Turahalli Forest Off Road Cycling: 29 March, 2014

The last remaining forest in Bangalore, that is what it is called. When I saw the pictures of the forest, it felt exactly same as the woods described in the Robert Frost's poems. Naturally, I was excited to go there. To further pump up my excitement was the fact that it was going to be my first off road trail.

Off road cycling in Turahalli Forest

Morning 5:30am when it was still dark, I left my place to reach Silk Board Junction by 6:00am. There, I met Dhananjay and Santosh. Together, we left for Santosh's place to pick up other folks. There only I came to know that only 4 persons would join, contrary to registered 6. At Santosh's place we met Ramya (Rums). Just when we were starting, I came to know that Ramya hasn't paddled since her schooldays. I was scared for her but in spite of that she completed the trip, Kudos to her. Anyways, we left Santosh's place somewhere around 6:30am. Santosh took us through internal roads where the traffic was less. Through the route you can actually watch the rising sun. We had our breakfast at a South-Indian-dhaba. The Idlis were awesome and the milk was served in a large shot glass. Santosh informed that after that place we shall see some 'scenic beauty' but I couldn't find anything worth calling beautiful :-P . Only observable thing there was the snaky road which was so prominent hardly anyone can miss that. The uphills were there to test our mantle but it was morning we were fresh, we easily passed through the road.

The trail in Turahalli Forest Ramya and Santosh on their cycles

Finally, we reached Turahalli forest. I was dumbstruck when I saw the terrain. I knew what it meant by 'off road' but a trail full of small rocks/stones was something I didn't expect. It was really difficult to ride on that terrain and the Hindi slogan "Nazar hati durghatna ghati" (English translation: "the moment u take your eyes off.. you meet with accident"), was keep on echoing in my mind. One has to hold the brakes all the time and be careful in steering your cycle through the right line. Lets say, you managed to navigate expertly without bumping on big stones, steep paths will be the next hurdle where if you stop, paddling again would be really difficult as the force required to break through the inertia will make you stumble on one of the stones and you will be knocked down there itself. So, at that moment one needs to get down of his bike and walk till he reaches a point from where he can start riding again.

Eucalyptus trees in the forest Posing for photo

The trail we were following had many diverging paths, the plan was to enter the forest from one side and come out by another. Many times, we started following some other trail and then, Santosh checked the GPS and we had to revert back. There was a point where one can spot numerous honey-bees perhaps some branch fall off over the honey-web. I was frightened to go below it (nothing new) but after Santosh's assurances I moved forward. The funny thing was that he himself got stung by the bee and no-one else got it.

One of the difficult point, Ramya got down from her cycle

Finally came the point where the trail was full of big stones and we had to get down of your cycle to pass it (Only Santosh didn't, Experts huh! ;-) ). After that we reached to the other-side of the forest. We covered something like 5kms inside the forest. I felt it was very less and wanted to retrace the path again but didn't. Near the road, we rested for some time,  ate snickers and clicked numerous self timed photographs.

Another pose for group photo Team taking rest at the end of the journey

After some 1 hour of resting we got back to our saddles and started moving back. After sometime, I realized that it is not the end of the journey but a beginning a very exhaustive trek. While coming back when the sun was glowing with all its might and the path we took was completely uphill. Many times I would cycle very fast and reach a location and rest there while waiting for others to catch up. Since, I donated blood some 2 days ago, I was feeling acute dehydration/exhaustion. I stopped at a shop purchased a bottle of water and drank bottoms up. I washed my face and was soon ready to face the sun again. In our way we had coconut water to recharge our bodies.

We reached back to Santosh's place at around 11:00am. Santosh prepared awesome "Jagery based Lassi" which was a bonus of the trip. Meanwhile, I convinced Ramya and Dhananjay to invite me in their weddings as I am fond of south Indian food (well, basically I am a bhukkad ;-) BTW I am writing this to remind you guys of the invitation). After that we took our vehicles and dispersed to our respective places.

Well, there are many things I would remember of this trip:
1. Off road trail
2. Lassi prepared by Santosh
3. Dhananjay and Ramya; Santosh aap toh har samay hote hi ho :-D
4. A blunt NO from Ramya when I asked about forwarding my resume in her company. ;-)

Now, some technical text:
Turahalli, is an easy cycling trip. One can go there and come back in 4-5 hours. The place is only 17 kms for silk board and the roads are not very steep so reaching there is easy. One can explore the forest, but he is advised to reach there early in the morning to avoid the sun. There were many diverging paths, so he is advised to carry a GPS. There were many places where it is very hard to maintain the balance on the cycle, novices are advised to get down from there cycles at those points. In the end, it is more like a picnic spot and not a place where you can test your endurance.

Written by: Ankit Jain
Event date: 29 March, 2014
Place: Turahalli Forest, Bangalore, Karnataka
No. of cyclist: 04 (03 M, 01 F)
Event Organizer: Santosh Kumar Gupta
Photos of the event: Check here