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.

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