After a bumpy 50km off-road ride on Saturday, a sore butt, no rest (Yes the ISB admit has made no difference to my weekend working status :)) and a bagful of abuses for from my friends for missing out the late night movie (my alarm was set at 4am for the next day), I was up and running..err..riding at 5:30 am on a chilly Sunday morning.
The First ride of the ISB Pedalyatris was going to commence in a few minutes! Sudarshan played sport and decided to turn up for the ride at the first touch point. We also had the company of two other riders - Sudip and Puneet (in case you’re wondering, no they aren't ISB admits :))
While I and Sudip wait at the touch point, we see a strange looking old man huddled up in a blanket approach us.
Old man: Hello…
Sudip and I (with confused looks): errm ..Hello
Old man: Any problems
I: No.. no problem..we are waiting for a friend
Old man (thinking) – What the heck are these two jokers with strange helmets, reflectors stuck all over them and different colored blinking lights on their even stranger looking bikes doing on the highway at this hour? (Yes, he scanned both of us top to bottom!)
Old man: uh ok.. I thought you were in some trouble
Sudip (smiles): No Sir, we’re good. No problem
Old man: So any services required from me??
I (thinking) – WTF?! What services? (don’t ask me, I am still trying to figure out)
I (trying hard to sound hostile): No, we don’t!
Old man: So, shall I leave?
(Excuse me, what is happening!! I never invited him
here in the first place!)
Sudip: Hanji sir! Thank you ( Thank you!! …Yeah.. thank you.. please go!)
I try to convince Sudip he was a ghost… :D
The conversation ends when we see a small white light approaching us. Sudarshan arrives..hellos…hiis.. and we are back to pedaling. I am a little skeptical if he’d be able to do this ride without cursing me for spoiling his Sunday morning with cramps. So for the first few kms, we ride real slow and I keep asking him.. you’re good? .. wanna stop for a sip?.. but what the heck.. a few kms down the road and I realize he’s doing really good!
We pace up a little, cross the dirty Badshahpur, dodge speeding trucks and finally enter the serene and quiet roads of Bhondsi village.
Quiet prevails. All one can hear is the constant pedaling. The dense vegetation on both sides of the road brings down the temperature even more. With red noses, almost frozen fingers but a lot of enthu we keep moving until our first halt at the ‘Cheetah point’ .. yes you heard it right.. the ‘Cheetah point’.. In one of my previous rides to this area, a local villager had once commented ‘Madam, aage mat jaaiye.. wahan cheetah hain!’ and I had laughed so hard, he thought I was a vampire!
Some photos here, a sip of electral, peacock spotting and we are back on the saddle to our final destination – the Bhondsi Ashram.. no we aren’t on some pilgrimage! The Ashram is the only source of tea in this area :D
We cross a lake on the way when Sudarshan breaks the silence – ‘Wow! This is the closest you can get to nature near the urban jungle in Gurgaon. I didn’t know such a place existed here’. I grin from ear to ear! That was exactly my reaction during my first ride to the area a couple of months back.
More pedaling and finally we are at the Ashram. We park our bikes and climb up the stairs for a better view. Security machaans of the BSF dot the area amidst dense vegetation.
Those of you who have been to Gurgaon will know what I mean when I say the sun rose from a bed of greens. It’s a rare sight here!
Time for some tea and sandwiches huddled up near the bonfire at the Ashram. Bad idea! Our bodies cooled down (froze!!) and getting back on the saddle was a pain! But the pain was bliss! The sun was out and we headed back clocking a total 35kms. Not bad for a first ride :)
The journey of a cyclist never ends. Another day, another route.. we go on.. exploring the world the ‘old-fashioned’ way..