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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