With the steady increase of motor vehicles in the city, it’s good to sometimes go back to simpler times. Driving the same route everyday in a car, you miss out on the many sights and experiences that the city offers. Cycling has made a come-back as not only a pollution-free mode of travel and an enjoyable fitness regime, but also as a way to get a better look at the hidden treasures cities offer. It is also a good opportunity to get your family and friends together and spend some quality time with them. So why not reconnect with this bustling city on a more personal level and get some exercise and fresh air as well.
- A Ride through a Portuguese Fishing Village: Versova – Gorai
This is a 52 km circuit taking you through the coastal stretch of West Mumbai with small fishing villages and mangroves to complete the picture. Plan a day’s worth of cycling and sight-seeing. There are some old churches, cottages and homes to take in. Don’t forget to try some authentic local delicacies like seafood and fruits of the toddy palm.
Starting from Versova Jetty you can take a ferry to cross the creek to Madh. The coastal air and views of the sea, and fishermen setting out for the day are reminiscent of life in Goa. Madh Fort, the spot for many movie shoots, was built by the Portuguese as watch tower in the 17th century. From here, head towards Marve Jetty and take another ferry to Manori and Gorai. These villages were part of the former Portuguese colony of Bassein and the heavy Christian influence is evident in the culture and architecture.
The roads are smooth and mangroves are a pleasant sight all around you. There are small shacks and cottages scattered along the route, some residential and some that would sell delicious local fare to energize you on the way. Ride up to Uttan Chowk on top of a hill for a breath-taking view of the sea. On your way back, you can take a ferry from Gorai Jetty to either Marwe Jetty for Malad, or to Madh Jetty to return to Versova.
- A New Bombay Scenic Ride: Palm Beach Road – Kharghar Hills
Palm Beach Road is a stretch of commercial road that connects Vashi and Belapur, made more beautiful by the marshland on the flanks that are frequented by wetland birds. Depending on which point of the road you start from, this is an approximately 40 km circuit best done on early mornings when there is minimum traffic.
Ride these roads towards the picturesque Kharghar Hills, a part of the Sahyadri mountain range. The lush greenery and the Taloja creek add to your riding pleasure offering lovely views. Monsoons bring with it plenty of impromptu waterfalls and offer a chance to pause and refresh yourself.
Another option is to continue on the Utsav Chowk road and take the turn for the impressive Pandavkada waterfalls from opposite the Central Park. The Park is also worth looking at for its beautiful landscape and water fountains. Round off a satisfying morning with a meal at one of the many restaurants in the area.
- Bombay Heritage Tour: Fort Area
Starting from and ending at CST, this 15 km circuit takes you to some prominent landmarks in South Bombay. This is best done in the early hours of a Sunday when the roads are not clogged with traffic and you can look around at leisure. If you’re travelling by train, you can carry your cycle on the local train provided you buy a ticket for it.
The route to follow is from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) – Sassoon Dock – Bombay Panjrapole – Marine Drive – Mumbadevi Temple – Crawford Market – CST
You could just ride by but that would mean missing out on half the fun. Explore CST, a UNESCO heritage site, a stunning mix of Victorian Gothic architecture and traditional Mughal buildings. Next stop on the route is Sassoon Docks, one of the oldest docks and the largest fish market in the city. You could even get something packed if you are carrying a small ice box. Drop into one of the many Irani cafes for a quick breakfast of Brun maska and tea to reenergize yourself. As you ride along the scenic Marine Drive, take in the Art Deco buildings and the diverse styles of architectural landmarks.
As you cross into the by-lanes of Bhuleshwar market, pay your respects at the city’s namesake – Mumbadevi temple. Nearby is the famous Thakker’s Bhojanalay for a lip-smacking Gujrati thaali where you can stop for an early lunch.
From here, head to the Panjrapole, a 176-year-old infirmary looking after 350 cows and other stray animals. Spend some time here to brighten up their day and feel yourself enriched by the experience. On your way back to CST, cross by Crawford Market for some shopping for a variety of items, from food items to clothes.
- A Journey Replete with Historical & Coastal Vistas: Mumbai –Murud
This route is for enthusiasts and preferably done over a span of 2 days, maybe a weekend. The cycling circuit is approximately 132 km in addition to ferry rides. Plan to stay overnight at Murud and visit some of the landmarks and sights around the historical town.
Start your journey from the Gateway of India by taking a ferry to Mandwa Jetty. Bauchadhaka is another nearby jetty that takes you to Mandwa. It is a 90 minute ride so you can sit back and enjoy the views or even catch a quick nap.
From Mandwa, take the coastal route following the trail to Alibaug and further to Murud. Stop at local roadside eateries for fresh fare, and at Murud, Patil’s is the place most recommended. You should be able to find plenty of small inns and larger resorts to spend the night in. As you leave the town boundaries, a small bridge across the creek present magnificent views of fishing boats moored for the night.
The next day, you can either head back the same route or take the opportunity to go to some historical sites like Janjira Fort just 5 km south of Murud or relax at Kashid Beach before heading home.
- Your rucksack should be as lightly packed with essentials as possible. Pack all items in plastic bags to prevent them from getting wet in case of rains
- Water bottle of at least 2 litre capacity
- Sunscreen and sun glasses
- Poncho or wind cheater
- Jogging shoes are ideal
- Waist pouches can be very useful for keeping your wallet, camera, phone
- You can carry energy bars and drinks to have on the way
- ID proof
- A torch with extra batteries
If you’re not sure you want to invest in a cycle yet, why not try renting one for a few trips while you make up your mind? Here are some companies that rent out cycles in Mumbai.
- Cyclic Motion based in Navi Mumbai
- Happy Motorcycle in Colaba
- Jalaram House of Cycles on SV Road, Goregaon (W)
To book a cycling tour in Mumbai, visit ByeByeCity.