My passion for cycling and to serve society...

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Cycling in Pune - February 2017

Wow! What a wonderful & memorable cycling I had in Pune from 10th Feb to 12th Feb 2017. Thanks to Amit Agashe who had made the ride itinerary and also took care of my every issues in Pune including food and accommodation in his heavenly abode.

                                               Amit Agashe

Amit is a practising advocate from Pune and an avid cyclist. Both of us had met for the first time in Goa in Dec 2013 when we had participated in Youth Hostel Association of India (YHAI) Goa cycling expedition. Since then we are close friends and have participated together in YHAI Thar Desert cycling expedition in 2014 & YHAI Ooty-Madhumalai cycling expedition in 2015.

I left for Pune on 8th Feb from Bangalore by train no.16340 (Nagarcoil-Mumbai express) and reached Pune on 9th Feb around 6.30 p.m. From Pune railway station I took an Ola cab and reached house of Amit at Kothrud around 7.15 p.m. At the house I was well greeted by Amit, his wife Pooja & mother. Amit’s little sweet daughter Anandita had a staring look at me as I was completely a new face for her.
                                             Amit & his family

I had tied up with ShiftGear a bicycle rental company at Kothrud, Pune for renting a bicycle for me from 10th Feb to 12th Feb. I am happy to say here that Mr.Vikrant who owns ShiftGear offered a good Hybrid bicycle to me at a reasonable rent. Around 8 p.m. as promised to me he delivered bicycle at Amit’s residence. Both I and Amit had a trial round of cycling for an hour around Kothrud area so that I am familiar with the rented bicycle.

On the morning of 10th Feb Amit & I left Kothrud around 6.30 and started pedalling towards Lavasa which is around 55 kms. It was a tough ride as Lavasa is on a height of 630 metres above sea level. En route we had tasty Maharastrian breakfast viz., Usal Pav & Misal Pav at Amrale Misal hotel. 

We reached Lavasa around 12.30 p.m. Though I had heard big about Lavasa it was very disappointing to see the city in a dilapidated condition with lots of buildings half constructed giving a ghostly look. 

At Lavasa we had our lunch in a small restaurant and around 2 p.m. started pedalling again towards Panshet, MTDC Resort which was about 45 kms from Lavasa. 

Initially I thought 45 kms we would cover easily in just 3 hrs. I was completely wrong. Amit did tell me that the road to Panshet from Lavasa was extremely bad. He was absolutely right. The road was totally damaged and there were lots of stones, pebbles restricting our pedalling. At times we even had to lift our bicycles and cover the distance else it would have led to puncturing our bicycles which was not desirable as ShiftGear had not given a spare tube to me for the bicycle that I had hired. The road was so bad that we could cover just average 8 kms per hour. At about 7 p.m. it became dark. As Amit had to take a call, I moved ahead. Later, as a result of poor connectivity Amit could not connect to me and neither could I contact him on his mobile. As it was dark Amit was worried for me as I am a fatherly figure for him. But equally I too was worried for Amit as he was more like my son although I am blessed with two daughters. Panshet was not far from the location where I was. After a while I saw Amit coming and both of us had a sigh of relief. We then moved together and reached MTDC Resort at Panshet at around 7.30 p.m.

On reaching MTDC Resort at Panshet we were extremely tired and were looking for quick freshening up. Luckily we were given a room on the ground floor itself and did not have to walk around in sprawling resort. Both of us got freshened up quickly when Amit’s friend Ninad Deshmukh who is also an avid cyclist joined us as he came alone on his bicycle separately from Kothrud by the shortest route.

We had great satisfaction of day's ride. Although it was tough riding since morning, once we reached the destination viz., Panshet we had great feeling. All three of us had dinner in the room itself. As we were extremely exhausted we had sound sleep.

On the morning of 11th Feb we had breakfast at MTDC Resort and started back pedalling to Kothrud, Pune which was about 40 kms. After pedalling about 15 kms 2 more cyclist friends viz., Ms.Tejasvita Bawkar and Ankit Wankhade (fierce cyclist) joined us. After having chilled sugar cane juice we all started pedalling together. On our way we had lunch together which was memorable as we had quite relaxed time together. We all reached Kothrud around 4 p.m.
With Amit & Ninad Deshmukh

With Amit, Ninad, Ankit & Tejasvita

On day 3 (12th Feb) Amit, Ankit and I pedalled to ARAI Tekdi / Vetal Tekdi which is just about 8 kms from Amit’s house. The term Tekdi in Marathi means a small hillock or mountain. Although it was not a big mountain, the road to top of Vetal Tekdi was good. There were lots of cars, bikes and morning walkers going to top of mountain. As we were pedalling up on bicycle it was giving us nice feeling when people used to acknowledge our efforts by waving at us. It was great moment for us. 
On top of ARAI /  Vetal Tekdi   
With Amit


With Ankit

With Amit

With Ankit

Once you reach top of mountain, there are few spots which are flat. The view of surrounding area from the top of Tekdi is beautiful. We had individual as well as group photographs along with our bicycles. 

                Three Musketeers
Me with my bicycle

      Amit with his bicycle

Ankit with his bicycle

By 9 a.m. we pedalled back to Amit’s house where Amit’s family greeted us with sumptuous breakfast. After breakfast Ankit said good bye to us and left. My return train to Bangalore was by Coimbatore express train no. 16613 leaving Pune at 22.30. In the afternoon I and Amit’s family together went to an Italian cuisine restaurant and we had our lunch there. We then had Ice cream & Kulfi at famous Ice cream parlour Sujatha Mastani.

At Italian Restaurant

At Sujatha Mastani Ice cream parlour

In the evening Amit took me to a nearby famous Chitale Bandhu shop where I could buy some dry snacks for my family. It was then time to bid bye to Amit & his family. I have no words to express my sincere thanks for the unforgettable hospitality that the trio viz., Amit, his mother & his wife Pooja gave me at Pune for 4 days. Today we see everywhere nuclear family with dwindling sociological contacts where own relatives are seen as unwanted guests. In this scenario I am really overwhelmed to see Amit’s family extending hospitality to me with great love & care.

With little lovely Anandita

On the whole I had wonderful time in Pune and I would cherish the time I spent with Amit & his family at all the time.