Sunday, January 19, 2014

Day 13, 14 : 18, 19 Jan 2014 : Charoti to Mumbai : 120 kms (but we needed to cycle only 85 or so)

Here's the moon for a change :)

The ride...

Riders from Mumbai caught up with us.. waiting to cross the bridge into Mumbai...

Soni along with Fatima from SCOTT...

The entire team...

SCOTT G3 team with 3 people from the SCOTT team :)

With the SCOTT team as well as some of the riders who came out to meet us..

These guys are making a documentary on cycling called Nikal Pado... Smitha speaking with them..

Anita Rao in the foreground, SCOTT G3 team meeting with the riders who rode with us from Hotel Fountain till Borivali National Park...

Hospitality and love continues in Mumbai.

We left at our usual time, 6 am. 4 punctures today.. one happened before we started, 2 more on the way and one on Mumbai. And one cycle was already punctured from the previous day that we were not able to get fixed. So we had 5 punctures that needed fixed.

We cycled relentlessly today. We took hardly any breaks. Even breakfast was at a tiny shop along the way. As usual it was cold in the morning and got hot as the sun came up. But the scenery was beautiful. We were surrounded by hills on all sides and the route was also hilly. And the roads were beautiful. Really enjoyed the ride today.

About 30 kms ahead of Hotel fountain, our first destination for the day, we were joined by a rider who read about us on facebook and decided to ride with us. As we approached Mumbai, we were joined by 4 more riders. It was great to see them ride out to meet us. We had lunch at Hotel fountain and before we could pay, these boys had already paid for our lunch. It was embarrassing to see people do so much for us and is a very humbling experience.

After lunch as we were sitting outside waiting for the SCOTT team to catch up with us (Rakesh, Fatima), another gentleman read on our t-shirts that we are cycling from Kutch to Kerala and bought us 2 crates of mineral water saying, “Please drink clean water. You have a long way to go and should not fall sick.” This was our second experience of Mumbai hospitality.

The third one happened as we finished our ride with the SCOTT team at Borivali National Park, also called Sanjay Gandhi National Park. A whole lot of riders joined us at Fountain to ride with us till the national park. Unfortunately for us, this was through the horrible traffic of Mumbai, and since a lot of our riders are not too comfortable on the cycle, it was a test of nerves to reach the national park. As we arrived there, we had a boy serenade us with a guitar and a beautiful song. One of the riders came up to me and asked how we were managing for funds and I told him that we have put our own money. He put his hands in his pocket and gave me whatever money he had. He also asked for our bank account details so that he could transfer more money to us. How amazing!!!

The journey till here was the easy part. The difficult part was getting from there to Colaba, Navy nagar, where we were staying. Loaded cycles onto the truck and unloaded luggage. Then went to the station to catch a train for an hour long ride to Churchgate. We were all so exhausted by now that we slept right through the train journey. But the day was long from over. We then took taxis to get to the house of Col Devang Naik, a friend of Chaula where were staying for the night. While we were taking tuens having a bath in the 2 bathrooms, we were also waiting for the truck to come so that we could unload the cycles again and the rest of the luggage that we could not carry in the train. It was 11 by the time the truck arrived and 11.30 by the time we could send it back again. By the time we hit the sack, we were totally exhausted.

Next day was clothes washing day. Each of us must have taken more than an hour washing ourselves and our clothes. Chirag, a SCOTT dealer, arrived around 10.30 with his mechanic to tune up our bikes. We’ve not done too much else apart from relaxing. A few girls went shopping and a few went sailing in the evening. But most of us just lazed around and caught up with some much needed sleep.

There is news of agitation in Alibagh tomorrow because they are planning to open a slaughter house there. We may not be able to ride. We so badly wanted to take a pic with our SCOTT bikes at Gateway of India, but we may not be able to do so. Might have to be happy with just the t-shirts. Lets see how it goes.

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