Trio Magic rides to Mahabaleshwar

After Solo Mumbai ride, Mahabaleshwar was next on target! Mahableshwar ride was indeed a maha-ride in all sorts! Like I said before we commenced, it really doesn’t matter how the route might be or whatever time it takes, when we have ultra super biker Pankaj and Kaka biker alongwith, no matter whatever happens the ride is gonna be Rocking full of food and fun guaranteed !! And indeed, it was an epic ride of 2009, something I had really like to cherish about 09!  

We started over as – Biker Pankaj, Trilok, Salis and me. Got a little late, all thanks to the chilling winters ;) So, after meeting up at Rajaram bridge at 6.20, we flagged off our journey! Crossed over the from sinhgad road flyover, joined over Pune-Mumbai bypass and eventually to b'lore highway.

Going on further, we had loads of fun elements lined up- be it fueling yourself(read: food breaks) every now and then, great encounter with Khambatki Ghat, puncture just after traversing Ghat, or be it a 4 wheeler running off one of our cycles resulting in front rim turnout, or be it fun joyous longride up giant Pasarni Ghat(17kms ascend)! Finally reached over Panchagani by 7 after a ordeal of events, that kept us absorbed all day long! Well, finding a budget place in the midst of holiday season (i.e. 26th Dec) wasnt any easy! But when bikers are on for anything, they get it right anytime. So, did we! After a amazing dinner at Gokul, a round of icecreams and strawberry creams to top up...

Next day started off for Mahabaleshwar, but to make it all interesting, cycle punctured yet again. This time around, fixed it all quickly. Cycling through those green vadiyas that too early chilling mornings was simply very earthly feeling.. too freshening indeed! Reached Venna lake and further into the market area. Made some purchases and yet again started of with more strawberries, creams, icecreams..and not to forget mapros, made it all more of a foodie ride...a distinct flavor to the ride! All thanks to Pankaj for adding such a distinct flavor:)
Well, here are some factual data one must* know...

- How to budge Khambatki Ghat? -take a tunnel route & ride against the one way traffic...deadly dark cycling though you save a major climb..simply speaking go to Maut ka tunnel, as quoted by Pankaj! :D
- What are the after-effects* of beer and milk?...a ultra super biker becomes a ultra super hiker!:P
- What takes 120 mins to climb, takes hardly 9 mins to descend! (@Pasarni Ghat) thts the magic of cycling!!
- What makes a small journey big? Have loads of food breaks...:D
- When do Cycle Punctures? when you are planning for a it lunch or breakfast! wonder whether it understands when its master needs a break!:P
- Want a High? Go cycling with crazy hungry bikers...:)

(click over the route & icons in map for more information about tour incidences...)

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Cycling Solo to Mumbai

Well the plan was to go Goa Dec month end and Mumbai was never in the plan. But to set -in the rhythm, after cycling Sinhagad a week earlier, thought of continuing ahead and going-in to Mumbai! After checking with folks in my group, it was kinda difficult for anyone on such notice to join in, so thought of going on solo itself. Though I knew it had be a little crazy but given the last couple of months, work etc, something of a little more intensity was a must required, to give myself a kick & get going! Just packed up some eatables, first aid and puncture repair kit and here I was all ready to embark onto my first solo long distance cycling tour!

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Started up sharp at 5.20 on very the morning of 20th Dec. Riding continuously through NH4 crossing Pimpri Chinchwad, Nigdi, Dehu Road, Talegaon, Vadgaon...reached over Lonavala at around 8.30. Obviously, riding solo is not all the same! It's altogether different experience be it cycle related issues, sleepiness or simply zero mind state! Though the first couple of kms 30-40 kms is a difficult task especially once you are out of civilization but once the rhythm sets in, most of the things are taken care of!
The route : Pune to Lonavala can be gauged as easy to moderate in terms of cycling; not enough climbs though gets a little monotonous as it gets closer to Panvel! Took 3 hours of pretty easy continuous cycling to cover off around 65kms to Lonavala. A must deserved break was necessary there as I didn't had any breakfast up in the mornings! Feed myself some Medu wada sambar and chai up there at some hotel just next to the Neeta hotel. Met a hiking group- 360 degree adventure who were planning to go in for trekking nearby Lonavala. Had a couple of chats with those guys. 

Moving ahead, I sped over the Khopoli Ghat slope. And that was the expressway patch! It That was indeed the highlight of the tour! ..not just becoz' of speeds but for the awful experience of riding alongwith trucks and buses! After crossing Khopoli, it's more so a flat ground and struggle to ride a mountain bike on asphalt under sun! Its indeed a test of patience! Cycling along the relatively much flat road renders nothing much, and that too riding alongwith the trucks and buses makes you sick of it. I touched the civilization of Mumbai by 11 or so...but going on was getting tougher as sun was baking me over more & more. A coconut water at Panvel soothed me up. Indeed it was amazing! The strange faces did sort of greet me, wondering what the crazy person is doing riding the bike on busy highways! Indeed it was a crazy getaway that too on MTB not meant for asphalt touring! Further the distance from Panvel to Vashi was jam packed full of traffic and flyovers. Ultimately, reached over Vashi, my destination for the Mumbai, by quarter to noon.
Definitely, that was good test of stamina, patience and cycling obviously! And this solo ride developed a new outlook towards cycling for me. May be cycling as a means to vacuum your mind! Also like to quote one of the lines of my dear friend , he says,"In solo cycling, body and mind feeds mutually; it is the body that feeds mind when that becomes tired!".
Solo cycling is an experience to cherish about, but it has its own sweet as well as sour tastes to it, its upto us to choose the taste & experiment with the cuisine! :P

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Power packed December!

What I believe is what we carry along with is no money, no people, no material but a loads of memories along the path of life to places, countries, forests for that matter any new horizons...So, if we carry these memories, why not build good ones of those, anyways they are getting manifested every moment ; either we chart out or allow it to get charted out :)

Well, the point here is that, I realized this at the very end of 09...December that I don't really have anything great, positive,significant or intense to remind me of this very year. So, charted out a rough plan...and just executed it! Well, the plan was...

1st Sunday: Pune Marathon (Great run of 10kms)

2nd Sunday: Solo cycling to Sinhagad (first solo though not far but was test of stamina definately!)

 3rd Sunday: Solo cycling to Pune to Mumbai (Good experience..awesome slope after Khopoli at Xpressway!)

4nd Weekend: Cycling to Mahabaleshwar (Awesome ride indeed till date of late 2009 esp. becoz' of Great trio of Biker Pankaj, Trilok and myself)

Last 3 days:  Paragliding Course at Kamshet (Got P1 certified...Nothing better than flying in AIR celebrating 31st!:)

Indeed it was pretty power packed closure to the year 2009! And today I stand and feel great about these moments may be just for a moment though! :)
Well...that's the way it goes, what we can do is just try to supersede the lower moments and churn out better moments, I guess! Its kinda Moment Management as they might say in corporates! ;)

Anyways, Adios!
Have A Great, Happening and Full of Energy and Enthusiasm packed year ahead!

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