AS JEITAL Dedhiaa rode his bicycle late in the night on Marine Drive, he felt that the city — one of the most romanticised on celluloid — was not lost.
The 42-year-old businessman is part of a ‘Monsoon Midnight Cycle Tour’, organised by Mumbai Riders. “When cycling on empty roads in Mumbai, it looks just like how we see it in the films,” said Dedhiaa.
The tour that begins at 11.30 pm and takes people on a cycle ride across South Mumbai. Starting from the Asiatic Society, a group of 50 heads to Marine Drive, NSCI in Worli and return. With brief stops at Lion’s Gate, Marine Drive and Haji Ali, the 21-km ride takes at least three hours and ends by 3 am. Monsoon Midnight Cycle tours was started by Rishi Shah and his friends while they were in college. “Mumbaikars are hard pressed for time and are looking for unique tailor-made experiences to spend the weekend,” said Rishi Shah, who has organised 30 night cycling tours so far.
“While travelling in Europe, we noticed that the cycling culture was not popular in Mumbai. So, we thought of starting cycling rides to discover the city at night, when it is less crowded. The city is very different at this time — no sun, no horns,” he added.
“This year, we introduced ‘monsoon tours’, as people hardly step out during this time of the year. During the monsoons, Haji Ali and Marine Drive are quite windy, making cycling a pleasurable experience,” he said.
Dedhiaa, who has been part of several tours with Mumbai Riders, said, “I have taken several tours through the year, but the monsoon cycling tours are much more fun. The weather is pleasant at night. Generally, cycling is something we do on vacations in hill stations and not in a city like Mumbai. But, with this tour, one can explore different routes in Mumbai at night,”
The nocturnal ride has seen participants between the ages of 9 and 65. As part of the tour, the organisers provide geared and non-geared bicycles, helmets, light refreshments. The group is accompanied by safety vehicles in the front, while six volunteers tail them.