Located on the Konkan coast of Western Maharashtra, just south of Mumbai city, Alibaug is a serene locality that offers tourists and adventurers a number of activities to choose from. One is cycling, which is fast emerging as one of the biggest new trends here. Enthusiasts can choose to pursue a solo expedition or take a group tour through its small towns, neighbouring beaches and the vast open fields that lie inland.
Alibaug is an ideal place to spend a weekend riding under the morning sun or twilight sky, appreciating nature and enjoying the serenity. There is a fantastic range of roads and nature trails to discover, and for those wishing to be bolder, Alibaug has large swathes of farmland and pristine hillsides further down its coast that make great camping spots after the monsoon season, which lasts from early June to mid-October.
The many cycling aficionados who live in Mumbai and India’s other major cities know how difficult it can be to find a quiet stretch of road to ride on. The roads are often crowded throughout the day, and they can present many hazards that tend to make the experience anything but relaxing. Fortunately, Alibaug is an ideal alternative.
Although buses and cars do pass by frequently and there are several places where the roads are narrow, there’s far less traffic here than elsewhere. Navigating across Alibaug is fairly easy, and there are plenty of road signs to help cyclists along their journey. Plus, there are plenty of stores (general, medical and mechanical) at various townships along the way, in case you need any supplies or help.
One of best things about Alibaug is the numerous beaches offering a range of activities – including horse and camel riding, aqua sports and boat rides – as well as local food and beverage stalls. Some of the most popular include Alibaug beach, Kihim beach, Nagaon beach, Mandwa beach and Murud beach, where you can visit the famous Murud Zanjira fort by ferry. For those wishing to find somewhere quieter, Awaaz beach will fit the bill.
Just as delightful as its beaches is Alibaug’s rich countryside. Aside from the main township zones, the smaller housing communities nestled among the vast stretches of farmland exude tranquillity, and there are areas where all that can be seen for miles around are green hills, mangroves, trees and open beaches, coupled with the sounds of birdsong.
Even the journey to and from Alibaug is rewarding, as ferries passing through Mumbai Bay are usually followed by flocks of seagulls. These are a joy to witness after a long day of cycling as they descend to pick up the titbits of food dropped by tourists.
Although it’s possible to drive from Mumbai to Alibaug, the best way to get here is by ferry. The journey takes a couple of hours – depending, of course, on the time of day and season – and boats leave from two ports: the Gateway of India, dropping tourists at Mandwa, and Bhau cha Dhakka (Dockyard Road), which drops tourists at Rewas.
For those looking for group cycling events, the popular group Mumbai Travellers organises all-day trips.