Bikepacking Basics Se05Ep01- Catching meteors

A bicycle is the most efficient form of travel!

I have travelled across the Himalayas alone on a bicycle for over 1000kms through Spiti and into Leh and I would never do it on any other mode of transport. I was in the middle of nowhere and I didn’t need to scramble for Petrol or Diesel pumps, no need to buy bus tickets or hire shared taxis. My distances are not limited by liters of fuel and the routes I take are not governed by where the paved roads lay. If I encounter a roadblock, I just lift my bicycle on my shoulder and walk across it.

It is this simplicity and freedom that I’d like everyone to experience. That is why, way before the #FlowTouring tours, I have been hosting shorter overnighters to mildly uncomfortable places with limited facilities to get more people hooked to this form of travel over bicycles.

On these tours, we will learn the basics of living off your bicycle. There will be some creature comforts like a bed and a roof but there will be no gas stove or a person to cook for you. To amp it up, there will be no matchbox or a lighter either but there will be electricity to charge your phone. There might be live music from a didgeridoo.

As tradition dictates, we are going to a natural farm in the outskirts of Tumkur to watch the meteor shower on the second weekend of December, a few days just before the meteor shower peaks. Because everybody’s working for the weekend.

This is the third time I am hosting this particular tour. Here’s a little you can read on the Geminid Meteor Shower.

The price of this experience is Rs. 2499/- Here’s the link to sign up for it and the detailed itinerary.

PS: If you would like to drive down with your family instead of choosing to ride a bicycle, please get in touch with me over whatsapp on 9741577884.


Day 1 : 10th December, Friday – Ride to Booshakti Kendra, Seebi, Tumkur

0600hrs : Departure from Hebbal on cycles. (we will curate other pick up points based on riders)

0730hrs : Breakfast around Nelamangala.

0930hrs : Tea / Coffee break

-Depending on the pace the whole group is making, we now decide if we would want to do a short hike to the top of Siddarabetta near Dobbaspet followed by lunch or we keep riding to reach Tumkur with just the lunch stop. –

View from the top of Siddarabettta
Authentic Punjabi Dhaba Lunch

1700hrs : We arrive at Booshakti Kendra, Seebi before sundown.

Cottages at Booshakti

-We take quick showers, hang our cycling gear to dry and try to get some shut eye for the star gazing.

2100hrs : We head to the fire pit, collect firewood, create fire without matches or lighters, and cook dinner. (You will have assistance so no one ends up setting themselves on fire.)

Dinner by the fire

2300hrs : Post dinner, we grab our blankets and head out into the fields and get ready to watch the sky.

#staraniSh will guide you with a laser pointer to spot constellations once your eyes are adjusted to the dark of the sky. Ideally we do this without phones and other light emitting devices us. (*Please note that stargazing is subject to weather)

IT WILL GET COLD AT NIGHT. Recommend carrying additional layers and definitely something to cover your head, ear lobes and toes and fingertips.

The Geminid meteors peak at around 3 – 4 am from experience and we will be out at the fields for until then. And that’s why it is imperative that we get a shut eye as soon as we get to the Ashram.

Day 2 : 11th December, Saturday- Relax at Booshakti Kendra, Seebi, Tumkur

We can wake up as late as we want to. Hydrate well and explore the farm. Definitely do some fruit and vegetable foraging for lunch.

Breakfast will be available at the community kitchen and we will have a late lunch.

Today’s goal is to catch up sleep and relax.

1600hrs : We take our bikes and head out into the edge of a nearby forest to watch the sunset and ride back.

Sunset

1900hrs : Start cooking an early dinner and hit the bed by 2200hrs and get a full night’s rest.

2200hrs : Camp fire goes off and we retreat to our beds.

  • Day 3 : 12th December, Sunday – Ride back to Bangalore.

0630hrs : Departure from Booshakti Kendra after a simple breakfast and coffee.

Bid Adieu to Booshakti Kendra

0830hrs: Proper breakfast and coffee stop.

1030hrs : Coffee Stop

1230hrs : Lunch at a highway rest stop

1430hrs : Tea / Coffee break near Nelamangala toll.

Highway teas

1530hrs : Part ways at Yeshwantpur, Bangalore.

Here’s the link to register. Registrations are confirmed only once the payment of Rs. 2499/- is made and the Ashram has a limit to how many people it can host.

What to pack?

Riding gear. One pair of cycling clothes, extra padded shorts suggested.

1 or 2 dry fit tops, full length pajamas / track lowers. If you are particularly sensitive to the cold, carry thermal inners as well.

Woolen socks and gloves to keep you warm at the field.

Hoodie / sweat shirt / sweater.

Winter Cap.

Recommend wearing shoes ( Carry slippers for indoors )

Personal toiletries and medication.

Towel.

Spare tubes for your particular bike x 2

Personal identification and insurance documentation.

Please do not carry any valuables. If you do, they are entirely your own responsibility.

What’s included?

Stay and accommodation at the ashram.

Mechanical assistance on the road.

Route guide.

Hiking guide.

Star gazing guide.

All meals at the Ashram.

What’s not included?

Anything not mentioned above

Spares for your bicycle.

Meals along the ride route. (we will all pay for our own meals along the way)

Refreshments consumed along the ride.

Accident insurance. Towing of incapacitated bike and equipment.

*Alcohol in limited quantities is permissible. You will have to purchase and carry this on your own. No illegal narcotics allowed. No bullying allowed*