In the words of King Liu, the founder of Giant Bicycles, “Driving is too fast, walking is too slow, riding is the best way to enjoy the most beautiful scenery in life”. And we completely live by that ethos. Exploring the winding roads of the western ghats, or taking in the expanses of himalayan terrain on the saddle of a bicycle is an unparalleled experience. You feel a part of the canvas that is your ride. And the sense of achievement is while pedaling your way up the top of Khardung La, or while you see the first glimpse of the glittering Arabian Sea off the coast of a Goan beach, is one that cannot be experienced other than from the saddle of your bicycle.

It is with this that we introduced the concept of Discovery Rides. The Pune to Goa Discovery Ride (November) is in third edition in, whereas the Manali to Leh Discovery Ride (August) saw it first edition in 2017. We look to keep improving the rides as well as adding new destinations every year, and for 2018 we have Discovery Ride planned for Japan with a tour of Mt. Fuji and Tokyo.

Long distance rides in India have predominantly been of the timed/competitive type under the randonneuring format, where riders cover distances anywhere between 200 to 1200 kms, within defined times decided by the organisers. However, we received a lot of feedback from riders that join us on our regular rides, that are part of the ride programs run out of all our Giant Starkenn Cycling Worlds, that they would like to take part in long distance rides, not to compete, but to experience and tour. And that was when we decided to conduct the first Pune to Goa ride in 2015, with the objective being to ‘Discover’ the unique journey via a bicycle.

The total route length from Pune to Goa is 580 kms, unlike the 450 kms generally used by car and motorcycle users. 580 kms, because we use the coastal roads, winding through halts at Mahad, Guhagar, Bhatye, Adhivare and then onto Vagator Beach in Goa. Riders are accommodated in hotels no below than 3 stars along the route with all meals, nutritional and technical requirement fulfilled by the back-up team and ride manager on route with them from Starkenn. All arrangements are made to ensure that all the riders need to focus on, is to Discover the beauty of the coastal route winding through the western ghats.

We just concluded the 2017 edition of the Giant Starkenn Discovery Ride 2017 – Pune to Goa on the 9th of November 2017. The team of 24 that made their way from Pune to Goa, cover the 580 kms in the designated 5 days, and had a blast doing so. Mr. Nitin Supe wrote into us saying, “Thanks to all for giving such a wonderful and memorable companionship. This has been a life time experience. Thanks to all team members of Starkenn, especially Abhijit for making such good arrangements everywhere. In short trip ka maja aa gaya. Will miss u guys, but whenever I visit Pune we will try and organise a one or two day ride. Take care and always be happy.” Its feedback like this that pushes us to improve our Discovery ride every year and make the journey for the rider a success and memorable.

In 2017, in addition to the Pune to Goa route, we included the Manali to Leh route. The arrangements made here were made keeping in mind the same objective; the rider needs to focus on discovering the beauty of the Himalayan terrain. And in 2018, we will launch our first international Discovery ride to Japan, where riders will ride the iconic Mt. Fuji roads and explore Tokyo, and the Discovery Ride to Austria as well. We will keep adding routes and at the same time keep improving the rides that we conduct, ensuring that riders, ride to Discover.