Bird walk at pallikaranai marsh land


Cycling group from WCCG Madipakkam and WCCG Navalur chapters jointly organised for a bird watching walk at pallikaranai Eco park situated between the pallikaranai marsh land towards kaiveli and behind the garbage dump yard. The original pallikaranai  marsh lands extended to several kilometres from Velachery to Sholinganallur during my childhood days.

The pallikaranai eco park opens at 6:30 am in the morning and closes at 6:30 in the evening. It is a very nice place for joggers and runners who can carry out the activities without disturbing the birds. The water inside the marsh lands had dried up within forty five days of monsoon activity in the region.

I am very happy that my ride activity resumed in this way. I also got to meet fellow birders who are also cyclists. I reached the park entrance 15 minutes before opening time and got to meet Mr Sudhakar, an avid bird photographer. We exchanged pleasantries and had a chat regarding birding in the area.

Once all the cyclists assembled we parked our cycles and locked together in a combined way to avoid theft. Few months ago during my UK visit I observed a lot of cycle parts and locks on the roadside. On enquiry it was informed that there is rampant cycle theft in UK. They remove the parts and take it with them leaving the lock along with the parts that cannot be removed. In that way India is far better. They steal the whole cycle or they leave it as it is. Things would be different If we have wings like our feathered friends. No vehicles, No pollution, No exploitation.

We were able to spot the following birds during the one hour walk.

  1. Swamphen
  2. Drongo
  3. Medium Egret
  4. Small egret
  5. Little greb
  6. Sandpiper
  7. Prinia
  8. Pond Heron
  9. Stilt
  10. Small king fisher
  11. Bulbul
  12. Kite
  13. Ibis
  14. Pitpit
  15. White throated kingfisher
  16. Cormorant
  17. Common Myna
  18. Coucal

All the pictures were taken by fellow bird watchers. I missed my camera very much. I just watched everyone taking pics of birds. I am eagerly waiting for the next bird watching activity with fellow cyclists.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

ROADHAMMER-600 BRM   My first Super Randonneur title 


Exactly two years ago on this day I completed my first 200 k brevet with my WCCG madipakkam chapter friends. Missed 300 k due to my cousin brothers death and completed 300 K at Pondicherry. Completed 400 k with our team again. My first attempt at 600 k ended in me and my friend quitting at 520 k unable to control sleep despite having sufficient time. After quitting from my maiden attempt at VPV-600 in mar-2020, within a week whole country was under lockdown due to covid-19 and all our practice came to halt including daily rides. My cycle was lying idle for six months time. Initially I dusted every week. Later spiders occupied and then for drying clothes etc., There was no lime light when brevet activities would resume and our fitness levels started dropping despite working out at home daily. I started gaining weight again. Looked out to others and started running inside home. My weight increased despite running 1000 kms in two months during jun-july. Even that too came to a halt during august. Hopes of completing SR within the year too kept distancing. However kept talking to SR aspirants and kept the hopes alive. For we would not repeat the mistake of quitting again. We endured the long wait during the covid-19 lockdown at its peak till august. Conducting brevet rides in india resumed from mid-september. By now we all are carrying extra packages around our waist. Trichy randonneurs  announced Auroville-600. However subsequently Madras Randonneurs announced Roadhammer-600, saving us from transportation and journey. 

Practice rides 

Started riding at the beginning of sep-2020 after a gap of six months. We assessed our fitness and found we can pull this off. Coupled with non-stop daily rides -thanks to WCCG madipakkam chapter friends for giving company in all daily rides. Completed 3000 k in sep-oct and slowly returning to normal rhythm. Did my first 100k in last week of sep-20 and one more 100 next week followed by 200k next week. 

Previous day Preparation 

We started hydrating one day prior to the ride start which helped a lot. Charged all our batteries, battery bank, packed all things required for the next day ride. A good night sleep followed by afternoon nap on ride day helped a lot during night ride on day-1. 

Ride experience 

Day-1 (4:30 PM to mid night) 

At start point, Just buy cycles

Seven riders commenced the ride from JBC Velachery at 4:30 pm on 30th oct. Four time SR Sudhakar sir sir took lead and I followed him leaving others behind. We stopped at 85 km for a small bite. Control point was only five km away. Rudhra caught up with us there and flying ahead of us. Again we overtook him and clocked 65 kms in next two hours. A coffee break at 140 km to refuel made me feel better. Sudhakar sir sir was carrying rice and having few spoons every half an hour. I haven’t planned that much for nutrition. A lesson I must take from this experience.  Speed increases once we fuel us with right food at right time.  

Sudhakar sir , me and the biriyani cover

Day-2 (midnight to next day midnight)- day of surprises 

 Reached second CP at 1:00 am exactly. We took photo and posted in the group. Soon the organisers responded- We are at CP-2 and where are you. It was a manned CP. Luckily we just read the message and went to A2B ullundurpet on the opposite side of road. Mr Prasanna was waiting fr us there. Had a delicious coffee again with some sweet bun. Refilled water. Took half an hour break. No one has joined us. So me and Sudhakar sir sir proceeded expecting to reach u-turn point by 6:00 am in the morning.  

We rode another 40 km. It was 4:20 in the morning. Had a meal top up and a coffee to keep awake and rested for a while. We were actually choreographing photograph of nap to post in group. Once done two of us started again. Hardly we could pedal. I know its not because of tiredness but due to the rising elevation after the perambalur. A consolidated 1000 m elevation is awaiting us in the next 60 km. Since it is about to dawn we were not feeling sleep also. Reached U-turn point at 7:30 am in the morning . A solid 6:30 hours for the third 100 k. There were no shops open even to refill water. However due to constant food recharge at night, helped in combating elevation without break. It was a rolling terrain , so the same climbs have to be done on return also.   

A small nap for 30 minutes, bath, breakfast(idli vadai), and then resumed the ride by 9:30 am. Just after two km saw rudhra toward check point. Told him over phone that u-turn is near and went ahead. No trees on the way even for a shade and a very hot day. Only sun god was testing us. Wind god didn’t help us nor test us. By 11:30 am we were at 355 km. Had an egg omlette, refilled water and proceeded again in the impartial hot sun right at 12:00 mid noon. Rode for another 1:30 hours. Found a hotel near ullundurpet. Had vegetarian meals instead of usual biriyani. 

My co-riders tube got punctured. Fixed it and then within 15 minutes tyre got burst. Replaced the tyre. The reason was liner had a twist and so we had to remove the liner. All memories of puncture did not haunt me. Quickly on to the wheels, we reached 400km at 4:42 pm. Had a quick food recharge at A2B ullundurpet . The break was for more than 30 minutes. Since we had sufficient time at our belt we could afford.  Another coffee break after vikravandi  toll at 7:30 helped in recharging a lot. By now karthos got fired up and moving steadily still 70 km behind us. At 10:15 had dinner at vasantha bhavan at 470 km. When we came out saw rudhra having juice. Three of us rode together to the next check point at Only coffee, silavattam.  


Around 12:45 we reached the CP. Still 80 km to go in 8 hours ,we decided to take a nap. A two hour sleep helped a lot. Started at 3:10 am in the morning, saddle soreness inflicted me. Took a coffee break near chengalpet and then slow ride since we have to see map and enquire at each turn, verify again. The route via kayar was very sceneic in the morning with mist, mountains and forest. Finally reached JBC-velacherry around 8:10 am in the morning with just a 20 minute gap and greeted by karuna , waiting for me at JBC. karthos reached by 8:30 with no spare time. No words to appreciate karthos who rode without sleep and alone for 500 km. A man of great mental strength and will power. Me karthos and rudhra got our first super randonneur . Sudhakar sir completed his fifth title. The moment we waited for eight months had finally come to fruition. 


Lesson to learn – Under estimation of the route (elevation) 

Comparing the route with VPV-600 we assumed it is simpler. No loops. No headwinds. No bad roads. But still in for a surprise elevation twist. However much better than the ullundurpet stretch or the vandavasi stretch. The elevation at the last 60 kms was very deceptive and tricky. Literally no water for the last 30 odd kms. The route starts from JBC-velacherry and the through kayar leads to GST at Chengalpattu. From there straight to samayapuram toll at Trichy and return is same all the way. There were two CP on the way and two on return. Except the under-estimated elevation at the last 60 km everything was easy. 

Vidyasagar (myself)

Riding stats 

Distance: 616 km 

Elevation gain: 1904 m 

Moving time: 27:34 hours

Elapsed time: 39:40 hours

Avg speed: 22.3 kmph 

Max elevation: 143 m 

The finishers of 600 BRM

Thanks to organisers, madras randonneurs  for conducting  the event and helping us complete the SR. Thanks to coriders . A big thanks to WCCG madipakkam chapter friends and Vinoth, arun and Vignesh, Karthik seenu for constantly following up with us. Thanks all for the motivation and support. 

Its a late post just by two years. hahaha.

Cycling in Chennai -Lakes in and around Chennai


It is monsoon time in Chennai and time to await and visit our favourite lakes and check dams.

  1. Chembarapakkam lake –
  2. Puzhal lake –
  3. Poondi dam –
  4. Cholavaram lake
  5. Thaiyur lake –
  6. Kondangi lake –
  7. Seemapuram check dam –
  8. Madipakkam lake
  9. Puzhuthivakkam lake
  10. Hidden lake
  11. Siruseri lake –
  12. Vichoor lake –
  13. Kumizhi lake
  14. Mambakkam lake –
  15. Porur lake
  16. Sholinganallur lake
  17. Pulicat lake
  18. Perungudi lake
  19. Ottiyambakkam lake –
  20. Nanmangalam lake
  21. Vandalur lake
  22. Chitlapakkam lake
  23. Madambakkam lake
  24. Manimangalam lake

Cycling trip to thaiyur lake


Thaiyur lake is located near kelambakkam, chennai. Every year during monsoons in the month of november to december, excess water flows like a water falls and provides a good oppurtunity for chennai people to enjoy with friends and family.

This picture is taken when the water overflow from the lake is about to stop
when the water is at full flow immiediately after the rains

When you visit chennai during rains don’t miss to visit this place. A short drive around 30 km from the heart of city will take you here.

Cycling in Chennai- pallavaram hills


Last week I have successfuly completed the ‘two states 225 km ride’. After a couple of days rest, we decided to ride up pallavaram hills.

Pallavaram is a very busy town near to Chennai airport. The hills between tirusulem and pallavaram often called interchangeably in either name, is a scenic place within the city. A silent place for athletes and cyclists to train for hill run and hill ride without disturbing each other. The hill is located exactly opposite to Chennai airport. Twenty years back we used to see flight take off from here. Its not possible now because of the airport shed constructed in front.

Numerous construction activities  are going in the vicinity of nanmangalam, keelkatalai, pallavaram areas can be seen.

Keelkatalai lake when viewed from the top.


Sunrise when viewed from the top.

These pictures will express lot more than my words.

Here are some DO’s and DON’TS when you are on the hill:

  1. Crossing the rail track: Please ensure you follow the rules and wait for the gate to open rather to rush under the gate
  2.  While going through the inhabitants, please do not rush
  3. While approaching the climb there are some odd speed breakers which you will encounter while uphill and downhill, be slow and gentle
  4. There are other athletes who train for their sport and general public who comes for the view, make sure we do not disturb them
  5. We as explorers are very curious about some of the – off the track – pathway around the hill, please ensure not to venture into unknown territories for your own safety
  6. While your downhill, make sure to enjoy, be safe at the curves and slow down when there is other group of athletes
  7. If you are uphill and having some snack, eat it and take the trash with you – Never litter



Cycling in Chennai – A ride to ottiyambakkam quarry


Doing things you love to do is the greatest pleasure. And when 70 other people are joining in the fun, its going to be super awesome. The theme for this month cycling is “NO ROADS NOVEMBER”. Since all of us are regular riders except a few, organising was great as usual. Only the routes we were going to take will be off roads only to discover later that many of them are converted into tar- roads. Nevertheless we were happy to be part of this ride, like jesse owens famous quote “The essential thing is not winning but taking part”.
The route is from Madhya kailash temple via thoraipakkam – kamatchi hospital – kovilambakkam – nanmangalam lake – medavakkam – vengaivasal- ottiyambakkam quarry cum lake- Sholinganallur and then back to their respective places of start. Total ride distance averaged around 45 kms approx.
Nanmangalam lake – This is lake is situated between hills to the west and reserved forest to the south. The reserved forest is being converted to a conservation area by the wildlife authorities. A good place for bird watching in the morning and watching sunset among the hills in the evening. Our first photoshoot was at this place. Mud trails were now converted into tar roads near this area due to the upcoming and ongoing construction works.

Nanmangalam lake

Ottiyambakkam lake – A quarry was functioning here and stopped before many years. Rain water got accumulated and the area has become a natural open water swimming pool. Tri-athlete events were conducted here earlier. Swimming is banned at present. The small left over hill is still available and nature has taken over from where man has left- Trees and plants are growing on its own on this rocky hill.

                                                Ottiyambakkam Lake

The sheer number of riders turning up for this ride conducted by WCCG, Chennai indicated chennai’s growing cycling community’s strength in numbers and interest in participating such rides. Many of them were not familiar with the route, GPS malfunction and slow riders added to the fun. Strangers became friends. Riders at the front were waiting at each turn to facilitate the newbie’s follow them.
The slow ride gave opportunity to talk to new people on the go and discuss various topics and gossips. Some were even making fun of our theme” No roads November” as all the trails are laid with Tar.
Everyone was happy doing what they loved to do- cycling.