This is all about augmentations of human energy with electric power for cycling
as the most sustainable form of human transportations

Monday, August 30, 2010

Taking longer break @ Home

It was good thing that I took a break again. I slept like log couple of times intermittently yesterday. I cannot sleep continuously as the staying still even during sleeping creates lot of back pain and that wakes me up.

Many people have written to me, pasted comments and sent SMS but I did not acknowledge most of them. I express my gratitude here for standing by me & regret that I could not acknowledge individually because of ability limitations.

Looking at rains here today, I feel it was good that I took Tamilnadu route. There was considerable rainfall there too but it did not slow me down. Unexpected rain in the evening did make me miserable with wet clothes / socks and assist unit complications but never too serious problem.

Taking the chargers & cables out of pannier bag for mid day charging takes considerable time & effort. I have to loosen all the straps to make this happen. A made to order bag to keep this would have made this job easier. A small change made in Laptop bag today @ Puttur will make laptop and cameras more easiler available. .

Right now, most of blogposts are written at the end of the day and are too general. The change in scenery, food and peoples attitude do not find way to the posting, making it very bland. It looks like a doctors end of day report – saw 30 patients and some had fever and some had stomach ache. I will try to make more mid day notes and maybe this blog will have kannada paragraphs.

Recent comments widget was present in the blog and today noticed it was not working. There was a additional spacing in the code which prevented its working so far and till I left Kanyakumari there was no comments & after that I did not have time to attend to that. So today was able to correct it and was able to do small changes in blog arrangement too.

I am leaving for Bhadravathi on Wednesday morning and next lap of my trike pedaling will commence on following day. Rains and family commitment have now added another day @ home.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

9th Day 45 km upto Bhadravathi

There was a reporter from Vijay Karnataka and a police official in the send off party when I left Birur. There was a brief interview by the reporter too. My host, Manjanna followed me for a couple of km on motorcycle & so my riding thru Birur town was recorded.

After a couple of km I had a rest stop and a villager noticed the tire was rubbing the body and he felt it was because the load was unbalanced. There was considerable wear out of the tire sidewall and naturally I was concerned.

I went near a cycle shop in Tarikere and there the cylcleshopwala said it is case of loose axle bolt and he had come with 22 mm spanner plus a hammer. He tightened it after loosening it a bit. He said it is okay & charged me Rupees 20 for that.

I said we will take near his shop and remove my luggage from the carrier and he said there was no need. One of the tirewall is very close to the body and I agreed it must have rubbed there. After few more km I checked the temperature and the tire had become warm once again. So the problem still remained.

In Tarikere lot of people had gathered around the trike and touching everywhere including battery switch which was bit hidden from view. It made me realize that I cannot unload the luggage anywhere on the road for a thorough inspection.

Meanwhile met old friend, filmmaker Abhaya Simha and our families have known each other before we were even born. He spent ten minutes talking to me & introducing his colleagues.

When I realized I cannot pinpoint the problem while on road, I decided to take shelter in a close relatives house. When I reached their house, cousin brother, Dr Shankar Bhat was not in. Immediately I pinpointed the problem after unloading the luggage. The bottom of the luggage carrier was touching the tire sidewall after being loaded. So I changed the position of the suspension bush thus raising the height of the carrier.
After that the computer I carry along started giving problems. Then I felt it is better take it to my computer consultant to prevent repeat of Tarikere mugging. I depend on my net connection for communication and cannot manage without it as my poor hearing prevents sensible dialogue. So left the trike and baggage in Bhadravathi and took a bus home carrying the notebook computer along. I cannot upload any photos or GPS tracks today as all my stuff is in Bhadravathi.

The computer is fixed now & it was just loose contact with battery as we suspected. There is considerable sleep debt which I hope to remedy before being in road once again. Having pedaled almost 1000 km continuously my body needs some rest too. I will resume the journey on Tuesday 31 Aug or Wednesday 1 Sep morning after two days rest @ home.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

8th day 98 km upto Birur

I  could  not  start  very   early  as  Murthy  helped  me  in  fixing  the  safety  LEDs  in  the  back  of  the  luggage  carrier. 

The  direct  route  to  Arasikere  was  extremely  bad  and  Murthy  came  with  me  for  some  distance  to  show  me  alternate  route.   I   made  good  use  of  opportunity  and  handed  him  the  drift  camera.  He  took  some  videos  both  standing  by  roadside  &  also  chasing  me  on  his  motorcycle.    Whenever   I  upload  a  video  the  link  in  mentioned  in  twitter  but  mention  may  not  be  in  blog  pages.  I  will be  uploading  videos and  GPS  tracks  whenever  possible.  Please  excuse  for  poor  narration  quality.

I  was  very  happy  to  be  back  in  Kannadanadu  and  have  familiar  food.  In  Tamilnadu  most  nights  I  had  to  be  satisfied  with  Dosai  and  Chapathi  as  most  hotels  do  not  have  meals  there  during  night.  Same  thing  abut  scenery,  I  could  not  make  notes  during  traveling  &  the  story  typed  out  at  the  end  of  the  day  looks  more  sort of  data  entries  than  travel  story. 

The  route  thru  Nittur  and  Harnahally  was  really  enjoyable.  The  passage  was  thru  villages  and   riding  in  narrow  road  was quite  fun.  There  was  many  downhill   high  speed  rides  today. 

I  happened  to  see  a cycle  shop  in Arasikere town & went to  buy a horn there.  Immediately  lot  of  people  gathered  and  I  rushed  back  to  the  trike.  I  casually  mentioned  I  need  some  charge  and  one  of  ther  gathered  person  offered  to  give it.  So my  trike  was  taken  inside  a cement  shop  and  connected  to  charger.  Meanwhile I  had  lunch  and  sent  SMS and  Twitter  update.   Udaya  TV  reporter was  present  there  but  I  declined  to  do  demo  or  interview  till  battery  is  charged  and  I  had  some  food.  He  was  not  around  when  both  of  these  was done  &  I  was  not  disappointed.

After  that  about  45 km to Birur  in  a  leisurely  ride  as  my  hosts  of the day  were  to  reach  town    in late  evening.   I  decided  to    accept  their  hospitality  as  my  quota  of  about  100 km per  day  will be  met  and  I  will be  off the  trike  at  usual  time, late evening.

Right  now  I  am  leaving  for  Shimoga  and  on  the  direction  of  Hospet.  I  keep  making  change  in  routes  cnsidering  road  conditions  inputs  I may  get.  Then  will be  Bijapur, Sholapur  and  Ahmednagar  within  ten  days.  Shivaram  have  asked  me  for  posting  route  beforehand  but  it  is  simply  difficult  to  predict  as  road surface  and  terrain  plays  a big  role  in  deciding on  route.

Friday, August 27, 2010

7th day 33 km Family meet, Rest and Maintenance day

Since   I  had  only  33 km  ride, took   my  time  to  pack  up  and  leave  Holenarasipur.  The  roomboy  bought me  dinner  and  morning  tea  to  my  room.  There  was  hot  water  bought  in  bucket and  I  could  take  hot  water  bath  after  many  days.  It  was  good  but  since  I  was  going  to  old  friend  Murthy’s  house  in  Hassan,  this  is something  I  could have had  there also.  I  spent  10 Ah for  the  trip which  is  understandable  considering  Hassan  is  at  higher  altitude  than    Holenarasipura. 

There  was  considerable   climbing involved  and  in  one  downhill  ride  near  Ramasamudra,  I  could  reach  49 kmph  which  was  thrilling  at  the  same  time  it  must  be  one  of  the  highest  speed  recorded  so  far.  

It  was  nice  to  see  family  members  who  came  to  Hassan  to  meet  me.  So   wet and  dirty   clothes  were   replaced  with  clean  clothes.  They  also  could  make  sure  I  am  healthy enough  to   continue  after  a  week  on  the  roads.   

I  am  happy  that  I  could  oil  my  chains   here   and  fix  ribbons  to  my  flagpost.  Thanks  to  Murthy &  family   who  helped  with  this  and  for  their  hospitality.     I  hope  this  will  increase visibility  to  other  road  users. 

I am   still  considering  the    road  options    to  continue.  I  will   generally  go north  and less  attention  paid  on  the  name  of  towns  on  the  way.  While  in  US for  cycle  tour, I  took  even numbered  roads  taking  care  of  the directions.  Over  there  even numbers  have  east  west  direction  whereas    north  south means   odd  numbered  roads.  Similarly    I  will choose  the  roads  depending  on  various  factors, especially  inputs  on  road  condition.

I  am  spending  more  time  on  travel  and  not  interacting  much    with  the  people.  Sometimes  I  feel  it  is  not  worth  it  looking @ the  questions  people  have  on  trike or  electric mobility.  No  intelligent discussion  possible  with  people  who  ask  petrol, diesel, battery or  remote.   When they  put  their  valuation  @  15000 Rupees, I  nod  in  agreement.

The  pamphlet    has  really  helped  as  I  hoped.  I  can  give  it to    people  and  keep  moving.  People  really  interested  do  not  mind  paying  its  cost  price.  Moreover  I  give  it  to people  who  provide  electricity.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

6th day 125 km upto Holenarasipur

It  was  bit  cold  in  the  night  and  I  had  got up  middle of night  and wear  sweater.  It  had  rained whole  night  and  outside  was  very  muddy.    I  had  fairly  good  sleep  at  police station  and   woke  up  @  5 AM  as  usual.  Then  found  that  there  was no  power.  The  constable  on   duty  was  not  sure  if  it  was  blown  fuse  or  there  was  no power  in  the  particular  line  and  so  back  to  camp    bed  for some more  time.

I  could not  do  much  uploads  from Kavalande   as  signal  strength  was  very weak, that  hobli headquarters  was  not included  in  6 lac  villages  in  India  this  network  is  supposed  to  cover.  This  was  repeat  atop  Dimbam  town  too   from  where  you  can  see  miles  together   from  this   hilltop  town   but  the  signal  strength  is  poor.

I  left  the police  station  with  luggage  fully  covered  and  me  wearing  rain coat  at  around  7 AM.  It  was  still raining  and  the  tea shops nearby  not open  yet.  The  road  was  not  too bad  and  I  reached  Nanjangud  @  8  and had  breakfast  there  in  a  restaurant.  It  was a  welcome  change having  food  in a good  hotel  after  having  had   to  depend  on  lousy  hotels  on  the way. 

The  ride  to  Mysore  from  there  was  bit more difficult  as  reduced  power  took  more  of  my  effort.  The  road  was  bad, lot  of  road  humps  and  heavy  traffic  and  light  shower  adding  its  contribution  to  my  misery.     

I  crossed  Mysore  without  asking  for directions  as  I  had  spent considerable  amount  of  time  there.  I  took  Chamaraja  Double  road    and  to  Hunsur  road  via Crawford  Hall. Everything  seemed  familiar  but  less  trees was  noticeable.   Thought  of  calling  friends  but  that  also  meant  losing  precious  daylight  hours.

I  had  consumed  about  16 Ah  when I  passed  Hebbal Ind. Area   as  bad  roads  and  lot  of  road  humps  had  used  up  more  power.  The  road  humps  that  we  see  all over  takes  up lot  of  energy   and  small  energy  mobility like  electric assist  trike  suffers  considerably.  My  range  was  reduced  from  about  90 km  to  around  60  km  mainly  because  of  those  two  reasons.  The  reduced  range  and  power failures  like  that happens  frequently in rural  areas  plays  havoc  with  the  planning. 

While  passing  by, I  was alert  about  charging  possibilities  and  remembered  Shreeharsha  whom  I  had  met  once  ten  years  back  and  had  a  bread  factory  there.  So decided  to  see  if  he  is  around  as  I  was  keen  on   battery   charge  and  also work  on  computer. He  was happy  to  see me  and  we  had  nice  time.

First  thing  I  did  was  putting  chargers  to  work.  One  of  them  indicted    FULL  after  maybe  45 minutes  or  so  and  I  had  no  reasons  to  suspect  anything  as  I  had  came  from  Kavalande  to  Nanjangud  in  Single  battery  and  assumed  it  is  same battery.  Much  later  when  I  checked  the  voltage I  found  it  low  and  reason  for  FULL  indication  was  loose  connection.  So  I  had  spend  much  more  time  charging  this  battery  alone  so  that I  can reach  Holenarasipur, about  80 km away.

There  was  little  point  in  having charge  but  not  enough  daylight to  reach  the  goal  and  started  around  1.45 PM  though  the  battery  was  not  yet full.  It  started  to  rain  too but  I  was  fully  prepared  for  that.  I  told  Shreeharsha  that  there  is  discontinuity  in  today’s  GPS  tracks  as  I  did  not  switch  on  while  leaving  Nanjangud   and  just  when  I  about to  leave, he  reminded  me  to  switch it  on.  But  in  next  stop  @  K R Nagara I  Again  forgot  to switch   on  which  resulted  another  discontinuity.  Last  evening  when  I  transferring  the  tracks  to  computer  there  was  low  battery  indication.  Hope  to  buy  another charger in   Hassan  tomorrow   as  single pair    charger  proves  insufficient. 

 I  could  not  bring  camera  out   today  as  it  was  raining in morning, afternoon  and  evening.  Low  illumination  results  in    poor  quality  photographs.  So  this  photo  of  him  reminding  to  switch  on  GPS  was  sent  by  him.  It  also  shows  even  the  flag  which  is  still there  is  not   much   visible.  Second  flag   flew  off  couple  of  days  back  &  only  flagpole  remains  which  I  hope  to  remedy  the  situation   tomorrow  in  Hassan. 

I  reached  K R Nagara  @  3.15  as  roads  were  very  good.    One  good  place where  power is  always  available  is   KPTCL  offices  and so  when  I  saw  their  office  in  the  edge  of  the  town, naturally  I  went  inside.  The  staff  there  was very  nice  and  carried  my trike  over    the steps  into  their  offices.  So  was  there  for  an  hour  topping  up my  batteries.

There     road  is  good  all the  way  upto   Holenarasipur  from  Yelwala.  There  are couple  of  road  humps  but  they  not  too bad.  It  is  fairly  level  upto  K R Nagara  but  after  that there  are  couple  of  hills.  Anyway  by  nightfall  I had  reached  Holenarasipura  and  one  of  the  lodges  had  a  mini  theatre  too in  first  floor.  So trike  was  carried  to  this  mini theatre  for  safekeeping  and  my  room  was  in  second  floor .

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

5th day Climbing Dimbam ghat 98 km

It  was  good  that  I  stayed  in Sathyamangalam  yesterday  as  Bannari  @  foot  of  ghat  section  was  just  13  km  away.   Staying  @  Gobi yesterday  would  have  meant  insufficient  power  for  ghat  climbing  which  consumed  about   10 Ah.   Since lodge  was  in  middle  of  town  there  was  a big  send off   party  mainly  people   curious  about my  trike.  I  had  a leisurely   ride  till Bannari  and  had  a good  breakfast.  I  was bit  scared  as those  13  km  had  consumed  a  quarter  of  my  battery  charge. 

I  cannot  enter  data sometimes  as  I  take readings  later  or  the  batteries  getting  charge  when  I  am  free to  read  data.

Confident  of  climbing  I  started  from  Bannari    @ 9  and  slowly  the  had  the  taste  of  the  ghat  section.  There  are  27 hairpin  bends  which  are  well designed  and  was  easy  negotiate.  Some of  the  strait  parts were  really  steep.  I  wanted  to  stop  to  enjoy  and  take  photographs, but  not  wanting  to  loose  the  momentum   did  not  stop.  Today  there  was  no  knee  pain  but  extra  effort  put  was  noticeable  to  thighs  which was  silent  so  far.

The   road  and  scenery  was  spectacular.  The  road  surface  is  very  good  and  I  had  a  good  idea  of  climbing  ghat  section  by  climbing  Shiradi  and  that  was  very  useful.  I  had  to  be  lookout  for  vehicles  coming  downhill  fast  and  the  one  in  behind  did  not  pose  much  threat  as  they  approach us   slowly.  The  ghat  road  is  very  simlar  to  Agumbe ghat. 

I  was  able  to  reach the  Dimbam  town  @  the  top  of  the  ghat @ 10.30 AM  and  there  happened  to  meet  Raju who  was  a  caretaker   for  a bunglow  &  hails  from  Karnataka.  He  agreed  to  provide  some power  &  the   reverse  phase  was  found  in  first  plug  here  too.  He  said  it  was  recent   addition  to  the  wiring  and  there  was  another  plug  nearby that  was  okayed  by  my  power  strip.  By  that  time  I  went  around  to  take  photographs   but  did  not  take    as  it  was  not  bright  enough  to   my  satisfaction.

Started  from Dimbam  around  115  and  crossed  into  Karnataka  by  1.50 PM.  The  downhill  ride was  thrilling  and  was  very  fast, few times  crossing  40 kmph.  The  road  was  tolerably  good  upto  Chamarajnagar  and  after  that  is  typical  Karnataka  road  and  lot  of  repair  work  going  on.  This  reduced  my reach considerably  and  after  4.30 PM  there  was rain. 

While  waiting  for  rain  to  cease  in  a  roadside  repair  shop   after  covering  the  trike  with  plastic, I  asked  about charging  possibility  only  to  be  told  there was  power cut till 7 PM  and  they  also  mentioned  that  there  is  a  substation  nearby.   There  I  collected  some  power  for  half  hour  from  substation   and  also  a complimentary  tea.  I  also    explored  the  staying  possibilities  with  them  and  they  said  Kavalande  is  10  km ahead  and has  some  possibilities  but  no  lodge.

So   when  I  reached Kavalande  wet  from about 20 minutes  rain  my   first  on  my  list  was  police  station  as  security  for  trike  was  very   important.  They   agreed  to  allow  me  stay  here  and  now  I  am  typing  this  their  record  room  and  tonite  will be  spent  here.  I  am  also  provided  some  ghee rice    plus  bananas  plus  of  course, power  for  my  batteries,  trike, note book computer, camera  and  GPS batteries. 

Total  km  done  today   was   little  less than  100  and  reaching  Nanjangud  meant  meeting  my  target.  Heavy  rains  and  nightfall  prevented  me  from  going  ahead.  It  looks  like  bad  roads, lot  of road  humps  and  power cut  will reduce my  trike  riding  considerably  which  will  be  known  in next  few  days.

The  stay  in  police  station  was  nice &  I  had  record room  all  for  myself.  So opened  my bags  &  spread  out   my  things  all over  the  floor.  The  mat  that  I  carried  was  a good  bed  &  I  had  tolerably  good  sleep.  There  was  power  cut  after  11 PM  as warned  by  Sub Inspector  there  but  by  then  my  trike  battery  was  fully  charged.