Rediscover South Mumbai's iconic landmarks on a midnight bicycle ride
In a tiny office in Mulund, a team of travel enthusiasts is busy planning routes, poring over maps, marking out areas and taking notes. A few are reading up on the city’s history. This isn’t a prep for a history exam. Come March 19 and this bunch will conduct a midnight cycle ride that will pass through some of SoBo’s heritage areas. Mumbai Travellers, a three-year-old cycling, trekking and backpacking group that has trekked to Maharashtra’s highest peaks, hiked to waterfalls and explored national parks, is inviting enthusiasts for a four-hour night cycle ride, starting at 12 midnight.
A lit-up Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus will make for the ideal landmark to spot at night. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Slots are open for 40 cyclists, who need to book a seat online, to take the ride from Colaba till Haji Ali, looking at the grandeur of heritage structures including Gateway of India, Asiatic library, Rajabai Tower, Mumbai University buildings, Flora Fountain, CST and all the way to the Haji Ali dargah.
Vaibhav Khaire (L) and Saurabh Thakekar organise midnight cycle rides in the city. Pic/Sameer Markande
The trail is the brainchild of 26-year-old Vaibhav Khaire, head of the group, who loved to cycle around the city since he was a kid. “Magnificent structures landmarks seen in history books are not absorbed by Mumbaikars,” rues Saurabh Thakekar, co-founder of the club. “Through this cycling trip, riders can marvel at these landmarks, which we otherwise whiz past in our hurry These buildings have hundreds of stories to tell, which our team leaders will share during the ride,” he adds.
The cycle ride covers nearly
17 km and will be a challenge for riders. Each participant will be provided helmets, reflective jackets and also have team members on motorbikes in case of emergencies. “All participants have to sign an undertaking to follow the specified route, maintaining a single file in crowded areas, and to ride responsibly,” Khaire signs off.
On: March 19-20 (race starts at midnight, till 4 am)
To register Log on to: www.365hops.com
Cost: Rs 999 (per head, includes cycle, protective gear and refreshments).
Conservation architect Vikas Dilawari tells you what to look out for
>> Read all the plaques outside heritage buildings and carry a torch to aid this. Plaques mention the cost to erect structures.
>> Sculptures in the porch inside the CST building are rare 19th century figures with intricate detailing. The Gothic features of the building are interspersed with Indian motifs.
>> The many gargoyles on the CST building’s lofty perches include those of crocodiles, lizards and dogs.
>> Rajabai Tower’s facade depicts 24 statues that represent different castes of Western India.
>> The recently restored stain glasswork of the Rajabai Tower, has been sourced from all over the world.
>> Look at and feel the stone used for Flora Fountain. It is Portland stone; the same stone used to build iconic buildings including Tower of London and Palace of Westminster in London.
Related stories on heritage walks around South Mumbai
Exploring Kalbadevi: Students chart heritage trail for you to follow (Read more)
A slice of ancient India at Banganga (Read more)
A walk around South Mumbai's historic Grant Road (Read more)