Gicks Guide Us Through Gateway Of India
Sep 05, 2010
Aug 21, 2011
Where I stayed
. The last 20k to Mandwa seemed incredibly long, but eventually we reached a fork in the road and a couple of locals assured us Mandwa was 1km away. Not remotely confident we pedalled along a lovely wide deserted road, which did at least seem to be heading to the sea, and found an enormous hill. Having done 48 miles we were not happy, but managed the final blast and couldn’t believe it when we saw at the bottom two tiny, but unmistakably white figures! Freewheeling down and meeting them was surreal, but so amazing. The 1400 miles in India have undoubtedly been the toughest yet, but so worth it to arrive and see family. After a reviving drink and crisps we negotiated the bikes onto the ferry and arrived in Mombai in style. Seagulls flew right alongside the ferry nicking crisps from people’s hands and along with Naval ships, tankers and fishing boats we saw some seriously smart motor cruisers. The ferry is a great way to get to town as we literally stepped off the boat onto the dock where the Gateway to India, one of the main tourist attractions, towered over us. Getting the bikes out of the area and through the security gates was tricky, but with lots of shoving they popped through and we were in the chaos of Mombai! After horrendously negative reviews from everyone we met in Goa we had expected a filthy hellhole, with even worse traffic than we had been experiencing. What we found were incredibly beautiful buildings and very civilised roads, with no cows/potholes/chickens/dogs/rickshaws/rubbish!!! Mum and Dad got in a taxi and followed the bikes us as Mikey once again managed to skilfully lead us to our hotel. We definitely felt quite under pressure to ride carefully with Mum’s eagle eye watching us, but apart from one hairy junction crossing it was very straightforward and lovely not to have mad obstacles in the road. We checked into the Travellers Inn, (another brilliant Lonely Planet recommendation) and showered while M and D went off to check out the train situation. Coming downstairs to check on the bikes Mikey found one of the staff riding it around. He gave him a lecture and from that point they took them upstairs and looked after them like they were the crown jewels. Dad came back to pick us up at 6.30pm and they had discovered an amazing restaurant/bar at the end of our road. Mum was relaxing with a glass of wine, and it was heaven to order a gin and tonic at the end of 6 days of pretty horrendous cycling. We had a gorgeous meal, and serious catch up before I started falling asleep at the table and so Mum and Dad grabbed a taxi for the hour and a half journey back to their Juju Beach hotel. So glad to be here and with them!
Getting out of bed was fairly easy despite the epic 77miles of the previous day as we were SO excited about meeting mum and dad!!!! Puncture 13 and slow breakfast service meant that we didn't get on the road until 8, but a clear map drawn by the receptionist who lived in the ferry town we were going to, meant we were fairly confident. Unfortunately heading out of hectic Roha the road deteriorated to potholed rubble, really frustrating when we just wanted to get there! 22miles and 2 hours later we reached Salar and got the excellent news from a shop owner that we only had 30k to do. Reaching Alibag took another couple of hours, at which point we realised the distances we had been given were once again highly inaccurate. Alibag was full of rich Mombai residents on weekend breaks, driving like lunatics. I think we were in the wrong lane at one point and a bus driver got extremely angry that we were in front and stopping him setting off. Mikey stayed where he was a gave him a really long lecture about how it served him right for driving so badly at all times