What can you expect on a Saturday in April when you go out cycling in Wayanad? Summer, Sun high up in the sky, scorching heat, steep uphills. To negate all these we had Wayanad, Tea estates, waterfalls, buttermilk and our beloved cycles to ride down crazy downhills after the steep climbs. I was on a mission to ride my longest distance (at that time!) over a span of one and half days.
I was not alone, I had another 30 plus cyclists who were ready for the adventure. The plan for the weekend was to tackle the rolling terrains of Wayanad – cycling amidst the tea estates, visit a couple of waterfalls and take in all the beauty from the countless number of vantage points.
Though we were supposed to start our adventure early in the morning immediately after breakfast, thanks to border crossing bureaucracy, our cycles arrived late to Sulthan Bathery. It was almost close to noon when we started our ride. Day one included a winding route covering about 75KMs with lunch stop at Meenmutti waterfalls and end point at Kalpetta. With high spirits, we sped off towards Pattavayal. It was a first for me, crossing a state border from Kerala to Tamil Nadu on a cycle. After the initial zipping fast on the state highway that had moderate traffic, we turned right at Pattavayal. A smaller and scenic road with not much traffic meant we could have the entire road for ourselves. We crossed back to Kerala (that’s two boarder crossing in a day :)) and headed towards our lunch point – Meenmutti falls via Ambalamoola and Kayyunni.
It was a tough walk to the Meenmutti waterfalls post lunch – it’s not easy to walk with a heavy stomach and wobbly legs. I had to watch the falls from the view point – though the brain said yes, legs were not ready to climb down to the foot of the waterfalls. The second leg of day one started after an hour’s break at the waterfalls. The race was on between the Sun and the cyclists – we managed to reach Kalpetta around 7. I retired to bed early after a nice dinner, dreaming about the next day’s adventure.
Day two started as per the plan without any delays – we were welcomed by a thick blanket of mist as we rode out of Kalpetta towards Lakkidi view point. It felt as if we time traveled overnight and jumped right to winter. The mist and the cold air kept us shivering as we approached the view point. A quick stop at Lakkidi and we took a U-turn back towards Kalpetta. A short stop near Pookoot lake for breakfast and the journey continued towards Soochipara.
The tall mountains were around us as we rode on. The majestic Chembra peak stood out and tall watching us ambling, huffing and puffing towards our destination. It was very much needed to take dip under the cold waters of Soochipara falls to give some relief to the muscles. The adventure ended with the mission of riding 125KMs in one & half days accomplished. I settled into the cozy bus seat as the long journey back home began.
PS: This was my first long ride I did way back in April 2010 with ‘Cycling and More’.