On a sunny Sunday morning, The Trip Discovered the city like never before. This was Courtesy a well-read Mumbaiphile and a good ole' bicycle
Remember the last time you wove your way around the city on a bicycle? Or sat through a five hour-long history lesson?
Teaming the two might seem a tad unimaginable, but trust Jayesh Morvankar from Odati Adventures to turn it into an experience of a lifetime.
We joined Jayesh and a bunch of city folk on a South Mumbai cycle tour as we discovered corners and milestones like never before, thanks to his knowledge of Mumbai that seamlessly peppered our trip.
7.45 AM: At the starting point, outside Eros Cinema.
STOP 1: Peddle past the Art Deco sweep
We had strapped on our helmets, checked our brakes and hit the road, outside Eros Theatre. It was a significant start point as the area serves as the confluence of three architectural eras Art Deco, Indo-Saracenic and Gothic. We peddled towards Nariman Point, waving back at participants from the Run Club.
After a brief halt at Marine Drive, we took a U-turn and rode up to the H2O Water Sports Complex. En route, Anusha Subramanian, journalist and team leader at Odati, pointed out to Mumbai's last surviving Art Deco buildings.
Did you know? Mumbai has the second largest number of Art Deco buildings after Miami.
STOP 2: Sip cutting chai at an Irani cafe
We weren't exactly famished but the idea of tucking into breakfast at the iconic Kyani's, as the first batch of freshly baked bread surfaced, was enough to build up an appetite. The group bonded over rounds of baked-beans-on-toast, bun maska and cutting chai.
Did you know? Persian immigrants were allocated street corners to run their businesses, since these locations were considered inauspicious for Hindus to set shop.
STOP 3: Marvel at the CST and BMC buildings
After a hearty breakfast, we headed towards CST. "This station is a brilliant example of Victorian Gothic architecture in the city and is the second most photographed structure in the country," informed Jayesh.
He pointed out to parts of the station that blend Indian motifs into the design, a revelation for some of us who have passed through its arches a million times.
Did you know? Victoria Terminus was modelled on London's St Pancras Station.
10 AM: Cycling past the BMC building
STOP 4: Go around in circles
The butt of many jokes, Horniman Circle actually served as our longest stopover, with almost an hour-long session about this area's importance in Mumbai's history. As we cooled off in the gardens, we held on to every word about the architecture, town planning and significance of this landmark.
Did you know? The zero mark (to measure distances between cities) is usually at the General Post Office. But the Mumbai GPO was originally located where the Central Telegraph Office stands now and so, all distances to Mumbai are inaccurate by a kilometre.
STOP 5: Halt where the black horse once stood
We briefly halted at the parking lot at the Kala Ghoda precinct with a refreshing glass of sugarcane juice in hand. Jayesh narrated the famous story of Jamsetji Tata and his run-in at Watson's Hotel. Another chapter added to our tryst with the city's history.
Did you know? Wayside Inn once stood where today's Silk Route is located. It was where Dr Ambedkar is said to have written the first words of the Indian Constitution, on a tissue paper.
Odati Adventures is organising a South Mumbai cycle tour on April 11.
Cost: Rs 1,600 per person (including breakfast and lunch).
Call Jayesh on 9769679802 for more details.