Cycling Expedition:Mumbai to Goa

“You have to dream before your dreams can come true” — APJ Abdul Kalam.

The Journey started from Gateway of India, Mumbai and would go past he sun-washed beaches of coastal Maharashtra, modest villages, and thickly green hillsides before finally landing in Goa. This trip was planned to experience the vibrant coastal side trails, rich in enthralling landscapes, local interaction, cultural experience, monuments, temples, school visits and a distinct array of food. Besides seeing the real Maharashtra or real India at close quarters, I did encounter a multitude of challenges, making this a memorable trip to stay young at heart.

Late in 2014, when I started using bicycle for daily commuting to office I was thinking let’s take an adventurous road trip across coastal Maharashtra. But in late December I got injured in minor road accident which made me more cautions to ride on roads. This incidence hold me back for more than a year but a very fine day on early December,2015 when I was talking to my friends I just said out of Blue “I going to do it” they said what ? I said “I’m going to ride from Mumbai to Goa this year end eve. And it all started the planning, route locating, gearing up etc.

Route Locating: When I started planning for route locating I had two options a) National highway 17 (NH17) which connects Mumbai to south India b) Coastal State highway 4 (SH4) which runs parallel through coastal Maharashtra & Goa. I preferred the later one as the NH17 was too terrifying as it’s mostly overcrowded. SH4 is very pleasant road apart from few rough patches running to the amazing view of Arabian Sea. The distance between Mumbai CST to Panjim was around 700 KM but in between ferry was available to pass between the creeks; totalling around 650 Km. which come’s to 70–100 Km daily.

Preparations: The main requirement for touring was a wild & crazy sole and a cycle that’s it. I got my cycle serviced from my local mechanic and bought the panniers, tent, and other accessories. And I was set to go.

Itinerary of the tour

Jan 23rd, 2015, Day 0. Pune to Chakan

Towards Mumbai: As the tour starts from Gateway of India,Mumbai;

I transported the cycle to Mumbai.

Flag off ceremony: tour was flag offed in presence of all Lend A hand India staff at Pune office. I briefed about the travel plan and the school I’ll be visiting.

Jan 24th, 2015 Day 1. Gateway of India to Alibaug

I started from famous Gateway of India very early morning to catch the ferry from Mandawa Jetty. After a very refreshing 1½ hours sail on the misty Arabian Sea I reached Mandawa Jetty, from where I hit the paddle. About 28 km cycling I reached capital town of Raigad, Alibag, I had lunch and then started towards Kashid beach, which was around 24 kms from Alibag via Revdanda . First day wasn’t too hilly and difficult so I was able to enjoy the great views of paddy fields, green countryside, mild hillocks at a distance.

The beach town Kashid is one of the most unassuming and relaxing destination off Mumbai with wonderfully clean and untouchable beaches, after relaxing at the beach I went to my friends farmhouse where his parents welcomed me and took good care of me, they were much interested in my journey.

Jan 25th, 2015 Day 2. Kashid to Harihareshwar

After saying good-bye to my friend’s parents, I started to my next destination along the breezy Konkan coastline, Harishareshwar. After breakfast I cycled up till Murud via Nandagaon. The route was mostly flat, flanked by the sea on one side. The lather along the coast was little humid. From Murud I cycled past Rajapuri upto Agardanda and then I took ferry to cross the creek to Dighi. After crossing the creek I cycled till the temple toen of Hariharishwar via Shrivardhan. At Harihareshwar I camped at temple site. The constant sound of the sea was therapeutic as I settled for a good view.

Jan 27th, 2015 Day 4. Dapoli to Velneshwar

Immediately after Dapoli I cycled on to the port of Dabhol to board a ferry for Vedur. It was closer route to Guhagar. After lunch at Guhaghar I paddled to the beach village of Velneshwar Near Hadavi. Velneshwar boast of a very serene and beautiful beach along with famous temple on the beach.

Jan 28th, 2015 Day 5. Velneshwar to Pawas

Today I started early to cycle upto Tavsal, had breakfast on the jetty and then cross the creek by freey to Jaigad. Then I cycle to famous temple town of Ganpatipule after spending some time at temple complex I had lunch and started heading towards Ratnagiri along the beautiful stretch of coastal road. As I trail the paths of Ratnagiri. I noticed hoe the fertile the town is; Mango orchids, rice fields, coconut and cashew stands make the topography lush and therapeutic. I crossed Ratnagiri and moved towards Bhatye beach and climbed the plateau which was very steep. Late evening I reached Pawas where I camped at a Shelter home of cows, the caretaker was amazing person he cooked local food for me and took good care of mine.

Jan 29th, 2015 Day 6. Pawas to Kunkeshwar

This was a long day but mostly the terrain was flat, though slightly desolate. Had breakfast at Adivare and then moved ahead. Coconut palms, fishing villages and section along the coast would keep me company till I reach Ambolgad. I had lunch on the way and reached the Kunkeshwar town at the end of the day. I stayed with the local family.

Jan 30th, 2015 Day 7. Kunkeshwar to Vengurla via Malvan

This stretch from Kunkeshwar to Vengurla was very long one but was very excited to meet the kids from the school. I hit the road early in the morning and had breakfast at Achara. I reached Malvan in short time from here. In Malvan town I visited the Bhandhari High School, which was running the Multi-skill foundation course (MSFC) for 7 years sponsored by Lend A hand India. The school was itself 100 years old. Their I interacted with the kids and presented the KALPAK camp presentation as asked them whether they want to be part of this camp, kids were very enthusiastic about my journey and and the camp.

After having lunch at school then I took the pleasant road till Vengurla. On the way I visited a primary school Kendrashala no.1 Vubhardhanda. Kids were amazing they presented a song on skill education and presented me a token which was made by the kids.

After a long 6 day riding along finally before Malvan I met a couple from Switzerland, who sold everything they have back home and where on the way to world trip.

They day I met them was their 280 day on road and had covered 11000 km. It was great interacted with them and know about their journey. I was the first cyclist the met on their road after Azerbaijan. After reaching Goa they will cycle till Kerala then in Sri-lanka and will end it in Australia.

Jan 31th, 2015 Day 8. Vengurla to Panjim

This was again 110 km ride towards Panjim via, calangute beach, On the way a another school visit was planned at Sarswati Vidhyalay , Aravali Tak, which was also associate with Lend A hand India for running MSFC program for more than 10 years. Just after Vengurla I reached Redi via Shiroda for breakfast. After breakfast I crossed into Goa via Arondha. After entering Goa the journey would be very enchanting with paddy fields, picturesque churches and great people! Slowly after crossing the town of Siolim I would reach our beach destination for lunch. My trip ended at Panjim capital city of Goa.

I reached Panjim by 1900hrs and achieved the target of reaching Mumbai to Goa on 31st night which was itself a great achievement for myself.

The lines I was saying to myself during my journey

“Stay focus, keep it simple; and you going to make it.”

“It’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey”

Thank you: Lend A hand India, Mojo, Friends, family members, Travel mates and my lovable & caretaking host I have met during my journey.

Link for the cycling tour video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVZGwXCAbmk

Pravin Yadav.