Amitabh Bachchan made the Mumbai to Goa road trip and became a star. He traveled by bus along with the beauteous Aruna Irani but you can travel with a beauteous Harley or a Bullet for company. She will not sing and dance for sure but she sure will purr and roar and get you places. This happens when you take a bike on rent in Mumbai for the trip to Goa and forego the comfort of a bus or car ride.
The distance from Mumbai to Goa is 577 kilometres along NH 66. The winding roads among the Ghats takes you across Panvel, Khed, Chiplun, Sawantwadi and then you reach Goa. As they say the journey is the destination. Rent a bike in Mumbai and test your skills on the winding roads that take you across lush greenery on the beautiful hills. If you like you can go the longer road from Mumbai to Pune to Satara to Kolhapur to Belgaum to Goa over 590 kilometres on the smoother streth of the Mumbai Pune Expressway.
What to eat and where to eat
Naturally you need refreshments along the road and what better way to keep yourself energized than to stop at Imagica and gorge on Vada Pao. Set off smoothly enough but when you are high up in the Ghats, slow down and stop every once in a while to admire the scenery. You may come across a restaurant and have lunch or enjoy Sulghiri, a coconut milk tamarind concoction. Dine on Malwani food in any of the roadside dhabas at Satara and Kolhapur.
What are the places to see?
Now for the itsy bitsy details. drive on a bike that you can get from one of the bike rentals in Mumbai and test it on the 38 km stretch to Panvel on NH66 (NH 17). Drive on and you come across the Karnala Bird Sanctuary at Kolad about 65 km away near Pen famed for its Ganesha idols. Enjoy lunch at Kolad and rest a bit before going on to Chiplun, about 341 km away, abode of Lord Parshuram. Take a break, explore the riverside and bed down for the night if you are so minded or drive on. Start early the next day on the ride to Panaji. If you like you can take the Ratnagiri Konkan route, a less crowded but narrow road but the beautiful scenery more than compensates.
Places worth visiting on either route are Lonavla, a quaint hill station renowned for its Chikki. Stock up on some and much it as you drive with the wind blowing through your hair, a feeling of utter freedom. Then you can go into Pune or go on straight to Kolhapur. This is where you can enjoy non-veg foods while you take in Mahalakshmi temple, Rankala lake and Panhala Fort before proceeding to Belgaum a charming city where you must visit the Fort and the Bhimgad Wildlife sanctuary.
If you love adventure biking you will go the Chiplun Sawantwadi way. If you want to just roll along smooth highway then the Pune-Belgaum road is the one to take. It is best done in the company of friends. Get them to rent bikes in Mumbai and set off with a full tank.