Solo Cycling Burhanpur to Mumbai

Burhanpur to Mumbai Cycling blog

“The feeling of your dreams must precede its manifestation”

Burhanpur to Mumbai adventure waiting to happen in this life time. A belief that adventure cannot be planned came true one more time for me. A super awesome roller coaster self-enriching solo cycling journey successfully completed from Burhanpur (MP) to Igatpuri covering 400 kms in six days.

Why Burhanpur?

There are millions of pages online to convince you why you need to visit this ancient historical city of central India, formally known as ‘Dakkan ka Darwaja’. My last two visits here were while doing road trips which did leave such a beautiful imprint on my core memory (Inside out movie) that makes me keep coming back. This city has everything for everyone be it a tourist, photographer, foodie, traveler, literally everyone.

An adventure in making.

As this was my first long distance cycle ride, I started planning a little with a few midnight cycling rides in and around Mumbai.  Some of these rides were also from Vasai till Bandra. The longest practice ride being 101 Kms in one day from Colaba to Dahisar and back. Even tried to create an event on Facebook and posted it on a few event hoisting websites to gather participants. Soon enough I started to face a few challenges in organizing the event of this magnitude e.g.

People wanted to know on what day we shall halt and where?

After how many kilometers shall we take a break?

What hotel shall we be staying in?

What kind of food will be available?

Is Jain food available too?

Will there be a support vehicle?

Do I need pannier bags?

For all these questions I had a standard answer,”It’s my first long distance cycle trip. It’s gonna be an adventure. So let’s ride”. Thus this public event became a solo cycle ride.

Getting my cycle to Burhanpur:

There are two ways to get the cycle to a location using the India Railway’s service – Luggage or Parcel and here is the difference you need to know if in case you wish to transport your cycle.

Luggage Transportation Option

If you are travelling by the same train as your cycle then use this option. Booking is accepted 2 hours prior to train departure time.

Parcel Transportation Option

If you plan to fly to the location or sent the cycle to a friend or relative then use this option. Needs to be booked 24 – 48 hrs. before departure of the train.

Note:

Covering the cycle with protective sheets is your own personal responsibility. Minimum cycle saddle (seat) needs to be covered. Do not keep / pack any valuable items on the cycle. Insure your cycle, as it may get damaged in transit. The cost of transporting your cycle depends upon the kilometers to final destination. Remove cycle-meters, tail lights, head lights, water bottles before transportation. Riding a cycling in the railway premises is prohibited. Try visiting the station one day prior to departure and get a better insight. Please check which door will be accessible to offload the cycle and then load accordingly.

The Journey begins

Loaded my cycle with pannier bags on each side, right from my home in Bandra till Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT). Upon reaching the railway station, I was informed that the parcel counter was at the end of platform No. 6. Upon reaching the parcel counter, I was told that my cycle needs to be booked as luggage as I am travelling along with the cycle. Hence I need to speak to the train ticket examiner (TTE) and pay the charges on platform No. 1 which is near the old building.

Once all the confusion was sorted, railway fees/charges paid, the railway commercial hamal (Porter) charges paid, I moved with the cycle toward my train. The head TTE looked up at me and without blinking an eyelid said, “There is no place even for a single ant”. With me not ready to budge with continuous request about accommodating my cycle, he asked the railway hamals to remove two huge boxes and load my cycle. With the first hurdle crossed and me being so happy just cannot stop thanking the TTE at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus.

Googly, the adventure has just begun

When the cycle was loaded at LTT the door to the platform was on the right hand side. But at Burhanpur the door to the platform was on the left hand side. Hence the train guard suggested to travel in the same train until Khandwa Junction railway station; offload the cycle there and reload the cycle in the next incoming train to alight at Burhanpur. With no option to choose I hopped on the train again for an extended journey.

At Khandwa Junction railway station, I had the most budgeted breakfast of my life by spending just Rs 10.00 for yellow poha and tea. “In the year 2016, is life so beautiful for a solo cyclist to travel?” A question I asked myself.

The incoming train kept me waiting for over an hour here, but the entertainment was worth it. As the locals were quite amused with a queer sight so early in the morning. Most of them wanted to know where did I come from; where I was going; how much is my cycle worth;  what is my mission and how many days will I take to reach Mumbai etc.

Inspiring along

I am sure with these short 10 – 25 seconds of interview that I gave at Khandwa Junction railway station was just the beginning. As with the answers that these small little boys and girls got, it started to weave a magic of aspiration of courage, dreams to travel, live to explore adventurously.

I loaded my cycle again in the train and alighted at Burhanpur railway station, completed the formalities and walked out of the railway station. With the warm October breeze in Burhanpur that welcomed me the roads seemed familiar. I reset my cycle speed meter to 00.00 km, said a silent pray in my heart and said out loud, “let the adventure begin!”.

Day 1: Saturday 08 October 2016

As I had already been to Burhanpur on a road trip earlier, going sightseeing was avoided this time. Yes I tried to catch up some sleep after I checked in hotel Panchavati. The evening Azan call woke me up from my slumber. Had a quick late lunch in the hotel cafeteria. And took my cycle out for a short warm up ride around Jama masjid, Dargah-e-Hakimi, Gurudwara. Also did a short ride for 10 kms on the road to Mumbai to get a better understanding of the road ahead. Met Waseem our guide from the last road trip. With the road still wet as it had rained all afternoon (post monsoon showers), I rode slowly.

Day: 2 Sunday 09 October 2016

Paid my hotel bill in the night itself as had planned to leave at 5.00 am, which I did. Based on my own calculation, I had planned to cycle till I reach Jalgoan which is around 85 Kms from Burhanpur. Early morning ride was a treat I must say. Thou, I did not really stop very often to click pictures as my cycling rhythm would get disturbed. My mind and heart felt super awesome about this trip actually happening.

These spottings that made my day:

Crow butterfly, Crimson Rose butterfly (unlimited), Jezebel, Dragonflies, Fireflies, Graphium agamemnon (Tail – J) butterfly, Blue tiger butterfly, Tiger butterfly, Indian mongoose, Indian Roller, Barn owl, Green Pigeon, White Breasted kingfisher. Darter, Egret, Pond heron, Wind swifts, Grey Hornbills, Serpent Eagles, Green Bee-eater, Myna and Bulbuls

Once I entered Bhusawal, laziness crept into my pannier bags, this was late in the afternoon at 15:30 hrs. I Checked in Maan Residency for my first halt of this ride. Thou there were other options in the vicinity, I had to remind myself not to exceed the daily budget as the milestone read Mumbai 440 kms. Diagonally opposite was a small restaurant named Mama Panch Pande that served vegetarian dinner thali for Rs 50.00 unlimited. Even in the year 2016 I wondered how can this noble soul serve food at this price, employ 3 people, smile and yet be so humble. My heart answered ‘its service to humanity’. #Salute #Respect.

What is a Pannier?

Pannier is an Alloy / Metallic frame externally attached to the rear wheel of a cycle.

What is a Pannier bag?

Pannier bags are specially designed bags attached to pannier on the rear wheel of the cycle to carry load/supplies of the cyclist.

Day 3: Monday 10 October 2016

This is and will always be a non-working day for me in this birth 😉 . With the Wifi internet access at Maan Residency and me skipping breakfast I decided to leave at around 14:30 hrs after repacking and loading my pannier bags on my cycle. Reaching Jalgoan was priority as that seemed to be next best location to halt for the night on day two. But lady destiny had other plans for me.

As I rode into Jalgoan city my mind wondered about one conversation that happened during my road trip from Burhanpur to Mumbai. We were discussing how important it is to name a village /city / country when one of my friends corrected me by saying, “Jalgoan does not mean burnt village but actually it is Jal (water for Marathi); village”. With the daylight still available to me I decided to ride another 10 Kms to the next village in some hope to cover little more distance for the day.

In the next village that I reached, there was no resort / hotel / lodge to stay for the night, do not even remember the name of the village. This village could not even offer me a temple, masjid or a graveyard to sleep for the night. I decided to push hard further as the daylight suddenly started to fail really fast.

Another 12 Kms ride took me to a village named Dharangaon at around 19:30 hrs. Here I stopped at an HP petrol pump to refill my water bottle. The pump attendant was thrilled to learn about my adventure. Offered me free dinner and stay at the pump cabin. I thanked him for his generous offer and decided to ride into the village to stay for the night. Dharangaon has one restaurant with a few rooms (non a/c) to offer for the night halt which I gladly accepted. Dinner here was vegetarian as usual and Lassi topped with Vanilla ice-cream, perfect treat for completing the cycle ride on day two.

Day 4: Tuesday 11 October 2016

My day started not quite as I had hoped. With my muscles starting to react, it was important for me to continue cycling. Yes this would be the first time I was cycling for 4 days in a row. With the sun tan now becoming darker than usual, and me being worried how long this will take to come off ;).

Cycling during the day has its own effects such as sun burn, heat exertions, and thirst. Slowly started to come try and knock me down. Other things that kept my mind occupied were my speedometer which was not responding, my apps on my phone had weirder readings. Also received a message from home about communal violence in Nashik. All things started to make me feel unsettled.

But soon enough as I started my ride for the day and after crossing the railway bridge on descend my worries disappeared with the wind under my wings. The only thing that mattered to me was Mumbai 385 kms.

On the way to my destination, numerous interviews happened over a cup of tea and a couple of lunch invitations. Here is special mention of a new friend that I made ‘Parag Shah’ who I met in Amalner village. He invited me to meet his group of friends clicked a selfie which he posted on Facebook wishing me all the very best for the journey ahead. My night halt was at Dhule village.

After I checked in which was the lowest price that I paid on this trip Rs 200.00 I had dinner at the local roadside stall. This time it was non vegetarian ‘seek – kababs’. Two plates without bread for Rs 72.00. It just occurred to me that with travelling and exploring being so less expensive, I wanted to travel more. Post dinner while exploring the by-lanes in Dhule, I came upon a Laxmi kulfi and Ice-cream bhandar. A small juice centre that offered season special Custard apple milkshake. Trust me on this it was so delicious that I could not stop even after 3 glasses. No one could take just one 😉

Day 5: Wednesday October 12, 2016

My day started with an interview with a local policeman at a tea stall, who offered me free tea and wanted to know where I was from, why was I cycling and where will I go. In 20 minutes I am sure he was satisfied with my responses to let me go.

This was one of the longest day riding. Clocked 97 Kms for the day. Crossed Malegoan on the way. Thou did not quite go into the city of Malegoan but halted at a BPCL petrol pump near the Malegaon bypass, not for fuel but for a short break as the afternoon sun was at its best. It reminded me of the Sunfeast advertisement in which the afternoon sun is sucking the water levels by a straw from the heads of kids playing football.

Lunch was not very lavish today, just a couple of potato sandwiches dipped in besan (gram flour/chickpea flour), fried in oil by a local roadside stall served with spicy ‘tehccha’ and awesome hot tea. The evening came and brought some new challenges for me. The great might Chandwad Ghat. With today’s usual ups and downs, climbs and descends did not quite expect such a steep climb at 17:00 hrs of the day. Consolation for this effort was descending the Chandwad Ghat which was 3 kms of pure downhill bliss.

Day: 6 Thursday October 13, 2016

My original plan was to cycle every two days and rest on the third day with minimum distance cycling to be 100 Kms each day. With laziness still in my pannier bags, I decided to cycle every day to cover as much distance as possible. Today I cycled in two parts to reach Nashik from Chandwad. First half of the day I cycled till Pimpalgaon, which was approx. 40 Kms and took rest in one of the local lodges and then started to cycle after 15:00 hrs. Toward Nashik which was another 30 Kms.

Here in Nashik I met Kunal, who has completed Basic Mountaineering Course in Pahelgam at Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports. Later in the evening for dinner I met up with Mazhar Patel who was my college classmate in Burhani College.

Day: 7 Friday October 14, 2016

I started my cycle ride after offering Jumma namaz in Nashik. By now I had more clothes on me than what I worn on day one. With the sun setting over the western ghats of Igatpuri range, I decided to complete the rest of journey by local train as staying at the hotel in Igatpuri was not in my budget. Thereby completed 400 kms cycling in 6 days – solo.

The Burhanpur to Mumbai Trip Sheet in numbers:

Burhanpur to Mumbai road travel distance: 510 kms approx.

Road drive distance from Bhusaval to Burhanpur: 65 kms approx.

Distance from Dharangaon to Mumbai is 385 kms

Nearest railway station to Burhanpur: Burhanpur

Local sigh seeing options in Burhanpur: Yes

Minimum days required for sightseeing in Burhanpur: 3 days – 2 nights

Who should visit Burhanpur: Explorers, students and historians.

Was cycling shorts used: Yes (gel based)

Support Vehicle assisted: No

Any Medical emergency: No

Number of break days: None

Number of breakdowns: None

Total trip expense: Rs 7000.00

Daily expense during cycle ride: Rs 850.00

Cycle used costing: Rs 17000.00

Pannier bags purchased for this trip: Rs 5999.00

Cost of Pannier: Rs 2500.00

Helmet used: Cartoni, Rs 3990.00

 

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