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Ring around the Grasses!!

After a couple of unsuccessful attempts of weekend cycling on our own, Rajesh and I were eagerly waiting for this BTC’s event – Half day cycling  to Hesarghetta Grasslands on 1st July 2017. 
I was back from a hectic marriage function the day before the event, fully tired and went to bed around 11 pm after hooking my dead phone to the charger and kept alarm in the iPad. Rajesh was to pick me up from my place next day morning for the BTC cycling event.

Woke up at 5.15 am, got ready but no signs of him coming until 5.40am. When I was about call him, a frantic Wats up call hit my face saying “Vennai ( a Tamil slang) , I was trying to reach you for the  last 30 min, where are you?”. I realized that my phone did not pick up signal but Whatz up was the savior.

After morning raga (earful) from Rajesh, we reached the venue (Hebbal Railway station) around 6.15am. A bunch of enthusiastic cyclists already assembled and were chit-chatting. We (Rajesh & I) felt that we were odd men out as we were the first time cyclists, but heaved a sigh of relief when we got to know from a quick round of introduction that there were many other first timers.

Vineetha from That Garage Café  assembled cycles for us and boosted our confidence that she would follow us in an utility van in case of any problems. After fed with a banana and Pavan’s preaching of do’s and don’ts, the crew started peddling on the moderately busy road towards Jalahalli around 7 am.

It took while to maneuver the imported gear cycle. It had been decades since I cycled. I reminisced my childhood tring-tring days through the thoroughfares of my village.
After Jalahalli, the travel to Hesarghatta lake was through serene roads that cut across many villages.      I could not control whistling and humming while cycling through dew laden morning breeze, lush green fields, winding roads, unconcerned cattle’s, aroma of the villages, curious onlookers and waving small children.
After a few mini breaks, we arrived at Hesarghatta lake around 10 am. It was disheartening to see such a grand lake with no traces of water and cattles were grazing inside the empty lake. We were told by the villagers that water was at its brink 30 years back. I wished the history to repeat soon.

After busy selfie, groupie & Go-Pro click sessions, we sat in circle. Vineetha joined us in her van. Pavan distributed snacks (Bread & Jam, Banana, Energy bar etc) and few more exchanged their snacks with others. Vineetha was gracious in arranging complementary watermelon juice. Team had fun time sharing more info about themselves, their interest, and hobbies. Pavan’s leg was pulled multiple times (tit -for tat for his nonstop FM J) !  It was great to know that the team was very diverse- people from different states, different corporates, and different fields of career & different age groups. We had spectrum of people from IT professionals to Ph.D. Scholar to iPhone developer to Solo traveler to aspirant Ladakh bikers to youtubers to first time blog writer (its me J) !!

Since there was time crunch and few were already tired, the plan of riding upto Nrityagram Dance Village was called off. At the end of the journey I felt it was the right call by the organizers, otherwise it would have become very strenuous.
We started our ride back in a different route (through Chikkabanavara). The sun was out and did not show any mercy and energy level was drooping for me.  At one point  it was steep uphill, I could not pedal, so started towing the cycle. Had frequent pit stops and kept myself hydrated enough. Few people called off as they were extremely burnt out, Vineeta accommodated them way back in her van.  
I felt my bike was not moving fast enough, hence exchanged with another one from Vineeta. It helped for the rest of the journey.
Atlast we reached the orginal starting point around 1pm, Yeyy !!  Gave hi-fi’s to people with a sense of pride and accomplishment.  It was 6 hrs ride covering 55 KMs !!!! 
Pavan thanked everyone for making it  . He asked everyone for the feedback and the feedback was overwhelming with few points of improvements. The team exchanged good bye to each other, shook their hands and began to disperse.

Three cheers to BTC and kudos to Pavan, Hiren, That Garage Cafe & volunteers!!!

Written By     : Srini Rao 
Organized By : Hiren & Pavan
Date of event : 1th July, 2017
Place              : Hesarghetta Grasslands
Pictures          : BTC FB Page
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