[Hi there! Unlike all my past posts, this time I’m going to try something new while writing this post. I’m just going to pretend that I’m talking to my cycling partner on the trip – Nupur, recalling the whole experience. Hope you like reading this new style…]
I finally sat down penning my memories from the trip. I don’t think I’d be able to do full justice to the amazing experience but I guess I’ll still give it a try.
I remember how it started with you asking whether I’d be interested in a cycling trip. And without a second thought, I said YES, even before you mentioned where we’d be going!
Each of the places we visited was completely new to me, and so was the excitement.
Remember the first day when we started the ride from Chandni chowk of Pune towards Mulshi?
We started early morning and stopped for breakfast at this Marathi dhaba which served an amazing Puran poli. Did I get the name right? Also that serving of desi ghee from which, I happily ate not just mine but your part of it too! Good thing I don’t worry about putting on weight. 😂
That filling breakfast was finger licking good! Was it the best we had on the trip? Was also good for our tight budget.
Soon after that, we were pushing uphill for the climb along Mulshi lake. Those jaw-dropping views from the top made every uphill pedal totally worth it.
Someone rightly said that the best view comes after the hardest climb…
That dog who ran a half-marathon with our cycles along the beautiful routes through those remote villages?
I swear he was running so close to the cycles that one of us could have easily tipped over. Though I still feel sorry for him to have followed us when we had nothing for him to eat. Poor chap kept following in anticipation.
Or maybe he was just escorting us to make sure we cross that territory safely. We’d never know. How awesome it’d have been, if I had the superpower to understand dog-speak. 😎
As we moved towards Lonavala, there was a downhill diversion bringing us to this dam where we saw our first real heavy downpour.
Those endless buckets of water being poured from somewhere up in the sky. Isn’t this the place where we ditched using the rain jackets? What a blissful place and time it was! Honestly I had even forgot when was the last time I enjoyed rains so much. It felt energizing. Like something with a power to make a dead alive…
So what if this diversion turned out to be the wrong one. Well yeah except the part where we had to ride back steep uphill.
Riding further ahead amidst all that beauty, there was a moment when my stomach did a knock-knock to remind me that it needed refueling. Like urgently. Those few kilometers ride were a real test where I could sense my intestine had started digesting itself just to keep some energy flowing.
That highway we later joined was the much needed silver lining. Was good riding on smooth roads after almost a whole day of riding through the village roads. Icing on the cake were those gorgeous waterfalls which kept us company throughout this stretch.
Finally we arrived at a roadside dhaba where, being extremely hungry, I lost count of how many vada paavs we had. I think this is when I finally got used to, and accepted vada paavs as a proper meal. Yeah I guess it is indeed something one can actually survive on.
Climbing further towards Lonavala we met this heavy fog with negligible visibility. Not to mention that sudden rush of all those people which was a stark contrast to the region we earlier rode through where we barely saw anyone for hours.
As soon as we reached Lonavala, the “buckets” followed us again and we quickly looked up a hotel which would be our resting place. And remember that generous man at the reception, who, on seeing these two cyclists coming in the heavy rain, gave us a good discount, which in his own words was out of the respect for what we were up to.
And with a much needed rest, we finally called it a day! Hot shower, a massage with that magic oil, while recalling what a great day it had been, brings a joy of victory. Well celebrated with an awesome meal followed by chocolate, and a good night’s sleep excitedly looking forward to the next day of adventure…
[The hike + run to Rajmachi fort, the phones getting waterlogged one by one, and a lot more all the way to chasing the flight in Goa on cycles, to be continued…]