climb) can be a bit more relaxed and come later (still before 3). We can probably meet for lunch at around 3 or so – no venue planned for now, but how about the hotel where the rest are going to stay, is that feasible? I mean we will be a massive gang.

For now, we’ll start the return leg before 4 pm, and we should be back home around 10:30 – 11 pm.

PS : A bunch of 10-15 riders will be joining us from Mysore , they will ride towards Bangalore  , meet us enroute and ride back towards Mysore with us. We plan to round of the Bangalore Mysore segment with a ride around the city.

PPS : Abhay Kerur has made a Google Doc to get a list of folks who need to be transported back
Roster for return transportation

PPPS : The ride has got real big now. We have 100+ confirmations and it is very likely that a big lot will show up just on the day of the ride.

PPPPS: Follow the original thread in BBC Ongoing discussion thread on the trip

Update on 20th Sep  :

There are a bunch of folks who will not have the time to ride the entire distance, they are planning to ride till Kanakapura/Sathanur and ride back. This is in addition to the roughly 118 who have confirmed so far. Another bunch of riders are meeting us midway from Mysore and riding back to Mysore with us.

Its a self supported ride : Remember, it is  a self-supported ride , there is no official support vehicle. You and your riding buddies are on your own,but of course, we’ll form an informal support network as we go along and help each other. The groups will de-facto separate on the riders’ speeds and we request riders of similar pace to stick with each other. There are enough villages on the way to relax but there are stretches of 10km or so where you may not find any meaningful shops. 

Shreyas’s Tips , copied from the BBC Thread :

Having done the route quite a few times, I can share a few experiences.

• If you are cramping, you have lost too much salts. Please keep yourselves well hydrated with electrolytes and additional salts if needed. Particularly in the afternoon.
• Take longer breaks around noon to avoid the heat. This means smaller breaks in the morning
• Carry as little as possible. Whatever can be bought enroute can be bought in instalments. Don’t carry unnecessary weight.
• Please carry spare tubes. Fixing punctures will remain an option once you run out of your spare tubes. It slows you down and unless you are riding alone, others as well
• Ride with partners (old or new found) as far as possible. Accommodate some changes in pace. It’s a long ride and you will love the company later.
• Don’t draft vehicles. It’s not illegal, but very dangerous.
• Carry rain gear. Though there’s green house effect, your sweat is not cold enough to cause a fever.
• Not my line, but here goes “look how far you’ve come before you decide to quit”.
• If you’re coming back by bus, get some pieces of carton and local jute rope to fasten your bikes to the Volvo chassis.