There are some neat bike-cleaning videos out there on the internet and this particular one impressed me so much that I cleaned mine right after watching it! Just one important thing to keep in mind while washing a bike: do not jet-spray water directly onto the headset near the handlebar, the wheelhubs at the wheel-centres and the bottom bracket where the crank arm with the pedals is attached, to prevent any water from seeping in. Elrika had not watched this video, yet she intuitively bought a perfect set of brushes for the bike wash: a new toilet cleaning brush to reach the tough corners, clothes cleaning scrub for the tyres, a thin long bottle brush to reach the gaps between the spokes and the wheel, a toothbrush to clean the crank and gear-cassette, and a soft scrub to clean the frame. We also bought a bottle each of degreaser and lubricant fluid, all put together these cost upto 2000 bucks. Still, this investment was worth our bikes and the ride we were on from Hubli to Goa over the lovely Western Ghats. The evening before the trip to Castlerock from Kulgi we had cleaned the drivetrain systems of our bikes and the ride was smooth and silent.
The day had started with a sudden upslope that almost put us off our three-day cycling rhythm. But within the first 3 km, we had climbed 60 m which led us to a beautiful vista of the hills and valley that brought our enthusiasm back.
We caught our breath and the view for a while and continued the only-slightly-more-forgiving ascent for almost another dozen km. Between the 12th and 15th km, we dropped a 100 m and that must have been the fastest I’ve ever ridden my bike, 66.6 km per hour! Earlier on in our rides, whenever we reached a downhill we were glad but we soon figured it meant that uphills follow! As I zoomed on downhill, I side-glanced at a person lying on the side of the road with his head towards the road, but I carried on, given my momentum. Matty, however, had more empathy and paused to move the person over to the side of the road. I mentally posted a note to myself to be more kind in future to help out others, good one, Matty!
At Ganeshgudi, we passed by the beautiful Kali river where we decided to break for lunch. During lunch, we pondered if Matty should put his bike on to a car and take it ahead to Castlerock since the ride was getting a bit tiring with all the ups and downs and his ‘non-broken-in’ leather seat.
We negotiated with a local who drove a Tata Indica car wondering if Matty’s supermodel Surly Ogre would fit in it. Dismantled, the large Surly frame and the wheels just fit in right enough and off Matty went! With more than a half of the ride for the day left, we continued for another 20 km and had a quick rest below a tree where a Great hornbill and a Giant squirrel were having a quick tête-à-tête with the massive Supa reservoir in the background. These are the moments that make the ride totally worth it. The Supa reservoir was sprawled across enough for us to wonder if we had already reached the sea even if the Goan sea was more than a hundred km away.
|Picture this with a foreground of a tree with a great hornbill and a giant squirrel helloing each other!|
At Jagalabeta, the ride got even better; tall canopy on both sides alive with some bird activity and streams crisscrossing once in a while with little-to-no traffic. The only sad part was the number of dead snakes we saw on the road. Over a stretch of about 20 km we saw an almost equal number of dead ones. Elrika paused to move a live vine snake aside hoping it would not cross the road again. We felt that something needs to be done about this, perhaps at least a speed limit was due for that road.
We finally reached Castlerock at about 6 pm, after an elevation climb of over 1500 m and a ride of 70 odd km, and this camp too was wonderfulWe had a quick shower, ordered our meals and off I went for my evening beer-forage for which I climbed another 100 m, passed through a dark tunnel without a good torch and bought beer from a home that kept alcohol unofficially since booze is not sold openly in Castlerock. Still, like other days, a lovely evening full of conversation followed which drifted on to a well-deserved deep slumber. Another wonderful day of our bike ride had passed.