Category Archives: Bicycling

Mumbai Goa Cycle Trip: Ghats assert their existence

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Mumbai Goa Cycle Trip

Dec 1, 2013 – Day 2 to Anjarle Beach

Time Place
7.50am left Diveagar
9.30am Shrivardhan beach
10.15am to Harihareshwar
11.30am Harihareshwar
1.15pm to Bagmandla
1.40pm Bagmandla jetty
2.40pm Bankot jetty
3.15pm Velas
3.30pm Kelshi, north of creek
4.15pm South of creek
5.30pm Anjarle beach
Surya ‘Salman’ Singh riding near Srivardhan

It was my first time that consecutively I was gonna do another 60km+ stretch on cycle. Bum a little sore, but doable.. The lovely small ghats enroute to Shrivardhan via Aaravi was morning bliss. Surya getting some Salman Khan styled photos (also read as without T-shirt).

We halted at Shrivardhan for ATM, coconut water etc and headed towards Harihareshwar, just as long the name is.. so seemed the distance. The ghat to Harihareshwar was never ending, the worst part – heat! Konkan doesn’t honour Dec. 1. Heat stays and so does the humidity. Puru’s cycle and its bag weight too show what is extra / unneeded at such a trip. We had to stop on the ghat under a tree where we felt we couldn’t move ahead without some Glucon-D. The ghat had started post a dry barren flat road which had the sun drain us out. We reached fairly early at Harihareshwar, 11.15am. But we felt we had travelled 100km+ thanks to the Konkan terrain and the sun.

Enjoying under a tree near Bagmandla Jetty, Harihareshwar

Post food we moved towards Bagmandla jetty, where the govt. ferry service would’ve made us wait for more than an hour, the private one was earlier. Opting for it, we waited for it under a banyan tree, a typical tree with a peripheral wall around it so that travellers like us could rest. It was there where we found our ‘guide’ or rather a misguide. He said that we could go to Kelshi (our scheduled day-2 destination) via a shortcut, then Ganpatipule was just 40km ahead of it !!! Yes you guys read it right he said Ganpatipule. When that Ganpatipule distance came out his mouth, I knew he wasn’t to be believed. He kept talking, friends, bullet riders, etc. Of all the crap that he gave us, two things were right – Bagmandla to Bankot, You change districts, Raigad to Ratnagiri and there was a ferry (boat) ride at Kelshi and a huge huge shortcut!

Bankot, Ratnagiri. We had crossed into the famous Alphonso mango district. Guys on the ferry had warned us that ferry at Kelshi was not to be relied on. They said luck could help us get through. We still believed and kept asking the local fishermen about it, they were happy enough to send us that route, बोटी मिळतील, We would get boat rides.. Bankot to Velas we had to walk, climb on footsteps through a sea side terrain of rocks, sand, beach and get on to the road which connected Velas.

Coming down the hill from Velas towards Kelshi ferry point

Ahead of Velas was another ghat, rocky, full of red stones, red sand and bad roads. The decent was a full speed one, our suspensions just mildly protecting our frames and our shoulders, but Surya’s thirst for a down-hill full speed decent knew no boundaries, bad roads, steep slopes, incoming traffic, nothing stopped him.

Down the hill, we were straight at a creek. We couldn’t see any jetty! all we saw was some fisherwomen getting off the trucks, tempos, tuktuks and walking straight into the ferry. We asked one for Kelshi, she pointed us straight towards a small village across the creek. The sand/soil was too wet to walk with shoes, we tied them on our cycle frames and walked into the creek. It was lovely! Our cycles, us and a huge tropical Konkan scenery. We were thrilled to get to this end and already said that this crossing was ‘पैसा वसूल’ part. A boatman just had taken a woman on the otherside and while rowing, he shouted that he’ll be back, just wait. When back, what we saw was not really possible. In his small boat, we had to cram 3 cycles and 4 people. The boat all by itself was something of a canoe and just as much of imbalance with such a payload.But Mr. Abbas, was confident and led us through and even posed for our cameras while we toiled to keep the boat aflot.

The most beautiful crossing we had, we walked about 15min in wet sand, shoes hanging on the cycle to get near small boat ferrying people across either side of creek at Kelshi

The small boat ride of less than 10mins led us to Kelshi village, probably my ancestors’ home. A girl helped us clean our foot in her backyard and then we rode through our 2nd favourite road types, cycling through narrow village roads, winding up and down houses, small shacks, etc. We reached Anjarle beach again during sundown and decided that would be our stop for the day. We had 10 उकडीचे मोदक (rice flour steamed encapsulating coconut with jaggery – konkan sweet dish) as well at dinner 😀

Day in numbers

  • Distance: 56km
  • Ghats: 3 normal + 1 Big
  • Cycling Time: 5:15hrs
  • Water Rides: 2
  • Relaxation Time: 3.30hrs

Mumbai Goa Cycle Trip: It Starts …

This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series Mumbai Goa Cycle Trip

Nov 30, 2013 – Day 1 to Diveagar

Time Place
5.45am Churchgate station, Mumbai
6.00am Gateway of India / Apollo Bunder, Mumbai for Ferry
7.40am Left Madve jetty for Alibaug
8.40am Alibaug
9.10am left for Kashid
11.15am Kashid Beach
12.15pm Left for Murud
1.30pm Murud
4.15pm to Dighi
4.40pm Dighi
6.00pm Diveagar

Rewdanda Bridge

The first day – From Madve to Alibag we covered almost 20km in an hour. This made us very optimistic of our distance covering abilities.. only that this route didn’t have any ghats. After पोहा at Alibag, we moved on towards Kashid, which had a ghat just before Kashid beach invited us with its beauty. Our first ghat of the ride and it took our breaths out ! we relaxed for almost an hour at Kashid beach on hammocks sipping coconut water.

coming down to Rajapuri jetty

Murud wasn’t far away, we reached by lunch time had a lunch on the sea-side hotel overlooking the bright beach ahead of us. Our original stop was at Murud but since we were this early at our destination, we thought we should move on further, Diveagar. The ferry at Rajapuri made us wait for almost an hour. This hour though was well spent, interacting with the individuals, checking the routes, ferry rides, etc. It was here that we got to know that a ferry exists down south of Harihareshwar at Bagmandla to Bankot (Thank god, it exists! Else we would’ve required another 100km+ to reach Velas beach side). We commenced our 2’nd ferry of our ride, Rajapuri, Murud to Dighi. The road from Dighi was bad, period. It didn’t improve till we climbed the first ghat just next to the Dighi jetty, came down when it improved.. Diveagar was there almost by the setting sun, evening in its prime. We looked for room to stay, and day 1 was done.

Day in Numbers

  • Distance: 90km
  • Ghats: 2 normal sized
  • Cycling Time: 6:15 hours
  • Water Rides: 2
  • Relaxation / Enjoyment Time: ~3:30 hrs

 

Mumbai Goa Cycle Trip: Planning

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series Mumbai Goa Cycle Trip

Mumbai – Goa Cycle Trip Itinenary

  1. Sat, Nov 30, to Murud, 80km
  2. Sun, dec 1, to Kelshi (appox.), 90km ?
  3. Mon, dec 2, to guhagar, hedavi, etc , 75km to 90km
  4. Tue, dec 3, to Ratnagiri, 80km,
  5. Wed, dec 4, to padel, 77km
  6. Thu, dec 5, to malvan / tarkarli, 60 ~ 70 km
  7. Fri, dec 6, Local Sindhudurg, Malvan, sightseeing…
  8. Sat, dec 7, to aarambol, GOA, 75km

Map / Route


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Costs

  • Lodging / Stay – Appox ₹ (1000 / 3 ) x 8 = ₹ 2700
  • Food
    • ₹100 / meal x 2 x 8 = ₹1600
    • Biscuits, etc – ₹500
  • Water – 4 litres x ₹20 (mineral/bisleri/aquafina) x 8 = ₹640
  • Cycle Accessories
    • Carrier
    • Gel Seat – ₹700
    • Handlebar Ends (सिंगड़ा as the cyclewalla put it) – ₹150
    • Misc – ₹300
  • Return Bus Ticket – ₹ 700

Summary

  • Distance : 580 km
  • Costs: ₹8000
  • Hours on cycle: 60hrs+
  • and burning ass …

Matheran on pedal-power

Jun 22, 2013

The new cycle was in need of a long trip, rains as another occasion, Matheran the destination. Me and Surya boarded CST local with our cycles and got down at Vadala to change our train for Panvel. The rains were intermittent and it was cloudy and slightly breezy, A lovely weather for cycling one would say.

Only for our disappointment – At Panvel, the sun turned rogue, the rains few hours before just adding to the humidity levels. By the time we reached ‘Shri Datta Snacks’ at the NH-17, NH-4 junction, we were wet, sweaty, dirty (thanks to mudguard-less cycles) and out of hope!

Luckily post the vada-pav session, the weather went sober a good cloud cover and dry with some rains to be seen far aside – Perfect for cycling. The left at Karjat junction at Chowk led us to up and down roads with its similar frequenting rains. Another left and 7kms at the junction took us to the base of Matheran.

A pit stop was mandatory – there was a 7km continuous and steep climb that we intended to do on our cycles. Yet another vada-pav and chai and we thought our batteries were charged enough. Just 5 mins of climbing probably few hundreds of meters and the Duracell-legs were out so were the lungs. Had some water and hopped back on to go another few hundred meters and we lost to the incline. The rains were on-off but our body was completely off. We walked along with the bikes and reached ‘Jummachatti’, Matheran’s toy train station. We needed more in our bellies and blood than just vada-pav. So we hogged on some sweet, cream biscuits trying to build the glucose levels. Surya asked the shop vendor how further was Matheran, where he replied…

और ४-५ km होगा, अभी तक तोह सीधा रासता था, अब चढाई शुरू होगी !!

Surya and I were just laughing at that. But he was right, the next set of turns and climbs were the most difficult. But there were some waterfalls that were welcoming. Where ensured we cooled down our warm bodies even in the rainy hills.

At Matheran, we were not even allowed to take our cycles along, we parked them in the toll-office’s godown.

Down the hill

Next day’s ride back down was a thrilling experience. At 9.8 m/s2, the acceleration is way to high even for a dud powerless cycle. There was not a moment when we had not slammed our brakes hard down the hill, When we reached the base, the palms, wrists were aching thanks to hardy slopes of Matheran.

The back journey was yet again via NH-4 to Panvel. Our initial plan was to ride back to Mumbai, but weather had something else in store. Just as the previous day. It was hot, humid, sunny, sweaty. We decided against our Mumbai ride, and boarded the trains. But the pressing, crowded train made us think – Next time a ride even in the heat would be easier and comfortable option than the train commute.

Route / Travelling Directions


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60 km of bicycle ride through nothern Mumbai

May 18, 2013

The ride that started off from relatively clean smelling areas of Mumbai, Khar, Andheri, etc.. It started stinking (fish, drying prawns, etc) till we reached Goregaon. And by the time we reached Marve, we thought we were already used to the bad stench. The pass-through from Marve to Madh was the worst of all. Me and Surya thought we were gonna throw up.

Even though as it might suggest, the ride itself was not bad. Literally enjoying the sights, smell and sounds of the local life. Most of the route was well paved (tar – luckily) and was an absolute joy to pedal along the hills.

Riders

  • Rutu (Montra Rock)
  • Surya (Firefox Pro-Runner)
  • Swapnil (RockRider)
  • विनय और पुरू ने हमे टांग दी

Time: 0430 – 1015 (6 hrs appox)

Route


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