Few years back I had purchased a BTWIN Riverside Hybrid cycle. I had been cycling approximately 20 km to 30 km on a daily basis in and around Hubli City and I was really excited to do more than that on a given day . I discussed this with my mentor Satish Annigeri sir and proposed the idea of going to Mahabaleshwar on the holiday for Holi in the month of March 2015. Sir was also instantly excited and we immediately posted the message in the whatsapp group and wanted some like minded people to join us.We were fortunate to have Adarsh Kumar, Karthik Irappannavar and Shrinivas Reddy who could join us on this beautiful ride.
we had purchased a Thule bike career which could carry 3 bikes and we hired a Tavera in which we could mount another two cycles on the carrier, so totally 5 cycles could be transported along with us. We started from Hubballi at 5.30PM on Saturday,7th March 2015.We picked up Adarsh Kumar Belgaum where he has working for a company.
we had an amazing time together,stopping at many roadside eatery having tea,coffee, junk food and what not. I can recollect how Karthik was very excited to have burger at McDonalds in Kolhapur back when we did not have a McDonald's in Hubballi .
It was 9.30Pm when we had burger & lemon tea at McDonalds and headed towards Karad.
we reached Kharad and planned to have our dinner over there because it was already around 11 o'clock when we were in Karad so we thought we should finish your dinner here and we had a very good Maharashtrian meals at a hotel
we headed towards Satara & reached approximately at 12:30 in the night and we checked into a hotel at around 1 o'clock. We were all very tired and wanted to sleep but Mr Karthik would not sleep. He and Annigeri Sir were in one room & Myself, Srinivas Reddy and Adarsh Kumar where in another room. we instantly slept as the ride would start at 5.30,just 4 hours away. Mr Karthik with his laptop, I don't know why he carried his laptop all the way ? he was on his laptop watching a movie and he was asking Annigeri sir to speak to him because he was feeling lonely ;-) . Eventually Annigeri Sir also had 4 hours of sleep.
We got up by around five o'clock as we have to start the ride as early as possible in the morning because it was only riding Uphill almost the entire day.We had freshly prepared noodles and green tea in the morning.
From Satara there are various routes which go towards Mahabaleshwar. Satara is at elevation of around 700 mtrs. from Satara to Mahabaleshwar single straight road does not have a lot of undulations which is being taken by most tourist. Distance towards the hill station is only 60 kms. But our plan was to go round about, make it a 95 km cycle ride and reach Mahabaleshwar by the end of the day. It was a chilly morning. At 6AM we all started the ascent which was completely an uphill ride all through for the next 25 km from the start point.
As soon as you start the ride, it is only climbing for the next 25kms.
We witnessed the most beautiful Sunrise over the Satara city and were in awe of the beauty of nature.
We took almost 1 hour 30 minutes to reach to the Ridge which was around 25 km from the start point at Satara the ridge was at an elevation of 1200 M and views where simply astounding. We had a very good time took a lot of photographs at the location.
We were hopeful that we will have a very good Downhill right from here but that was not the case, because we have to do another Uphill ride to reach the Kaas plateau which is the valley of flowers in this part of our country. So we again started riding and it was again Uphill riding we went almost upto around 1400 m and we reached the Kaas plateau. There were not many flowers because it was not the season when we reached there but the views were beautiful.
We started from there and we needed to reach a point called Bamnoli which was a complete Downhill ride of around 25 km We enjoyed the pure Downhill Adrenaline Rush and we reached the lake of bamnoli which is adjoint to the dam.
The lake was beautiful and we felt in solitude.When we reached the bamnolli village, there was a huge speaker setup for a local function. During this entire 70 KM ride up to Tapola we stopped at least 8 to 9 times. Most times we had bread butter jam,snacks, bhujia, fruits, chickis, mix fruit juice and what not. few times when we stopped we actually danced on the road with a music playing inside the Tavera. We were passing many small villages and observing the different cultures. There was small little functions going on. We became a part of one such gathering and dance there.
Kartik gave up at this point due to multiple issues with his cycle. It was already 12 Noon and sun was shining like never before. It was getting very hot & humid.
From bamnoli we had to ride approximately 35 km to reach a place called Tapola which is called Mini Kashmir in this part of India. The strange thing about this 35 km was it was a continuous Uphill and downhill hair pin curves. So, you basically ride uphil for 1-2km & then you ride downhill for 1-2 kms. There were approximately 25 such hair pin curves as we were riding on the foothills of the mountains. It was a very very irritating 35 kms
Adarsh Kumar gave up just 10 km before reaching Tapola. It was just me ,Annigeri sir and Srinivas Reddy who are riding this difficult part.
We reached Tapola at around 3 o'clock in the afternoon it was very very sunny and hot all through. we were just thinking why the hell did we take this route we could have just easily reached Mahabaleshwar by now,if we had taken the easy route of 60 km. We were only 70 km away from the start point, and we were still 25 km away from Mahabaleshwar ;-(.
All of us were literally drained out and had thought of giving up after reaching Tapola where we had plan to have our lunch. We had the most relishing lunch of our lives because of the hard work which we had put to get that lunch.
After the lunch all of us occupied spaces inside that beautiful valley facing restaurant and slept. There was no fan or AC. It was this cool Breeze blowing through the restaurant because of its location bcoz of which we fell asleep real fast. Karthik who had other plans & he took the camera and ventured into the Wild near the restaurant and clicked some beautiful photographs.
It was approximately 4:30PM. We had slept for almost 45 minutes after the lunch which was sufficient to give us the boost to ride the next 25 kms. We started at ride from Tapola towards Mahabaleshwar which was a continuous Uphill ride of 25 km at 5:00 p.m.
Shrinivas Reddy gave up at Tapola and called off to ride anymore declaring "It was a nice ride with all of you,but will not be able to ride anymore" Myself,Annigeri sir & Adarsh Kumar rode this beautiful stretch which was nothing short of bliss. We could see nature's beauty all around with beautiful hills & greenery all across. It was getting dark by the minute and every person that we asked how far is Mahabaleshwar ,he or she would say Saral Java meaning keep going straight.
Our legs were literally trembling, calf muscles were crying for a stop. Adarsh Kumar was the first person to reach Mahabaleshwar we followed suit and reached at around 7:15PM. When we reached the main circle of Mahabaleshwar it was nothing short of a Trophy that we had got that day, riding almost three big Hills going up coming down continuously. People were curious asking where have we come from. We almost wanted to dance but our legs were not in mood to dance . We immediately checked into a hotel. We made sure that the hotel had a swimming pool for us to have a bath next day morning . All of us had hot water bath that evening. We all had green tea when we reached there and we went out to have the most relishing dinner that I have ever had. We came back to our hotel and slept like pigs. It was the most fulfilling sleep I have had for a long time to come. When I opened my eyes next morning, it was as if I had just closed them and opened within an instant. It was that blank , a sleep which I had.
we got up at around 7 o'clock in the morning and immediately jumped into the pool which was pretty chilly but we still wanted to relax our body in the pool.
we came out of the pool and we headed towards breakfast. We had a pleasant stroll in the market area and absorbed the beauty of the Hill Station We had a lovely breakfast at a hotel nearby.
We came back, got ready and around 9:30AM we started pedaling towards old Mahabaleshwar where a beautiful century old Shiva temple exists. We reached the temple and took took Shivji's blessings and headed towards Panchgani.
Ride towards Panchgani was equally beautiful with some eye-popping scenery when we passed the Vienna lake and then headed towards mapro Garden where we wanted to relish freshly made waffle ice cream and other snack items.
By the time we reached Panchgani it was already around 12:30 and it was payback time now. It was like we were being paid for the hard labour that we have done in the past 24 hours of riding continuous uphills. The Downhill starts from Panchgani towards wai, which is a 20 km sweet Downhill ride. it was the most memorable Downhill that I have ever ridden. Despite of beautiful views on both the sides there was no time whatsoever for us to take photographs because we just did not want to stop and spoil the Downhill Adrenaline Rush.The video will give you chills, for once even i was wondering how i could ride this fast on a downhill!
Eventually we reached Wai which is on the foothills of the Western Ghats.We planned to put our cycles from there but the story would not reach its logical conclusion if we don't reach the place where we started the ride from and make it a triangular ride. So we started riding for another 20 km from Wai towards Satara. This 28 km ride took us through the highway in very hot conditions testing our mental strength.
We finally reached Satara at around 4 in the afternoon.All of us were drained out by the time we reached Satara. We had a delicious lunch on the outskirts of Satara culminating our ride topping it with high calorie desserts & milkshakes as a reward for the hardwork.
All is well which ends well. We reached Hubli by 10:30 p.m. and had a fulfilling sleep
Body will follow if you have a strong willpower & mind. At the end of the ride we all felt to have attained "Nirvana" of sorts undergoing an enormous psychological change. I personally have realised the power of controlling your body through the mind after the ride and continue to do so in all my rides. I hope you experienced the journey like we did through the blog. Do comment if you have any queries about the route. I will be happy to help. Signing off, till the next adventure