(Graphics Credits: Veloviewer and Strava)
Location: Neral, on the Karjat Line. Segment starts at the beginning of the road going up to Matheran and ends just after the last steep hairpin bend.
Rating: Fricking Hard!! The first 2 – 3 kms are easier and then the gradient kicks up as the hairpin bends start all the way to the top.
Road Condition: The first 3 kms or so is good tarmac. Thereon, you can only describe it as broken tarmac and gravel.
Traffic: Horrible on weekends. This being one of the most popular and accessible weekend destination, the traffic is quite bad, and unlike on Kalhatty where the vehicles respect cyclists, here you are given the choicest local abuses if you get in their way.
USP: This is one of the toughest, if not The Toughest, climbs close to Bombay and fun to do during the monsoons or on a cold winter day. Descending this road is scary and dangerous…check and recheck your brakes, especially those who unclip their brakes on the ascent to avoid the brake pads rubbing the rims (although this is entirely psychological as if you’ve put on your wheels correctly there will be no brake rub).
To put it in numbers, this climb is approximately half the length of Kalhatty but with the same average gradient.