Only last week, my cousin was in Mumbai, and asked me for a good route for an early morning cycle ride. I got all excited and started giving her multiple options to choose from. Cycling is one of the few outdoor activities that do not require any special skill, not even much of quick reflexes! As long as you can keep pedaling, you are good!!
Most of our country does not boast of a cycling culture, or of any infrastructure to support cycling, but in recent times, with movements such a Free roads etc. it has been catching up. And like with most trends, Mumbai is the first to catch up on to it. Multiple groups have cropped up that conduct cycling tours of localities in Mumbai, at different times of the day. There’s midnight cycle rides, early morning rides, even food trails on bicycles.
I took a midnight ride across Mumbai’s sea-side once. This one was organized by Mumbai Rangers (https://www.facebook.com/mumbairangers/ )and the route was thus:
Regal Cinema-Nariman Point-Marin Drive- Peddar Road- Haji Ali- Worli Sea Face- Siddhivinayak- Dadar Beach- Lucky Restaurant- Bandstand Promenade- Bandra Fort.
This was a good 27 km of cycling that extended to 4am. It was tiring, but the satisfaction of riding on empty roads while still in Bombay, the peace and tranquility that it brought with it and the beautiful sights. This was my initiation into cycling in Mumbai, and is a ride totally recommended for everyone who wants to see the quitter side of Mumbai, and the pretty lights! A lot of groups also offer seasonal variants, checking Ganpati Pandals, Christmas Celebrations or Eating on the way!!
I have not taken any rides with such groups after this one, although there are a lot across Mumbai, in Sanjay Gandhi national park and even one in Karjat that excited me, none of them materialized. But what I did do was go cycling every once in a while in my own neighborhood, the beautiful and ever so charming Khar-Bandra locality! I have a whole variety of rides in this area. One of them goes thus:
- Celebrity Homes
This one begins at carter road, moving along with the sea on one side and Ranbir Kapoor’s previous residence on the other. For the slightly older people, there is Ashirwad- Rajesh Khanna’s popular bungalow. Although now it is neither Ashirwad nor Rajesh Khanna’s!
The ride then moves on to Bandra with Otters Club and Joggers Park along the way. There is also Sachin’s residence on Perry Cross Road. You can then continue on to St. Andrew’s Church, finding Bandra Gymkhana, and the now popular American Express Bakery on the way.
Beyond the church, the ride continues on the Bandstand road (Byramji Jeejeebhoy Road, to be accurate). This includes the beautiful sea and the bandstand promenade on one side, and Galaxy Apartments (bhai ka ghar :P), Mannat (King Khan ka mahal) and a lot of other famous houses on the other. On Sundays, this street gets pretty crowded, what with people cramming the place to catch glimpses of the stars. While these houses are all popular, you will also find a few less popular pretty places on this route, like the Peace Haven right after Carter Road, Sisters Bungalow and the iconic Kekee Manzil.
The ride then culminates at Bandra Fort, with a view of the sea and of the sea link. For those interested you can also take a de-tour on the way back to explore Mount Mary Basilica and drop in those tiny thermocol samples of things you wish for, they have one for everything, from money to a filmfare trophy!!
So there, that was one ride that I really enjoy doing, it has churches, the sea, trees and yeah.. celebrity homes! More rides around the area are in the next post.