Day 14, July 28, Kolhapur to Satara
Distance – 130 kilometres
Duration – 10 hours
On her 14th day Sunita rode from Kolhapur to Satara. The proximity to western Ghats kept her rain drenched. Her Kolhapur stay at night was full of unexpected and chanced meetings. As she entered the town she stopped to find her way to her night shelter. She found a motorist drive past her and she signaled him to stop. As if by some grand design the motorist turned out to be a cyclist himself and a member of ‘Kolhapur Sports club’. He not only chaperoned her to the hotel but also enthralled her with the narratives of his own cycling escapades. Next morning he brought his group members to plant saplings with her and connected her with another group of cyclist who received her when she reached Satara in the evening.
There are so many ways that join human race with each other. Like so many other communities and religions cycling seems to be a religion in its own way. Those who love cycling are connected through their passion. More than anyone else it’s the groups of cyclists who are helping her and supporting her wherever she has been.
One such group met her on the highway at Pethwadagaon. When they found that her cycle is without a mirror they quickly removed one of their own and fixed it on her cycle. They also greased her cycle chain to make it smoother.
Sunita thoroughly enjoyed their company and the other thing that she enjoyed was Coconut water and Bhutta she had been missing for some time. The western Ghats also offered her lip smacking Paranthas and mixed veg which was a rarity during her southern sojourn.
When she reached Satara after 10 hours and 130 kms, she was delighted to find Ashish, Tushar, Dhananjay and Shilpa who received her there with some fanfare. They belong to a cyclist group and call themselves ‘Sunday morning ride ’. They straightaway took her to a cycle shop for a thorough servicing of her cycle, all free of cost.
It’s the simplicity and modesty of the small town that really touched her. Dhananjay, a member of the same group very graciously offered her to stay at his place in the company of his wife because he was travelling that same day.
Another surprised that awaited her was the meeting with an old friend who she was seeing after her first mountaineering school that taught them the nuances of climbing. Harshad, an everester himself is also a software professional and came to meet her despite heavy work commitments. Harshad and Sunita once climbed together. It was her second climbing expedition after summit and Harshad was attempting summit for the first time. Sunita was attempting Lhots. Lhots is the fourth highest mountain in the world at 8,516 metres (27,940 ft), after Mount Everest, K2, and Kanchenjunga. Incidentally Lhotse and Summit both are on same track and are separated when only 20% climb to summit is left.
Her next destination is Pune and this time three cyclists will join her, of which one is going to be her everester friend Harshad. After connecting to so many who touched her life through this journey she very emotionally said, “You may embark on a solo journey but you’re never alone on the journey called life”.
We, at Offroaders, wish her all the best for her 15th day. ‘Happy cycling girl’, Way to go!