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Tearing down the tarmac

Own a screeching set of wheels, don’t know where to get your thrills? Don’t miss these roads, just in case you thought Mumbai was a parking lot.

entertainment Updated: Jan 21, 2011 16:06 IST
Nikhil Hemrajani

A trip down the pothole-ridden roads of Seepz, Andheri in a rickshaw is generally enough to rattle the sleep out of you. Even cars with the best of suspensions take a beating on such roads. What’s the point of owning a sports car or race bike if there’s no place to ride it? However, there are roads sprinkled in and around the city that are definitely worth cruising on. Chances are that you may even see enthusiasts do wheelies on their motorcycles or hear cars zoom by with engines roaring.

“Late at night, I usually take my car on Marine Drive, go up the Walkeshwar stretch to Malabar Hill and finally come down to Kemps Corner, Pedder Road via Hanging Gardens,” mentions Ritwik Pathak who drives a souped-up Honda City. “The deserted open area outside Hanging Gardens is good for manoeuvres like the doughnut (360-degree skid), and the slope going down to Kemps Corner is smooth and exciting too,” he adds.

The Bandra-Worli Sea Link makes it to the top of the list though. “Quick acceleration is more exciting than attaining top speed, so I try not to miss the chance to floor the accelerator on the Sea Link,” mentions Ritwik.

In North Mumbai, the BMC road that starts from Lokhandwala Circle and plies alongside the mangroves is another place where speedsters get their thrills. It’s not uncommon to see vehicles like the Honda Jazz drifting through the bends at fast speeds. “Even if you aren’t interested in stunts, it’s still a perfect driving surface for your new car or bike,” says Ram Gopalan, a resident of the area.

Navi Mumbai

In recent times, the 12-kilometre long Palm Beach Road, which extends from Vashi all the way to CBD Belapur, has become the Marine Drive of Navi Mumbai. Overlooking the Mahul Creek, the road is lined with mangroves on the outer side. “Since it’s made of asphalt as opposed to concrete, it has better traction and feels much smoother to drive on,” mentions car enthusiast Sheldon Perreira. “But if you’re looking for the real deal, away from the cops and fanfare, you have to go outside the city,” says Perreira. “Head to Kharghar Hill. The road goes up through several twisty sections and comes to a dead-end, which makes it quite desolate. Just watch out for security in the area.”

According to Perreira, the road from Lonavala to Aamby Valley City is also perfect for a high-speed cruise. “There are a ton of bends, and the tarmac roads are great for your tyres.”

If you want to get a passing glimpse of a Maserati before eating its dust, the Mumbai-Pune Expressway can’t be missed. Motoring journalists frequent this 93-km concrete stretch for their supercar test-drives.

“For bikers who can’t take the Expressway, the old Mumbai-Pune Highway is a smooth asphalt highway that promises a thrilling ride,” says Navroz Vakil. “I love gearing up and taking my 650cc (Kawasaki) Ninja there in the winter when it’s nice and chilly.”