This year Mesum, the director of Mtb Mag India, decided to fly down to India to really survey the biking scene in India. He was majorly stoked to take part in a big DH race which unfortunately was cancelled due to unavoidable circumstances. Quickly all plans had to be changed and the journey became a quest to find what is the future for biking in India.
We travelled from Kolkata to New Delhi (1447km) and from there, to Pune (1,800km), home to Rakesh Oswal, our deputy photographer. Pune was fun to get around thanks to Rakesh and his younger brother. We zipped around town on their scooters visiting all the big and small bike stores and meeting some of the big players in the Indian bike business. The food and the culture down in Pune is a contrast to what you get in other parts of the country. Hogging on Idlis (Rice buns) and Vadas (fried doughnuts) with coconut sauce was a new experience even for me, let alone mouth watering. Dosas are another specialty which Rakesh treated us to. The sad part was we were not carrying our bikes with us and could not check out the trails around Pune. Regardless we took a bus to Mumbai from Pune (240km).
As we reached Mumbai, the rains had descended and it was pouring incessantly. The trains of Mumbai are packed with people, yes, literally packed. You have to be brave at heart to board buses here. Squeezed, unable to move, unable to get off where you have to, people almost falling out, it is scary. They say Mumbai is a city where you find adventure inside city limits. The following day, after a good night’s sleep we met up with the CEO of Scott Sports India at the headquarters. Both me and Mesum were stoked as we were going to get to take a spin on a mountain bike after pretty long. We picked up the Scott Scale for a review and took it to the local hills. Discovered trails even the locals did not know well and rode the 29er hardtail through mud, slush, rocks and unforgiving rainfall.
The myriad of colors, cultures, smells, food and lifestyles really makes it a unique country. You can be from one part and feel like an outsider in another just 500km away. The different languages, the people, the warm smiles and the food have a real charm. It may be a bit difficult to get around, but is definitely worth it.
As per the bike scene in this country, it has unchartered and unexplored trails everywhere. It has big mountains in the North to North East, Plateaus in the Centre and hills and mountains all through the south. A perfect country to get lost in with a do-it-all bike. The riders are still in a nascent stage and it is still a few years before this beautiful country makes a mark in the mountain bike world.
More information on www.mtbmagindia.com
Words: Mesum Verma | Pictures: Prateek Singh