While the rains and the accompanying cool weather make us want to curl up in our beds with a book and a cup of hot tea, this time of the year also happens to magnify the scenic beauty around us. And while it may seem counter-intuitive, the monsoon period is one of the best times to go on a bike trip.
Riding a bike in the cool monsoon weather as the heady petrichor fills your mind is an amazing experience. And since riding bikes in this sort of weather is not something too many people do, there’s a certain uniqueness to it which just adds to the charm. It comes as no surprise then that there are a bunch of bikers who make it a point to explore as much of the country as they can to revel in the season’s best views.
Times of India recently caught up with various bikers from Mumbai to figure out what the thrill about a bike trip in the monsoons was all about.
The magic of the Sahyadris
Looking for a poetic riding experience? Head southwards from Mumbai, where the entire 720-km coastline from Mumbai to Goa looks like a green dhurrie. “If it’s the rains, I have to be in these ghats; they’re irresistible,” laughs Vashi-based management consultant Maxson Lewis. “The route from Sindhudurg, Raigad and Ratnagiri and finally Goa, is lush green. You can do a weekend ride to any of the Sahyadris. Either a short run to Malshej, Mahabaleshwar, Mulshi or a long run to Chiplun, Jawar and Bhimashankar.”
Every monsoon Avinash Ambedkar chases the rain on his favourite route with a camera. “I call it ‘lensational weather’,” he laughs. “We ride down to Goa via NH17 and at Kasara, the clouds almost touch the road; it’s like you’re riding in heaven. And in Ratnagiri or Anzarli, you have the road on one side and the sea on the other; as you ride parallel to the coastline. On one of rides we actually caught the monsoon approaching there; it was amazing. What adds to the fun is having piping hot tapri chai and missal or vada pao at the roadside dhabas there,” he says.
Kavita says that the rainy weekends lure her to either Vandri Lake, Thane or Tamhini Ghat near Mulshi. “It makes for a huge relaxation for me. I think if you don’t ride in the monsoon, you simply haven’t seen the rain,” she smiles.
Braving the rugged north
Sameer Khan, a doctor by profession, the north is where the real lure lies. “I love to ride and the roads in the north, especially around Chamba, Uttaranchal, are so gorgeous. Here, it’s not the heavy rain that you may encounter on the coast, but at 7,000 feet with hairpin curves, it’s not an easy stretch either,” he says.
Interior designer Amarnath Lokhande recalls his bike trip from Mumbai to Rajasthan-Haryana-Chandigarh-Himachal Pradesh, via NH8 and NH1 into Manali. “We had windstorms in Jaipur and heavy rainfall Haryana onwards. The roads made it difficult to ride at the Zoji La Pass. It was tough, but so worth it,” he says.
Suggested Read: 5 best monsoon bike trips in India you have to take immediately
Challenges and Safety
Riding at this time also poses it’s own risks, for one, the terrain is a challenge. Wearing the right safety equipment will also save you, regardless of your speed. Says biker Freddy Pithavala, “Always ride in groups so you can fall back for each other and ‘ride as fast as the slowest rider in the group’.”
Debasshish Ghosh adds that apart from checking tyre conditions etc, one must realise that every bike has its own body language. “This governs your riding style, so you need to understand your bike well. It helps to have the right road control,” he says.
source: Times of India
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