Its a Sunday afternoon, nice snooze has happened (on account of the Sassy Spoon Breakfast Ride), and methinks, what have I left from this past week’s list of pet projects, that didn’t see light of day, for some reason or another? Mentat kicks in….,I said I would complete the series I am writing on the ride last Sunday. Last Sunday! Late. Better late than never.
For some reason or the other, I’m always the tail and end up having to do extended sprints to catch up to the spearheading pack, and its no different after the visit to the school at Alibaug.
We had just said our goodbyes to the team that was headed back to Bombay, and 16 of us made our way to Alibaug, for a change this time we do know where we are headed. Alibaug is about 8-10 kms from our pit stop at Awaas. Long story short, I do catch up, and the kids in the group follow my lead and do the sprint with me.
En route we run into Rahul Mulaney, an avid BMX guy and cyclist. Wave each other down, stop the dash, and we shoot the gowans, introduce the kids to the experienced Rahul, and learn that he’s informed Faisal that he’s going to meet us somewhere along the way to Alibaug. He’s staying the weekend with friends, and rode out to meet us.
Now our illustrious Faisal of Pro 9 fame, has this penchant to stop en route and partake in delicacies the road has to offer, and so we wait for about 20 odd minutes, for the rest to catch up. Where were they? Sipping some cold sugarcane juice, whereas we are on this sprint. Much needed, I say, its around 10.30/11 AM and the sun is beating down hard, AND its summertime! We had to skip.
Rahul suggests, that the beach at Alibaug is crowded, and instead we consent to ride down to Varsoli beach, and we are on our way down the 2-4 km stretch to Varsoli. We hit Varsoli a few minutes later, via a meandering road. Not much to see, just another beach, but there is something about being near the water, that is always soothing. Besides the shore is covered in shade from the tall trees.
Destination Alibaug is still on the cards, and so when someone tells us that there is a shaded path all the way from Varsoli to Alibaug, we buy in (read – get conned), and after a short break, head down the path. Rahul has to get back to his friends, and so he heads off to. A very short ride later, we discover the con. The path meanders back to one of the roads leading to the main Alibaug beach. So much for shortcut in the shade. Indeed! Still working out the kinks in WordPress, You Tube videws don’t embed, and I’m not even using the free service! So I had to provide a hyperlink to my Youtube channel. Hey, I’m not publicizing anything, it all WordPress.
See, we are all city folk, and any old ride out of the metrop, holds promise, and so we bitch and moan about the heat and such interesting stuff, but always yearn for that getaway. This was just another one of them.
Alibaug beach is well very Alibaug, and like most other beaches in India, dirty, crowded, and so when the Delhiwalli (Vamini), said that this was a big let down, I wasn’t surprised. I was so tempted to say, well, if we had done the ride to Kashid, you would have seen a much cleaner beach, and none of this Alibaug disappointment would have happened. I desist, I’m over it. More on the Delhiwallaha’s a bit later. Ought to be a law, when Delhiwallaha’s come to Bombay, don’t compare Bombay to Delhi.
We ride up and down the beach and finally figure there isn’t a spot to hang out, and finally we figure out a Hotel about 2 km out from the bus stand. That’s where we head, it has a pool, which we finally never got to use, but find a place to rest and chill, we did.
Rested, food intake, plenty to drink (mostly soft), no pool. Something about the management asking us to book three rooms for a couple of hours @ INR 4500. We are cyclists, ain’t no suckers. Give it a miss. Settle monies owed, mostly to Sandeep who has bankrolled us until this point.
Last ferry back to Bombay from Mandwa is at 6, so we decide to head out at about 3ish. Its blistering hot. We break into three groups, the first are the boys and me, Veer, Vivaan, James, one other kid whose name slips my mind.
The kids do us proud, especially Veer who leads all the way at a cracking pace, followed by James and self, taking turns at pipping each other in pursuit of Veer. Finally, the last leg is uphill, coming up to the jetty. Veer finishes strongly, I follow and then James. Rest come in, all accounted for, and we assemble and have time to kill till the ferry.
Then we have discovery, some new establishments have opened up on the jetty, and Sandeep suggests that we all go there. Fantastic place, great view, more refreshments (mostly soft), and then The Faisal comes and rushes us, no reservations, so we have to stand in line, else we miss the ferry, and will end up waiting for another hour before we can leave.
Of course, more photographs …. photos are an absolute must.
These Deli peoples have to be dealt with. Making all sorts of comments about how the Bombay peoples are all flash and post rides that show up at an average speed of 17 kmph! Ouch!!! True, but Ouch!!! That really hurts. I say cancel their passports to be in Bombay, pack them off! Heh heh. But on a serious note, I totally get what they were on about. Riding in the precincts of Delhi is great, less traffic in the morning, super roads, good speeds are just so much more possible. This establishment on the jetty was a saving grace, as is the hospitality, enthusiasm, and warmth of the Bombay riders. Vamini, Anchit, will ride with you guys anytime, anyplace, Bombay – Delhi hardly matters.
Faisal works his magic and gets us onto the ferries with minimal waiting. We have to split up into two groups, but we all get on within minutes of each other, and we head back.
The water is choppy now, and the boats a’rocking. The journey takes over an hour instead of the 45 minutes it should take, and we are back where we started off from, good ole “Aamchi Mumbai”. Dammn, I said it, Mumbai.
Some take the train, some ride, we all split up, back to our grind, Monday morning the next day, back to work. But, not before Veer, James, Faisal and I manage that one last sprint from Gateway to Bandra, Juhu and Kalina. That was an awesome ride, ripping through traffic, in tight formation, totally focussed and disciplined riders.
Great company, great teamwork, super riders, great cause, can hardly wait for the next one! Kudos to all. Thanks guys and girls, you are all super. Viva La Fraternity of Cyclists, what a fantastic bond.