It has been unanimously declared by the participants the “Ride to Town – Final Update” (as it shows in the events) is a success and though there is not much that I could write about which has not been spontaneously commented about already - I thought I would still go ahead and blog - as now a post event key in seems to be becoming a second nature to me:)
Last Wednesday I came to the events section to scout for events that were going to happen over the weekend and there I saw the (it was then called “Ride to Town” :) organized by Ash on behalf of Rama and though sounds good and I clicked on Will Attend – if I am not mistaken there were about four Will Attend then (this was Mar 24th). Two days later on Mar 26th I got a message from Amrish saying I should join in and to respond to him I logged in and I saw / felt that there was something happening here… there were over 8 pages of comments from people that were not known to this resident of Lokhanwala and Vile Parle Juhu Cyclist group ;). I was like – am I on the “Ride to Town” organized by Ash on behalf of Rama event??? I saw I was… So then who were Gideon Israel Dsouza, Abhishek Dsouza, Suneela, SOBO riders and other names strange to me (pardon my ignorance on this) and why were coordination given out for Borivili, Sobo and Andheri? I could also see routes and re routes with timings and then I understood (bit slow eh? ;) – we were on to something special – we were on to something big.
At a later point I understood from Rama that she had initiated a thought on a prior trip to Amrish et al and with the help of Ash it got conceptualized. Posting the event was the catalyst for the convergence of - if I am not mistaken 5 Cyclist groups right from Borivili – Bikers in Borivili, Goregaon - Aarey Milk Colony, Andheri - Lokhanwala and Vile Parle Juhu Cyclist Club & Powai riders , Bandra – Carter Road Cyclist to South Mumbai - SOBO riders. The behind the scene calls and coordination from cyclists from Borivili to South Mumbai made the “Ride to Town” happen and of course Cheers to all the cyclists who heard the call and mounted their bikes on that Sunday morning who made it the success it became ;) – not to leave out the cyclists from the face book post who also helped enhance the experience by joining in added to the flavor of the ride - if there were 6 cyclists who started from Borivili we were 55 cyclists at NCPA.
What can one say to a group of 55 individual cyclists, joining in at 7 different locations over at 40 km ride on a Sunday morning? I found it to be an “out of ordinary and a humbling” experience – the flawless coordination, voluntary volunteers, the uncontained enthusiasm, the ever increasing energy levels even prior to the event was amazing. You only had to go thru the 14 pages of comments to get charged up and want to be a part of the event I am sure that was how many joined in.
I met the Lokhanwala and Vile Parle Juhu Cyclist Club & Powai riders at 05:30am we were about 6 of us and at 05:40am the Borivili, Goregaon and Andheri Group clocked in… Men have to say hats off to Johann and Gideon who were all pumped up that early in the morning and tried to enthuse the others as well :) - sorry boys for not joining in the intro attempt but have to say it motivated everyone to keep closer to the start of the group than the tail end where we were to begin the introductions lol. The pace was good and as scheduled the next stop was Citibank Khar where we met with Ash and Rama and their brood – it was kind of the refueling stop as remember, the Brave souls from Borivili had already done a 20 km. It was interesting to note that at some of the junctions / forks you also had self appointed course marshals - men and all I did was cycle!!! The ride to our next stop was the Worli Sea Face was smooth and enjoyable as it’s only in those wee hours that a cyclist can take the pleasure of the Mumbai roads. Worli Sea Face to NCPA saw the critical mass and of course given the stretch it’s safe to say was the best part.
The different formations – single file – in twos – a pack when possible it’s all fun stuff - 55 cyclists at a given stretch is sure an uncommon site especially in a city like Mumbai. Some talking dime a dozen - some exchanging pleasantries – some in their own thoughts and some busy giving out instructions :) It was at about 09:30am that we touched NCPA and for many it was the first time ever as a cyclist which included me :).
The coordination between the organizers was always interesting to watch :) - I found their earnestness and intent really appealing - be it a plea to be a pack and not take off randomly, be it information about the next halt, be it about photo ops etc… we do and did appreciate all the efforts put in, though at times we may not have peddled the line:)
It was 09:45am and ergo breakfast time – Mr. Amit Narsana was the man of the hour. It was Amit’s membership at the Hindu Gymkhana which enabled us to experience great ambience, good food and fantastic pricing. We got an all you can eat deal for Rs 100/- right from Missal (don’t know who won the debate on the best Missal in town) to Fafda and Jalebi (interesting menu on the breakfast table) to the traditional Idlis and the must have Omelet Sandwich – all disappeared as soon as they appeared – a hungry lot we were. Amongst the casual talks you could see the next events taking shape already- Kashid / Friday Night Ride and a couple more that I forget.
After being over fed it was time to turn back – the lead pack was already on their way and I was amongst the tail and we caught up with the main pack somewhere in Mahim. On the way back groups / individuals took leave at their respective embarking points. The journey back was definitely not as comfortable as the morning ride - Sun was overhead and the traffic as is the norm, insensitive to cyclists. All in all I clocked a 62 km of cycling distance which I was kinda happy about :)
A ride like this is not easy to organize and coordinate but let me be an optimist and hope they do.(Rama /Ash / Johann / Gideon / Amrish / Rishu you guys get the hint :)
Sorry for the delay in posting - was unable to log in for the last 4 days...