I started cycling 7 months ago. I invested almost all of my weekends post monsoon in cycling. First I participated in Cyclothon which was held somewhere in April. I had borrowed my friend's cycle - Hercules Sport (18 geared). I was cycling after a gap of around 15 years. I saw many good cycles during the cyclothon event. I decided buy one without worrying much on budget. Started my research & purchased Hybrid bike - Schwinn Sporterra Comp. The bike comes with Disc breaks. Then cycling was stopped during the monsoon.
Well monsoons were done & I was back on my seat. I started with cycling from Vile Parle East till Colaba & back. At that time I used to think it is a great achievement. But gradually the cycling took me over completely. I discovered the joy of cycling outside Mumbai.
I did rides till thane, Neral, Virar, Vasai etc. I got companions & most importantly friends through this network. I got Wed, Thurs, Fri holiday during Diwali. And Sat - Sun is weekend. So I got 5 consecutive days off from my work (without taking any leave). I used that period & did Kokan trip till Dapoli. Everything was on cycling.
Most of the time when we cyclists used to meet there is often a topic of Bhor Ghat / Mumbai - Pune cycling. Everyone used to say oh it is massive / tough / crazy & all such adjectives were attached!
I thought yes, I am now fit for attempting Mumbai - Pune. I took leave from work on Friday 18th November & decided to go to Pune on that day. I was lucky to get a senior companion Mohinder Singh Bharaj who has done all the BRMs before. I didn't want to take any chances so decided to leave at 3 AM in the morning. I didn't want to climb the Ghat when it was hot.
Well, I was 8 minutes late & started at 3.08 AM from Vile Parle. My parents came by car just to see who is my companion & to be my guard against barking & chasing dogs. It was indeed helpful. There were many occasions where dogs started chasing me & I was saved as my dad started honking. Finally I reached Chembur / Deonar (Telecom Factory) & met Mohinderji. My dad had a word with him & we were off to Pune & my parents were off to bed.
We started journey very nicely. We chit chatted & reached Khopoli at 7 AM. It was a good time. Had chai & Misal Pav. We started at 7.40 AM. Then the so called testing time came! Ghat section started. I was riding on lowest gear. I actually did not have any intention to do it non stop. I was going to take as many breaks as possible. Only one thing I have decided. I am going to ride till the point I am able to control my breathing. I had purposely decided not to stop even if my knees start paining. Because that is superficial pain. It vanishes after rest. But breathlessness kills your momentum. And guess what? I was able to control my breathing even after the Ghat section ended! Yes I did non-stop in my first attempt.
Well Ghat ended at 9.05 AM. Mohinderji exclaimed "Kidhar gaya Ghat, Khatam ho gaya!". I thought wow! We again took halt little outskirts of Lonavala. It was 9.20 AM. We again had some food. Pune was 65 Kms. We started. Lonavala till Kamshet Ghat is around 10-12 Kms & nice flat road. But!! We were riding against wind. No joy of riding on flat even after climbing the mighty Ghat. I was riding 3 X 6 or 3 X 7 combination. But couldn't manage to make it more than 22 Kms/hr. Then came Kamshet Ghat. I was again riding on lowest gear but my moral was very high since I climbed bhor Ghat without stopping. Time was passing. Didn't understand when it was 11.30 AM. At Dehu Road Mohinderji was waiting for me. From Dehu road one way goes to Pimpri & other way goes to Wakad & then to Chandni chowk. I had a glass of sugar cane juice. Mohinderji told me that he will leave now. It was cool. He had to participate in the BRM 200 (Pune - Panchgani - Pune) very next day.
My knees started paining. My Reli-spray was empty. I was carrying empty spray with me. My butts were paining too. I was standing & riding from time to time. Surprisingly there is not a single medical shop adjacent to NH 4. Then came Baner at around 1.30 PM. I went in the city. Found a medical shop. Purchased a spray. Used it. took halt near Medical shop for some time. Did some stretching. I don't know if it worked but guess psychologically it did!! I was not in position to understand much. I had decided that I should at least make it till Pune within less than 12 hours. and after this incident I thought let it be. Doesn't matter even if I reach in 12 hours 15 minutes or 12 & half hours. Rode few Kms. Again stopped at some Neera centre. Had Neera. I got a call from Mohinderji. He told me he has freshen up & now he is having lunch. I said great. I thanked him & wished him success for the BRM 200.
Started. Then finally came Chandni chowk & I saw the downhill of Poud Road. Saw the clock. It was 2.53 PM. I got some energy. Thought yes it is possible to make Pune before 3.08 PM. I forgot my knee pain. sprinted. Reached Nalstop (My Pune Home) at 3.03 PM!! I did it.
Statistics (by Sigma BC 1609) :-
That's all from my end. Guys do let me know your comments & feedback.
PS: I am very thankful to all the cyclist community whose indirect support is always with me. Without them it wouldn't have been possible.