Except for the roads, the entire rain-kissed Goan countryside has transformed into the vibrant hue of new life.
The healthy rains are like a tribute to nature, and to the farthest you can see, the only colour that appears on the horizon these days is an immaculate green.
Even as the peak of the rains is here, some of the long-distance Goan cyclists under different clubs are planning long cross-country rides to enjoy the bounty of nature – waterfalls and streams – that has unfolded this season.
Goa and surrounding areas have some of the most biodiverse ghat regions, and riding through them requires endurance levels that one will not find in regular cyclists. So, what are these rides all about?
Says Sangam Patil, who has been organising the Tour of Clouds cycle ride since 2017, “Cycling gives us a better perspective of the nature around us. What makes it better is the company of other cyclists and, of course, the rain."
This year, around 40 cyclists will ride from Banda to Amboli Ghat in Maharashtra, informs Sanket Naik, who, along with Sangam, has been organising this adventure-filled ride regularly, except for the unavoidable Covid break.
Both Sangam and Sanket are regular endurance riders in the Goan cycling circuit that has roughly more than a hundred serious long-distance riders.
On the first day of the ride on August 12, the cyclists will do 40 kilometres, starting from Banda, which is close to the Goa border. The last part of the ride includes climbing the Amboli Ghat, one of the important corridors of the Western Ghats.
After reaching the top, the riders will follow the itinerary, including a stay planned by the organisers for them, and return on August 13 to the place where they started.
Why is the ride called Tour of Clouds? In the rainy season, on most of the ghats, one will see low-level clouds.
The misty atmosphere is what makes the ghats look more beautiful and romantic, and cycling here feels as if one is cycling into the clouds.
Meanwhile, before the Tour of Clouds schedule on August 12-13, the Panjim Cycling Club is readying its itinerary for July 29 and 30, when 40 cyclists under its banner will ride to Amboli from Panjim, a distance of about 85 kilometres.
Sunil Vernekar, who is part of the organising team, says this is the third ride to Amboli PCC members are looking forward to enjoying.
"The best part is of course the climb uphill, but the fun is in the small and big waterfalls the cyclists encounter on the way," he says.
On the same day, July 29, Panjim-based cycling group, Probyk is organising its annual rain ride (7th edition) to Belagavi via the Chorla Ghat. This is a fun-cum-endurance ride to experience monsoons at its peak.
This is a real test of endurance for those undertaking this journey in the monsoon.
The Probyk ride starts from Grand Courtyard in Sankhali and covers a distance of 100 kilometres to end at Anupam Hotel on Shivaji Road, Raviwar Peth, Belagavi. The next day's ride follows the same route back to Sankhali.
These endurance rides are not easy as they seem.
The cyclists taking part are daily riders and have a level of fitness required to pull off such endurance feats. For these cyclists, these rides are all about raising a toast to their health.