26 th January 16
Prelude : Rupesh is trying to fix the hollow pipe /rod on my cycle. I am not convinced . “You just can not fix a hollow pipe with ropes, there are so many jerks , roads are bad.” Rupesh rides on cycle , gives me a demo with national flag duly hoisted on the wooden stick which is fixed in the hollow pipe
Today: It’s 4.30 am and I am up. I have 1.15 hours to get ready (including bath) and do some mobility exercises and warm up.
Today is going to be a long ride (and with some halt at the turning point) so it’s going to take 4 to 5 hours. I have taken precautions with food and have drank water. For long distance running or long cycle ride one should not have heavy tummy or an active food pipe.
Feeling is good as I recheck my national flag arrangement.
By the time I reach Borivli national park the pole attached with ropes has found it’s own freedom. Hey it’s republic day.
Even though few appreciate this kind of enthusiasm (………..oh I love my country ….may be with subtext” more than you “….)
I am advised not to re fix as for a long ride .
BNP is our meeting point and start point.
Soon we all move on western express highway towards dahisar check naka.
Many of the cycles have tail lights, head lights . If this was not enough many helmets have flashing lights.
Is it the brain power flashing in these early morning hours?
This is the only PJ* I can think at this hour.
( * PJ : poor/popular joke )
Soon we cross dahisar check naka and I cross my farthest distance on cycle on this side of highway.
It’s still dark. The western express highway has a continuous traffic noise. It’s cold, luckily I am wearing protective thin woolen.
Soon I developed a mild headache which goes only when we reach the green zone.
Vinod, Pradeep, Udeshi are periodically checking on the progress of the cyclists in our group.
Once on Uttan road, I start feeling good. Temperature in this zone is couple of degree lower than the areas which are left behind. Breeze is rejuvenating
The flyover at maxis mall is the only fly over I take.
Our interesting climb is road leading to maharshtra judiciary academy . it’s a killer hill climb.
I recall our own run on the same route .
The group stops at the junction of manori-gorai for quick bites of street food.
Rajesh pulluwar shows interesting paraphernalia attached cycle.
He has a small music box attached to his front rod streaming out Indian classical music.
Soon we resume on gorai-manori route.
As we pass by a small bakery, a strong aroma of freshly baked bread takes me down the memory lane .
(We used to hang around “ royal bakery “ on M.G Road, pune during the baking time of bread. )
We pass by a wedding ceremony more like a baarat ( being east Indian custom I can not relate to the ceremony )
At many places east Indians are out in best attire. It’s almost as if we are cycling on Sunday morning and everyone is out for Sunday mass.
Around 3 km before manori , we take off the road trail.
It passes by a dargah, we have to get off our cycles and push or lift them ( costlier the cycle , easy to lift )
Soon we are near a cliff ( not very deep ) but breathtaking. Pradeep has been to these areas many times. “If you hike further you will reach even better place than this ‘’ he says.
There is already one group of cyclists.
I leave my cycle and go near the cliff. It’s wonderful , one can easily spend few hours doing nothing….just sit and observe.
Best place for solitude.
We are all called for national anthem.
Some one has worked out this part with little more care.
He plays the national anthem : instrumental version.
It’s almost like one of those movie theatre version.
Moment the tune starts , everyone starts reciting the national anthem .I close my eyes and join the chorus.
The tune and our chorus leaves a happy feeling at the end.
It’s a beautiful setting.
We could have continued singing few more patriotic songs ( with max chorus ) , but it’s neither my initiative nor I know many of the cyclists.Only those who know me may pardon my ever green group theme….involve maximum when you are out as a group.more the participation , more is the sense of belonging to the group and the cause.
Except my runners friends, I do not know many.
Soon our “Pahiya” group conducts an informal meeting.
“Pahiya” is celebrating 1st anniversary .
- It was started an year ago by Vinod, Pradeep, Nitin …….soon Neel, Udeshi, Rajesh joined.
- Udeshi and Rajesh are stars of the group.
- Udeshi has participated in many international cycling events .
A charter is read out by Neel.
Soon discussion shifts to RCM??/
I do not follow much , but realize it’s more like what is “ comrade runs” for running community.
Soon 120 km to 200 km target cycling events are discussed.
“Every Wednesday will be group cycling”
“Monthly once will be a long distance ride”
Are important decisions spelled out.
I have a mix feeling. I am not part of Pahiya , but still I was expecting more ( all our problems are only due to expectations !!!!)
*May be some informal introduction of all the cyclists (it’s obvious that few are known but to know about their passion for cycling can be motivating.
* dos and don’ts of cycling
*Pre and post cycling care of your body : mobility exercises, warm ups, stretching etc
* typical mistakes done by new comers and typical injuries .
*in running we talk about being a recreation runner…something similar….what is fitness cum fun cycling and when does it become serious and crazy hobby/passion
…………………………..and may be more……`
Post meeting the whole group splits into two
Group 1 : will do full monty ..i.e they will take the same route back and complete around 50 km
Group 2 : will touch manori and go back to west by boat from gorai jetty.
I join the group which is doing the full loop.
As we are coming back the primary aim of most of us is to ride fast.
The simple truth “ for a long distance ride , one must have a good quality bike ( with more than good budget )” is easily established as experienced bikers move zoom past me.
Overall I do find my foldie (folding cycle) ok . I have bought this primarily to explore Mumbai mission. I may attempt selected group cycling tours.
It’s clear if I also end up chasing those high numbers then I will have to go for better bike.
Pradeep and Vinod give me special company at Shiv sagar Restaurant where I have idli along with really good sambhar on main mira road to kashimira road.
They have had their food, but wait for me till the time I finish mine.
I decide not to go for 2nd round.
Vinod volunteers to wait for Punit and Sree as Pradeep and me ride on.
The western express highway has traffic but things are moving.
As Pradeep is with me, I am able cover the distance faster .
I reach home beyond my expected time.
By the time I reach my housing complex, the republican day’s events are over.
( few of the photos : courtesy pahiya friends )