It was a cold Sunday morning and I was running late for the team outing. I hassled myself and stepped on the beast with my gear on. The air around me was heavy possibly the weight of the helmet and the backpack that I was carrying added to it. With all the needed accessories and mandates I imagined the shiny smooth roads which I was about to explore. I could feel the excitement and the blood gushing through my veins as I hadn’t been on long rides lately. I dusted the hand gloves which were unused for a while, I could hear the metal chains within the gloves that clamored when I dusted them. A pair of vintage gloves to provide the shield for my bare hands. The trip was scheduled to commence at 0800 hours. The destination was decided. It was some 250 km drive which included natural beauty submerged with valleys and humongous mountain tops.
I keyed in the keyhole of the bike and started the ignition. The engine wasn’t warm enough. It ignited once but couldn’t keep the throttle going. I gave another try, that was a wake-up call to the beast. It flashed the LED headlights and tuned itself as if it had been waking up after a deep sleep. Weighing around 160kgs, Avenger 220cc – it looked like an untamed beast. The climate was beautiful. It was chilling and the cold breeze streamlined my body and sent a chill down my spine wherein I wiggled my face trying not to get along with the wind. So the road trip was to Lonavala, lying between Mumbai and Pune. Serene, filled with natural mountain peaks and deep valleys, a combination of good and patchy roads leading to Lions point about 600 m above the sea level.
The itinerary was planned as Airoli-Panvel-Old Highway-Khopoli- A small part of Pune Express Highway.
The road leading to Panvel was exhilarating because of the smooth roads and the less incoming traffic which encouraged me to hit on the gas. The tyres provided the best traction and it bucked to stay on track even on extreme banking. The pebbles brushed the tyres and went helter-skelter because of the speed of the bike. The golden shiny rays of run reflected the road and I tried to pass through them creating a rift between the two. Keeping an eye on both rear mirrors for any vehicle, I was on top of my voice singing my favourite songs and could feel it reverberate. I was feeling the vibe when I cruised across vehicles and see them diminishing far from my rear mirror. The smooth roads took me off the roads to a memory deep inside my heart where I could feel the presence of Her behind me, her cheeks brushing the back of my shoulders. The joy of that made me cruise over the roads just to notice that there was none but blue skies behind me. I nodded showing discord and started humming ‘Tere Liye’ from Fitoor – don’t know why!
There were some moments which were distressing – two gruesome accidents on the road both bikers, “I hope they are fine” is what I whispered and drove past them. While traversing the Ghats of Lonavala, there was a crew of bikers all on Royal Enfield geared up cruising together. They nodded at me with a biker brotherhood sign as we both were Cruiser bikes, I nodded back respecting their nod. We reached the destination that was almost 15kms away from Lions point. It was a meadow, flat, grassland, no scenes of mountains within a perimeter of 2-3 km best place to watch the sky full of stars with least possibility of any animals in the vicinity. We parked the bikes and cars and had some photographs snapped. Everyone was engrossed in their own way of enjoying nature with some adultery. You should really have the finger licking corn bhajis at Lion’s point and should surely take some time to get down to a point which looks like an edge of a waterfall.
The shiny rays of the sun were vanishing behind the mountains and every vehicle acclimated to the environment. Headlights on, upper dippers flashed every now and then. I turned on the bike’s LED lights and the picture in front of me was amazing. Drove past a few miniature bikes and empowered them by the power of the engine. Palms were sweaty because of the metal fused gloves but the journey was to be accomplished. Travelling on the old Mumbai-Pune highway where there were no dividers in between for the incoming traffic it was scary yet exhilarating.
Surpassing 250 km, the cozy bed was calling out my name. I just took my time to reach her. And don’t you dare take the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, you would be penalised 1500 bucks. So to sum it up, a good experience totalling 250kms from Dombivli to Lions Point. Google maps help! Take a break near hotel Ramkrishna near and there are Maganlal Chikkis, so you can purchase the best of Chikkis and other savouring products from them. A maize seller sells the roasted corns (bhutta) just to satiate the unusual slurp for corns almost 10 km from Maganlal on the way to Lion’s point just before you hit this bridge. The night ride is really taxing because there are some deep pits that surprise you and it’s really difficult to guess what’s next. So the slower and steadier you ride the better will be your road trip if you really are thinking about the bike ride to Lonavala.