This is a guest post by Diksha Iyer, who blogs at Jauntful Memories. She travels to write and writes to keep travelling.
An early morning cycling expedition along the sea will hold you in awe. The silence on the streets, sea breeze, sound of the gushing waves and the ubiquitous presence of iconic South Mumbai buildings make cycling a nostalgic experience.
It was a chilly Sunday morning. The sapphire sea seemed endless and infinite. The sound of the waves crashing on the mighty rocks was music to our ears. The cool breeze caressed our hair as we pedalled along the Marine Drive promenade. To our right was the beautifully curved coast of the Queen’s Necklace and to our left were buildings resembling a pastel colour box.
It had been a long time since I had gone cycling. I had made several unsuccessful plans of cycling in the south of Mumbai until I finally decided to make it happen.
Instead of commuting on our cycles from Chembur to Marine Drive, we decided to rent bicycles from a shop near Girgaon Chowpatty. It is the best way to have a relaxed cycling experience. We picked up our cycles from Anil Cycle Stores, and were lucky to get the last two B-Twins.
There was no route planned, but that’s what makes the journey compelling. We pedaled our way along the Chowpatty seafacing road, crossing Ideal Café, New Yorkers and Bachelors until we reached the Marine Drive promenade.
After parking our cycles at the dead-end of the street, we spent some time watching the waves crash on the rocks at Nariman point. The high-rise buildings of Malabar Hills seemed distant, hiding behind the morning mist. The sky and sea seemed to be as close as ever.
We looked around at people jogging and walking with their headphones on. There was also a group of cyclists who drove past us like a swarm of bees.
As the waves were creeping steadily towards us, we scrolled through Google Maps to find our next destination. My friend came across a narrow strip of land right opposite Nariman Point. He found the place captivating and was curious to find the route to the strip.
This strip of land is located in New Navy Nagar. Geeta Nagar is the closest bus stop. We picked up our bikes and pedaled our way to the point.
Cycling on the streets of South Mumbai and passing by the buildings and roads embedded in various stories is incomparably charming. It was almost 9 am, and the number of vehicles on the road slowly increased. We pedalled through some bustling and also so few calm streets. While some streets were dominated by stone-clad structures, others had tiny colourful houses.
As we approached Geeta Nagar, the coast was visible again. There isn’t a direct road leading to the strip even though Google Maps does show one. The motorable road ends at a slum settlement. You will have to carry your bikes through the narrow lanes of the settlement. It isn’t a cakewalk. However, the locals are friendly and will help you navigate your way.
We slowly approached the ray of light. It was like a dim light shining in the corner of a dark room. As we stepped out of the cluttered dark area, we were stunned by the view of the vast blue sea.
The strip felt endless. It seemed like a pathway to heaven. We cycled along this narrow strip of land with waves crashing on both sides. As we finally reached the tip, it was just us along with the endless sea and sky.
We parked our bicycles and sat down facing the mysterious sea. Miles away, we could see the blurry buildings that stood high and the riparian blue sea that groaned by.
The breeze was crisp and fresh. The humming of the sea-song was beguiling. And the gushing waves, comforting. It was a perfect Sunday morning moment.
The rays of the Sun were now glittering on the sea. We could gaze at it for hours and be lost in our thoughts. But the Sun was now out from behind the clouds and shining a spiritedly. We decided to cycle back before the scorching heat got to us.
(A small tip: Try to visit this place early in the morning or post 9 am as people defecate in the open).
We pedalled back till Chowpatty and parked our cycles at the rental shop.
Our South Mumbai cycling expedition ended with a scrumptious egg and bacon breakfast at Café Mondegar. Ah! What a day!
My friend created a beautiful video of our cycling expedition. Here’s the link. Happy Cycling!