My passion for cycling and to serve society...

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Ooty - Madumalai Wild Life Sanctuary Mountain Biking Expedition was organized by Youth Hostel Association of India (YHAI) from 25th Dec 2015 to 31st dec 2015.

I along with my 3 friends viz., Amit Agashe, Abhishek Bawkar & Tejaswita attended this mesmerising and memorable cycling expedition. 

All of us had registered for participation well in advance. The age criterion for participants was from 18 to 55 yrs. As I was 63 yrs old the system was not accepting my online registration. While I had given up hopes of participation, my friends persuaded me to contact YHAI Chennai division. With faith in their words I contacted Director of YHAI, Chennai  Mr.Venkat Narayanan who gave me patient hearing and told me that as long as I am interested in cycling, age is just a number. He advised me to pay participation fees by NEFT and send details to him by mail. Accordingly, on 28th Aug 2015 I paid participation fees by NEFT and sent confirmation mail to Mr.Venkat Narayanan. A copy of the mail sent to YHAI is given below:


Mail ref Fri Aug 28, 2015 at 3.52 PM from R G Bhat to YHAI Chennai

Attention: Mr.Venkat Narayan
Dear Sir,

This refers to telecon that I had with you this morning. Thank you so much for allowing me to participate in Mudumalai Mountain Biking while I am 63 yrs age.

As per our telecon I have remitted Rs.6500/- by NEFT in favour of YHAI TN Branch thru' Corporation Bank (Transaction Ref no. 967526). Please find attached proof of NEFT. Please put me in batch commencing on 25th December 2015.

My YHAI membership no. is 027-RAJ17-S1176608. My date of birth is 18th May 1952. I took up long distance cycling after the age of 58 yrs and I have cycled from Bangalore to Kanyakumari, Bangalore to Mumbai, Bangalore to Tirupati etc.  Last year in December I participated in YHAI Thar Desert Cycling expedition and before that in December 2013 in YHAI Goa Cycling expedition. As on date I must have cycled around 10000 kms.  

I am also the Founder President of International Fellowship of Cycling Rotarians (IFCR) Bangalore and was part of a 12-member team that went to France this year in May where we had 3-day cycling in country side of France.

I am also the National Representative of FCS for India. FCS is Rotary International Fellowship Cycling to Serve body.

Please put me in batch commencing on 25th December 2015 as few of my friends who are in mid 30 age have also registered for the same batch.

Request you to kindly confirm receipt of this.


RG Bhat  (Mob. 09886063055)
Bhuvaneshwari Road, Behind Sea Air Logistics Pvt Ltd

As Christmas holidays for the School had started for my granddaughter, both I and my wife chose to go to Mangalore on 20th Dec 2015 and I booked myself for the train from Mangalore to Coimbatore leaving Mangalore on the night of 24th Dec such that I reach YHAI Ooty base camp on 25th Dec 2015 by 11 a.m. 

Ooty YHAI base camp

I reached Coimbatore railway station Junction on 25th morning around 6.30. From there I took an auto to local bus stand from where I should catch a bus to Ooty. I reached Bus stand around 7 a.m. I was damn hungry. Inside the Bus stand I found a cafeteria clean, neat all managed by women and serving hot idlis to passengers. As I stood at the counter to pay for the Idlis the lady at the counter asked me to pay just Rs.5/- for the Idlis. This was a shock for me and unbelievable. After paying her I took the coupon and tendered it at the counter where I was given 5 fresh hot Idlis with hot Sambhar. I was really astonished and wondered am I dreaming!. I found the kitchen clean and well maintained by women. My appetite was well taken care at an unbelievable price of Rs.5/-. I then  came to know that the cafeteria was run by Amma canteen promoted by Chief Minister Ms Jayalalitha. I am not a fan of Ms.Jayalalitha but had heard about Amma canteen. Today I could really witness the same.

The route from Coimbatore to Ooty is serene and beautiful. Due to up terrain it took about 3 hrs and I reached YHAI base camp at Ooty safely around 11 a.m. 

View of beautiful Nilgiri Hills

After I reached YHAI base camp at Ooty, I met lovely couple Mr.Adwait & Ms.Prajakta who had also registered for the ride. I was shocked to find that my name was not appearing in the list of people registered for the ride. On contacting YHAI director, Mr.Venkat Narayana I gave him all the details of my conversion with him in August and also NEFT details and mail that I had sent. He told me to re-send the same. Luckily as I was holding smart phone I sent  him all the details instantly. He immediately advised the local in-charge to add my name in the participants list. I had a big relief. 

As we were very hungry I along with Adwait & Prajakta then went to have our lunch. We came back to base camp around 1.30 p.m. Around 3 p.m  my friends Amit Agashe, Abhishek Bawkar & Tejaswitha came to the camp all the way from Mumbai via Bangalore airport. 

Schedule for the ride was as under:

        Day 1: Reporting at the Base Camp Ooty Youth Hostel After 2.30pm
—      Day 2: Acclimatization and orientation
—      Day 3: Ooty to Manjur- Both side lush Green Tea Garden (33 km)
—      Day 4: Manjur to Masinagudi –Emerald lake one side (40 km), (25 kms downhill)
—      Day 5: Gudlur  to Naduvattam –Pykara. Both side Mudumalai Wild life sanctuary
                    (36 km) – 26 kms Uphill
—      Day 6: Pykara to Ooty- Both side lush Green Tea Garden and Pykara falls
                    crossing (31 km)    
—      Day 7: Disperse after Breakfast.

     The bicycles that were given to the participants by YHAI were fairly new and of good quality mountain bikes. Although there was an ambulance following us along our ride, it had hardly equipped with any first aid materials. So much so that one of the girl participants who had a fall while climbing down to Masinagidi could not be provided even the bandage and had to be provided with medical aid at a local clinic in Masinagudi. The accommodation and food provided by YHAI were good and nutritious.
Participants for the ride

     Of all the ride most memorable ride was from Gudlur to Nanduvattam-Pykara. It was 36 kms ride with 26 kms complete uphill. I had initial inhibition if at all I would be able to ride 26 kms uphill since riding uphill was tough, arduous, challenging and tiring. But it was one of my most memorable rides. Of the 26 participants it was heartening to note that I was amongst first 5 to have reached the top Pykara YHAI camp site by 5 p.m. In all 16 participants could make it to the top while for rest 10 as it became dark had to get into some vehicle and reach the top.
   Nonetheless, Ooty-Madumalai wild life sanctuary mountain biking was the most memorable bicycle ride that I had.

After the successful completion of final ride that we had on day 6th from Pykara to Ooty, we took our certificate from YHAI Ooty base camp office and left for our home. My friends viz., Amit Agashe, Abhishek Bawkar & Ms Tejaswita left for Mumbai. I took a bus to Coimbatore to return to Mangalore by train.

On the whole it was a memorable cycling expedition where you challenge yourself and once you achieve that challenge you experience an inner joy of achievement motivation and sense of accomplishment.

With Amit & Abhishek



Nice one sir .I am planning to go this December 2017 .
Thanks for sharing your experience .

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