Bhubaneswar Cycling & Adventure Club (BCAC) members completed Chilika Parikrama

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Bhubaneswar: As a club of cycling enthusiasts, BCAC always prioritizes on rediscovering less-travelled routes for cycling adventure. By this we aim at formally introducing the scenic beauty of the paths with an introduction to the local culture, people and places while cycling along the routes. As a new adventure cycling, BCAC envisaged a dream of doing a complete round of Chilika Lake (the largest brackish water lake in Asia) through less traveled village roads and hamlets. The plan was brewing up for some time in the mind, though. On set of Monsoon offered a perfect opportunity to explore the lush green lands of the villages of Odisha through a cycling adventure and thus the route was prepared and shared among the common interest group for a two-day adventure covering more than 300Kms and circling Chilika Lake on a less-travelled road.

The Route:
As per the plan the route was decided mostly through the villages via Delanga, Brahmagiri, Satapada, and a boat ride to Krushnaprasad to ride again to Parikuda and reach Rambha covering 175KMs on the Day-1. We booked Pantha Nivas from Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) for our night stay at Rambha. The Day-2 was planned almost a straight route through the National Highway to reach back to Bhubaneswar covering a distance of almost 130KMs. The total route was over 300KMs from Bhubaneswar and back covering the entire Chilika Lake.

The Ride:
As per the plan, all riders assembled at the Club House at VIR-11, Unit-VI around 6AM on 3rd of August (Saturday). It was an overcast sky raining continuously for a couple of days. Saturday morning was no different with heavy rainfalls since early morning. Despite of the rain warning, the spirit was quite high among the cyclists, who are all set to take their epic new adventure through the villages of Odisha leaving the usual Bhubaneswar-Puri Highway. The youngest one in the brigade was again the wonder kid Achintya Anubhav (Ram) who is just 11 years on his 22 inch wheels. The older most rider Ramesh (60+ years) was all on his toes to mark his first long-distance ride. The ride started at 7AM from the Club House amidst heavy rainfalls. All riders with their rain-cover started rolling their pedals from the Club House through Sundarpada, Jatni-Pipili Road to Delanga and then to Brahmagiri and Satapada.

After Sundarpada, it was quite less crowded and full of greenery. The fresh looking trees with a fresh shower of rain were quite nostalgic. As we went farther from the city the roads became less crowded and more green. We crossed OEC and reached Delanga chowk for our breakfast. After the breakfast the rain stopped briefly and we keep pedaling through the village roads crossing paddy-fields and beautiful countryside roads. The effect of Fani was still visible, although the trees have grown green shading their damages. To our surprise, the tarmac was quite good except a few patches of concrete roads inside the villages. We came across several Kaudia (The devotees of Lord Shiva taking water from far to their desired Shiva Temple for Abhisheka in the month of Sawan) carrying water pots on their shoulders and chanting the holy names of Shiva on the way. It was quite enjoyable to ride on these patches amidst the occasional cheers from village kids and exciting eyes of villagers.

We rode in a peloton side-by-side gossiping and enjoying the roads. On the way we picked-up some ringing bells and attached them to our cycles. On bumpy and uneven concrete the jerks were converted to ringing of bells, which was quite enjoyable. Riding almost 100KMs we reached Satapada Yatri Nivas (OTDC) around 2PM. On the way, we supported each-other boosting the morale of new riders and taking breaks as felt required. We savored a simple lunch at the Yatri Nivas and take a break of almost an hour before our next adventure – a boat ride with our cycles through Chilika Lake.

The boat and ferry transport system at Satapada are quite organized for the local travel from this end to different islands of Chilika and other end-points like Parikuda, Rambha and Krushnaprasad. The State Govt. has made the process quite simple and it has become one of the most cost-effective water transport systems of the present time. We enjoyed brackish waters of Chilika, observing some birds (they are not so frequent in Rainy season). Enjoying a 30 minutes boat ride, we reached Krushna Prasad at the other end of the Chilika. As it was getting a bit late and we are to cycle another 65 odd KMs to reach Rambha, we quickly geared up on our saddles and started our ride.

Heavy rain was gathering around us and we were expecting that at any time. We asked the young champ Ram to sit in the backup vehicle as he has already cycled 120Kms. We are surprised by his determination to complete the entire distance of 170+KMs till Rambha on this ride. He continued with us, without hampering the speed of the peloton and kept cycling without the backup. It was quite encouraging for the other new cyclists to watch Ram pedaling through the rain. By this time, heavy rains started with gushing headwinds, which hampered our speed a bit. Still the enthusiasm of riders was getting stronger as they pace mile by mile on their cycles. This patch of the road was full of pot-holes and speed-breakers and it was getting dark. We illuminated the lights and took out our reflective jackets for further ride till Rambha Panth Nivas.

Around 9PM we reached Rambha, where a few other members were waiting to join the night celebration. We were elated when we came to know that our President Sanjeeb Sir was also joining us for a gala dinner at Rambha Panth Nivas. The SP Ganjam and SP Berhampur also joined our dinner with our President Sir. Quickly all riders get refreshing showers and joined the group for the dinner. We celebrated the Birthday of Tirumal Kumar, who was also riding with us through this adventure. The dinner continued past midnight. We saw-off our guests and all riders went into slumber to prepare them for another adventure on the return route.

The Day-2 morning sky was overcast but offering a beautiful view of Chilika Lake. The temperature was quite soothing and perfect for another consecutive Century Ride. All riders geared up and chanting the Club Prayer (Ghepan Raja Ki Jay), we started our ride back to Bhubaneswar on the National Highway. The return was challenging but enjoyable through the ups and downs of the NH. We enjoyed our ride and soaked in rain while riding through the beautiful roads full of greenery, small hills and elevations. By the noon time we reached Royal Cottage and decided to take our lunch break there. It was familiar place and very good for food options on this patch from Berhampur to Bhubaneswar. We enjoyed a sumptuous lunch at Hotel Royal before riding back to Bhubaneswar through continuous rains. We all reached back safely by the evening at Bhubaneswar completing another never-to-be-forgotten adventure over two days covering more than 300Kms around Chilika Lake starting from Bhubaneswar.

This was an amazing ride with very disciplined and enjoyable fellow-riders. The most amazing aspect of this ride was that we didn’t have a single breakdown throughout the ride of two days. We took a lot of snaps and preserved some beautiful memories while re-establishing our faith on BCAC brotherhood. We also encouraged others to take up cycling as a daily habit for better health and cleaner environment. Definitely, this ride will stay alive in the memories of the adventurers from BCAC for a long time.

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