"I am planning for Goa Biking expedition. Anyone interested?" - mail from Du in July...
Today, I am back from the expedition and definitely, this was one of the best cycling I have done till date. I was already in Goa since the 16th with my family. On the 18th, I changed 3 buses from Baga beach to Magson's super center in Panjim. 100 meters from here was the youth hostel and I was the 10th one to check-in among the Group-4 bikers.
Youth hostel arranges cycling expeditions in Goa during the month of December every year. The expedition happens over a period of 5 weeks and every alternate day, a group of about 15-20 cyclists starts from Panjim, Goa and travels the spectacular state of Goa over a period of 7 days. YHAI's website has more details regarding this: Blog Link and Main Page.
In the evening, the others of my group had arrived. Life in the youth hostel camps is pretty easy except for a little bit of discipline. Morning Tea at 6:30 AM, Breakfast at 8 AM, Lunch at 1 PM, Tea at 5 PM, Dinner at 8 PM, Bournvita at 9 PM, a camp fire at 9 PM and by 10 PM, everybody's off to their tents. Lights are off at mid night. The same repeats at most camps. You need to get your own plate, tumbler, spoon etc and you need to do all the washing yourself. Proper camp life. A few orientation sessions about cycling, trekking etc are scattered in between.
Night came and we still had not laid our hands on our bicycles. We slept in a slightly disappointed mood. Sleep is not easy to come in these hard, uneven tent floors if you haven't done anything in the day.
On 19th morning, we woke up at 5:30 AM and were ready for the artificial rock climbing and rappelling activity. 2 hours were spent thus and then there was breakfast. At 9:00 AM, we finally got our bicycles. Fullu happy. All were Merida Sub 5 bicycles but all were in a pretty bad state. After an hour of cleaning with Diesel, the bicycles started to look and feel okay for the week ahead.
After a briefing on bicycle handling, we went on a ride around Panjim city. The city is beautiful. Well maintained roads and not much traffic is just ideal for bicycling. We cycled through Dona Paula, Miramar beach and were finally back at our camp by afternoon.
Some more cycling in the evening and after a few orientation sessions, we were happy about the coming few days. The route map is shown here:
View Goa YHAI Biking Route in a larger map
Night came, we escaped from the camp-fire to get a good night's sleep..
To be continued...