An early morning cycle ride may be a refreshing experience.
An early morning cycle ride may be a refreshing experience. But an increasing number of Mumbaikars are looking for a lot more from their two wheels and a pedal to stop at just your usual half-hour ride along Bandstand. From midnight trails along the city’s urban coastline to pedalling along risky cliffs and sandy trails in Utan or Alibaug, cycling enthusiasts in the city are going the distance — and quite literally so — to get the most out of their love for the activity.
Cycling excursions are fast-becoming a regular fixture of Mumbaikars’ weekend plans and thanks to this increasing interest, a number of tour organisers — both professional and online forums — are bringing innovative and uncharted routes to pedal across. We bring you some of the most interesting ones that are worth spending your weekend on and also the people behind them.
Jack N Hill’s cycle trek to Manori Trail: It was about six years ago when Johann Daniels took it upon himself to make his neighbourhood Borivali, a hub for cycling. Starting out with an informal group of friends as the Borivli Cycles Association, Johann now has a full-fledged tour operation set up called Jack N Hill. Telling us about what he offers, Johann says, “Some of the finest trails are around Manori, Vasai Fort and sometimes Tungareshwar. One of the best trails to cycle around Mumbai is Manori trail and we regularly organise trips there. It is a fishing village and has the look and feel of Goa, with mangroves and almost no population, but the most amazing part is, that it is located very much within Mumbai limits. From a cycling point of view, it is a very untouched trail as very few people take this route. It can be slightly tricky as the terrain is a little rocky, but it is definitely one of the best trails around. We also do Vasai Fort and Utan. Usually there are about 20-30 other people on the trek and we organise for the cycles (imported ones), gears such as helmets and some refreshments, all of which are included in the package.” Organiser: Jack N Hill; Contact: 9833376765; Cost: Rs 1,500
Mumbai Travellers — Alibaug and Vihi Waterfalls One of the most popular adventure tour operators in the city, Mumbai Travellers’ most popular trails include Vihi Falls, Khondhana Caves and Alibaug. Telling us about the trails, Saurabh Thakekar, one of the co-founders of Mumbai Travellers says, “We have trails both within and outside the city. Some of our popular intra-city packages are the midnight trails and breakfast trails, which are focussed more on socialising and having fun.” However, souls with a thirst for adventure need not fret, says Saurabh, adding, “Our outdoor cycling trails have a wide number of options. There’s Vihi falls, which is one of the most popular destinations for cycle trekking and we also do Alibaug. The Alibaug cycle trek is very popular because that involves multiple modes of transport since you have to take your cycle on the ferry to reach the trail. In outdoor cycling trails, all the requirements such as food, refreshments, bikes and gears are taken care of.” Organiser: Mumbai Travellers Contact: 8422049888 Cost: Rs 2,000 - Rs 2,500
Trekking Spartans’ Midnight Cycle Trail: This informal group based out of the increasingly popular Meetup.com is best known for its midnight coastal cycle trail, which is aimed at giving people a unique taste of Mumbai on two wheels. With membership steadily growing in just one year of its existence, Abhishek, one of the group’s admins tells us about the trail and says, “It’s summers and not everyone wants to sweat it out cycling in the sun, which is where the idea of a midnight trail comes from. We have been doing this trail for the past six months or so and it has been one of our most popular. The best part is people can get together and spend a night having fun. The trail happens every weekend and there are people from all age groups, from 18 onwards.” Telling us about what the trail includes, Abhishek says, “We start at 10.30 pm from Regal Cinema and from there on we go to Gateway and Marine Drive, where we stop for a break and some refreshment. From there on we go through Haji Ali, Worli Seaface and the trail ends at Bandra Bandstand. As for what is included in the package, we provide the cycles and helmets and also refreshments.” Organisers: Trekking Spartans on Meetup.com Phone: 9167418696; Cost: Rs 750 (with cycle); Rs 250 (without cycle)
Mumbai Cycling Enthusiasts — Utan Cliffs: With over 8,000 members, the Mumbai Cycle Enthusiasts is one of the biggest cycling groups online. Started and administrated by popular stand-up comic Atul Khatri and his friends, the group is well known for regular cycle treks. Telling us about his experience with the group, Atul says, “We started out basically like a group of friends. And we mostly meet up for everyday cycling. But longer trips are usually reserved for the weekends when everyone is free.” One of the best and most regularly organised treks on the group, says Atul, is to the Utan Cliffs. “We do organise smaller treks such as Aarey Milk Colony and Nerul, but one of the best trails is the Utan Cliffs. You have to take two ferries to get to the trail. It has some of the best cliffs and the best view of the city.” Organiser: Mumbai Cycling Enthusiasts Log on to: www.facebook.com/groups/mumbaicyclists/