I’d been longing for a long cycle trip, Corona was just making matters worse. The cycle rutted… However, recently got it fixed with new pair of tires and I was thinking of a route. Mumbai-Pune had been on my mind for a skating trip. But skating is something I hadn’t done since ages and wasn’t practical atleast right now… So wondered… why not cycle. So it started …
A normal google maps routing shows a car route through the expressway. Personally I have been on the old NH-4 (now NH-48) so many times so it seemed a logical choice – smooth roads, known path, fairly straight (without unnecessary by-passes increasing the distance). The trip via Panvel town – Khopoli – Lonavala town showed approximately 150-160kms. Perfect! Not drastically different from the Vandri bicycle ride. Divided it into 4 legs/pitches, 40km each with 2hrs per pitch. Which meant 8-10 hrs of riding.
- Khar – Panvel town ( near Shri Datt Snacks ) – 46km – ~2hrs
- Panvel town – Khopoli (via Chowk, old Mumbai-Pune) – 46km – ~2hrs
- Khopoli – Kamshet (via Lonavala town) – 31km – ~3hrs ? (Has an excruciating ghat section)
- Kamshet – Bavdhan, Pune – 41km – ~2hrs
Saturday, Jan 23, 2021
I’d been constantly visualizing the timings in my mind, and on the day of the journey I woke by 4am. Took a look at my luggage and felt its heavy with the WFH essentials. Got an idea, that I should replace the laptop with an iPad, a few days of office work without VPN should be OK.
Leg 1, 6:15am, to Shri Datt Snacs, Panvel
This route was the most boring. All the route through the city and then through Navi Mumbai and Panvel. At the Kalamboli junction, I ensured I went through the second right turn through Panvel town. No major hiccups here. I reached around 8:30am. I purchased a bottle of water and had a muli-paratha that mom had packed for me. I took off in 10m.
Leg 2, 8.45am, to Khopoli
The route finally got better without a lot of city buildings, however slight ups and downs of the slopes started to seep in. Also encountered the first dog attack just after Panvel, a group of 3-4 dogs charged me barking all the way for a few meters. By the time I reached Khopoli, it was 10am. Around 1.5hrs to cover ~35km, well on time. I was feeling a lot drained as I hadn’t eaten a lot or even had any water after Panvel. I decided to have first go of Electral and tea. I tried having another paratha, but it seemed too dry for my liking. My thighs were already starting to ache. However it wasn’t bad, I knew it was just lack of nutrition for the body. I was quite pumped up, the sun had started to beat down, I decided I’ll make a strong push for Lonavala through the infamous ghat section and post that have more rest and food. In another 15m I was crossing Khopoli.
Leg 3, 10.15am, to Kamshet via Lonavala.
The ghat section started, atleast as I thought, but it was just the start of the climb from Khopoli to Tata power station, which would’ve eventually linked me to the ghat section. The slope was getting steeper by the minute and speed slower that the rate of climb. The nutrition lacked thighs were screaming, the mask was already down that I had sported willingly till Khopoli. Another minute and I was on the largest gear on the bike ensuring highest torque with same power. This was to reduce the effort of climbing. Yet… I thought I was just trudging. I was so slow while riding that my front wheel was constantly wiggling left-right as I was trying to maintain balance due to the slow speed. It reminded me of the slow-cycle-race in schools. This slope seemed to be a perfect pitch for that event! Soon the effort seemed just worthless, as I was hardly progressing along and I decided to hop off and push the cycle ahead.