The Motorcycle diaries - #3 Mumbai to Pune on NH4

Maintaining any kind of blog is cumbersome. A travel one at that, even more so. One, the job world robs you of (m)any such traveling chances, two the lethargy that sets in after a rare travel or two kills the rest of the scribbling mood.

Anyway, beating all that and a hiatus that has seemed to have spanned a couple of centuries, here we are - aS travel tales are back, with an additional flavor of motorcycle grease (I know. Bad pun; in my defense, didn't i say I was on a hiatus?).
And so I re-start with my recent joyride from Mumbai to Pune on my Faisalwa- Bajaj 220 Avenger.

Faisalwa eyeing Dum Biryani midway. (More pics below) 
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 The analysis paralysis.

So many reviews on the internet about biking route maps from Mumbai to Pune and all too confusing! I remember having thought of taking my bike along for a spin whenever I went to Pune in the last year, and that has been like at least 7-8 times. Each time I would read some 4-5 reviews, contemplate the pros and cons of a bike ride on highways and end up taking one of those "cool cabs". All the blogs talked about how you have to make sure you never touch the Mumbai Pune Expressway, how you would anyways touch the Mumbai Pune Expressway, how you would have to have a good eye on the signboards how you should never assume and how you could be fined by the cops for riding a two wheeler where it ain't allowed. And of course there is worse.

I don't think travelogues should discourage travelers.

The Go.
And one fine day (Gudi Padwa I guess), I had had enough! I just took my riding gloves, my helmet, my keys and hit the road on Faisalwa. Simple as that! Let's tackle one signal at a a time, let's tackle one sign-board at a time, like the Kapur son had said recently to his father. I understand pro-bikers will remark that Mumbai-Pune bike trip is no big deal; the thing to remember here is, I have never rode for more than 30 km at a stretch, and we are talking about some 155 odd kilometers.

The Route. The Rule.
 One thing I really like about Maharashtra in general and Mumbai in particular is that there is always a sort of discipline in everything they do. There is always a rule for everybody to follow. And if you find yourself walking in the wrong 'lane' on the pedestrian part of an overbridge, you'd often hear "Mumbai mein naya aaela hai kya?"

Anyway, the rule of the game here is, there is a route parallel to the much hallowed Mumbai Pune Expressway, partly formed by the NH4 and Old Mumbai Pune Highway and partly by other side-roads. It's a biker's delight. The heavy vehicles (also, most cars) would never tread this route (for it's longer) and the bikers would stay away from the expressway for obvious and legal reasons.

TL;DR? Zoom this pic and ride off.
Above is the route I took. From Dadar in Mumbai to Koregaon Park in Pune. Took me some 4 hours to size it up. If you're a biker who has reached this blog only to get gyaan on the Mumbai Pune bike trip, here's where you should have scrolled to directly instead of reading all the arbit speculations above. ;)

One more thing before we begin. Here's the google maps link for the trip: http://bit.ly/2d6qknq . All the Mumbai Pune Bike trip blogs I read had failed me here. You can read all the warnings and suggestions and get even more confused or you could just hit this link and ride off. And no, this is not what you'll get by default if you search yourself on maps. No option there to disable the expressway but keep the highway. I had to manually add all the places I rode through, in retrospection. Thank me later. ;)

1. From Dadar to Panvel Naka: Easy peasy. Reach RK Studios. Take whichever route that strikes your chords. Then head on to Sion Panvel highway - keep on driving, you'll hit NH4 at the Panvel Naka. A friendly advice: After you reach Panvel, go hunting for the McD in Panvel. No, McD hasnt paid me for this. While doing that, you'll avoid the flyover which will directly take you to the mouth of the expressway. And McCafe has been good lately. ;)

2. From Panvel Naka to Lonavala: Stick to NH4 like it's your long lost love. It will take you home. Well, almost! When you reach Lonavala, you'd suddenly be betrayed by her and would find yourself driving right on the cruel expressway! Ignore the infidelity and drive on for 6-7 kms (highlighted in yellow on the map above). Take the Lonavala exit ramp and hug the AH47 now. She's a beauty with her curves. She's amazing.

3. Lonavala to Pune: Keep hugging AH47 and pass through Vadgaon. I had tea there. Bad tea. You may choose to move on. You'll reach Dehu Road. A tea here, maybe?

What's riding without those recurrent tea-breaks? Thank God those Tapris littered around, almost everywhere.

Now where you ask? Well, keep pressing the accelerator and you'd cross Pimpri Chinchwad and then the old Mumbai Pune Highway will do the rest.

Epilogue.
You may think what's so special in a regular Mumbai Pune roadshow. To me it did an interesting thing- it unlocked another degree of freedom for me - the one to long cruises on Faisalwa, and the realization that online reviews for bike trips are needlessly scary. And mostly boring. ( Does that apply to this one too? You decide.)

Anyway, here are some happy memories of the trip:

The Five Pointed star just doing it.

 Chaai with a Chick. (in background)


 Curves ahead.

 "Aaja Shaam hone aayi" "Oh no!"

In sharp contrast to Mumbai Pune Expressway.


 Cheers!
Alok
Pune - April 10th 2016

P.S. - This trip soon led to a more challenging one to Lavasa and back (a 130 km bike-ride into the mountains of the Maha Rashtra.) Will blog soon about that. I hope. :)

15 Comments:

Sumit said...

Nice blog. Except for the fact that the link you provided for Google Maps is utterly misleading. Instead of taking you through Khopoli, it takes you directly through Khalapur toll plaza. Since I know the path and your picture of the map confirms the same, it is not a problem for me. However, please update / remove the link to avoid misleading other riders.

Admin, Team arbitSpeculations said...

The link is updated bro, thanks for the feedback!

Keep coming to blog, loved the fact you liked it!

App Developers Gurgaon said...

I don’t know how should I give you thanks! I am totally stunned by your article. You saved my time. Thanks a million for sharing this article.

Nitish said...

amazing article.. you paint with your words

Admin, Team arbitSpeculations said...

Thanks a lot Nitish!

Keep coming back here for more such paintings. :)

Arun said...

Hi,
So, the map is updated now right?? Tomorrow we are going to take the route :)

Thanks,

Admin, Team arbitSpeculations said...

Yes Arun, It's very much updated. Do use the link to get directions.

Keep a good eye on the road and happy riding!

Shashank said...

Thanks man .tomm i m leaving.cheers,!!☺

nikunj trivedi said...

a short way were old mumbai pune highway and pune exp highway meets is bike allowed on that road?
exact points starting at mahatma gandhi hospital/panvel naka--panvel bypass road

anil said...

Hi Alok,

a group of 5 of us are riding from New Delhi to Goa and we are doing the Daman - Pune sector on 14th Feb. I heard that mobikes are not allowed on the Mumbai-Pune expressway.

Can we use your updated route ?

Alok K. said...

Hi Nikunj,

Yes, you can drive your bike in that short portion of Mumbai Pune Expressway. But be sure to take the Lonavala exit ramp.

Happy riding, cheers!

Alok K. said...

Hi Anil,

Yes, Mobikes are not allowed on Mumbai Pune Expressway.

You can totally take the route I mentioned on your mobikes- between Mumbai and Goa. It is allowed. However, make sure you are only on the Mumbai Pune expressway between Khopoli and Lonavala.

It is not allowed anywhere else.

Cheers guys - have a lovely ride from Delhi to Goa! I envy you all!

Regards,
Alok

amsins said...

Thanks for share details how to reach mumbai to pune via road. it's very helpfull blog.

Saniya Kazi said...

Need a route ..by avoiding express highway to adlabs imagica theme park by bike from mumbai

Admin, Team arbitSpeculations said...

Hi,

I think you can follow the above route till Khalapur, take left exit and then again a left towards Dahivati and you should reach Imagica easily.

Do keep a good eye on road though. Google maps is pretty easy to follow from Khalapur exit to Imagica. Cheers!