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Ride to Nandi Hills

Six employees – Vijay, Yuga, Mukund, Raje, Suresh and Prasanna – of Ashok Leyland, Chennai, set out on their mean machines on Saturday, 1st September from Chennai to Nandi Hills in Bangalore. We started at about 5 am and rode along the Chennai-Vellore-Hosur road to reach Bangalore by around noon. After breakfast at Aryabhavan near Vellore around 7.30 am, we rode in pairs in staggered formation for the next break at Krishnagiri for tea. Luckily for us, the weather was on our side and enabled us to cruise without breaking a sweat. Bangalore welcomed us with some traffic as we made our way to meet our local contact Bala at NICE road from where he would lead us to Nandi Hills.

NICE road is a biker's delight, especially for those who love straight roads without worrying for intersections and heavy traffic. After lunch at Shiv Bhoj near Yeswanthpur, we refueled at a pump nearby and left for Nandi Hills at 3 pm. We encountered heavy traffic until the Yelahanka Air Force Station (AFS) where we halted for some time to watch the air force jets which were on a touch-and-go training session. For those who have not seen the Yelahanka AFS, unlike any civilian airport, here, the runway is very much visible from the road.

We then continued riding on the Bangalore-Hyderabad highway to a point which reads '22 kms to Nandi Hills' where we turned left. The four-lane highway ends here and gives way to a small two-lane road which leads to the Hills. Along our way, we could see farmers selling locally produced grapes. We rode through the 12 kms ghat section which has a few hair pin bends. The complexity of the hair pin bends is average and is very much climbable by almost any rider.

At Nandi Hills, two wheelers have an entry fee of Rs 5 and need to park at a designated spot. Since we were crunched for time, we couldn't explore all of what Nandi had to offer. Notable was Tipu's Drop, a sheer drop from the edge of the cliff, which locals claim is where Tipu Sultan would drop betrayers and criminals of his kingdom to certain death. One can also see waist-high clouds on the Hills, which according to locals are a common phenomenon and can be witnessed almost every morning and evening.

We then headed back to Bangalore via the same route till Yelahanka and then took the BEL circle to reach the city. We opted for this route as the traffic would be thinner. We finally made it to our rooms by around 8.30 pm. We killed the engines for the night with the odometer showing a run of 495 kms.

Day 2 began with a lazy wakeup call at 9 am as we had scheduled to commence the return journey at 10 am. After a quick pre departure bike check, we warmed up the engine for about 2-3 minutes and then roared out of the lodge to open streets. We again hit NICE road and rode at a brisk pace and stopped at Krishnagiri for some tea. We then headed to Ambur for lunch where some of the riders feasted on the famous mutton biriyani. We again stopped at Kanchipuram for tea and then for the final leg of about 70 kms, rode in close formation with a max speed of 75-80 kms.

The ride back to Chennai was uneventful and the final reading on the odometer was 920 kms. In all, our two-day bike ride was a great learning experience –from rounds of route planning, arrangement of spares, tools and a technician and teamwork of every individual who contributed to make it a success!

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