Best riding roads: MK Hubli to Yellapur
When we talk about the best riding roads, we always try to give a full route. This one, though, is a fragment of a route. But it's a great one, promise. I discovered it while planning a two-day ride to Chennai, instead of my usual run from Mumbai to Bangalore. The latter is easy for me, 1,000km, 12-14 hours in the saddle. Easy. But this route was very, very interesting indeed. In sum, you turn off the Golden Quadrilateral at MK Hubli, about 20 minutes after you cross Belgaum as you head south. The initial 20-30km are on well-made village roads with the odd broken patch or speedbreaker. And then it really goes mental.
As you hit NH 748, you will notice a change. The road is a wide two-lane undivided carriageway that looks brilliant as it passes through forests. The road isn't completely straight, nor is it particularly twisty. It's interesting and it will keep you smiling. Traffic is extremely light to non-existent and this is sheer bliss.
The closer you get to Dandeli, the more twisty the road gets and here's the fun bit. You're still in the middle of the forest, traffic remains light and the road surface ranges from outrageously good to good enough. This is riding heaven. As you cross Dandeli and head towards Yellapur, the roads only get better. If you're lucky, Google will send you off the main road into narrow forest roads were your engine is the only sound you hear. Until the one truck you will see about every hour or so comes towards you. Brilliant.
The best part is that when you get Dandeli, Yellapur or further down the road, Sirsi, you're still in the forest, the roads are still awesome and you're bang in the middle of some phenomenal roads. Where that is the Anshi Reserve area, west towards Karwar, South East towards Chikmagaluru... There are just so many options.
And yet, if you get tired, you're barely more than 110km from the main four-lane highway at any of these times.
If you are making a plan to head here, remember to make time for the riding rather than rush through the forest on your way to somewhere. You can thank me later.