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r Ashok Kale was a role model for many cyclists Sign up for a cycling trip to Khandala in memory of a famous cyclist Ashok Khale was a renowned cyclist from Mumbai, who could effortlessly ride uphill in Khandala, for which he earned the title ‘King of Ghats’.

Khale had won many medals in state and nationlevel championships, but he lost his life after he met with an accident on the Sion-Panvel highway last year. Pedal Thirst Adventures, a cycling group from Pune, is organising a bicycling trip to Khandala in Khale’s memory this weekend. Saideep Dhondge, the founder of the group, says that the cyclist inspired many people during his lifetime. While Khale was a professional, recreational cyclists must keep a few points in mind while tackling the hill station’s steep tracks. The ride will begin from Karjat, a town in Raigad district.

Saideep and his team will give every cyclist a mountain bike and a helmet once they reach Karjat, after which they are scheduled to go on a warm-up ride led by Saideep and his younger sister, Deepti Dhondge. “I will also brief them on bicycle gearing,” says Saideep. Shifting and adjusting cycle gears correctly is crucial for a smooth ride and particularly while pedalling uphill. The total distance of the route is estimated to be 35 km, out of which the steep path in Khandala is said to stretch for 9 km. “This is the point at which you must choose the right gear ratios, which we will demonstrate to the cyclists,” adds Saideep. If you fail to adjust the gear ratio correctly, chances are that riding uphill could get exhausting. “All of this is based on the principles of physics.

Cycling uphill is not just about being physically strong as many people tend to assume,” he says. Saideep chose the route from Karjat to Khandala for its scenic beauty. We will pass by quite a few waterfalls along the way, he says. Riders will also get an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the historical Rajmachi Fort. Barring endurance athletes, recreational cyclists are rarely seen in Khandala.

“I think city riders will enjoy tackling different kinds of tracks in the hill station,” he says. Saideep, who has been cycling for seven years, plans to film and take pictures of the ride with his GoPro. Since Saideep will be filming the ride, Deepti will take charge of the group. She has, in the past, accompanied her brother on cycling trips to other hilly regions of the Western Ghats.

This is, however, her first cycling trip to Khandala. “I don’t think you should have a problem as long as you hydrate yourself adequately. We have a backup vehicle arranged if in case of an emergency,” she says. The Khandala cycling tour is open to everyone. Breakfast, refreshments and energy drinks and lunch will be provided. WHERE: Karjat Junction (meeting point)

WHEN: September 2, (8.15 am)

COST: Rs 1,600

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