The entire expedition progressed with clockwork precision. We reached Cochin by air, on time, and set off for munnar in a tempo traveler with our cycles and luggage following in a separate truck. The hotels were good at all places where we stayed and the support staff was helpful and of the right temperament. Could you ask for more?
At munnar we stayed at the tea county, an excellent property with superb ambience. A place you would like to spend a few relaxed days. The hotel staff allowed us to use a well lit play ground to unpack and assemble our cycles. One of our riders misplaced his front and rear wheel quick release axles and we had to make arrangements for it through the cochin Firefox outlet. This would reach us only at Thekkedy, so he was quite disappointed at not being able to ride on the first day.
The first fifteen kms was a tough climb followed by an easy descent for another ten kms or so. Then started an increasingly difficult climb which would go on all the way for seventy-odd kms. It was a mix of climbs and descents with an overall ascent of 1. 7 kms! The going was really slow and being conscious of the need to reach the thekkedy Forest Reserve before 6 pm, we decided to abort the ride and clamber onto the Tempo Travelle, except for the top three riders who kept relentlessly riding on till they reached the forest reserve gates just before the closing time.
The Munnar-Thekkedy route is truly beautiful and at times breathtaking. With better planning and preparation, this would be both a challenging and a beautiful ride. We should have set off at 6. 00 a.m, cut out the leisurely breaks and taken on the climbs resolutely with the aim of closing the ride by 4.00 p.m.
At Thekkedy we stayed at KTDC's Arinya Nivas, another wonderful place to spend a relaxed holiday. The tough first day made us replan the 200km plus journey from Thekkedy to Varkala scheduled for the next day. We didn't have a clear idea of the route and anticipated navigation and traffic delays. We planned to just ride for a few hours and travel by bus the rest of the way to reach Varkala before sunset. With more time on our hands the hotel, made arrangements for a night safari from 10 pm to 1.00 a.m. for six of us and a cruise on the Periyar River from 7. 30 to 9.00 the next morning.
The night safari was a good experience though we did not see any wild life. It was just the unique experience of trudging through a jungle path in the middle of the night accompanied by armed guards. The cruise was a great experience, an extremely scenic and serene cruise along the Periyar River. We got to see several wild hogs and the rare sighting of a pack of wild dogs that had just killed a sambar and were stalking another. It was a memorable experience.
After a leisurely breakfast and shopping for spices, we set off by bus for Varkala. The journey was longer than we thought, with several crowded towns slowing progress. It was long after sunset when we finally drove into Krishna Theeram Ayur Holy Beach Hotel, another of the fine hotel we stayed in during this trip.
We set off early the next day on our cycles and decided to stay reasonably close together. The roads continued to have ups and downs and some long climbs but not as difficult as the ones we faced on the ghats. It was a Sunday and hence we faced less traffic initially, but the traffic built up later in the day and so did the scorching heat. When you embark on such an expedition you have to accept all that goes with it, including the heat and traffic.
At Kovalum we stayed at KTDC Samudra on the beach and enjoyed the two night stay. We were impressed by the courtesy shown by the front office staff. We had dinner at a very unique spot just outside the hotel. It was on a thick wall facing the Arabian Sea, just about eight feet or so in width and with place for only one row of tables along it. The waves crashing against the rocks below added to the atmosphere.
The next day we cycled 85 km to the southern most part of India, Kanyakumari. Traffic and heat was a concern so we had set off at 6. 30 am. . The traffic was much higher being a Monday and as we approached the Tamilnadu border, the traffic increased even more and the quality of the roads deteriorated. When finally we reached Kanyakumari we took a walk along the pier and had an enjoyable time relaxing on the rocks.
Mark Lander is experienced internet marketing consultant and writes articles on Bike Shop Worcester Park, Cycle Shop, Cycle Shop Worcester Park, Cycle shop Kingston Upon Thames, Cycle Shop Ewell, Cycle Scheme, Cycle To Work, Bike accessories, Bike helmet etc.
Bike accessories UK - All About the Cycling Expedition