After much deliberation the night before, I decided to bike ahead on the day of the statewide strike.
Initially the plan was to ride to Sakleshpur and see how the situation was thereon. With my stocked supplies, I was confident of getting there without any worries. Left a little late considering Sakleshpur was only 76 km away. Had a lucky break just 7 km into the ride though. One of the breakfast joints on the highway was open. Had just finished a quick breakfast when some cops appeared and ordered the restaurant to shut shop for the day. (I don’t understand Kannada, so I assume the cops did ask them to close down. For all you know, they might have just asked for some idli sambar.)
The route kept getting more scenic as I rode ahead. The strike also kept buses and trucks off the road, and boy was I glad? I mean, this is what a cyclist would pray for – clear but not too warm weather, pothole-free roads and no mean trucks threatening to knock you off with a shoulder push.
The scenes were a refreshing change from the previous day when I’d ridden through sparse green cover. Deciduous trees spotted the landscape for a while, and a small patch went around rice fields. Near Sakleshpur, passed through coffee plantations. Did pass by a mob burning tyres as well; in this case being ignored as a cyclist worked in my favour.
Reached Sakleshpur by early afternoon. With time in hand inspite of a quick downpour, I revised the day’s halt to Nellyadi, another 58 km away. Hit the ghats soon, and even though most of this was a descent, I stopped several times to soak in the sights and sounds.
Even went off road to step around a stream. Spotted some huge butterflies.
All this lingering came with a price. As evening set in, I still had some distance to cover, and it became a race against time to get to Nellyadi. There weren’t any villages on the way too, so I had to grind the pedals to get to the destination. Place turned out to be a dot-sized village. Put up with the first lodge I found. Didn’t have much choice; would have had to ride for another 21 km to find the next town. Wound up with a riding distance of 134 km.