Back Road Beautiful

A few years ago, on my way back from a meeting in Whitefield to my house near IIM Bangalore, I discovered this road at the suggestion of a colleague. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first rode on it. One minute you are negotiating gaps between heavy trucks on a major state highway leading out of the city, and a minute later, you turn right on an almost invisible lane and you are instantly in the midst of  a motorcyclist’s dream. This back road, which is off Varthur road, touches a pretty village after a series of twisties and then has little bits of straights before dissolving into twisties again. It finally hits Sarjapur Road after a run of 5 km. And hear this- there was little or no traffic. The road condition was impeccable, and although you wont find rolling mountains here, there was ample greenery and smiling village folk on the way.

In the early days, when I moved to South India, these little discoveries added to the list of everyday delights which made me slowly fall in love with this place. These quaint roads, lined with greenery, on the outskirts of the city, that lead nowhere seemingly significant, but which always leave you feeling refreshed and give you a notion of being away from it all.

The Avenger 220 off Gunjur Village

Long before the Varthur-Devanahalli-Airport road became a regular favourite with Airport Taxi operators, my wife and me had happened to venture out on it, one fine Sunday on our Avenger 220. We joined the Old Madras Road from Whitefield and continued on till we reached Hoskote. From here we took a left turn and after a kilometre or so started getting into real country.  One starts to notice innumerable vegetable farms in a short while- the lifeline to the fresh produce, the city gets every morning. And then come the bends, and my heart whoops with joy. Apart from the absence of monstrous trucks invading your sense of well being and those nice surprises round every bend, what’s really great about these city limit back roads is that it is here, free from city noise and pollution, that you feel that whiff in the air, and are able to truly enjoy that fantastic weather you get all year round at 917m of elevation.

The Whitefield Devanahalli Road, sans traffic

Over the years my motorcycle buddies and me, have explored these back of the woods as part of a rag tag moto group that thrives on the idea of ‘Sunday Breakfast Runs’. The format here is simple- wake up real early, start your engines at the crack of dawn, congregate at a designated street corner somewhere in the city, ride towards a pre-ordained breakfast joint on the highway (where the proprietor is as enthusiastic about rising early as you are), gobble down standard fare- idly vada, khara bhaat, maybe some masala dose… and wash it all down with steaming hot, strong filter coffee.

Idly vadas and filter coffee, breakfast for the hungry biker

Over breakfast, talk bikes and plan the next big ride, and update your dream motorcycle wishlist, based on inputs from your moto-mates. When you are finished with breakfast, you need to take the long way home- which generally involves heading into the nearest patch of woods and perhaps a little loss of tarmac.

Anchetty Forest Road, Tamil Nadu

On all these rides we have figured routes which venture off the main highways leading out of town. We take them small unknown roads which connect one major route out of the city to the next. You can also read about some more back road discoveries here-

You don’t need to head far from the city before you are on one of these roads- so take your moto and head out this weekend- you may have a pleasant surprise, waiting at the very next bend.

BG Reserve
A single that thumps, a road that winds- Off Kanakapura Road
Lovely backroad skirting Manchanbele Reservoir
Nandi Hills.jpg
The straight stretch to Nandi Hills



Motorcycling Magic

Motorcycling Magic.

It can catch you unawares. On a long ride out into the wild. Or in a short day trip out of the city. On independence day- 15th August, 2012, we rode in a group of three to Nandi Hills on the outskirts of the city. I have modified the C5 slightly, with a taller handlebar that makes for relaxed riding on long commutes. Our way up was a fast clip early in the morning, with the climb to Nandi Hills being crowded with motorcyclists from all over the region. A couple of  frenzied hours  spent gawping at beautiful machines and taking many photos later, we made our descent for a spot of breakfast.

As we rode down, I switched to neutral and killed the ignition on a whim. Soon however, I was coasting down the hill at 60kph,with 180 odd kgs of heavy metal between my legs. The C5 is an amazing creature. Never had I imagined going so quietly, so fast on a machine known the world over for its guttural thump. There I was, silent as a cat, foot pegs scraping the bends, overtaking running vehicles with  casual nonchalance. This was as perfect as it could ever be- me and my machine in absolute communion. No words spoken. No throaty roars from the exhausts. No clunks of gears falling into place. No revs from the throttle. Just wind on my face. And the fresh morning chill awakening every single nerve end in my body. Twisties all the way down. Bliss. A full 20 minutes of silent running later I coasted to our rendezvous – a roadsdide dhaba, for our breakfast treat.

The ride into the city after breakfast was pretty mundane, even annoying at times, my mind cursing the various autowallahstaxiwallahs and hurried commuters who are constantly a menace on the city’s streets.

Home and a hot cup of tea in hand, I sit pondering my down hill run. Motorcycling magic occurred that day, and I shall fondly remember that ride for just the same reason.


The C5, a few days after arrival, April 2012
The C5, present day, 2016