Summer Weekend Projects in Mumbai

DIY May 21, 2018

My usual weekend activity is to ride my bicycle on slightly longer rides in and around the city. But Mumbai summer is hot and humid - not the most conducive to riding a bicycle. This year I was determined to continue commuting by bicycle all through the worst of the summer.

The highlight of cycling in summer were the evening rides on the weekends. I kept these rides relatively short, and combined them with some mini weekend projects.

Project 1: Antique brass lamp

My first weekend project was to fix an antique brass lamp that belonged to my mother-in-law, and that was languishing unattended for several years. The base was in tact, but the glass on top was missing. Plus, its wooden base was loose and wobbly.

So one summer weekend evening, I rode to the famous Oshivara antique market to search for a matching glass top for the brass lamp. After looking through several shops, I finally found this shop that had a large collection of old lamps. The shopkeeper took one look at my lamp and went into the dingy dungeon of this shop and came out with a beautiful and delicate glass that fit perfectly to my lamp!

I continued ahead from Oshivara and went via the new road along the mangroves from Versova to Malad, and then hopped across the creek at Malad to Marve and returned via Madh and Versova.

Returning home triumphantly with the newly acquired glass, I spent the rest of the evening fixing the lamp's wobbly base, giving it a thorough cleaning and a bit of polish, and was thrilled at completing a small but long pending project.

Project 2: A standing desk, and meeting an old friend

When I put up photographs of the previous evening ride via Marve, I was admonished by my old friend Roy who lives at Marve for not visiting him.

So the next weekend, I repeated the same route. This time, my stopover at the Oshivara antique market was short. I contacted an old craftsman who had built some wooden shelves for me several years ago. I needed his help to build a standing desk for me. I had measured the dimensions of the desk and carried a hand-drawn sketch for his reference. I met with him and shared the sketch and he agreed to build it for me.

But the real objective of this ride was to meet with my old friend Roy. Roy is just a couple of years older than me, and was a handsome young man with multiple talents - he was an award winning boxing champion, an accomplished guitar player and singer, and an excellent swimmer. He was an all round sportman, and artist combined. But he got into a major accident that left him physically challenged, and he has been forced to stay at home for several years. We do keep in touch but I had not met him in years! It was really nice to catch up with him and his mother at their home in Marve.

I rode back via Madh and stopped over at the beach just after sunset. The cool sea breeze was a refreshing change from the hot sunny day.

As it got dark, I headed back, stopping for a quick sugarcane juice after the ferry ride across from Madh to Versova.

Project 3: DIY Basket Holder for the Brompton

The next weekend project was a DIY basket holder for my Brompton folding bicycle. The previous version that I had made broke under the weight of my shopping :)

My idea for the new version was to make a single metallic structure out of an aluminum sheet, thereby reducing the number of parts I had to screw together, and to have strength. But first, I had to look for the appropriate material. After riding around Andheri East asking various shops, I finally managed to locate a shop next to a Hanuman temple on Mahakali Caves Road.

The construction process took the entire weekend.

  1. The aluminum sheet: 3 mm thick scrap piece that I bought for INR 300/-
  2. I removed the front loading block from the bike for measurement and marked out the area for cutting.
  3. After a lot of struggle with the hacksaw, I cut out the shape that I needed.
  4. Clamped down the piece with a pair of table clamps and a square piece of iron rod that I had also picked up in scrap from a metal fabrication shop.
  5. After making all the bends, a quick trial on the basket... fits perfectly!
  6. Covered with red oxide primer in preparation for painting
  7. Black oil paint coat preceded by a short sojourn to the market to buy the paint, primer, turpentine and brush for INR 250/-
  8. After drying overnight, trial on the bike... great fit!
  9. Fixed the basket on the bracket using strips of rubber from an old tube.
  10. Fit the basket on the bike.
  11. All done!

To celebrate the successful completion of the project, took a ride into Aarey Milk colony.

Mayflower trees in full bloom all across the forest!

A brief halt to enjoy Masala Milk, shared with newly acquired friend Vithal, who sells fresh flowers at the street corner

A stream overgrown with Colocasia plants, from which we make the delicious Alu-wadi

After a tough uphill climb near New Zealand Hostel, a brief pause to catch my breath.

Another uphill climb up to Mahakali Caves hill, from where one gets a great view of the surrounding industrial area of MIDC.

I took this video while riding by a buffalo farm in Aarey.

The summer is not yet done, but am looking forward to the monsoon!


Ashutosh Bijoor

Adventurer, mathematician, software architect, cyclist, musician, aspiring wood worker