The Day After (the Tour)!

23rd Aug 2017
Photo of The Day After (the Tour)! by Nikhil Kulkarni


Post the late night party on the last day of the tour, the next day was all set for a lazy start. Most of the riders from outside Nagpur had already left for their hometowns, late night or early morning. The volunteer crew and a few of us from Nagpur along with Dr. Ghughe, Nikita, Nikhil Soneji and the Choudhrie “twins” stayed back at the Tawa Resort. However, surprisingly most of us were up pretty early considering the routine, the Tour had set up for us.

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Photo of Tawanagar, Madhya Pradesh, India by Nikhil Kulkarni

Post a slow paced breakfast the volunteers took stock of our bikes and loaded them up for the return journey to Nagpur as systematically as they had when they were brought to Ramakona. Goodbyes were exchanged with a special request to Nikhil Soneji to set up a fan moment for me with Jonty Rhodes whom I have grown up idolizing for reasons beyond cricket.

The bus scheduled to ferry us to Nagpur was off by 9.30 am. While the bus started winding out of the Tawa reserve, most of us were quiet and the remainder were lost in their mobile phones. The only chirpy guy was Ayaan.

Seated next to Anand Kasture, the journalist who prides himself on cycling to his news stories, I went through his collection of the photographs of the Tour. Not being a clickety click person, I derive happiness from watching what others have clicked, and the pictures that Anand had clicked were breath-taking !

About one hour post starting the return journey, my room-mates for four days, the twins were off at Beitul. I shared a good rapport with them and we had had lengthy talks every evening on a wide range of topics. I sincerely hope to catch up with them some day again. Maybe on another tour or a brevet – Fingers crossed!!

Going into the contemplative mode which I so often did during my solo sojourn, I started associating cartomancy, especially Tarot with the developments at the Tour for self. I am a self proclaimed Tarot fanatic and I like to see the happenings in the physical world through my cards.

From the Ludy Lescot deck

Photo of The Day After (the Tour)! by Nikhil Kulkarni

My card for the month was the Hanged Man. This card speaks about a 180 degree change in outlook to things. It can also be about a temporary pause in happenings. Until now I had done longish tours only on my Bullet. One pilgrimage ride a year was the norm. This year had circumstances thrown at me which made me abstain from the ride to Spiti that my biker brothers did. Instead here I was doing my first cycle tour – an absolute change from what I was up to until now.

From the Ludy Lescot deck

Photo of The Day After (the Tour)! by Nikhil Kulkarni

My rider number for the Tour was 27 (=9) which translates to the card of the Hermit, a person who prefers solitude and engrosses himself in his own journey (of development). Co-incidentally for a major part of the tour I was a solitary rider. And I didn’t mind it a bit. It probably helped me savour Satpura better.

Meanwhile, since it was nearing noon we had a lunch break somewhere near Teegaon, a town that most of us associate with the Support Station for Brevets. It was a simple but tasty lunch and we were onto the roads much quickly than anticipated.

By about 5 pm we had even entered the municipal limits of Nagpur and were at Vishnuji ki Rasoi, the drop off point. I collected my GIANT which had already arrived and decided to cycle back home and therefore made an arrangement with Sachin to pick up my luggage from his home in the evening.

The sudden transition of environs – good roads laced with ample greenery and not much traffic to dug up and potholed roads with vehicular traffic in a persistent hurry, was tough to handle immediately. It was a huge adventure in itself having until now been in a different frame of mind. The laid back passive cycling engaged in on the Tour was now replaced with an adrenaline surging and “brake-full” ride to avoid potholes and rash motorcyclists.

Like my friend and fellow biker Rohit said the evening before, indeed Satpura evoked just these words “Ye jungle kitna sundar hai”. And the Tour around this jungle had been a revelation in itself. Not a moment in the Tour did I find dull enough to warrant a complaint. The planning was meticulous, the route awe-inspiring and the support fantabulous. The bar of standards had been set very high by Cycle Safari considering that this was their first major tour. It would also be a sacrilege to miss out on mentioning the huge role the volunteers played in making the Tour de Satpura a success. Hats off to them!

The memories Tour de Satpura has left behind are indelible and I intend to revel in them as long as I can. Thank you once again Cycle Safari!