Kicking off the brake; swinging my leg across my bike and I am off! as part of my fitness training I needed to build strength and I had a choice to make: either I get a gym membership or buy a bike; being the outdoorsy chick I am – I chose the bike; and what a brilliant decision that.
So it began with refreshing my memory; it really is true you never forget your cycling skills, getting back and increasing my pace was not a tough task but I am yet to try longer distances and hit the slopes; that will be the real challenge.
But until then, a taste of leisure bike rides around Bombay city is a pleasure I am about to begin exploring. Living in this city, you might have commuted via VT station or Flora Fountain practically each time you travel to work, but hardly have the time to know the story being it? If that is true, pick a weekend, get on that cycle and head out for a cycle tour exploring the city.
Did you know that the Gothic style architecture of Victoria Terminus took 10 years to build and resembles St Pancras station in London? Or that there was a shower of gold many years ago on the docks in Bombay? Or that the St Thomas Church at the beautiful Horniman’s Circle was the first church to be built in the city? Just some snippets from stories you will get to hear on cycling tours being organised by Jayesh Morvankar and his troop at Odati Adventures; one of the reputed outdoorsy tour operators based in this city.
Odati has been conducting these tours for 10 years now with a route that explores heritage structures in South Bombay including Horniman Circle, Gateway, Radio club, Electric house, Nariman Point, Ballad Estate followed by a food trail through Marine Drive, Bachelors, Metro. Leisurely rides go on to exploring the arterial roads of Ballad Estate, Town Hall with a rest stop at Asiatic Library, lounging by the steps and sharing Mumbai’s story. South Mumbai Cycle tours are a mix of culture and food trails. Depending on whether you choose to go for the morning or the evening route you have a choice between ending with breakfast at Kayani restaurant or opt for an evening trip which generally ends with a drink at Mondegar or Jimmeys, again iconic to this part of the city.
The group is always a mix of locals who want to do more than just movies or lunches on weekends. They come with their non Indian visitors, travellers who want to explore the city or Indians who have newly migrated to the city. Similar guide led tours are conducted by Reality Gives Tours; you can opt for a 3.5 hour long ride around town with the benefit of getting to know the story behind the places you cycle through.
Jayesh says, “Most people are not receptive to smaller details in an itinerary while browsing through it so we don’t elaborate too much in prose. But while on the trip, in a specific location the environment, the vibe is the perfect setting to share the story of what that place once was and what it’s story now. So our effort is to take them to the place, narrate the story to them there and then and on the tour piece the larger story of Mumbai together.”
You could head out for this tour just by yourself or bring along a friend too. Ashlesha Galgale shares, “A friend from Switzerland had come to visit the city, I wanted to take him around to explore the culture and food, he is an outdoorsy person and loved the idea of a cycling tour. So it was the perfect trip exploring the city.”
But I am a beginner and will wait a while till I invest in a new cycle, you say? Worry not as you can easily rent a cycle from Bickanix for as little as Rs.50 for an hour to Rs.500 for a day.
Once you are done exploring the city, you can consider going for longer rides. Mumbai to Goa, and other such longer routes are also a favourite among the outdoorsy kind. Until then get out there in this gorgeous Mumbai weather perfect for those Sunday morning cycling rides around the city.
Odati Adventures Pvt. Ltd.
Cycle Tours in South Bombay for 3-4 hours Rs.1780 including cycle, tour guide, a meal and refreshments.
G 12A, Motlibai Wadia Building,
S.A.Brelvi Road, Fort
Mumbai – 400 001
For renting and servicing cycles and cycle tours, rent a cycle for Rs.50 for an hour to Rs.500 for a day.
41/A, Sebestian Colony,
Near Mehboob Studio.
Bandra West. Mumbai – 400050
Unique cycling tours planned in and around the outskirts of the city.
Morya House, Andheri West.
Contact Number – 098331 63486
Cycle Tours in South Bombay for 3.5hours Rs.1400 with cycle and breakfast for a 3.5 hrs.Unique Business Service Centre, Akber House 1st Floor, Nowroji Fardonji Road, Opp Bademiya Restaurant, Colaba, Mumbai 400-039 INDIA