Necklace Point Cycle Ride

Tripoto
22nd Aug 2020
Photo of Necklace Point Cycle Ride by Himanshu Paliwal
Day 1

First long ride during pandemic (COVID19)

Everything was going well in the early months of the year 2020. As usual, new year resolutions were followed religiously, a travel planner for an entire year was set, advance bookings were done, many things from the bucket list ready to be ticked off.

But a microscopic virus emerged and almost everything was halted. (the situation is not under control yet as of Aug 2020)

After waiting for almost 5 months, I proposed a ride in our group.

During the lockdown phase, I was satisfied cooking and eating almost all kinds of delicacies at home. So increasing weight was a concern. I have been training on and off during the lockdown period so physical preparation was not that great but yes mentally I was all set for a good long ride.

All set for the ride

Photo of Pune, Maharashtra, India by Himanshu Paliwal

Ready to cross tunnel.

Photo of Katraj Ghat Viewpoint, Mangadewadi, Maharashtra, India by Himanshu Paliwal
Photo of Bhor, Maharashtra, India by Himanshu Paliwal

The destination was finalized and information was spread across. The plan seemed shadowy till the last day.

Destination: Necklace Point

Date: 22/Aug/2020

Ride Distance: 100+ km

Ride Duration: 6 hours

Fun: Unlimited :p

The necklace point is in Bhor, it’s a location where Nira river and Gunjawani river meet and create a Necklace shaped meander. That’s how this scenic viewpoint got its name as the Necklace point.

Photo of Necklace Point Cycle Ride by Himanshu Paliwal

The forecast was for a clear sky throughout the day. But the moment I hopped onto the saddle, the rain-gods changed their mind and it began to rain. We all gathered at a designated spot and started riding together catching up on various stories about the lockdown and its impact.

After almost 20-25 km we reached Katraj old tunnel which was our first pit stop and it was challenging due to high elevation and detraining.

Photo of Necklace Point Cycle Ride by Himanshu Paliwal

The Dare Devils [Swapnil, Prasad, Himanshu Gyani, and Himanshu Paliwal]

Photo of Necklace Point Cycle Ride by Himanshu Paliwal

There were few roadies, who were doing hill repetition for training who overtook like their bike has a 4 cylinder engine.

When I ride on such a steep elevation my brain starts bombarding so many questions — Why am I doing this? Why can’t we enjoy a hot coffee at home and watch Netflix?

Why??? Why??? Why???

Answer: Because life is all about adventure and the joy of discovery is priceless.

It was probably one of the longest climbs around the Pune area. The Ghat section is almost 5 km long but the elevation was gradually increasing.

Temple just before the tunnel.

Photo of Necklace Point Cycle Ride by Himanshu Paliwal

The best part about climbing such ghats in the monsoon is the view that keeps you engaged. Even though it was pouring, we took a quick break to sip water.

There was a stretch of 10-15 km on Pune-Bangalore Highway (NH4) which was full of traffic and diversions and nothing terrifies me more than riding on a highway because in India cyclists are mostly invisible to motorists.

Few sections on the highway were full of potholes and mud all around which built more pressure.

Oh yes, how can forget — Rain was complexifying everything.

Photo of Necklace Point Cycle Ride by Himanshu Paliwal

Hurdles on the way

Photo of Necklace Point Cycle Ride by Himanshu Paliwal

Fortunately, the suffering didn’t last long and countryside roads greeted us. They were almost empty and offered stunning lush green views of farms and mountains.

After spending months inside 4 walls, what else can be more delightful than rain, ride, beautiful views, and open roads?

Don’t believe me?

👀 Have a look. 👀

An Open Road — Home to my soul.

I have been to this place so many times on my motorcycle but everything felt so different on a bike. 🚴

The elevation, tarmac, potholes, etc. everything gives a different experience.

While on countryside roads, crossing villages in India you will come across many vegetable/fruit sellers. Buy from them as they have the freshest products at a reasonable price.

And it’s not just the product they are selling that will be good but even their sweet behavior and gestures will make you feel good.

Photo of Necklace Point Cycle Ride by Himanshu Paliwal

When you know the destination is not too far, you try to pedal faster. I had the same intention but the views were so pretty. I couldn’t resist and took many halts in the last 2-3 km stretch.

The beauty of life and ride was captured and it was worth every single minute spent there.

Photo of Necklace Point Cycle Ride by Himanshu Paliwal

Prasad posing with his Trek DS4

Photo of Necklace Point Cycle Ride by Himanshu Paliwal

HellBoy Resting

Photo of Necklace Point Cycle Ride by Himanshu Paliwal

The last 2 km stretch felt never-ending. Every crossing motorcycle made us feel even more tired as our pace was too slow and it felt as if they were passing at an ultra-high speed.

And the most fun part is the way they look at us and think — crazy people paddling unnecessarily in rain on an ascend.

Photo of Necklace Point Cycle Ride by Himanshu Paliwal
Photo of Necklace Point, Bhor, Maharashtra, India by Himanshu Paliwal
Photo of Old Katraj Tunnel, Mangadewadi, Maharashtra, India by Himanshu Paliwal
Photo of Old Katraj Tunnel, Mangadewadi, Maharashtra, India by Himanshu Paliwal

Yes, we are crazy, kept riding, and made it to the scenic viewpoint.

Century rides are always memorable and give a sense of achievement. I am sure all cyclists will be able to relate to it.

The view and the feeling of achievement can’t be described in words.

To avoid outside food we were carrying snacks with us, we spent some time munching and soaking up the natural beauty all around.

Mount savoring Poori

Photo of Necklace Point Cycle Ride by Himanshu Paliwal

A visitor

Photo of Necklace Point Cycle Ride by Himanshu Paliwal

The taste of Poori bought by Swapnil is still fresh in my mouth. It was like blessings after a long climb.

I believe food tastes, even more, better when you have it with a view.

Photo of Necklace Point Cycle Ride by Himanshu Paliwal

Turning around and going back home leaving this beautiful view was a tough call. With a heavy heart rushed back to the road as the return ride was almost 50 km long.

The sky was clear now and mercury started rising. Also, there was a gradual elevation for more than 10-15 km road.

Beautiful Farms

Photo of Necklace Point Cycle Ride by Himanshu Paliwal

I was taking frequent halts and kept checking maps on my phone to see the distance remaining.

Yes, it was all because of poor training, and the scorching sun was taking a toll on me.

But moving forward is the only option left, so my advice and learning from this ride was — don’t miss your training rides.

Keep Moving...

Photo of Necklace Point Cycle Ride by Himanshu Paliwal

Highway climb was not even over and I was at the foothill of Katraj Ghat from another side. The same ghat which I climbed while going.

Somehow managed to climb it and reached the tunnel.

Photo of Necklace Point Cycle Ride by Himanshu Paliwal

I crossed many roadside food joints and my eyes were glued to fresh wada pav and pakoda at the counter.

I was controlling my urge due to COVID19. Otherwise, it is very rare for me to go on a weekend ride and come home without wada pav and tea.

On the other side of the tunnel, Swapnil and Prasad were waiting for me. As I approached them I could see them holding a cup of tea and a plate of pakoda.

“वैसे तो मेँ काफी सख्त था , लेकिन यहाँ पिघल गया.”

All the way I was determined to avoid outside food and reach home early for lunch. But as soon as I approached the food joint, I gave up and ordered everything they had to offer.

Onion Pakoda and the View

Photo of Necklace Point Cycle Ride by Himanshu Paliwal

After a short break started again.

Due to traffic ride back home was even more draining.

And that’s how I finished my first-century ride in this pandemic.

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Photos Gallery

Photo of Necklace Point Cycle Ride by Himanshu Paliwal
Photo of Necklace Point Cycle Ride by Himanshu Paliwal
Photo of Necklace Point Cycle Ride by Himanshu Paliwal
Photo of Necklace Point Cycle Ride by Himanshu Paliwal

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