The ‘Long’Cut trip

The Why

Apart from what I said in the poster, I had to move to Bangalore. And I didn’t want to parcel my bike. The last time I did that there was one big dent on the petrol tank.

Why LongCut

I had always wanted to go to Araku valley. From the time I had crossed Godavari in my childhood on a train, I had wanted to be there. Then I have a close friend in Machilipatnam who I have not been able to meet since more than 12 years.  He will be there for 10 more days and than fly back to Dubai where he works. And LongCut because I want to.

What’s the Agenda?

I am taking books with me which I shall distribute on my way to school libraries. But frankly I thought of this after I thought of the trip. So it is not an agenda. It is a bonus.

Also to stop wherever it fancies me. To bathe with village kids in village ponds. To drink teas in village corner tea shops, with old wise folks. To remind myself that my forefathers lived in such villages. That it is just providence that I am taking this trip instead of grazing buffaloes.

What am I taking with me

This list is not final and I will keep updating it.

  • open face helmet
  • two pairs of shades, Maui Jim, polarized (for night riding), Fasttrack (has better wind protection)
  • 3 pairs of cloth changes & 2 jeans.
  • A Gerber knife that I bought for my last trip to nepal. In the hope of getting stuck in a jungle and having to hunt a rabbit or something and then grilling it over a fire. Now that I have turned vegetarian, I would have to use it to peel apples. Or should I have them with the skin?
  • Tools (I hope Murphy’s law doesn’t apply this time. I have always found that I don’t have exactly the one spanner I need while I have 5 other ones), other tools. Spare cables – 1one each, speedo, front brakes, and clutch.
  • Books for distribution
  • Am I missing something? I sure am.. please do comment. I shall keep updating, when I remember things which I missed.

Wish me luck :).

update (26th October 2010)

The trip was fun. The pics are here. And you could look at the live tweets here.

Update: Pratham Books has posted a trip blog post here.

Bicycle trip from Delhi to Kathmandu – Day 1

This would need a bit of preamble. I did this trip starting on 15th of June 2009. I wrote it after coming back, well almost wrote it. Initially I had a feeling this could even be publishable :P. Mailed the first 3 chapters to some publishers (we can always hope right?), who promptly replied back with, “We are not interested in this genre”. That made me just forget about the whole issue.

on the road

Something to note before starting to read: It has invariably happened that when people come to know of this, they first get flabbergasted. Then after getting to know the details, they are like, oh…that is not such a big deal. And indeed it is not such a big deal. I rode, something like 1100 km in around 9 days of riding. Comes out to about 120 kms a day average. I have seen guys who commute 80 kms daily to work. In fact recently saw a blogpost about a cyclist who did 370 km in one day. To be fair my trip was in the peak of summers, and I was always carrying around 6 liters of water + some luggage. And my bike was an MTB, not meant for such long rides. Think of this as an alternate kind of travelogue. I believe that the speed with which you travel has a direct affect on the things you are able to observe. Also your though process is different. Without further delay, here is the first day of my trip. Have a few more days written. Will definitely write down the remaining days of which I have notes, tweets etc. Thanks to Sudarshana and Shilpa for copyeditting and other related helps.
Continue reading “Bicycle trip from Delhi to Kathmandu – Day 1”

Preparations

Tha last few days have been exhausting. Not only the training I have been doing, but also planning the logistics. For training I started with around 15 kms a day, a week earlier. The next day was 35 km, 45km, 55km, consecutively. And most riding I have done is during the peak hours. Have learnt a thing or two about exerting your body for a long time in the hot summers, will write a complete post about the diet and things to do to counter he heat.

The  major problem was the logistics. Most of these things I have sorted out, but some still remain. This is the list of things I have purchased or arranged:

  • Cycling tights – got it from adventure 18 dhaula kuan. Will look a little alien in rural india, but will save my butt a few rashes.
  • Gel filled seat covers – again butt protection
  • A local cycle carrier from Chandni Chowk cycle market – cost Rs. 70, compared to Rs 400 for the firefox carrier. Mine can support my weight while the firefox carrier could take maximum around 20 kgs. Mine is around 800 gms while the firefox would be around 500gms
  • Had changed the firefox tubes to normal tubes – Difference is in the nozzle, firefox has bike nozzle by default. I am not planning to carry any puncture kit or pump. The logic being that on highways there are always punture fixer every few kms. Also it is easy to get a lift and take the cycle on a tractor or a truck to the next puncture fixer. And these guys mostly have the cycle pump, not the bike pump. I have also bought a brass nozzle with which I could pump my tyres with a bike pump. So I am pump proof, I can fill my tyres with any pump.
  • Purchased a gerber multipurpose knife. I am emotionally weak towards knives :P. I can’t find my model on their site, but this is very similar.
  • 2 bags – Couldn’t find any panniers that could go straight to the back of my cycle. Scoured Nabi Karim market in Karol Bagh, and actually did find something I could use. But they refused to sell only 2 pieces. They sell minimum of 6. This was after I couldn’t get any at Adventure18 and Stikage. Will do a dry run tying the bags with some stuff inside. I believe they would jingle jangle a lot, and if they do would have to get a small frame custom welded.
  • A rubber mat – For naps along the way or if I stay at a dhaba to put it over the khatiya. Prevents mosquitoes biting from below.
  • update (13th jun) – Bought a pentax optio 750z point and shoot camera. Pretty good interface and has manual controls, everything for Rs. 8.5k. And it is built like a rock, totally a man’s camera. This was Sweta’s discovery.

Things still left:

  • Stocking up on some emergency food, salts and essential medicines.
  • Shades
  • A tube (for the tyre in case of no availability)

To learn more about this trip, this is the tag you need to follow – triptonepal

Body exertion and peace

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmhullot/

Recent tryst with yoga taught me that peace of mind comes from stillness. To meditate, looking inwards brings takes you to newer planes of peace. Also according to at least some books I read, sweating is looked down upon. The sanyasi is advised to go to a solitary area where he is not disturbed, also he is advised not to exert his body to such an extent that he sweats. In fact if during asanas or pranayama, if he sweats he should rub that sweat into the body. Because sweat contains tej, effulgence would be a close english fit.

But contradictory to this theory I have found my moments of solace while taking my body to the limits. Be it after a day of hiking or in the last few kilometers in a long run. When the pain goes away and all that remains is peace.  So maybe in this kind of therapy pain is essential. I have used it when I failed a course in college, or after fights with my girlfriend. Nothing beats going on a long run.

Having said that, I am planning to cycle to nepal. After a bit of research found out that nepal is after all not so far. Only around 350 kms. The nearest border crossing that is, Mahendranagar. I have cycled along the konkan belt earlier, around 250 kms, after which I was about to bust my knee cartilage. One reason was I had not had an ounce of practice. And second the cycle had no gears. The third is, one of my legs is a little weak for such arduous tasks. One negative with this plan is the timing. Middle of the summers that is.  But I have been always hardy against heat, have cycled multiple times to watch movies like ‘Chudail ka badla’ during the summer vacations. Though that was almost 10 years back. This time I am not taking any chances. I have started going out cycling in the heat. Today cycled around 20 kms in around 1.5 hours during peak afternoon.  Drank 8 glasses of machine ka thanda pani. Tomorrow will take a bottle of water along as the cold water from the machine shocks the body.

Here is the map I am going to follow. If any of you have experience with long distance cycling or any other physical activity during the summers, kindly advice, on anything I might need.

Bike trip to Chail

The ‘to’ journey was pretty uneventfull. But the return was awesome.  Sunday morning we decided to bike around near Chail and then return to Delhi. We had already been to the Kali ka Tibba (kali temple).  Still we landed at the base of the climb to the temple. One way was going up towards the temple and another one was going downwards. We decided to go on the one going down.

The road went on without we coming across any other travllers, or people. After around half an hour we saw a guy and asked if this was the way to shimla. He tells us that it was indeed but we were headed in the opposite direction. Not wanting to go back we asked him if there was a another way. ‘Ashvini ghaat’, he says, and we keep on going. The road soon turned into a dirt track with rocks falling off the sides. The next guy we saw was after one hour. There were moments we stopped to look at the amazing scenery. Also saw a big bird, probably the biggest I have seen with my eyes, which was probably the himalayan griffon vulture.

The real filmi moment was when the road ended into a stream. On walking along the stream we could see tyre tracks up ahead. So the stream was used as the road it seems, until a bridge was made. This was one of the highpoints of the trip. And this place was called ‘Ashvini khadd’ which we had heard as ‘Ashvini Ghat’. Anyway this track can be used as a practice or demo for people who want to bike to ladakh.

Arty pics here :P.