It always helps when you have enthusiastic friends and a wonderful scenic road that beckons you to a peaceful and a happy destination….
We had already experienced an awesome cycle ride to Bhor during early August 2016. (https://www.facebook.com/gadgila/media_set?set=a.10154398131593875.1073741955.569898874&type=3)
That time around we were a bunch of 8 enthusiastic guys who had thoroughly enjoyed the ride. This time most of them were busy climbing Stok Kangri in the Himalayas. But that didn’t deter Rahul and me from repeating the same ride again !!!
So the dates were finalised and just the two of us decided to do the 90km odd cycle ride from Chandani Chowk ,pune to Khutwad Vasti ,Bhor via the steep Pabe ghat.
An able backup team was definitely needed to follow us in a 4 wheeler along with spares and supplies. It always helps when you have dependable and like minded friends around, always ready to have a good time. So Pranav and Nishant agreed to drive the XUV along with us right through out. Mind you, its quite a boring and tough job to keep the pace of a powerful vehicle like the XUV just to be around the cyclists, especially when you have some steep inclines, smooth roads and irritating traffic ahead of you!!! Our ‘crew’ was gracious enough to click our snaps on the way as well!!!
So the time was decided, the itinerary was made, the cycles were ready and the ‘supplies’ were loaded. The first pit stop to reassemble and reassess the weather conditions was at the Khadkwasla Chowpatty after leaving from Chandani Chowk.
Of course, ‘re assessing ‘ the weather conditions was a formality. No way were we going to turn back home !!!! We reached Khadakwasla at the first light of the day, had the mandatory photo op and the first tea break of the many that were to follow. Interestingly met some fellow cyclists who ‘warned’ us of riding upto Bhor in the rains via the steep Pabe. ( I keep referring to Pabe as steep because it really is!! someone doubting this needs to cycle up Pabe )
By the time we reached the Pabe turnoff near Khanapur, we were craving for breakfast. A random stop at a ‘tapri’ was the order of the day. We asked ‘maushi’ what would be available for breakfast, she took one look at us and realised that we had cycled a long way. She readily agreed to cook hot fresh poha and make some lovely ginger tea, which we enjoyed in the light drizzle that was prevalent throughout the ride.
We met a team of a PMT bus drivers and a conductor and Rahul had to impart a few words of wisdom to them. A little wiser ,they left and we were back to having a yummy breakfast and chit chatting without realising the ride that lay ahead!!! Once sated, we hopped back onto our saddles and started cycling towards Pabe.
Cycling through the lovely green fields was a visual treat to the eyes. Rahul and me were cycling at our own pace and our crew were having a good drive. Times like these, its a boon to be on the saddle. You tend to get lost in the surrounds, your thoughts, the nature and start appreciating the amazing times that Life offers! Thankfully Indian roads are such that ,
before your thoughts gets too philosophical , some potholes bring you back to reality. You realise that these potholes are a boon to shake you from your reverie and that they are deliberately and intelligently placed!!!!Soon (not that soon) we reached Pabe base.
We met a few young bikers (young only by age, not at all by attitude…we rock better than them!!) on their way atop Pabe for a fun rain ride…. When we told them ‘see you at the top’ they were surprised to know that we would be cycling all the way up.
So the climb began…as if on cue, it started pouring as soon as we started the ascent. Cycling was so much fun in that downpour… Two stops from the last time when I had climbed Pabe on my steed were playing on the back of my mind. Determined to climb the ghat non stop, pushing and pedalling hard, both in mind and in reality, I kept going on…. at a vantage point from atop, I could hear Pranav and Nishant cheering me to climb up… Passed a few vehicles, who looked at us in disbelief, pride, sarcasm …etc …..Finally the chay tapri in the Pabe khind was in sight…. Hot cuppa of chay and the intoxicating smell of fresh onion bhaji beckoned me and finally ,without any stops…I had climbed the tough Pabe!!! It was a great feeling…of relief, achievement, out of breath, tiredness , excitement ,all bundled into one. Rahul too was on his way up at a good steady pace. I had sometime to kill. Met a few people having the tempting tea at the stall ,who were really amazed to know that we had come all the way here from Chandani Chowk, about 40 odd kilometers of intense ,although relaxed, cycling.
Soon Rahul was at the tea stall too. Nishant and Pranav had never been to this part of Velhe before and they were absolutely mesmerised with the view that was in front of us. A good and a much needed refreshment break with tea and the bhaji, it was time for some photos at one of the most beautiful ‘point’ in Pabe Ghat.
After spending some good time here, we started climbing down. Going down Pabe is as tough as climbing up. Climbing up needs one to egg on, push oneself to reach up with all the strength that one has…going down requires alertness and calmness of mind since its a steep descent as well. Soon we reached Pabe village. A smooth road awaited us for a patch of about 15kms to take us to the Mantra resort turnoff, the next reassembly point. This was an extremely smooth ride, so much so that I managed to pace myself within sight of the XUV. That again was a high point of the journey. Waving out to school going kids, we made it to the Mantra Resort turn off in good time.
The most boring and monotonous patch of another 15 odd kms was from this point till the main road of Bhor. We had decided to find a good spot to have lunch on this patch. It was around 12 noon and ‘lunch time’ was decided roughly around 2 pm…. After mini breaks for photo ops along this road, Rahul stopped at a lovely spot for lunch break. A typical scene…. A shaded tree next to a local temple surrounded by crop fields in a small hamlet. We had carried ‘lunch boxes’ from home.So it was time for a picnic lunch. The local kids were fascinated by our cycles…’ Ae gear chi cycle bagh re!!’ (see… its a geared cycle) “aiila …disc brake hayet hila” (the cycle has got disc brakes) ” kitila ghetli ho kaka” (how much did you buy it for..errr… Uncle ) these were the constant dialogues that were being heard during the break…. A quick report call back home to tell how we have fared so far, and away we were…. for the last leg of the ride.
Soon we hit the main road going towards Bhor…Suddenly we realised the increase in heavy and fast traffic. A quick stop on the way at a local restaurant to order dinner for the night at Bhor(of course we stayed in bhor that night!!) and we were soon to finish the ride. We reached our Bhor destination much before the estimated time which was again a super feeling.
Finally after a total riding distance of 87 kms from Chandani Chowk_ Khadakwasla_ Khanapur_ Pabe_ to Bhor in a riding time of close to 4 hours with a lot of tea breaks and photo ops we had reached…a relaxed evening with some good liquids over some chit chat awaited us…..
*for some more insights into the ride please have a look at the Facebook album!!! https://www.facebook.com/gadgila/media_set?set=a.10155587758283875.569898874&type=3