I went cycling with this group back in 2016 and it was something I had been wanting to do for a while, ie, explore the streets of Mumbai on my bike. It was a totally different experience for me, viewing this city in a totally different lens altogether. Riding past some of the most iconic buildings and streets this city harbours. After my ride, as luck would have it, the founder Rishi Shah turned out to be a college mate, and I instantly started volunteering and helping him host these rides. And each ride has had such a diverse bunch of people, that it feels like a new experience each time.
We’ve hosted cyclists and sports enthusiasts, people just looking for a different experience away from the routine Saturday Night Partying, people who do it from a fitness perspective or as a group activity, etc. And people from various fields like software development, finance, medicine, construction, engineering , psychology, entrepreneurs, etc, ranging from as young as 15 year olds to 50+ year olds. The best part about these rides is the route. For a person living in the suburbs, my frequency of going to the other side of town is very scarce, and I have always wanted to explore these areas up close.
Colaba is one of the oldest and one of the first places to be occupied in Mumbai. Constructed by The East India Company in 1838 it occupied the 2 islands of Colaba and Old Woman’s Island.
The architecture of the area is reminiscent of the old Bombay, fact highlighted by buildings like National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Regal Cinema, Prince of Wales Museum (now Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum) and Cusrow Baug, a Parsi residential colony built in 1934, covering an area of 84,000 square yards, which home to over 500 families. Plus the area is also hub of various art galleries, which makes this area a natural destination for artist community.
Apart from upmarket retail showrooms, and small shops dealing in electronic goods, cosmetics and music, it a has pavement book stall dating back several decades, besides having numerous small shops and footpath outlets selling everything from artefacts to shawls, carpets and minor antiques to slippers of all kind, which make tourists, backpackers and locals from South Mumbai, throng the area through the year.
Among the restaurants, cafes and roadside eateries that make the street popular with tourists and locals alike are the Indian Mughlai fame Delhi Darbar restaurant, Piccadilly restaurant, Cafe Churchill, Mings Palace. Cafe Mondegar, and the Cafe Leopold were founded by Iranians in 1871.
Other visitors’ attractions in the area are historical structures like Church of St John the Evangelist (Afghan Church) in the nearby Navy Nagar, built by the British to commemorate the dead of the disastrous First Afghan War of 1838, and the Sassoon Docks, built in 1875, by Albert Abdullah David Sassoon(1818–1896), son of David Sassoon, a philanthropist Baghdadi Jew. Today the Sassoon Docks house, one of the largest fish market of Mumbai city.
About The Ride
We start from Happy Cycle Shop towards Taj Gateway and then head towards Regal Cinema. From there, we ride to Asiatic Library. From there, we head to the High Court, CST/BMC Building and then towards Metro Cinemas. From Xaviers we head up the bridge to Marine Lines. From hereon, we move towards Valkeshwar and then Peddar Road. We go up the road and then cycle our way to Haji Ali.
Moving onward from Haji Ali, we take a U-Turn from NSCI Dome, and head back via Breach Candy towards Marine Lines and then head to Colaba. It take a total of 3 hours, we provide refreshments and take several water breaks at some checkpoints. All in all, it is a joy ride which enables you to navigate South Bombay on 2 wheels.
If interested in participating, you can find us on Facebook at Mumbai Riders. We organise approximately 2 rides a month.