Cyclists hit heritage trail in north Karnataka | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: For this set of riders working in Bengaluru, exploring places has been an annual ritual since 2016. Without letting go their fourth edition to Covid, the cyclists decided to visit heritage sites in north Karnataka, as most of them are from this region.
Over nine days from December 23, they rode through Bengaluru-Chitradurga-Sandur-Hampi-Koodalasangama-Aihole-Pattadakal-Badami-Gadag-Lakkundi-Davanagere-Bengaluru. The 1,200km heritage trail had an elevation gain of 5,900m.
After being flagged off at the Vidhana Soudha by Anil Kadsur, Mohan Subramanyam and Prabhakar Rao, the riders’ team — techies Prasad Sadashiva, Siddalinga Swamy-Sushma Swamy (couple), ex-banker Sahasranam Iyer, and ex-navy officers Satish Krishnan and Dhananjaya — had a breezy ride to Chitradurga on NH-48, thanks to tailwinds.
The team had Swamy’s car of as support vehicle which catered to their food and hydration needs. Car driver Devraj used to bring them hotel food in steel containers, and the riders had it from steel plates and refilled water from the dispenser. “With this, we not only avoided crowded hotels en route, but also ensured hygiene and avoided single-use plastic all through the tour,” said Swamy.
On Day 2, they rode through the picturesque NH-50 and enjoyed the scenic Narihalla reservoir near Sandur. As the roads were milling with ore-laden trucks, they took an alternative road through the forest and reached Hospet. The next day, they rode down history by visiting major monuments in Hampi, including temples of Virupaksha, Ram-Seetha, Kadlekalu Ganesha, Ugra Narasimha Swamy, and the iconic stone chariot at Vijaya Vitthala Temple to name a few. At Hampi, the six riders were joined by techies Mallikarjun Hadimani and Sachin Kubasad.
Over the next days, they visited Ilkal (famous for handloom cotton saris); Sangamanath Temple and Aikya Linga of Basaveshwara in Kudala Sangama; centuries-old Hindu, Buddhist and Jain temples in Aihole; temple cluster in Pattadakal; museum, fort and rock-cut cave temples in Badami; 116-ft Basaveshwara statue and music legend Puttaraj Gawai Ashram in Gadag.
The Swamys celebrated their wedding anniversary on Day 7 (ever since their first tour in 2016, it’s been celebration on the go on December 29) at the Food Street in Davanagere by binging on authentic benne dose, girmit, et al. On earlier days too, the group had indulged in local delicacies like jowar rotti-brinjal curry, kardant to name few.
During the last leg of the tour, they visited the Chitradurga fort with the help of a guide. Starting early on the last day, they rode from Hiriyur and reached Bengaluru at 6pm and rung in the New Year.
SR couple explored their hometowns
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Bengaluru-based rider-couple Siddalinga Swamy and Sushma Swamy, like everyone, were confined to home during the lockdown. But when the Unlock happened and cycling club Bangalore Randonneurs (BR) threw a challenge of riding 100km on each of the 10 consecutive days in August, the couple found an opportunity to explore places around their hometowns — Swamy is from Hospet and Sushma is from Davanagere.

The couple, both Super Randonneurs (the title given by a Paris club for endurance cyclists), camped at the Hospet home and went riding to Hampi, Anegundi and Sandur. After shifting their camp to Davanagere, they rode to Harihar, Santebennur, Channagiri, Uchangidurga and other places.
They clocked 100km between 5am and 9.30am, after which they logged in for work on time. “The morning rides charged us up, and we never skipped work. We did not fear Covid as we totally avoided contact with people,” said Swamy.
Sushma added: “Conscious not to eat outside, we packed food, juices and even coffee. We rode to the nook and corner of our hometowns which we never thought existed and returned home with pix for posterity.”
With this, they became the only couple from among 60 cyclists who successfully met the 100kmx10 days challenge. Swamy said this was possible because of BR which keeps throwing challenges at riders.



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Sagar Biswas

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