Train Tickets to Churchgate & Back – Rs.260.
Ferry from Gateway to Mandwa & Back – Rs.230.
Lunch at Kashid - Rs.175.
Seagulls at an arms distance escorting our ferry & the Ride with 7 eager riders
What a Ride!
8 riders met up at Gateway in the wee hours of Saturday, 9th Jan.
As soon as the ferry left the jetty, a flock of seagulls took over the boat…almost making an umbrella overhead…they were flying as close as two feet away from our reach…all along the boat ride…Magical!
Reached Mandwa, the weather was just perfect & filling our lungs with fresh country air, we started our ride. An hour long riding took us to Alibaug. By now we had already left 20km behind us; thanks to the beautiful country side and the prospect of some good breakfast the ride seemed effortless. Here Obaid took charge as he made sure that we don’t descend to the regular, he led us to a quaint bakery in the back roads of Alibaug… This old world bakery looked like it had some history. I am sure some day many many years ago Mr.Angray & Mr.Shivaji must have met here over some tea & hot baked bread.
The Nankhatai, Muffins & Puffs that we gorged on, lived up to the aroma of the place.
Reminding ourselves that 80kms still lay ahead, we started towards Kashid, leaving Alibaug behind. From here the ride took us to Nagoan & Revdanda, laid back coastal villages…along the way we heard a sprinkling of comments & questions from curious locals, “kuthun aale”, “Kashyla karta hey”, “race aahe ka”…? (Where have you all come from, why are you doing this, is there a race…?)
With 40km behind us we crossed the Revdanda creek bridge. By now Manu, Obaid & the wonder kid Niranjan were gracefully leading the pack. My runner’s knee kicked in and I was mostly peddling with my right leg but still hanging on to the lead group. Chandra with his little red bike used to make an occasional appearance and bring a smile to our faces.
This was also the end of flat riding. Though from here on the ride was all along the sea, there were a series of gradual climbs with some treeless patches.
The climbs were in an ascending degree of difficulty with the super climb of over 1.5-2km right at the end, but honestly they were really enjoyable. The roll down after the last climb was worth all the effort…and without a single peddle we reached our destination – Kashid Beach.
12:30 in our watches, 55km on bike computers, exhausted faces, famished bellies & tempting beach hammocks, too much to process. Well the mind won over the heart and we left our inviting breezy hammocks for some lunch.
Lunch was basic; fresh Surmai rawa fry with some travel stories…
And to make it perfect Obaid pulled out some chocolates from his goodie bag.
Tejaswita, the week old but determined rider, so wanted to take a power nap on the beach hammocks but the boys bullied her into start riding back. In retrospect we could have swung on the hammocks for a little more time…sorry Tejaswita…
So 2:15 we started from Kashid with a steep climb right up front and 55km ahead of us. Though the climb was steep it was short and once that was over…all the others seemed like a cakewalk. Manu & I led till Ravedanda through the climbs averaging 21-22kmph. With a total of 70+ Km behind us, my left knee had swollen and the right one started giving in to the extra pressure.
We took a break at Revdanda police post & waited for the rest to come. Soon zipped in Obaid and a little while later followed Chandra looking confused at a crossroad. Chandra was happy to spot us & the cops were amused by the all red Chandra & his small red bike. Moments later we saw the rest follow on the back of a tempo. For riders who were really tired and wanted to skip the climbs I thought that was a good idea.
So we regrouped at Revdanda and started to ride back again. Manu, Obaid & Niranjan clearly exhibited their capacity and experience while the others started looking at their watches and were skeptical about making to the jetty in time. Tejaswita, Sunny & Sachin after totaling 65-70 km decided to get on the tempo. I rode with Chandra for another 10km & then surrendered to my pain. Chandra too folded his bike and we waited for the tempo.
At that moment I felt very bad about not completing the ride but later thanked myself for stopping just in time. (Was in acute pain by the time I got home, doctor has suggested that I get an MRI done to assess the extent of damage.)
Obaid rode all the way to his farm from Alibaug, while Manu & Niranjan reached us at the jetty one hour before the last ferry. Hats off to them….!
The Ride came a full circle when, on the boat, the seagulls escorted us back to Gateway…this time flying even closer than morning. Like they know us now…. :) All tired and sitting on the deck floor with the setting sun we looked back at our day with fondness…
Guys can we please have some picture support… wink!!!
Manu – Superman of a rider. He rode from Vashi - Gateway, Mandwa - Kashid – Mandwa & Gateway – Vashi …Totaled 200km & still had a smile on his face…WOW what a rider…great guy!
Obaid – Yet another great rider…Very very graceful…He finished the entire ride & rode back to his farm…not sure but he must have crossed 130-140 km…Super cool dude…!
Niranjan – Wonder Kid..! Only 21… In a challenge to fight asthma he got on to the saddle. Asthma is history now… Niranjan out performed all of us with his stamina. Never saw him off his cycle except when we were eating.
Chandra - Man with a small cycle (Dahon) and a Big heart…! This Indonesian gentleman was apprehensive about his little folding bike. But his passion for cycling got him all the way from Powai to Kashid…! What a brave heart…!
Red bike, red suit, red helmet & a crackling sound of laughter never failed to bring a smile on our faces…
Sunny – Standing at 6.4’’ Sunny should have been bowling for India… His stride & stance are a witness to my claim. A banker by profession Sunny is a gentleman. Always smiling…!
Tejaswita – Just a week old rider, Tejaswita impressed us all by her will to take on a 110km ride. Not only that…she was always with the pack & never got left behind by herself…! Resilient girl…!
Sachin - Working late nights for over a week Sachin was a bit under the weather. Infact, at1am, night before the ride he typed a text, that he won’t be able to make it... but after some contemplation he deleted the message. I am glad he did that. It was really nice riding with him. A Black Belt with a Cool head …!
Ashraf – And myself a free freelancer. Not sure what my next job is… Also battling with a runner’s knee condition…