Goa day 7 – Bondla to Panaji

Distance: 50 km

The last day was pretty laidback. We took lots of stops to take in the scenery as we got out of the forests and back to civilization.

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We passed through old goa and stopped by the churches. The last 10 kms from old goa to panaji was tougher than I expected. The road was very narrow and we had to cycle through strong head winds. All in all this was a wonderful trip. It wasn’t as tough as the ladakh cycle trip¬†and it was lovely seeing goa for all its natural beauty (and not just for its beaches).

Goa day 6 – Doodhsagar to Bondla

Distance : 50km

We were off-roading during the entire doodhsagar stretch. While the stretch from collem to doodhsagar was a challenge as we had to share the dirt road with jeeps, we took an alternate route to mollem. We had a few more bike breakdowns on that rocky road which significantly delayed our exit from doodhsagar for a second day.

The high point was visiting the doodhsagar falls though which I later found out was the same falls used in the movie chennai express.

Once we moved out of doodhsagar, the road to bondla forest was pretty easy. However the road inside bondla was steep uphill and I pushed my cycle most of the way.

Bondla camp was very nice with hostel style bunk beds and it was nice sleeping on a bed as opposed to the pebbled earth in doodhsagar.

Goa day 5 – Netravali to Doodhsagar

Distance: 60km

Netravali to doodhsagar took us out of civilization and well into the forests. We had quite a few bike breakdowns but luckily my bicycle stayed didn’t have much problems.

We had to cross a few small rivers on foot avoiding jeeps which seemed to be in a tearing hurry.

We were scheduled to reach around 4pm but we reached well after 6pm. The doodhsagar tents were pitched on pebbled earth but our fatigue took over soon and the night passed without any problems.

Goa day 4 – Assolna to Netravali

Distance: 50 km

The bike ride from Assolna to Netravali was uneventful. The place we were staying in Netravali was beautiful. It was in a spice farm filled with Supari trees and other spices.

When we entered, the owner cut down some fresh coconuts and was wonderful way to cool down. The rest of the food was lacking in taste. The farm did have spices for sale but the prices were on the higher side

Goa day 3

Distance: 50km

Damn Goa is hot. The first real day of cycling was fun.

We took a ferry from Donna Paula to Vasco.

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We were going to bike on the beach for the next 25 kms but high tide scuppered that idea.

This is us stopping to get sugar cane juice while being surrounded by  beautiful lagoon.

We continued on paved roads till mobor beach where we stopped for lunch. The others went for a swim while I laid on the sand behind the life guard station.

We reached assolna camp around 5 pm to be greeted with lychee drink, tea, French fries and pakoras.

The rest of the day passed by quickly and now we are ready to bike to netravali

Goa day 2 – morning

Biking distance: 10km

Everyone seems to be a early riser in my tent. We have 1 guy each from chennai, Jaipur, Delhi, mumbai and Baroda and for some reason everyone gets up 5 am.

I finally woke up at 6, had tea and got ready for morning exercise. I haven’t run for ages and it showed. But since we were running on miramar beach, the wonderful scenery helped with the pain.

We capped off the morning with chole bhature and now getting ready for the first ride.

Ladakh

Ladakh Panoramas

I’ve been wanting to visit Ladakh for quite some time. I came to know that Youth Hostel organized a mountain bike tour through ladakh and jumped at the chance.

Day I:

Initially I was hoping to fly into Srinagar and then go to Leh, however with the ongoing problems in Kashmir, I decided to fly directly to Leh. I landed to a splitting headache and spent most of my first day resting and trying to overcome Altitude Sickness.

Day II:

Felt slightly better today. The day starts at 6 am with the youth hostel staff blasting loud music. Tea is served at 7am followed by breakfast at 7.30am. By 8-8.30 we are done with food and have the full day in front of us. We did a group walk through Leh market, Polo grounds and Leh palace in a bid to acclimatize ourselves to the altitude.

Day III:

This was our first bike ride. We decided to ride past the airport, stop at Army’s Hall of Fame and take lunch at Spituk Monastery. Getting there was a breeze as it was all downhill. Coming back was a completely different experience. My breathing wasn’t yet normal and the constant uphill battle was extremely laboring. I started having my first doubts on whether bicycling in Ladakh was such a great idea. The stretch from the new bus stand to Leh gate was the most brutal and I walked the entire route (The walking technique was well employed on future rides)

Day IV:

After finishing tea and breakfast, we started for Basco Camp. We were promised that the ride would be on a flat path. Of course no one mentioned the wind. The head wind was so strong that the bike would stop whenever we stopped pedalling. We stopped at the Patthar Sahib Gurudwara for lunch at their langar. Post lunch ride was downhill and we reached Basco fairly quickly. What we did not know was that Basco town was fairly long and the camp was a further 5km uphill.

Basco Camp gave our first reality check. We had left most things back at Leh, assuming other camps would be adequately stocked. The bathroom was a ladakhi style dry toilet. Drinking water, washing, bathing had to be done by the stream and obviously no hot water available.

Day V:

Compared to the last couple of days, the ride from Basco to Nurla was fairly easy. We travelled along the Indus river for the most part. Nurla camp was beautifully situated on the Indus River. There was a scenic rope bride behind the camp as well.

Day VI:

We left Nurla for Lamayuru. The road from Nurla to Khalsi was pretty straightforward with few uphill climbs. A little past Khalsi once you reach a monastery on the stream, the road took a steep upward climb to Lamayuru. I walked most of the uphill route. We all stopped at Moon land for a scenic packed lunch. Lamayuru was a beautiful place, almost like one of the forbidden places in Tibet. The Lamayuru gompa overlooks the town and we even had a bit of sleet snow at Lamayuru.

Day VII:

We headed back down towards Khalsi. While the trek/bike up to Lamayuru, from the base, took 2-3 hours, we reached down in 15 minutes. Once we reached Khalsi, youth hostel had a bus ready and we put the bikes on the roof of the bus and drove back down.

Day VIII & IX:

Once we were done with our bicycle ride, we rented a couple of Enfields to head into Nubra Valley. The ride to Hundar was beautiful, while the views from Dikshit Monastery were amazing.

 

All in all, it was a pretty enjoyable trip. I met some funny people from Pune and Mumbai and while I’m enjoying the down time, it might be fun to start dreaming of the next adventure.