Pune’s Secret Gravel Trails | Part 1: To Khadakwasla Dam


What if I told you, you can find this gravel
route cutting right through the heart of Pune? No, it’s not on a hill, it’s not on the
outskirts, but it runs right through the city. So if you’re wondering where this gravel
came from, the big secret is that it runs along either side of the Mutha right bank
canal. Let’s take a look on the Satellite map. Today, in part 1 of this series, we’re going
to ride this route for about 13 kilometers to its source, which is the Khadakwasla dam. Now this guy probably doesn’t give a flip
about riding here, but – why should you? Well, the region around the dam is lovely,
it’s backwaters are even better, and you should definitely ride here – but the roads
leading to the dam are always crowded, and they’re boring because you’ve probably
ridden them a dozen times. This gravel route gives you a whole new experience
while riding to the dam – you get to see different parts and aspects of your city, there’s
no traffic, and some of the stretches are really quite beautiful. Now In part 2, we’ll be riding in the other
direction, away from the dam, where the route gets truly fabulous, and the best part is
that it’s really really really long. But, we’ll cover all that in the next video,
so please remember to subscribe to get notified when it goes up. A small warning before we get started – if
it’s been raining heavily in Pune and they’re releasing a lot of water into the canal, this
can be quite a dangerous place – don’t ride here in either direction. So, I started my gravel ride here, which is
the earliest point at which you should get onto the route if you’re riding towards
the dam. As I was riding past this … shanty town,
which I had never seen before, I had to put up with a bit of … well, this. We’re not in a village, or a small city,
heck, we’re almost in the center of Pune city, which three years ago, was declared
Open Defecation Free, along with the rest of Urban Maharashtra. Must be something wrong with my eyes and the
go Pro – recording imaginary stuff. But in all seriousness, clearly these people
didn’t get the memo, or, didn’t get one of the 5 million toilets supposedly built
in Maharashtra. Did you hear any whistles? Next time I’ll carry one and we’ll see
how that works. Anyway, the good news is that you don’t
have to put up with this for too long, it’s just a small stretch of this route, think
happy thoughts, sniff your electrolytes and you’ll soon be back to good gravel … without
the poop. I know this doesn’t look very appealing
so far, but, the closer you get to the dam, the better your surroundings get -promise. You will notice that you have to cross roads
a few times, and these are all great places at which you can enter the trail. Just follow the canal on the map, see where
a road runs across it, and use that point to access the gravel route. However, don’t try to start on this route
earlier than where I did – the gravel stretches were too short, and it required way too much
effort to get on and off them when you had a road in between – not worth it! There are a couple of stretches where you
get nice paver blocked pathways instead of gravel, with a lot of people walking and running,
but thankfully nobody seemed to be bothered as I cycled through. Now I did actually manage to find a path that
runs by the canal, but for this short 100 meter stretch, I would recommend you just
take this road instead. When you cross over to the other side here,
it can get a bit tricky to find our gravel route, but just know that it’s there – follow
the canal and find your way onto the path next to it. Now at this point, you should cross this little
bridge and go onto the right hand side, as this side of the canal is a dead end. Once you get onto the road, the canal is actually
just across – but it’s probably safer to ride with the traffic, take a U turn and head back
onto the gravel. So everytime I came to a road crossing, I
would be in suspense … am I going to be able to get onto the gravel
on the other side? Is it going to be blocked? Is it easily accessible? Because at this time, I wasn’t sure I would
be able to make it all the way to Khadakwasla. And, because I’ve told you it is possible,
I must apologize for taking that little bit of discovery and adventure away from you. I’m now in the final section of this gravel
route, the three kilometer section that made me look all this up, and definitely the most
beautiful section. You can ride either side of the canal here,
the route on the right is a bit wider, but this side is a bit cozier. If you’re lucky, you might even see some
peacocks, and you’ll definitely spot some cormorants in the canal, if it hasn’t dried
up. Even if you don’t ride any bit of the gravel
upto this point, you really must try this, last section, it’s so much better than the
regular road leading to the dam. Okay, what if you don’t live in Pune? Well, canal routes are actually quite popular
around the world for cycling, so if you pull up google’s satellite map and take a closer
look at your local rivers and canals, there’s a chance you’ll find stretches of gravel
alongside that you can ride, possibly accompanied by smaller service roads that run parallel. If you have a favourite canal route, especially
one you think not many know about – please, drop a comment below, and tell everyone where
it is! Back to our ride, where do you actually come
out? Well I’ll show you from a direction you’re
probably familiar with. This is the normal route you would take to
get to khadakwasla, and this is the turn you take to get to the backwaters. Here is the canal we just rode alongside,
and as I said, you could get out on either side. As we go a bit farther down, we come to this
road which is a gravel route that starts in Nanded city – also worth trying if you’re
using the regular route for most of your ride to the dam. There’s actually another trail a couple
of hundred meters ahead, also going through Nanded city, but it’s in pretty poor shape
and I wouldn’t recommend it right now. If you’re interested in the techniques I
used to find and plot this route, please watch this video on how to find cycling routes,
or this playlist for other interesting routes in India. Thanks for riding along, and until next time,
keep exploring!

13 thoughts on “Pune’s Secret Gravel Trails | Part 1: To Khadakwasla Dam

  1. Do you record in a <720p resolution or downscale the video later during editing?

  2. I'm very interested in hearing about your experience riding this route. When you do, please drop a comment here and tell everyone what riding here was like!

  3. Awesome video! I live near vadgaon bridge but never even thought of this route. Gotta try it sometime😁

  4. You know nothing Johan Snowkar 😆😆

    Great video bro, I am sharing it on my cycling group. Keep them coming… 👍

  5. Just watched a few videos of yours, Amazing videos, really entertaining, very informative. Even the commentary is great, one of the best Indian channels so thank you sir, keep up the great work and all the best. You earned a subscriber.

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