Ride to Sangama – Mekedatu

Mekedatu/Sangama is a place about 100 km from Bangalore where river Kaveri meets Akravati.

Sangama - Mekedatu

Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Started around 6:30 am from Indiranagar with no specific destination in mind. Headed towards the Kanakpura. This road is medicinal – curvy, scenic and a welcome change from the city buzz! The whole route (up until Gundulpet) is rustic and spotted with attractions all through. Kept riding till Malavalli. Stopped there for a quick bite and started riding back. During the onward ride, had spotted this sign board directing towards Sangama. This deviation too doesn’t disappoint – equally beautiful and good roads. The 6 km within ride once you enter the forest area, unfortunately, ends too soon! The road leads to Sangama – the meeting point of the two rivers.

The place, at this time of the year, is nothing special. Should probably visit sometime after the rains and it should be magical! The water-levels now are low and the water itself did not look all that clean. From Sangama, a 4km trek would take you to Mekedatu (buses are available and coracles too when the water levels are high). Being in my riding gears in the scorching heat, I gave up the idea of taking that trek. Spent some time lazing around Sangama. Had a tea and decided to ride back. If fish is your thing, you get it in plenty here… fresh and spicy!

Road Conditions: All good roads with low to moderate traffic. Lots of lovely curves and shades make it worth a ride. Be cautious when inside the forest area, though. The ghat-like sections have sand/gravel in all corners – be as upright as possible in safe speeds!

Incident of the day: While returning, almost as I was approaching the city limits, the cops pulled me over for “overspeeding”!! They showed a pic (an awesome shot, I must say) which claimed that I was riding at 75kmph. The speed limit was 50kmph. They slapped me with an INR 300 fine, which I paid up without any further questions. It was of course a safe speed in that stretch. I could easily spot people without helmets passing by, probably riding way faster than 50kmph – none of which justifies my act, though! Being in proper gears doesn’t help in such situations, I guess! The sad part of it was the cops themselves asking folks to leave their helmets (as a security) and ride up to the nearest ATM to withdraw money! The primary purpose of such check-points should be to ensure safety, not collect money.

Any ride journal is incomplete without pictures. Well, this is an incomplete journal for sure!😉

Why Ride?

why ride a motorcycle

No rider has ever managed to escape this question! Why ride a motorcycle and risk your life when you could easily catch a train or bus to go from point A to B? I often try to brush aside this question with a smile! Mostly because the answer is partly philosophical and hard to explain in words.

Isn’t riding risky? Well, it is! But so is walking on road-side, travelling in a bus/car/train or even sleeping. Being on two wheels and controlling a damn machine requires some amount of skill and focus. Take necessary precautions, wear good quality gears, ride within your and your bike’s limits and you should be fine. On the road, safety of one self and all other road users is of paramount importance. It is not a race track where you are measured in milli-seconds.

For me, riding elevates myself to a different level of awareness. It is one of those things which make you realize how alive you are! All your senses sync up and that feeling is truly magical. As they say, everything looks a little more beautiful through the helmet!

If you need scientific proof, there have been researches that conclusively prove that motorcycling improves brain activity, making you smarter. It also keeps oneself fit (or at least keeps reminding you to work out! ;)). Personally, it has helped improve my level of focus and alertness in general.

Needless to say, it also leaves you richer with life experiences. Each mile clocked helps me become a better version of myself. Biking adds a new dimension to my personality, which is predominantly introverted. Each person you meet leaves you richer. The idea of sharing a bite somehow came through and has since been a major part of why I ride.  It is as if I am doing my small little insignificant bit to leave the world a better place.

I truly believe that the world would be a much better, happier and peaceful place if there were more bikers.

ViaTerra Raptor – Tail Bag Review

ViaTerra Raptor

It was almost 4 months ago that I decided to get a luggage to carry my stuff on the bike. Wearing a rather heavy backpack over the riding gears is not a good idea, after all. My requirements were rigid – a tail bag which can contain my laptop and a few other stuff, just about enough room for a 2-5 days’ escapade.

As anyone else, I asked Google and learnt that Rynox and ViaTerra were my options. Checked out a Rynox one first (Optimus series – not sure about the exact model, though), but it was a little too small for my laptop! Thought no further and checked out ViaTerra Raptor. It is probably the priciest option available in its category. I decided to open my wallet as soon as I saw it! It could easily take my laptop and still had more than ample space left. The 3M reflective stripes were functional and stylish.

My first trip with the bag was a 1000km circuit from Bangalore – Kochi – Calicut – Mysore – Bangalore. I had tested its limits right from the word go. The following items were thrown in –

  1. 15″ Laptop
  2. A DSLR Cam
  3. Nilgiri plumcakes of 1kg & .5kg packs (it was Christmas timeJ!)
  4. A couple of t-shirts, a jeans and some random stuff

Ease of Use:

It comes with two bungee cords. It’s a breeze to mount/dismount it. On my bike, one pair goes under the rear fender and locks with each other. The other pair fits perfectly next to the foot-pegs. It stays in its position as if it were a part of the bike. Being a proper tail bag, it doesn’t catch wind or mess with the weight distribution of the bike.

It can also double up as a shoulder/side bag if taken off the bike, which looks sleek.

Just that it gets a little awkward to get yourselves on and off the bike, but you’ll get used to it. Not really an issue with the bag, actually!


It has done  10k+ kms so far, under all possible road (and no-road) conditions in the southern part of the country. No signs of wear yet. The bottom of it feels like a little bent, though it still works the same way. I haven’t had a chance to test it under heavy rains. But it comes with a separate rain cover, which I believe, should do its job.


The ViaTerra Raptor is an awesome product! It does what it is supposed to and does it so well that it clearly justifies its pricing. I have heard that they are coming out with the Raptor v2 shortly! It should well be worth a wait!

Need for Separate Licenses for Motorcyclists

I have no  glaring stats to throw around! But there is no denying the fact that we are losing precious lives to (careless) riding, every day.

In the recent times, India has seen a sudden surge in the motorcycle market – especially the performance and adventure segments. The entry of global giants like KTM, Triumph, Harley Davidson and many more have taken our roads by storm. Though the options have increased and improved, most of us unfortunately, haven’t matured enough to handle such performance machines.

Road Sign

It takes a whole lot of skill, focus and practice to handle such outright performance machines. Interestingly, motorcycles that are considered light-weight or learner’s bikes globally (the quarter-liter segment in general), fall under the performance segment in India. Credit should go to the manufacturers for keeping it that way. On the flip side, it also points to the riding skills of an average Indian, our road conditions and many more finer details.

We typically start off riding a bicycle, learn to ride a motorcycle during our teen years and then finish the formality of learning as soon as we obtain a driving license (usually by around 18-20 years). A bicycle and a motorcycle handles completely differently. Moreover, a whole lot of bad habits unknowingly creep into our riding and just stay with us. No conscious effort is put towards improving one’s riding.

Today, the law permits anyone who earns a decent income to buy one of those super performance machines and ride it on our streets. The riders’ skill or knowledge is not even considered. So basically, someone who got his license using a 70cc, sub-5 bhp moped can go on and ride a 1000cc, 200+ bhp monster of a bike with no additional training or know-how! Forget proper riding gears, there are riders who hit the streets even without a basic helmet, literally trying to kill oneself and probably a few others too!

There is no point blaming the manufacturers, road conditions or in some cases “parents for allowing their kids to ride”! It is high time to implement ladder-style licensing system in India to ensure safety of riders and other road users. Riders should progressively learn and prove themselves to go to the next level. It will at least help inculcate some good road manners! There could be a million roadblocks in getting this in place; but we are not a country that lack resources and definitely not one to lose its strongest to miserable accidents!

Meanwhile, I would love to see one of the manufacturers take a lead in this direction and NOT sell their bikes to people who could potentially be considered a ‘dangerous rider’. {Oh yes, I do have unreasonable dreams! :)}

[Image courtesy: Wikimedia]