Vivek (my colleague), Shyam (my bro) and myself started our journey on 19th December 2008 evening to Goa. The first phase of the tour for 10days was a 5day cycling trek within Goa organised by Youth Hostel. Seeing this signboard made me feel happy.
We got down at Vasco station and went to Panjim by Kadamba Transport Corporation bus. From there another bus (private operator) to Campal (Sports Association of Goa) for reporting at the base camp. We were alloted tents (about 12 of us in one tent) and a rucksack (into which we keep the clothes & other things required during cycling), a pair of gloves, knee caps (which I never used, I hate using them), helmet and Merida cycle with 21 gears. Dinner was provided at the camp (but we had finished ours outside) and a cup of bournvita after the camp fire. To avoid the early morning rush, we finished our bath also at around same time before hitting the bed. The total number of guys in our batch was 19 (17 guys & 2 girls). One a lawyer in Delhi, few running their own business in Mumbai, a doctor, freelance journalist from Kolkatta, students from Gujarat, delhi & IITK.
On 21st morning (Day 1), we finished our breakfast and packed lunch in the boxes we had taken along. We saddled up our luggage and got ready for the start.
Then started the cycling time which in no means is an easy one even in wildest imaginations. We 3 decided that we would always be together which would be helpful to keep ourselves motivated. We reached Dona Paula to take a ferry across the river in no time.
On reaching the other end, we had to cycle on the highway and reach Velaso beach. Then started the gruelling time. We cycled from Velaso to Mobor all along the beach on the sand. Almost 25+kms, with unrelenting heat and humidity. It was tough but with breaks and a big break for lunch we all made it. It was indeed tough but there might never be another oppurtunity to cycle on the beach!!
The batch before us did not cycle on the beach. Once at Mobor we got back to the roads and took the ferry to reach the camp at Asolna. All in all we cycled around 35+kms. A good beginning. A good snacks we 3 had before reaching the camp helped in refuelling ourselves. The dinner was no less later on at Mahesh restaurant. This was the 2nd most toughest ride in 5 days.
Day 2, 22nd morning started with 4 students from Delhi announcing their decision to drop-out. From 19 we were now 15 in number. Our destination was Netravali and lot of cycling was to be done on highway. Only thing we were to be careful was of speeding trucks on both directions of the road. Trucks were carrying sand from the minning that was going on in those region. There were lot of steep inclines but were managable. It was quite scenic apart from trucks. Nice water streams, rubber plantations, spotted few birds in a farm where we halted for lunch. We also visited a temple. The pond in this temple is the attraction. Bubbles keep coming up from bottom of the pond in a random pattern.
On reaching the camp many left to visit a waterfall while we 3 went around the village. And came across this cute cat.
The dinner at Netravali camp was amazing. This guy has his own farm and produces lot of spices over there. 50+kms did not seem very tiring and was a pretty easy ride compared to earlier day. In terms of toughness this was 5th most.
Day 3, 23rd December, after the usual routines we headed towards Doodhsagar waterfalls. Doodh in hindi means milk, this water falls looks so white like milk and hence the name. Before starting there was suspected puncture in cycles of Vivek & Shyam which the mechanic checked out. There were not any issues and picnic started. Cycling till Mahavir widlife sanctuary was not very difficult and was quite scenic. We rode on red mud, good roads and bad roads, up the mountains, down the mountains.
For entering the widlife sanctuary we had to push our cycles across the river (not deep though) then we started pedalling. The only condition was whatever happens we 3 will not get down and push the cycles and we have to be ahead of the pack. We did manage till the camp. We were comfortably ahead of rest puffing and huffing through mud and rocks laden paths. Was quite fun cycling through this path and it was not easy also.
The only pain was tourist cabs who were not considerate to see us cycling and kept honking and shouting at us to give them way. Road is for everyone.
On reaching the camp rest of the group went to take a look at the falls. We 3 as usual went around to check out the sanctuary which does not have even one animal!! This was the 3rd most toughest ride and we pedalled close to 60kms.
24th December, day 4 of the ride, destination Bondla. Bondla is also a widlife sanctuary and hosts a national park. Morning after we started from the camp, we had to cross the river again and one more stream of water. Everything was going on well. Now 2 other guys (college students) decided to give us company in front of the pack. We 3 always managed to be ahead of the rest. We allowed the 2 to go in front. Now far did they pedal there was an over-ambitious attack by honey bees. Bees stung the first guy, missed the 2nd guy, did not win over Vivek & myself but managed to attack Shyam also. The 3 of us who escaped got down checked out and then we pedalled like we were pedalling for our lives to reach to an area of safety. Another spot there was another attack by next batch of bees we managed to escape from them also. Finally we stopped at a spot were sunlight was coming in. Rest of the pack was also stung by bees, though not all.
After this cycling was easier till we reached entrance of Bondla sanctuary. We took rest for some after finishing our lunch. We had to regain lost calories since the last 6kms to reach the camp was supposed to be the most toughest.
Again we 3 had same strategy, no pushing the cycles we have to pedal through. As we pedalled through we realised why this was toughest. We pedalled and pedalled and pedalled, put in all our energy & efforts. Finally we reached the top. Some of them who started long before us and reached the top said we were crazy to have pedalled all the way up.
Vivek stretching himself after one of the climbs gives an indication of toughness.
The most eventful and toughest ride, we covered about 40kms.
Finally the last day of ride. 25th December (Christmas day), day 5 of ride, we are to go back to Panjim.
Quite a distance was down slope. But trust me after 4 days of tough cycling even a small steep looked very tough. Though it was said to be an easy there were lot of steep climb up’s. Its part of the Western Ghats and there is no way we can escape these. Enroute we went on a wrong direction for ferry and covered additional 5kms. All emotions rose quite naturally. We passed through Old Goa and finally we were there after cycling 60kms.
All in all this was a nice way to spend vacation. A tough trek but satisfying since we were always ahead of the pack and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.
Pictures tell a story. For all photos of the trek, click here.