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Indian Coastal Cycling Expedition – Murud – Harihareshwar – Lessons in Self Control and Caring

The first day on road from Mumbai to Murud was a lovely one. Having rested well we set off for our second days ride at 6:30 am on the 14th Feb 2021.

The Kokari Tombs at Janjira

Passing by the Palace of the Siddis and the Murud Creek we made a short stop over at the Khora Bunder beach, to catch a glimpse of the mighty Janjira fort. It is a massive island fort with a number of bastions. Having taken in the sights of the fort and with some photo opportunities at the beach we moved ahead to the ferry point at Agardanda, but not before we made a small stop over at the Kokari tombs. The Janjira fort was originally a Koli ( Fisherman) fort which was taken over by the Siddis. Siddis have a unique history, who originally were Slaves brought in India, but rose to power  and position at native courts due to their courage, loyalty and knowledge of the seas.

 

 

In the journey of life it is so easy to be engrossed with and focused on your own journey, that some times we fail to identify why some one is slowing down or may be someone is having a problem. How important it is to look out for others and be with them

The Siddi Palace is where descendants of the Siddi’s still reside while the Khokari Tombs are three large tombs of the siddis with intricate lattice work carved in stone.

Before we could take the ferry at Agardanda, we picked up some quick tea and Vada Pau ( a typical local Indian Burger) and some savoury Chiwda ( snackmade from sort of a popcorn of rice) at a small eatery along the jetty.

Savoury Chiwda Photo by Akash Sinha

The banks of rivers and creeks along the Konkan coast are well connected with RORO Ferries, and we took one of them to cross over to Dighi.

Dighi is an upcoming new port and is planned to be connected to major inland destinations. A heavy breakfast at the Dighi jetty and we setoff for our day’s destination of Harihareshwar via Diveagar and Srivardhan.

The town of Dighi with the port at the background

 

The ride saw many ascents some of them demanding the best of us, but then they rewarded us with some good relaxing descents as well. We had several photo opportunities enroute and we did not miss a single chance. We stopped by Diveagar for lunch, and after a much-deserved stop over at the Diveagar beach, we set off for Srivardhan and Harihareshwar.

We passed by a lovely little seaside village of Adgaon, with the sea all along the west side, with little Konkan style sloping roofed homes on the east of the road.  The afternoon sun was harsh on us so we all had our share of electrolyte and pedalled forward. A little did we go and my seat clamp started to behave erratic, slipping my seat post down. I adjusted the seat several times without much success…. it continued slipping. Finally with the help of Shriram, I managed to grease the post a bit- by extracting some grease along the lower end of the seat post and applying it around where the clamp would sit. That done the seat did not slip any further till we reached our destination. A little counter intuitive but yes the grease kept the seat post from slipping further.

 

As we were riding I was also making a photographic record of plastic pollution along the sea front. I was so sad to see the coast littered with plastic; more so single use packaging material that we simply discard so casually that was littering the coast. This was seen even at places which were nowhere near populated locations. Can we not stop using single use plastics and single use plastic packaging?

 

Making notes on Plastic Pollution along the coast

As we were crossing Srivardhan, we noticed one of our team mates severely lagging behind. We stopped numerous times to let him catch up with us. As we crossed Srivardhan it was almost nearing sunset, and I was getting tensed, as we had planned that we would always make an effort to reach our destination before sunset and explore the place, Harihareshwar was still about 12 kilometers with a uphill climb to cover. Nevertheless we continued pushing ourselves through the dark, with our lights showing us the road, waiting often for all to regroup – continue together for some distance to find the third rider again lag behind. A part in me was getting annoyed over the delay, but the other side  of me was restraining me and making me care for the teammates. I was working hard at controlling my emotions of frustration over the delay.

With some difficulty we managed to reach Harihareshwar, and we talked out the days happenings. It was then we understood that the team member who was lagging behind was not because of his bicycle or him being tired, but due to him being concerned about a distant family member who had taken ill and that he was receiving calls from his home and was genuinely concerned.

We mutually decided that it was prudent for the third team member to fall back and withdraw and attend to his family which was of prime importance. Arrangements were made to transport our third team member back home the next day. And hence from day three we were a team just two. We missed our third Mate throughout the trip to Goa.

On introspection later that night it dawned up me that in the journey of life it is so easy to be engrossed with and focused on your own journey, that some times we fail to identify why some one is slowing down or may be someone is having a problem. How important it is to look out for others and be with them.

Though the distance covered was barely 70 kilometers, day two went on to become one of our longest riding day – time wise , and a day of caring and understanding for each other!

Seven days on the road on my first ever Cycling Expedition; every day taught me some lessons of life afresh, which I shall share in this series of articles along with images that were shot during the ride…

 

Keep a look out for the next learning…..

Milind

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