Mumbai to Goa – solo coastal bikepacking

27th Nov 2021
Photo of Mumbai to Goa – solo coastal bikepacking by yogesh pilankar

I’m new to this Strava age of cycling. A “lockdown cyclist”, as per some pro cyclist. Cycling was a daily school ride, back in days. “The routine is enemy of time, it makes it fly by”, heard it somewhere, never thought would experience it. While we were stuck to a work from home office chair I (re)discovered Cycling as an excuse to go out. It started as local rides in Borivali! but soon the itch to “go-out” grew.

Once a friend’s grandfather rode from Belgaum to Mumbai on a single speed old cycle. Since then I had this dream to cover Mumbai to Goa through coastal route on cycle. I had heard of people achieving this adventure. In lockdown, people started cycling & I found out that cycling is a big thing now. It’s no longer just a commuting vehicle. I knew the cycles have become expensive and then I started searching for the reasons and developments. I was awestruck with the kind of complex and sophisticated technologies are being used to build these new age cycles. Needless to say I started liking the expensive ones, the ones which retails at 50k-90k. I bought one cycle. Used it for couple of months, I liked it but it was not going to solve my bikepacking purpose, so I sold it. Then I bought a hybrid cycle, Scott Sub Cross 30 and loved this one.

The plan was, simply stick to coastal route, catch next ferry, climb some ghats, cross villages one by one and reach Goa. I would be lying if I tell you this bikepacking trip happened just like that. Only small challenge was the cycle was not powered by petrol or electric. I have to pedal it… till Goa. It started in June when I purchased my Scott cycle. I started training myself on morning rides and I was fairly regular. I kept on collecting gears and accessories for the ride. I purchased few things for this ride from Decathlon and cycling stores. Gel padded cycling shorts, buff, gloves, helmet were my best investments for this adventure. I learned fixing puncture and basic mechanical stuff. Learned stretches and exercises which helps in long distance cycling. Gained some leg muscles and confidence on daily Mumbai rides. By November, I planned my leaves and route for the ride.

It was going to be a solo ride. I did not opted to join any group as I knew the route, people and language. The final itinerary was laid out for 7 days. I planned to leave Mumbai on 27th November 2021. Packed my luggage in two bags. The handlebar bag had the food and a backpack on rear carrier had cloths and other utilities. Below is the series of my day notes which will take you through the journey and will also help if someone wants to cycle all the way to Goa from Mumbai.

Day 1 (27th Nov 2021)

Route: Gateway of India – Mandawa Jetty – Alibaug – Kashid (lunch) – Murud – Agardanda Ferry – Dighi – Diveagar

Strava Kms: 96

Cost: INR 1653 (includes food, water, night stay and misc)

Day 1 started quiet early, as I loaded the bike in my car and reached Gateway of India by 6:15am. Got the second ferry and reached Mandwa by 8 am. There was another cycling group starting the ride. I had breakfast at jetty and started my ride by 9 am. Mandawa to Alibaug is flat and smooth road, so covered some distance here. First ghat starts just before Kashid and tarmac also started to lose smoothness. Stopped for lunch in Kashid by appx 2:30 pm. After some rest, started riding towards Phansad. It’s a smooth ride through this jungle patch. By evening approx 5 pm reached to Dighi ferry. After Dighi ferry climbed appx 7-8 kms of ghat section with smooth road till Diveagar. Reached Diveagar by 7pm. As it was weekend I struggled to find accommodation. Finally got a nice homestay for the night. They served delicious homecooked thali. At night, since I had lot of accessories and luggage strapped to cycle, I parked it inside the room. It was a tough day, specially the last ghat section.

Reaching Alibaug

Photo of Mumbai to Goa – solo coastal bikepacking by yogesh pilankar

Day 2

Route: Diveagar – Srivardhan – Bagmandla Ferry – Vesavi – Kelshi fata (lunch) – Kelshi – Padale – Anjarle – Harnai – Saldure

Strava Kms: 78

Cost: INR 1400

Started a bit late by 7:45am from Diveagar. I could not find any breakfast in town so had a protein shake and nuts which I was carrying with me. After 3-4 ghats reached Srivardhan by 10:30 am where finally got breakfast. The road ahead is a bit smooth with less ghats. As I approached Bagmandla-Veshvi ferry, the road became extremely bad and downhill slope tested disc break’s superpowers. From Veshvi, I took the road which goes through Kelshi fata. There is another option through Velas which I learned later. It could save 10km uphill ghat till Kelshi fata and same distance of downhill. For lunch I fortunately got a small food joint at Kelshi fata. There were no customers around but they cooked Burji specially for me. A fast descend till Kelshi led me to the road for Anjarle. Coastal route of Anjarle was under construction. The gravel road was so bad that it broke my GoPro handelbar mount. GoPro fell on the road right on its face and broke the lens. It was just a dead weight for rest of the trip. Final climb to Anjarle bridge felt very tough, as the long ghats, broken roads almost broke my sprits today. The beautiful views of vast mangroves from Anjarle bridge made up for broken spirit. Then flat roads across Harnai took me to Saldure where I found a stay by 6pm. I would recommend to carry some dry food with you always, as routes like today has less food/water options available when you need them.

Anjarle beach

Photo of Mumbai to Goa – solo coastal bikepacking by yogesh pilankar

Day 3

Route: Saldure – Karde – Ladghar – Panchanadi – Dabhol (lunch) Ferry – Dhopave – Guhaghar – Velneshwar

Strava Kms: 73

Cost: INR 965

Started 7:30am from Saldure. The homestay was attached to beach, so took a small ride on beach and started todays journey. Repeated the same mistake from yesterday of not having breakfast at Saldure, in my defense I could not find a single breakfast joint in morning. I guess the village hotels starts a bit late. After Ladghar there is a long uphill ghat section. Roads are overall good in this patch till Panchnadi. Crossed a difficult uphill ghat section before and after Panchnadi village. After Panchnadi ghat, there is a small chai joint. I had couple of Vadapav’s and chai at 11:30 am. From here, there is approximately 5-6 kms of downhill ghat till Dabhol jetty. By 12:30 pm, picked up bananas for lunch at Dabhol Jetty. Due to saddle sore and skipping breakfast, I was not feeling great to cover distance today. I had planned to reach till Velneshwar but was running 1-2 hours behind my schedule. After crossing the ferry, at Dhopave, as per locals took a different route towards Guhagar. This route is shorter by 2-3 kms but very steep and goes though small villages and jungle patches. I kept ringing cycle bell in between to avoid any wildlife faceoff. Once reached on top, a superb long downhill ghat section reaches to the beach town Guhaghar. Had late 4 pm lunch here. It was around 5 pm when I was leaving Guhagar, I came across a rickshaw stand. Inquired about road till Velneshwar and decided to take rickshaw. covered approximately 20 kms and 2 ghats. Reached Velneshwar by 5:30 pm. Stayed at a small hotel just near to coastal highway. For dinner they served delicious homecooked food.

Guhagar school

Photo of Mumbai to Goa – solo coastal bikepacking by yogesh pilankar

Day 4

Route: Velneshwar – Tavsal Ferry – Jaigad – Ganpatipule – Aare Ware – Kalbadevi – Ratnagiri – Pawas

Strava Kms: 76

Cost: INR 1338

Started at 7:20am from Velneshwar. As I stayed outside of Velneshwar there was no option for breakfast. Morning ride felt so good through Hedavi village. Its has lot of vegetation, small konkani houses, beetle nut orchards, its a proper Konkan feel. Just before jetty a fox crossed 15ft in front of me but before I took out my camera he disappeared on other side of jungle. Crossed 2 minor ghats after Hedavi to reach Tavsal for first ferry at 8:30am. There is a small vadapav shop at Jaigad end. From this part its going to be very scenic journey of Konkan. Soil color turns red, Hapus Mango orchards, pristine beaches and bad roads. Yep, Ratnagiri district had overall bad roads on this trip.

After ferry there is again a steep uphill climb. Took a shortcut as directed by locals. Slight upward gradient till Undi. From Undi village the route is along the sea till Bhatye beach. This is India’s own California part. Tarmac is still as per Indian standard (read “Broken”). Had Breakfast at Malgund by 11 am. Later rode through the famous Aare-Vare villages. Route is slightly up & down till Ratnagiri. Due to late breakfast, just had Orange juice in Ratnagiri. The heat increased as I approached laterite plateaus after Ratnagiri. By 4:30 pm just before Golap had small Chinese lunch. After crossing a ghat for 6-8 kms, reached Pawas by 6 pm. I stayed at friend’s place and had the best homecooked dinner of the trip. The weather changed that night, it rained a lot.

Aare Ware, Ratnagiri

Photo of Mumbai to Goa – solo coastal bikepacking by yogesh pilankar

Day 5

Route: Pawas – Adivare – Jaitapur – Amberi – Jamsande – Devgad

Strava Kms: 78

Cost: INR 2455 (cost include an extra day’s stay and food at Devgad)

It was raining when I woke up at 6am. The host advised to start a bit late, to avoid Leopard activity in nearby area. I wouldn’t mind facing a Leopard but, not alone in the woods and with a 2 wheeler which can not outpace him. The rain further delayed it and I started by 9 am. As I left within couple of kilometers, got completely drenched in the light rain. I cursed this unexpected shower in winter. Slowly and steadily started munching kilometers as today’s plan was to reach till Devgad. After Pawas, the route is mostly laid on lateritic plateaus. Less ghat sections, mostly slight up & down gradient. Passed Gaonkhadi, Adivare, Jaitapur slowly on bumpy roads. There are not enough good food joints on this patch when you are really hungry. Adivare has small joints and some in Jaitapur. I had very late lunch (missal pav) at Katradevi just before Amberi bridge. Today I felt I’m covering more kilometers due to less climbs and lot of plateaus. Crossed one final ghat before reaching Devgad at 6:30 pm. As soon as I reached it started raining like monsoon. The next day rains didn’t stop till late afternoon. So I took a day off. Recovered from fever and cold in the cozy Nivant resort. Enjoyed authentic fish thalis and delicious veg food.

Raining in December

Photo of Mumbai to Goa – solo coastal bikepacking by yogesh pilankar

Day 6

Route: Devgad – Mithmumbari – Kunkeshwar – Mithbav – Achara Thita (lunch) – Malvan

Strava Kms: 50

Cost: INR 1230

After 3 Crocin’s and 1 Dolo yesterday, I was feeling much better in the morning. Packed luggage on the bike and left at 8:20 am. While leaving Devgad I came across to a small eatery, they served traditional Usal Pav for breakfast. After Devgad crossed lot of mango farms on the way to Kunkeshwar. The rain had done the destruction and it will affect the first lot of mangos for next year. The road is very bad in couple of small patches but, overall road condition improved from here on. The silent water under Taramumbari’s bridge was drenched in turquoise colour. It led to the most scenic downhill just before Kunkeshwar mandir. Upward gradients are now forgiving so we can cover kilometers faster after Kunkeshwar. After Mithbav, keep an eye on the map, as we have to make a left towards Achara Titha. By 12 pm reached Achara Titha and stopped at Bagve Lunch Home for delicious food. It was an easy ride till Malvan, where I decided to stop for the day at 3:30 pm. It was the shortest ride of this journey and much needed break to recover. At Malvan I stayed at Sitai homestay and for the dinner they cooked the most delicious Pomfret fry. It was the first time I tasted authentic Malvani Masala both in curry and fry fish.

Passing Devgad windmills

Photo of Mumbai to Goa – solo coastal bikepacking by yogesh pilankar

Day 7

Route: Malvan – Chipi – Vengurla (lunch) – Shiroda – Redi – Tiracol – Ferry – Querim – Arambol (one can skip Tiracol ferry and choose Aronda bridge to enter Goa)

Strava Kms: 84

Cost: INR 3150 (cost includes Goa to Mumbai bus ticket and cycle luggage fare)

After the soulful food I had a very good sleep last night. Next day I wake up early and left Malvan at 7:20 am. I was in two minds for today’s destination. Option 1 was to stop at Shiroda, which is just before Goa border and second option was to reach Arambol. I decided to take it easy and let’s decide after Vengurla. I stopped for a quick Vada Pav break in Malvan. A small climb took me to vast plateau of Chipi Airport. Here I got some headwinds. I rode across small konkani villages one after another. Just before Vengurla climbed a steep uphill ghat and reached for lunch at 12 pm. Stopped at Redkar Bandhu Bhojanalay for a good Fish thali. Roads after Vengurla are almost flat and passes through small villages. After Shiroda, I took the ferry route to enter Goa. Its a small ferry with no fare. I guess government compensates this with the huge mining projects that welcomed me in Goa. Ferry took me to Querim by 4 pm and then rode to Arambol by 5:30 pm. It was December and the hotel rates in Goa were… let’s just say, it was not worth for a night stay. So I hired a cab to Mapusa. Booked an AC chair bus to Mumbai, loaded the bike in luggage compartment. Ticket and luggage costed me INR1,450 and I reached Mumbai the next morning at 7:30am.

Reached Goa

Photo of Mumbai to Goa – solo coastal bikepacking by yogesh pilankar

Please visit my Blog & Insta for more pics of the trip.

Total expense: INR 12,191

* Cost includes water, food, stay, all ferry charges, return bus ticket to Mumbai, misc. I chose the stay options as per availability, most of them were budget friendly small homestays.

Total Kilometers (as per Strava): 535 kms

Daily average kilometers covered: 76.4 kms


Gateway of India – Diveagar – Saldure – Velneshwar – Pawas – Devgad – Malvan – Arambol

Some cycling tips:

The best season for this ride would be November (start of winter) to February (end of winter). The summers are very hot and ferries are closed in Monsoon.

BSNL & Jio network is available on most part of the route.

While climbing on ghats keep a momentum or simply walk off on steep sections.

I carried appx 3.2 ltr water with me at a time. It helped a lot.

For solo ride keep the luggage weight as minimum as possible. Every gram matters on hills. For e.g., I carried only 3 lightweight Decathlon T-shirts for entire trip.

Use gel padded cycling shorts.

Check tyre pressure and lube the chain daily.

Carry protein powder and dry fruits other than your choice of food.

I would be happy to help fellow cyclist who wants to know more about the ride, route, preparations, etc. Please connect me through below channels:

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